Using Input Sheets

As you may have noticed, last week didn’t go quite as planned. I had fully expected to get a few posts up about input sheets, as well as another topic. I ended up getting to enjoy a week up north at my family’s camp in the Adirondack Mountains in NY. As I haven’t been there in 7 years, I took advantage of the opportunity. It threw off my writing schedule, but the weekend off was worth it. But we’re back now, and we’ll jump right back in. 

In my last post, we talked about setting up your console. Now that I’m traveling to even more churches than ever, I’ve seen some very creative console layouts. And pretty much everyone looks at me funny when I ask them for an input sheet. I used input sheets every weekend for over eight years—even though most weeks we could have gotten away without one. But I’m a big fan of consistency, and once I settle on a good way of doing things I like to keep doing it.

Input Sheets Keep You Organized

As I said, I’ve seen some interesting console layouts. Sometimes, those things happen because it’s the fastest way to something done, and it just stays that way. But when you put it on paper, it’s easier to see that having the drums scattered all over the console doesn’t make sense. I also find that putting things on paper is a great way to think through better ways of doing it. Sometimes, we get in such a routine, that we don’t even notice there is a better way of accomplishing a task until we write it down. Then it leaps off the paper to us. 

I’ve also realized that we have been doing something the hard way for a while, and it’s time to simplify. Again, this comes from writing it down and looking it over. 

Input Sheets Help You Spot Problems Ahead of Time

Ever show up for a weekend service and find you are short a few vocal mic’s? Or perhaps you don’t have enough DI’s to cover all the keyboards and guitars. Or maybe you’re just out of channels on the console. Those issues are a lot easier to solve on Tuesday than they are on Sunday morning. Making up an input sheet earlier in the week will head those issues off at the pass. Even if your set up is relatively stable week to week, it’s still nice to know that you have what you need. 

Input Sheets Help You Communicate with the Team

When you have an input sheet, you can hand a copy to someone on your team and they know how to set up the stage. Everyone knows what plugs into what. I figured I could either spend my set up time answering questions from my guys on where to plug things in, or empower them to do it themselves. I always prefer the latter. 

Input Sheets Help With Troubleshooting

Have you ever been working your way through soundcheck only to find you have no signal from the acoustic guitar? After checking the tuner, we tend to start looking at all kinds of exotic problems that it might be. But before doing that, make sure it’s plugged in to the right input. An input sheet will help you verify that you’re in the right snake, sub snake or stage input, and patched into the right channel on the board. Instead of tracing wires, you can quickly verify patching. Often, that solves the problem. 

I really can’t find any downside to using an input sheet each week. They only take a few minutes to make and often save a lot of time during the weekend. Next time, I’ll give you a few examples of input sheets so you have some ideas for creating your own.

“Gear

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