Basic Steps to Improve Church Audio
Creating an Atmosphere for Worship
Author: Matthew Anderson | FOH Engineer
Whether you’re a youth leader or a youth pastor, sound is an essential part of ministry. As a sound engineer who has been involved in ministry for ten years, I have a few tips which I have learned through the years. Hopefully, these ideas can help you maintain a consistent audio environment for your youth.
The first question you need to address is “How are you running your band?” Are you running a full band, an acoustic style band, or just running tracks for worship? Once you’ve answered this vital question, you next need to evaluate if your current system can handle what you’re aiming to accomplish. There are several important details to consider, such as:
- Does your current audio console have enough channels?
- Do you have enough microphones for vocals, drums, and guitar amplifiers?
- Do you have enough cables?
Once you have assessed all of this information, you can either move forward with what you have or seek to purchase a few more items to meet your needs!
After this process, it is important to create a small stage layout of where you would like your band positioned. (Keep in mind if you’re running a full band the bassist and drummer like to stick close to each other.) After creating this template, set up the stage how you have it drawn out! Once you completed this, you can label your cables and perform a line check. This process involves plugging each cable into a wired mic to test and make sure each line is working correctly. (Testing the cables beforehand will save a lot of time when the band shows up for soundcheck!)
Sound checks and rehearsals are crucial elements within your worship band. This time gives you the opportunity to troubleshoot, and to lay out a preliminary mix. When mixing in a live environment, balance is key. We don’t want certain things overpowering others.
Listen to the songs you are performing to give an idea of how the song flows and how it should sound. Even with basic knowledge, a mix can be clean and professional if you invest in the sound.
Try not to overcomplicate what you’re doing. Sound is such a vital portion of your service and can affect how your students respond. (Remember, often “less is more!”).
As a sound engineer, I treat my position as a ministry tool. People respond to ministry better when they aren’t distracted by the sound. We live in a digital age, where we always play music with exceptional sound quality. As a ministry, we should replicate this quality in our services as much as possible. Additionally, on a more personal level, I enjoy being part of something which brings students to a place of worship. As a result, in my work, I strive to make worship the best possible experience.