by: Robert Carter
As God continues to bless and smaller churches are birthed and continue to grow, more and more demands are placed on the various departments. The audio department must keep pace with this growth with improvements in live presentation as well as recorded production. For now we will focus on one of the more basic aspects of live presentation. With more soloists, choirs, praise & worship teams and the like using cassette or CD trax for accompaniment, the need for early system component & level checks becomes crucial. No matter how “cutting edge” the system equipment and/or design is, if no early preparation is made prior to the start of the service, the church’s investment is wasted and God’s kingdom suffers a set back. My suggestions are as follows:
1. Get into the sanctuary at least one hour before service. Power the system up, check all input sources for proper operation levels (all mics, instruments going thru system and playback gear (cassette decks, CD decks, video sources, etc.)
2. Anyone singing with tracks need to come in at least 30 minutes early to get a comfortable level for vocals and music in the monitors as well as the house mix.
3. Any special music (ensembles, groups, soloists, etc.) with LIVE accompaniment need to come in 45 minutes to 1 hour early to get correct levels on instruments when combined with vocals in the monitors and in the house mix.
4. Any unauthorized personnel need to leave the sound booth area before service starts. After service starts the platform area needs your undistracted attention.
5. This last item may sound harsh. You might discuss this with the Pastor or some supervisory person within the church. I recommend, unless some unavoidable event prevents, that anyone who will not come in for an early sound check NOT be allowed to sing. Just make it a standard requirement and that should alleviate any future misunderstandings. God expects our best. Coming in at the last minute with no regard for preparation in just not acceptable. A five minute check is usually all it takes.
These suggestions may meet with resistance at first. Change is not easy for some people. However, if all involved understand it is necessary to perfect the presentation of the worship experience and reduce annoying sound problems, full co-operation is usually the result.
Getting the “bugs” worked out before service means God can be glorified without distraction and stress levels for the sound personnel is greatly reduced.
Robert Carter specializes in audio system design & consultation. He is based out of Rincon, GA.