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Sound for Worship
Times have changed for the audio needed at houses of worship. More and more are having contemporary services that include live bands, drama, and video. Big productions have now come to the little church in the village. This can be a nightmare for the inexperienced sound engineer. Lots of different inputs will be needed to handle the service.
ORGANIZATION OF YOUR INPUTS
Keep your inputs in sections so you don't have to go looking all over the mixer to find things. Have your drama, band A.V. and alter mics assigned to different groups (or mutes if you have them) so you can switch between them quickly. Having an open mic when not needed can cause you trouble; remember this is not a rock show.
TUNING THE SYSTEM
Now that your church has the need for a high power sound system there are a couple of things you need to know. The sound system still has to have high speech intelligibility and power to handle the band and A.V. A lot of pastors are now using wireless lavaliere mics. These sometimes need special treatment. I like to assign the to their own group and insert a EQ or feed back eliminator to control all of them at once, you can then use the channel eq for fine tuning on a per mic basis. Tune the pa to handle the band and A.V. Some churches will install new systems and others will retrofit existing.
Do your homework on what your system will require new mixers, amps, mics, speakers etc. Most churches are on tight budgets shop around for the best gear for your buck. Make sure you allow for future growth once budgets are set it's hard to add $.
RETROFITTING EXISTING SYSTEMS
Some churches have the sound system directly above or somewhat behind the alter areas this can be a problem for adding lavaliere mics when choosing lav mics I like to use cardioid or super-cardioid capsules for better control, omni mics can be trouble some. If you have acoustic drums you may need to purchase a Plexiglas gobo to isolate them if the drummer is a loud player. In this example the church is retrofitting the existing sound system. Looking over the needs and wants it was decided that a total rewire, speaker replacement, new amp and eq were needed. They already had a mixer and a good set of wireless mics. Custom built oak with E.V. components were supplied by Wright Sound Systems. Tuning the system was done in 3 different ways 1.Voice was most important. 2. Tape or CD music. 3. Live instruments. Because of budget An average was used to obtain the final result. Monitors were also added for choir needing to here on stage.
SET AND LOCK IT
Usually the sound people at churches are students and adults that do not have a lot of pro sound experience. Once you have the system tuned, lock it up. Meaning don't give access to the main eq or any other system wide gear. The sound person will only really have to adjust things on the mixer and out board gear. A good rule of thumb is to keep it as simple as possible this will assure you of relatively good sound every time and you won't be getting a phone call on Sunday morning that something isn't working.
Steve Aries, Audio Engineer with 20 years experience. Toured with several major acts- Marvin Gaye, Triumph, REO Speedwagon, while at dB Sound. Independent engineer. Does consulting, theatre, 12 years at Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids, industrial, and worship sound. Very special thanks to Steve Aries and Aries Audio. Look for this monthly feature in upcoming issues of Musicians Hotline.
Pix courtesy of RAK SOUND PRODUCTIONS RICH
KNOCK, OWNER - LYNN CENTER IL
Hey Amp Man!
Hey Amp Man!
Well, I don't get questions like this everyday, James. When you
say you're looking for a "builder", you aren't clear whether you are
looking for someone who'll manufacture the amp for you, to your
specs, so that you can market and distribute it under your own brand
name; or if you were just interested in selling your design for the
big bucks so that you could retire early and live in the Bahamas. If
it's the former, I might be able to help you. If it's the latter,
and I suspect it is, then - and I don't mean to sound harsh - you
need a reality check, James. You called Peavey and Gibson and they
gave you the runaround? Of course they did! They're huge
corporations, whose main objective is to make money for themselves
and their stockholders. And you can't fault them, for that's what
business is about. But, because of this, they aren't going to be
real keen on the idea of investing a pile of money on an unknown
entity, especially one with no brand name recognition. It takes HUGE
amounts of time and money to take a prototype amp, such as yours,
and develop it into a well finished, manufacturable product. And the
vacuum tube guitar market is very competitive so, unless they know
it's going to sell, they're not going to take the risk. And,
finally, even if you did sell them on your design, you'll be amazed
at just how little they'll be willing to pay for it. This I tell you
based on my own experiences, and I have a very marketable name and
reputation in this industry (no brag, just a fact).
Hey Amp Man!
Yours is a question I get asked all the time, Mike, and I feel
badly because I can never give a real concrete answer. The problem
is that we're dealing with technology that is considered archaic and
obsolete in the eyes of the "mainstream" electronics industry, which
is what the trade schools and community colleges train for. So
you're not going to have much luck finding any help there. However,
I suggest that you take a basic entry level course at one of these
schools so that you can learn about Ohm's Law, what a capacitor is,
how to read resistors, how to use an oscilloscope and other test
equipment, etc. This stuff is all the same and is necessary to know.
Once you've got this basic knowledge, you'll need to learn about how
tubes work, and this is where it is hard to get good information. If
you're lucky, you might find that your instructor is old enough to
have had experience with tube stuff, and maybe you could get him or
her to give you some individual training on the topic.
Unfortunately, I doubt that's likely to happen.