How to Prepare for Great Church Sound
Great sound at church is the result of thoughtful preparation and diligent effort.
Sure, there can be some rather technical components involved, but I would argue that the thoughtfulness and care that you bring to your mix plays a much bigger role in achieving great quality sound than that whiz-bang mixing console with its fancy lights and buttons.
There are several important fundamentals that can help take your sound quality to the next level.
Here are 6 preparation tips that can help.
Tip #1 Show up on time
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late!”
That definitely applies to the church sound tech. You should arrive to rehearsals and soundchecks early enough to prepare the stage, turn on your gear, and do your basic line/signal checks before everyone else starts asking for your time and attention.
Tip #2 Establish a defined soundcheck process
All technical production and worship team members should know what to expect when the soundcheck starts.
Work with your worship leader to help guide this process if you need to, but make sure you establish a regular and predicable soundcheck sequence.
This will help you be more efficient and focused in the moments before you start building your main mix.
Tip #3 Review the order of service
Great sound depends on you to be prepared for what’s coming next.
- Are there people moving on or off stage?
- When is the next mute cue or audio source transition?
- What is the next song coming up and are there any special parts or solos you need to deal with in the mix?
Work with your leadership team to get the order of service during soundcheck (or earlier) so that you can make notes and be prepared.
Tip #4 Review
Great preparation often starts with a thorough review of what happened during the last service or event.
Spend some time with your technical or worship team to discuss any items that were great last time, or need some improvement next time. Be honest and humble about this process. It will help you deliver consistently better results from week to week.
Tip #5 Plan
If you don’t already do this already, work with your leadership to meet monthly (or more) and discuss any plans for the upcoming services that may involve special technology needs.
This provides a great forum for discussion and two-way communication about what is expected and how you plan to achieve it.
Tip #6 Train & Practice
Stay sharp and build on the skills you already have. Make sure you are doing your part to continually improve upon your last mix.
Take part in technical training classes, teach or mentor others on you team, or even study the creative side of music and production to enhance your live mix.
Need to get a jumpstart with your preparation for great sound? Here are some free resources to check out.
Check out the Church Media Podcast
for tips to build and train your tech team. (Episodes 30, 33, 55 & 76 are great placea to start!)
Author / Audio Engineer
Great Church Sound | Missoula, MT
James Wasem has been fascinated by sound and electricity from an early age. His love of music and technical gear made sound engineering and systems integration a natural pursuit. James has spent the last 20 years performing and touring in bands as a drummer, mixing live sound for churches, schools and theatres, and working as an audio systems installer and designer.
Though involved in highly technical fields, James has a passion for making things simple to understand and easy to use. It was from this passion that the book Great Church Sound – a guide for the volunteer was born. James believes that technical ministry volunteers provide a critical service for their congregations and should be well equipped with quality tools to help them grow in craft, skill, and spirit.
James and his wife Kate (who also provided the illustrations for Great Church Sound) live in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana.