An audio engineer should constantly be critiquing his mix. A mix may be perfect, but worship is constantly ﬂowing and a simple changing of songs could require your mix to change. It is important that you take these factors into account when you are on your instrument, the sound board!
1. Can you hear all of the instruments and singers?
I often ﬁnd worship services tobe a bit frustrating when I’m visiting, helping the audio team, and I cannot hear all ofthe different elements that I see on the stage. As a worship leader myself, Iunderstand how hard our team works to get everything right and the last thing I’dwant is for one of our team members to not be heard. The best way for you tocritique your mix is to close your eyes and see if you can point out each instrumentand singer in the mix. If you can’t hear a certain piece, is it because the level is toolow or is it competing with another instrument or singer?
2. Can you hear the Worship Leader or is he buried in the mix?
The Worship Leader is the most important piece to your puzzle. It is absolutely essential that hestands out in your mix and that his voice is clear and intelligible. The congregation is listening for the lead and this is what they follow. A good trick that I like to use is tweaking the treble a bit on this channel. You won’t have to turn him/her up too loud toget it to punch through. Brightening up the lead vocal will help it cut through andstand out in the mix.
3. Do I hear more sound coming from the House or from the Stage?
Stage volumeis a constant problem in many churches. Personal Monitor Mixing and In-Ears havehelped this quite a bit, but not every house of worship is using in-ears as their monitoring solution. If your stage volume is louder than your house volume then youmight as well kiss that great mix good-bye! Often, churches do not want the soundpassing a certain decibel rating. If this is the case, then you and your worship bandhave to ﬁnd that middle ground that will create balance in your mix. There are severalways to help keep your stage volume down, but we’ll save that for another blog.
4. Does the mix sound like it has layers?
Many churches suffer from a mediocre mix caused by all of the inputs being run at a similar level. If it sounds like your inputs are running at the same level then you need to create layers to your mix. This will create depth and energy to your mix. The best way for you to create a mix with energy and layers is to start out piece by piece and work your way to it. Start with your drum mix.Set the levels to a point that are comfortable for the room you are in. Then you can add in each instrument one at a time, allowing the lead instruments to be last and a bit louder than the others. Mix the vocals the same way. Mix each vocal and then add one at a time to make them sound like one large voice singing together. Finally, add in the lead vocal last. This vocal should be a bit louder and cut through the rest of the mix. Do not let your mix lack energy!
5. Are you playing your instrument!?
So many volunteer technicians ﬁnd a mix that sounds “ok” and then leave it. I cannot express this last point enough. The audio engineer is as much a part of the band as the lead guitar player or even the worship leader. The sound board is your instrument! Imagine what worship would sound like if the guitar player played one chord through an entire song or set?! It is important that you learn the songs as a member of the worship team. Learn what the lead instruments, who the lead vocal is, if there is a guitar solo or an instrument that comes in with a key part during the song. There is nothing worse than a guitar solo buried in the mix.Turn that guitar up! I always joke with my musician and worship leader friends telling them that they really aren’t that important and the audio engineer really hands out the solo’s. This is very true. The band will learn to follow your mix and you will learn to follow them. Make sure you serve them well.
Overall, I hope you’ve learn how important your role is to the worship experience and what an effect you have. The worship leader depends on you to make sure the mix is providing energy and emotion. Keep following our Blogs. I’m optimistic they will help you. You can always email or call us here at Mercury if you have any questions or need some advice with your mix. We do offer on-site training as well.