Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Things the Worship team wish the Sound Person knew :

Yesterday I posted Things the Sound team wish the Worship team knew part two of this post are a few things that the worship team wish the sound person knew. Again this is not a top 5 list but just a few things that we have found helpful.

1 We are a team, we need, appreciate and value, honest and tactful feedback. If you hear something is wrong let us know or pull us down in the mix if it is during the service. We are trusting you so that we will not be a distraction to the worship.

2 Get to know us and make a note of what we typically need in our monitors and preset them before soundcheck. We are artists and knowing you have taken time for each of us goes a long way

3 If you explain why you want us to do something we will trust you more and follow your direction.

4. Please don't expect us to be warmed up vocally at 7:30 AM. We know you need to get levels set on the board but we need to warm up for a few songs first.

5. If we see you on sound, set up and tear down regularly we get to know you better and trust you more. Be on time, we know that you are usually the first people in and the last to leave and we appreciate you for that but if you are always scrambling at the last minute it makes it hard for us to get comfortable.

I am sure there are lots of other points so feel free to share any that you have found work for you.


  1. I'm a electric and acoustic guitarist and bassist in a contemporary praise and worship for the past 5 yrs. I'm 49 and have played everything from coffee houses to blues jams to outdoor rock shows.
    One member of our hard working sound team has encouraged me many times to rely on the monitor only and not bring my small 25 watt bass combo. I want to comply but the monitor volume/program fluctuates so often that I can't rely on it for an inspirational tone and frequently can't hear where I am well enough to be musical. I dread asking for any change in the monitor as it seems to be taken as a personal critique even if I run up to the water fountain, then meekly ask for more volume on my way back to my chair. I can't remember when I've been to a live electric sound stage and not seen the musician's trusted tone gear at his back and usually miked. How about you?

  2. Thanks The Meek for your comments.
    I would say that I have to agree with you. There is a specific tone that guitarist get from their own gear. I learned this early in my days of doing sound at a gig for a well known blues band. I had a DI set up for the guitar player and he just looked at me and said, No we will mic the amp. Depending on the set-up, some amps have a built in DI output but I would say we mic almost every electric guitar including bass. In our current set up at church we do use the DI output from the bass rig. We did try both micing and DI and found the sound was similar so we went with the DI approach to eliminate one more mic from the stage.
    Bass has to be felt and my guess is that the monitors you are using are not able to handle the lower end of the bass. As mentioned in this post, I am both a guitar player and a sound person so I get both sides of the dilemma. The answer is the level of trust between both musician and sound tech, How much volume can we get on stage to feel the music and not distract from the FOH mix. This is the typical issue with life onstage monitors never mind guitar amps.
    One solution is amp placement, instead of having the amp behind you and facing the congregation can you have it beside or in front so that it is acting like your own monitor and mic’d for the FOH. You would still need a stage monitor to hear the rest of the band.
    As for the bass, there is lots of science and math, but if you consider the typical range of a bass guitar is from 40Hz to 400Hz those sound waves are from 30 feet to 2 feet long. Lets assume for the most part you are playing in the 100-200 range those waves are 5 to 10 feet long so if you are standing right in front of your amp then those wave are going right past you and hitting the front row of the congregation.
    Are you able to move your combo farther away from you and even shoot it sideways across the stage and not straight out. Bass is somewhat omni directional but it can make a difference. Speaker placement and how the stage walls are treated is a huge factor. Prior to our stage rebuilding as had hardwood paneling and drywall across the back of the stage and we had lots of issues. After treating the back walls with sound paneling the difference was significant.
    All that to say, I think there is a bit of compromise here that can give you and the sound team the result you need.
    1. Guitar amps are every bit as important than the guitar itself, hence why amp types are carried in many riders for touring bands.
    2. Now that you get to have you amp onstage, move it around and find a location that works for you and the FOH
    3. Try and get all of the stage monitors under control. I am guessing this is a bigger issue and you bringing an extra amp in is just making that worse.
    4. Everyone on the team ( musicians, singers and Sound )has to know that they are there to create a atmosphere of worship. If any team member is hindering that by what ever reason then that has to be addressed.

    Hope that helps


  3. I'm truly grateful for the thorough reply. This has opened my eyes to a number of things that I would never have thought about. To minimize the work our sound men have to face as they volunteer their time, I'm going to come up with a monitor solution which eliminates 2 monitors and my bass amp from the stage. I think that a condenser mic at the front leg of our grand piano will pick up enough piano and front vocal monitor sound to give the drummer and me what we need. A cord from his electric DTXpress and one from my Hartke tonebox all into my 6 channel mixer on channels 1,2&3 and then to wireless headphones for my rhythm buddy and me. This will be like studio work. While I'm at it, my folding chair looks makeshift. Might cut a black Target 4 leg stool down to 15" and mount the 6 channel mixer in between the back two legs so it is out of sight but easily adjustable. This is going to be way cool!