In our last episode, “What D’You Mean By Smaller”, we established that small really means average and that average is around 75 attendees for a typical service. So, unless you are a member of the sound ministry team at a much larger church, where there are 150 or more seats filled for a worship service, many of the things discussed here will apply.

The first thing I have found in common in creating a good sound mix in churches that fit this size category, is getting the proper blend between the natural, acoustic sound and the amplified sound.  Try this: With the sound system off, stand at the back of your church and ask the pastor to do a little impromptu preaching in at their typical level. If you can hear most of what is said intelligibly, then what you are doing on when in the booth is simply reinforcing the sound. You need the pastor to be loud enough to be heard “over the room” and to allow them to vary their speech for dynamics, but you don’t want them so loud that you lose the natural tone, acoustic sound coming.

At the same time, their EQ needs to be set so that what is coming from the FOH speakers matches the natural acoustic sound of what is heard in the front half, or so, of the room. And, as the FOH speakers are some distance either above, behind or to the side of the pastor, there are some minor time delay (delays between the reinforced sound and the acoustic sound) they couldn’t understand what the pastor was saying, ask where they were sitting and make it a point to take your own ears over to that area the following week. Average size churches, particularly older ones not designed for modern amplification, are hot beds of acoustic anomalies. Your mix may sound great in the booth, but be a bassy, muddy mess just a row or two away. Achieving an acceptable level of consistency is usually a matter of averaging out the differences over a number of services.  The result will be a compromise that satisfies the majority of the people in the seating areas. Keep in mind, most of the time the sound booth is not in the middle of the seating area so it matters less what it sounds there and entirely what it sounds like for the congregation.


Shout Out: Tech Checked Blair McNair at Schoolhouse Audio Visual in Plano, Texas

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Originally posted 2013-05-08 17:22:35.