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How to monitor church sound

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Blayde Stone
How to monitor church sound
on Jul 13, 2015 at 10:47:07 pm

Hello forum, I will try to make this as precise and as short as possible. We have a church that seats approximately 350 to 400 people in the sanctuary, the sound and video Room is at the back of the church in an 8' x 12' room, there is a 5 foot high by 7 foot long opening in the wall that the video people and audio man hear and see what is going on during the service, worship music, video presentations, and messages from the pulpit, etc. The problem is the sound man cannot actually hear the true room acoustics and volumes etc. for years we have had the set up and have adapted somewhat to these conditions, however there must be a better way to monitor the sanctuary acoustics to get the mic levels and instrument levels etc. to their proper levels and EQ's.
Could a good microphone placed in the auditorium feed a set of headphones?
Should we just get some good monitor speakers to be placed back in the sound room?
Very open to your suggestions, thank you for your time.
If there's anything I may have missed to include please let us know.


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Richard Crowley
Re: How to monitor church sound
on Jul 14, 2015 at 6:36:54 am

Perhaps you "missed" (or simply dismissed a priori) the most obvious solution, to move the FOH mixing position out INTO the audience area.

And, conversely, why do the video people need to hear through an opening? It is very rare that the video people have direct acoustic access to the audience area because it interferes with their ability to do their jobs properly: To communicate with the crew, and to monitor the broadcast mix (vs. what is coming in acoustically through the air).

And you really asked two different questions about FOH mixing. One of them is the actually process of MIXING (i.e. combining different pieces together) in the proper proportions against each other. The other question is establishing sound-pressure LEVELs.

For the task of MIXING, there isn't really any proper solution except having your ears IN the audience area. And especially if the mix includes one or more un-reinforced acoustic instruments (like a pipe organ, etc.)

Some people have used an artificial head and headphones to simulate a binaural monitoring position within the audience area. But IMHO, that is a poor substitute for actually BEING THERE. It takes some significant learning curve to get the feel for interpreting what you hear in headphones. If you have a small team of people frequently, then it may be possible to expect them to use it properly.

For setting levels, it might be a bit easier than mixing. You could use a modern loudness meter (like Dorrough, et.al) and you could even have calibration points for different audience sizes.

BEING THERE in the audience area doesn't necessarily mean a huge pedestal imposing itself into the congregation. Modern mixers feature quite functional and flexible remote control via a tablet and WiFi.


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Blayde Stone
Re: How to monitor church sound
on Jul 14, 2015 at 12:53:52 pm

Good morning Richard, thank you for your response... Sorry to say we have no room at all at this time for the audio man to be moved into the sanctuary area, not to mention the cost to reroute the cabling for the board and all that's involved in the sound system, so we are pretty much locked in to where we are.I do like the Idea of the Tablet and WIFI hook up...that might be the ticket, Thanks.


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Ty Ford
Re: How to monitor church sound
on Jul 20, 2015 at 12:53:31 pm

Hello Blayde and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

There are a number of systems on the market that use an iPad as a wireless mixer for the system.

Your sound person could sit in a pew with an iPad and mix the house sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Blayde Stone
Re: How to monitor church sound
on Jul 23, 2015 at 5:04:43 pm

Hey Ty, just checking emails...Yes most definitely will be checking into this!! Thank you!


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