How to (Not) Run Sound at Church (humorous rant) - Page 2 - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
How to (Not) Run Sound at Church (humorous rant)
Old 28th August 2011 | Show parent
Lives for gear
wesarvin's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Originally Posted by chrisso ➡️
To me it came across exactly as intended.
A guy with some knowledge and talent being under used due to local politics.
I'm not surprised the telling of the story bordered on colourful, it's got to be very frustrating trying to help a group of people who seemingly ignore your help.
...agree with all that's on here so far.

I know that this is an old thread. It somehow reminds me of another moan that I posted earlier about ambient guitar.

After some time and thought, I've come to the conclusion that talent, skill, knowledge, etc. doesn't matter much in the real world. The answer is politics or people skills. One must be a tactful hard-ass in order to persuade others. If you feel that the sound guy or musicians need a little advice, then by all means speak well-intended truths, but do so with tact. Think along the lines of Dale Carnegie.
Old 29th August 2011 | Show parent
Gear Guru
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
One of my interns ran sound for a church. He could never get enough sound out of the speaker system that was flown. The cluster had 4 large speakers and two large amplifiers driving them. The system should have been able to peel paint off the back wall but the more he ran up the master fader the quieter the sound got. I was asked to come down and help him figure out what was wrong. We did a lot of checking and finally found that who ever wired up the four speakers wired two in phase and two out of phase so the more sound you tried to get out of them the more it was cancelled out. When we fixed the problem the sound was deafening in the church.

I also got called to a church where they had more money than brains. The "sound engineer" told the minister that the reason the sound system sounded so bad was because he did not have enough control over the sound. After spending $80K on play toys like 1/3 rd octave EQs and expensive limiter/compressors and all kinds of add on processors it still sounded bad but the "sound engineer" had lots more play toys to fool with during the services.

I unplugged everything form the back of the sound board and had the minister go up and talk and the system sounded GREAT. We tried different microphones and input sources including a CD player and everything sounded fine. I can only conclude that the "sound engineer" wanted a lot of play toys so he messed up the sound until he got what he wanted. It would have been interesting to see the interplay between the "sound engineer" and the minister the next Sunday morning.

Another church said they were getting a lot of feedback in their system and needed me to come up and find out why. Turns out they were feeding a 300 watt per channel amplifier for the monitor system down the same cable as the microphones so they had about a 100 dBV difference in levels and of course it was feeling back. I moved the amp to the stage, ran a line level to the amp and they were back in business.

Another church called me up and said that here system was distorting. I went out and looked and soon found the answer. The had two audio boards one was plugged into the other. The output of the first board had line level outputs and it was plugged into the microphone inputs on the second board. The first board was cranked to #11 and the microphone inputs on the second board were turned down to about 1 on the fader and it was very distorted. I was able to switch the outputs of the first board from line level to mic level and that cleared up the problem. The next Monday the minister called me up to tell me that they still had the problem. I went out and found that their "sound engineer" had switched the outputs from the first mixer back to line level because he said "that is the way it is suppose to work" I switched them back and left him a note and have not got called back so I assume they left the outputs on mic level.

Too bad a lot of churches are staffed with people who have very little knowledge but think they know a lot.
Old 6th September 2011 | Show parent
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Originally Posted by musikwerks ➡️
Been there done that.

In 20 years I have never received payment to mix a church service, would never accept it either. I give those hours up to the big man and he can reward as he sees fit. In the 17 years I have been professionally employed I have never not had a job. I like to think that he's looking out for me. Sowing and reaping and all of that.

Mixing for church services is a pretty strange animal. People actually leave churches over sound issues, really, it does happen. It's usually a lose/lose proposition as a sound engineer unless you realize (and accept) that you're there to help realize the senior pastor's vision, not your own.

Also, you will never get professional results from volunteers and most church music departments are almost totally volunteers.

At the end of the day, a church is there to help people connect with God. If you're a believer then it should be obvious that souls saved are more important than musical and sound mix perfection.
I agree completely with you, being a believer, doing sound in a Christian coffee-house and recently recruited for sound in my Messianic Synagogue, we do it to serve the Lord.
Old 6th September 2011 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
Being an old fart I am still amazed that anybody actually needs amplification in a church. As a boy I sung in my local (and other) churches. This was in Europe, and churches are generally decent size. There was never any amplification. You just learn to sing to be heard. Acoustics in churches are wonderful, and amplification invariably ruins them IMHO.
Old 6th September 2011 | Show parent
Gear Addict
audiobob's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I ran sound (for free) at my church for 7 years and I agree with every one. Especially #6. That was a challenge every time! Most of the time I could pull down the master with nothing coming out of the main's and it would be so loud it would almost make me just want to leave it that way. I would ask everyone to turn down and it would last for a service or so. Just had to accept and work with it. I played music too so understand...but it was still a struggle. There were moments when it sounded pretty darn good though...especially for an audio post guy like me.
Old 11th June 2013
Gear Maniac
richrenken's Avatar
🎧 5 years
It is supposed to be funny, but it seems serious. Can you tell me, is this parody or truth veiled in humor. I disagree with almost all of it and would like to know if I should bother responding or not.
Old 12th June 2013 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
deweyhoser's Avatar
🎧 5 years
I disagree with almost all of it and would like to know if I should bother responding or not. [/QUOTE]

its two years dead brother, just let it ride
📝 Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump