Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: July 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

Said From The Stage

Public speaking is hard. You stand up in front of a room full of people, some of whom you know quite well, while others are complete strangers. Hopefully, you are prepared well and know what you want to say. Sometimes, however, things don’t go quite as planned. You start second-guessing yourself and asking, “Did I say this already or was that during the 9?” Or you start editing your message on-the-fly. Or there are metaphors competing in your head–which one wins? Sometimes both. Or we discover we have no internal monologue. 

I’ve not done a ton of public speaking, but I’ve done some. And I think I’ve had all of those things happen to me. So it’s with great humility that I start collecting the funny stuff that is said when we stand in front of others to communicate. Because seriously, we can’t take ourselves to seriously. (“Wait, did I just say ‘seriously’ twice? Dangit!”)

  • “Often, God always has a plan for the things He is doing in our lives.”
  • “The $10 ticket covers the free appetizers.”
  • “And in so doing, it’s a great way to hang some flesh on these concepts.”
  • “I really missed you all last week, like really bad, like in the psyco ex-girlfriend kinda way.” 
  • “I know some of you think that 4 months is a long time to search for a new worship director, but remember it took over a year to find someone as well qualified as me.”

This is (hopefully) the beginning of a great collection of funny things uttered from stage. To protect the guilty, we’ll omit names (I did actually utter one of those, you can try to guess which one…and Jason Cole supplied one of them–thanks man!) I think it would be great fun if you would send me your favorite “Said On Stage” quotes and we’ll start compiling them. Colin’s offered to put up a list over at FaithTools and I may well mirror that on my site as well (you can’t have too many backups of priceless material like this!).

So when you hear something funny, odd, or just a really creative use of the language, post it in the comments and we’ll start adding it to the list. We all work really hard, so share the joy!

Lessons Learned From a 12-Year Old

Today was a proud moment for me. My youngest daughter turned 12, which is a pretty humbling thing in itself. More than that, though, she also ran ProPresenter for “big church” for the first time today. And she did it like a seasoned veteran. As I watched her fire off cue after cue with Olympic sharpshooter accuracy, I started thinking what we could learn her. So here are a few things that Robyn can teach us.

Know the Music

Robyn is already an accomplished musician, and she really knows music. Because she often listens to praise and worship music, she was already very familiar with the songs we sung today. That gives her a real leg up when running ProPresenter (and Media Shout before that–that’s right, she’s 12 and she’s dual platform!). Because she knows the music, she can tell when the worship leader is circling back around to a chorus, or transitioning to the bridge. I watched her quickly navigate to the right slide so fast no one would have ever guessed it was a different order–all because she heard the 2 measure change and went to the right place. 

Think Ahead

I also watched her continually scan the presentation to see where the song was going. Even on the first run through, she was paying attention to what was coming up, and if the played order was different from the given order, she caught the change and fixed it before anyone had a chance to say anything.

Cover Your Bases

There were a few sections of two songs that the worship leader sang differently each time through. Without any prompting, I watched as Robyn had one hand on the space bar and another on the mouse. Depending on how the song actually went she would hit space and go to the chorus repeat, or click and drop right into the bridge. Because she had two options, she got the right slide on the screen every time.

Pay Attention

This is an area that she just excels at. She was on top of the songs, and managed to follow the speaker who came in with a “manuscript” that was often more of an outline. She didn’t wander off mentally as a lot of us are prone to do. I didn’t have to remind her to hit any cues, even ones that weren’t purely scripted. She paid attention to what was happening in the room, and got the right slide on the screen at the right time.

Know Your Computer

One reason she is so good at ProPresenter is that she’s been using computers since she was 2. She’s taught herself Photoshop. She’s figured out how to set up websites on her own. She has been building PowerPoint presentations for 5 years. For fun. Because she’s so familiar with how computer programs work, she made the switch from Media Shout to ProPresenter in 30 minutes. Actually, it was less than that. I gave her a 20 minute tour, she played with it for a bit and pronounced, “It’s a lot like Media Shout, only more spread out.”

Care

Part of the reason she did a great job tonight is because she really wanted to. Now that might seem obvious, but how often do we approach our work as just something else we need to get done. In contrast, she really wanted to do a great job. Even though she nailed it during rehearsal, as we walked back in to the sanctuary after taking communion, she said, “OK, I’m starting to freak out now…” She had a good, healthy level of anxiety and wanted to get it right. Too often we lose that.

Now, I’d like to take credit for all of this great training and instinct. But the truth is, she’s just really good at it. And before I even had a chance to train her, somebody else (the volunteer in charge of tech for the kids ministries at Crosswinds–great job Kyle!) had shown her the ropes and taught her good technique.

I think there were some that were nervous about having a 12-year old running ProPresenter tonight. Our guest speaker’s assistant hovered in the booth for the first service (and only the first service, he didn’t have to give any direction at all!). I’m pretty sure my boss was skeptical, but by the end of the first worship set, he jumped on the com and said, “Maybe we should have middle schoolers run ProPresenter every weekend!” In fact, I am writing this as she’s cuing the second worship set for the 7 PM service. I don’t have to think about it!

At the end of the day, any potential critics were silenced. The good news is that anyone can learn from her and improve their game. Whether you’re 12 or 72 (you know, there’s just no way to gracefully illiterate 12…) you can give your best in service to our Lord. Just follow these simple instructions. “And the children shall lead them…”

In Over Our Heads?

Today’s post is again inspired by an e-mail I got the other day (I get a lot of e-mails like this…). This time it was from a friend of mine who is a worship leader at a pretty good-sized church on the west coast. She was asking me at what point I would start hiring sound and lighting guys to run weekend services. Now first of all, I personally like having volunteers do this as much as possible. I know there are a lot of great churches out there with full-time, paid sound and lighting guys (and probably a few gals) and I have nothing at all against them (some days I even want to be them). But most of the time, from a philosophical standpoint, I really like building volunteer teams that can do sound, lights, presentation, video, etc. I’m not saying my way is right and any other way is wrong, it’s just the way I like to roll.

Back to the story. As the e-mail conversation developed, she started listing off the gear they had in house; PM5D-RH, a big Strand lighting console, an FSR video switcher, some pretty high-end stuff. Then she wrote the line that stopped me cold. It went something like this: “our technical staff is all volunteer except for a 1/4 time tech assistant and the other worship leader, oversees audio…he’s 1/2 time.”

I said, “HUH?? You have a PM5D and no full-time tech guy. Well there’s your problem!” It looks like someone drank the Koolaid. Don’t get me wrong, the PM5D is a great desk. It’s just not volunteer friendly–especially when there’s no full-time tech guy to make sure it’s set up and ready to rock every weekend. And after looking into the rest of the gear they have, I thought, “Wow, how did this happen?” 

Now, I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, I would suspect that the church went to a consultant as they were building the new building and said, “We want our sound, lighting and video to be state-of-the-art. Make it so!” And the consultant said, “Cool! Sign here.” My guess is that no one ever asked, “Who’s going to be running this gear? How will they be trained? Who will maintain it?”

And because the church doesn’t have a full-time tech guy, there was no one around to ask those questions. So once again, we have a church that spent a ton of money on gear that no one in-house can use effectively. I have to be honest–that really frustrates me. 

I’m all for churches using top quality equipment. And I’m all for having high production standards. However, at some point, you have to ask if you are putting in equipment that is hard for your volunteer staff to learn how to use. It comes down to philosophy of ministry. If you believe in using volunteers, you have to install equipment that’s easy for a non-professional tech to use once a month. 

Personally, I would never spec a PM5D for a church that doesn’t have a full-time sound guy (or at least a full-time tech guy who’s really good with audio). Again, it’s a great desk, but it’s too hard for a volunteer who mixes on it once a month. A M7CL would have been a far better choice, would in all honesty, likely provide more than enough functionality and would have saved $45,000. The same goes for lighting consoles and video switchers. Folks, we have to think this through. 

If your church is considering upgrading equipment, it is imperative that you evaluate each new piece of gear based on the staff (volunteer or paid) you have to run it. I think we can stretch people and encourage them to learn new things, but we have to be realistic. Most of our volunteers are not über-geeks. They don’t spend time reading FOH, Live Sound, Mix and EQ magazines every month. They don’t dream about different ways to automate the service using snapshots, or controlling the desk from their iPod Touch.

We need to be sure to set them up to succeed in what they do, not fail. I view my job as a Tech Arts Director as one who empowers volunteers to be successful and use and develop the skills and talents God gave them. To do that, I evaluate every piece of gear, every procedure, and everything I do during the week to see if it helps empower my team.

Church leaders, it’s up to you to not drink the consultant Koolaid. Now I understand there are a lot of great consultants out there who ask the right questions, and spec appropriate gear. But there a lot more who don’t. Ask them if the gear will be easy to use by your non-professional tech volunteers. If they respond with, “Oh, yeah, I use it all the time, it’s super-cool.” Keep pressing. Ask them if a guy or gal who does this once a month can learn how to use it effectively. If they stutter, keep pressing. If you’re still not sure, call me. I so hate to see churches spend money the wrong way.

