Mix Position and Church Sound: Do You Hear What They Hear?

When was the last time you gave any serious thought to your mix position before a rehearsal or church service? If you’re like most people, you show up, turn everything on, and mix from exactly where the console was sitting when you took the job. After all, somebody put it there for a reason, and you’re there to mix church sound, not rearrange the furniture. Unfortunately, churches often sacrifice mix position to protect the aesthetic of the room, and it can have a big impact on the way your audience experiences the service. Modern technology makes it possible to virtually improve your mix position without relocating your sound booth altogether.

church sound mobile appsWhat Does Good Mix Position Look Like?

Ideally, you would be able to mix from the center of the room, the place where all of your speakers and equipment perfectly converge upon the audience. Of course, it’s easy to see why most churches, and even most other music venues, can’t accommodate this. So instead of focusing on what we want but can’t have, we turn to the things that we absolutely do not want and work backwards. If you are mixing from one of these locations, you should consider whether or not you’ve been doing your part to deliver quality church sound:

    1. Mixing in another room – The idea is that putting all of the gear in one location, out of sight and out of the way, keeps it safe and makes it easier to do your job without being distracted by people coming, going and stopping to chat or ask questions. Unfortunately, now you have to leave your console and head down to the floor to hear the actual church sound. This is a lot of wasted energy, and really limits your ability to fine tune your mix.
    2. Mixing on or behind the stage – Again, this is a location often chosen for convenience over functionality. Even large venues use this location to keep the sound guys out of the way of the general public, or vice versa. However, the sound you’re getting in this location is a blend of your stage monitors and low end bleed from the back of your outward facing speakers. Once more, you are taking many field trips out to the room
      if you want to get a feel for what the congregation is getting.
    3. Balconies – Elevation matters. In a perfectly tuned room, all of your speakers are aimed in a way that puts the sound where the people are. Churches often use balconies for sound booths because the space is not easily usable for congregants. If you are up near the ceiling, you are getting sound bouncing off of all the walls and the ceiling. If you are under the balcony, you are sitting in a dead spot where sound is being funneled down to you, and you lose many frequencies as they miss the funnel.
    4. Other Tight Spots – Sound booths squeezed into tiny corners and pushed off to the back of the room can be equally challenging. Again, sound is bouncing off the walls. Your brain is probably taking a beating from all the low end, and yet on the floor they aren’t getting any of that bass.

How to Fix Your Mix Position for Better Church Sound

Unless you convince your church that the sound booth deserves its own space right in the middle of the congregation, a challenge awaits. The good news is that there are now tools which allow you to get a more accurate picture of the sound on the floor without having to make sixteen trips back to the pews.

Many new digital mixing consoles come with wireless support for mobile applications. These apps vary by brand, but they allow you to download a GUI of your mixer onto an iPad and carry it with you. Now you can head down to the floor without leaving your console behind, and fine tune your mix in one trip. More advanced apps give you the full range of functionality, while others trim down to basic volume and gain controls. Once you have the app on your iPad or phone, you can walk down to the center of the room, and move side to side until you get the best possible mix for the entire seating area.

If you’ve been mixing on an old desk, tucked away in a sound booth with poor sound, it’s time to start considering an upgrade. Most manufacturers have jumped on board with mobile technology already, and you can find inexpensive mixers to fit any church budget. When coupled with your mobile phone or an iPad you will have the ability to move freely around the room and dial in your mix faster than ever.

Get Yours Today

The engineers at Loud Media Group are ready to help you step up your game. We can find you great deals on digital mixers and mobile technology that will improve your church sound overnight. Call us at 706-913-4454 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today!