How to have a Great Mix
Why is it so important to have a great mix?
This is a question I get occasionally from Volunteers, Congregants, Pastors and yes even Tech Directors, so let’s talk about it.
Let’s first define what a great mix is. I think it can be summed up in two words. Distraction Free.
If a mix isn’t great, it is distracting. When I am distracted I cannot effectively worship. As the “Sound Guy” it is our job to keep a distraction free environment and by doing so, we are actually working with the worship leader to lead our congregations into worship. We are not by-standers in our worship services, we are co-leaders.
We are not by-standers in our worship services, we are co-leaders. @churchmix Click To Tweet
Here are 3 things you can do to help you get a great mix:
Get a decent set of reference headphones (not Beats or Apple Ear Buds) and listen to music that is similar to the style that your church does. As you listen to professionally engineered songs, take notice where things sit in the mix, and how they are EQ’d.
Listen to that same song over your PA in your church, using a flat EQ on the channel strip. You may need to make some adjustments to your system processing or system EQ. If you are not able to do this yourself, hire a professional to come out and tune your room to make sure you are maximizing your PA.
2. Use your ears.
It is all to often that I see sound guys looking at screens to see if their EQ or compression settings are right. If your mix is not balanced and things are significantly louder than another or things are “poking out of the mix”, then it is distracting. Doing sound is an auditory skill, get your eyes off the screen and use your ears.
Doing sound is an auditory skill, get your eyes off the screen & use your ears. @churchmix Click To Tweet
I am a huge supporter of tearing down the invisible wall that exists between the sound booth and the stage. I remember when I was being trained to run sound at a church, the Tech Director told me, “Scott, you are the 5th Beattle.” What he meant by that is I am a member of the band. I am not separate from them, so talk with your Worship Leader about the songs they are doing, pay attention during soundcheck to who is taking leads or solos and make notes. This will allow you to be proactive with your mix which helps eliminate distractions and also brings cohesiveness to the team.
Remember when you have a great mix you are freeing up those in your congregation to freely worship, so much so that they won’t even notice you are there, which is the goal!
If you have questions or comments on this topic or any other topic feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Mixing!
Scott is a freelance touring FOH/Mon Engineer working with artists and bands around the world. He is also a co-founder and trainer at churchmix.com, a website focusing on training and equipping church audio volunteers to create a professional mix in their worship services. He has mixed for artists such as Tyronne Wells, Moi Navarro, Mariners Church, Rock Harbor Church, and many others. It his passion to partner with his clients to create a distraction free event that is full of energy and sounds amazing. He also has a passion for helping the audio volunteers in the church by training them on how to get a great sounding mix using the tools they have and to help bridge the gap between the stage and the sound booth.