In the media-driven society we live in, we need to have high standards for our production. We need to have quality gear. We need to be able to make is sound and look great. But it also needs to be easy to use by those who generously and often sacrificially give of their time each week. Don’t put in a Digidesign Venue just because they advertise in Church Production each month. Don’t buy a GrandMa just because it can control a bazillion moving lights while making your coffee.

Choose your gear wisely–you will probably save a lot of money, and you will get higher quality production because your volunteer staff will be more effective, more confident and better equipped to do a better job each weekend. Isn’t that what we really want from our technology?

Compression, It’s All About The Sound

Compression is one of those topics that everyone likes to talk about, but few can actually explain. Over the years, I’ve tried various ways of teaching the concepts of compression to volunteers, and to be honest, the most common response is (cue the crickets…) a blank stare. Though I have offered suggestions of starting points for various sources, and attempted to demonstrate the effects of various controls, most of the time, I would see the compressors sitting in the rack, nary a light flashing, all un-patched (or on the digital board, set to whatever they were set for “last week”).

But behold, out of the darkness comes Dave Stagl (Going to 11) and an excellent discussion on compression. Finally, exactly what we need–a logical approach to compression that can be demonstrated, taught and applied. You should stop what you’re doing and go read this post right now. I will be using this method for compression setting from now on, and will certainly apply the model for training our new sound volunteers whose young skulls are yet full of mush.

Thanks, Dave! Great post…

Line Checkin’

The line check. It’s one of those things that most sound guys know they should do, or at least would like to have time to do, but often fail to get around to actually doing. Getting a line check done before the band arrives has saved me on several occasions. Not getting it done has cost us time (and when I say us, I mean the tech team, the band, the producer and everyone else in the room). So what is a line check? Just like it sounds, it’s a time to check each line from the stage to the soundboard (and back, if you have wired monitors). There are many ways to do it, and I’ll outline a few here. What’s really important is that you check each line, from it’s beginning–be that a mic, a DI or instrument cable–to the end, the soundboard. You’re checking not only that signal is passing correctly, but that each line is appearing where you expect it to on the board. In larger systems, or for those with digital consoles, this is important.

Line checks are always easiest when performed with 2 people (with one über-geeky exception, noted below). When we finish our setup each week, normally either I or our FOH engineer will go the board, while the other stands on stage. We will typically work from one side of the stage to the other, checking everything in our path. For us that means we start with the drums. I’ll get down on my hands and knees (hey, I didn’t say doing a line check was glamorous…) and I’ll shout into the kick mic. Then I’ll shout into the snare mic, the bottom snare mic, the hat mic, etc. I say shout intentionally because we have gates on all our drum mics. Simply talking often won’t pass a signal, and it’s tough to see if they’re working or not.

Normally, I’ll say the name of the mic I’m shouting into to double check that we’re dealing with the same mic. We don’t often patch the snare mic into the kick channel, but it’s happened, especially with new guys. So while I’m yelling, “KICK, KICK, KICK,” the engineer is cuing the kick channel and hearing my voice. All is well. Testing vocal mics is easier, normally I’ll just say (in a normal voice), “worship leader, worship leader.”

Testing DI lines can be a bit tricky, and we often short-cut it. Because DIs rarely go bad (though I did throw a bad one away 2 weeks ago…), we normally just check the line. I’ll unplug one of the vocal mics and plug it into the mic line coming out of the DI. It’s good to make sure you plug the cable back into the DI when you’re done. If you want to be extra thorough, you could pick up something like a Whirlwind Q-box or a Behringer cable tester that has a built-in tone generator. You can then plug your 1/4″ cable into the output of the tester and generate some tone. That tests not only the cable, but the DI as well.

So that’s the easy way to do it with 2 people. If you’re the only one around, you can do it yourself. Resist the temptation to open up all the channels at once, put them in the house and check the mics. You’ll find out if you have signal, but you won’t necessarily know where it’s going. If you have a really simple setup, you can get away with this, but throw in a snake, a sub-snake, some cross-patching and you can quickly find yourself chasing a fox through a cornfield. Plus, think of all the exercise you’ll get running back and forth between FOH and the stage to check each line. Or you can do them in groups of 2 or 3, then at least you’ll be close.

Now for the super-geek way to do it. I used this method last weekend–I was mixing, and I was also TD’ing–which meant I had no one around to help line check. Since our FOH position is up in the balcony, I didn’t relish running to the back and upstairs, then back down 18 times to check all the lines. Call me lazy. So I got my geek on. To make this work, you’ll need a few things: First, you’ll need a digital console you can control from a computer; a Yamaha M7 works well. Second, you’ll need said computer, a laptop, really as a desktop defeats the time savings, and the software to control said console. You’ll also need a wireless connection for your console. Finally, you’ll need something along the lines of a Rat Sniffer (mentioned in this post). 

To put this in play, unplug each line from it’s mic, plug in the Sniffer and use your laptop to turn on phantom power for that channel. If it’s normally on, turn it off. The sniffer picks up on phantom power and will tell you if you have a cable fault. When you turn on phantom, the lights will light up and you know you’re in business. Plug the line back into the mic, and move on to the next one. Work your way to the end, and you’ve done a line check without making a sound (make sure you set phantom back to the correct state for each channel when you’re done). Now sure, you could use the laptop to turn on each channel and shout into the mics, but where’s the geek cred in that? Using this method, I had the whole stage checked in just a few minutes, all by myself, without making a sound and without breaking a sweat. As my daughter would say, “Geek Squad…”

Now get out there, and check those lines…

TFWM Article

Yesterday was an exciting day. Not only did I figure out how to write an AppleScript to automate a weekly task, but my issue of Technologies for Worship came. TFWM is a favorite mine amongst the 2 dozen or so magazines I receive each month. But this one was special–mainly because I was co-author of one of the feature articles. That’s right, y’all. I’m published!

The article is a comparison of three presentation software packages; Media Shout, ProPresenter and Easy Worship. Each platform had a different author. The article grew out of a project I had begun with Daniel Koster of Reinforcing the Church. Daniel and I have a friendly rivalry that often pits our preferred OSs and presentation software choices against each other. I thought it would be fun to write a comparison, complete with all our individual biases, and poke some fun at each other. Somehow, TFWM heard about it and asked if we could re-purpose it for the magazine. So we did. Jay Delp joined in to round out the Easy Worship side.

So if this is your first visit to the blog, welcome! I’ve written quite extensively about ProPresenter and Media Shout (OK, looking back it’s mainly ProPresenter). You can find back posts in the Archive Index under the Presentation Link. I’ve also written a pretty in-depth review of Media Shout 3.5 on the website part of this site, which you can view here.

There’s also a host of other content here, from sound to lighting, video production to volunteer training, philosophy of worship to how much money to spend (or save) on equipment. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to post questions in the comments section; I try to answer them as quickly as I can. I also try to post new content here a few times a week, so keep current by subscribing to the RSS feed.

If you are not a current subscriber of TFWM, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the few I read just about cover to cover each month. There’s a lot of good content there, that’s very accessible. You can even elect to receive it digitally. Follow the link above to get to their website. Thanks for reading…more to come!

Update on Rechargeable Batteries

Last fall I wrote a post on rechargeable batteries, which you can read in it’s entirety here. I know a lot of audio guys who don’t like them, or are leery of them (for good reason, they used to be less than worthless), but I’ve used them with great success now for almost 2 years. They work great as long as you observe some basic rules. I won’t repeat the original post (which is pretty good, I just re-read it), and I’ve updated it with some additional information.

If you’re at all interested in saving money in your ministry, you really should check them out. Last year, between CPC and Upper Room, we spent over $5,000 in batteries. This year, we’ll spend under $200 (and that’s only because people occasionally throw them away–I hate that!). The big upside to that is I now have $4,800 more in my budget for buying new gear, and not throwing it in the landfill. What’s not to love?

Check out the original post here.

Obsolescence (A Dirty Word?)

Obsolescence. That’s a word we don’t really like in our society. To some extent, it’s a sad commentary on our culture that we fear obsolescence. We loathe working on  “obsolete” computers. Watching standard def TV on a CRT? Please. Even at church, we don’t like having A/V equipment that is obsolete. And that can be a problem. 

For this article, I’d like to define and contrast two different types of obsolescence; technological and functional. Technical Obsolescence (TO) happens when a piece of equipment becomes outdated by the introduction of a newer, more technologically advanced piece of gear. For example, a PowerMac G5 would be technologically obsolete because the MacPros are now out, with their spiffy new quad and octo Intel processors. A three-gun CRT video projector would be technologically obsolete with the advent of LCD, DLP and other, newer imaging systems. It’s really hard to avoid technological obsolescence because technology changes so fast. The first iPhone is only a year old, and the new 3G model made the old one obsolete (sorry early adopters!). You can spend a lot of money trying to stay ahead of that curve.

Functional Obsolescence (FO), on the other hand, happens when a piece of equipment no longer effectively performs it’s mission. Our previously mentioned PowerMac G5, while TO, might still be an excellent tool. In fact, I know of many post houses, recording studios and churches that use them every day. They work great, loaded up with RAM and a fast hard drive, you can edit all day long on them. And for recording audio, they bring plenty of power to the party.The aforementioned CRT projector however, is probably both TO and FO. When it was new, 800 lumens was as good as it got, but today, people expect brighter, sharper images that don’t need to be re-aligned every three weeks. Thus, it’s time for a replacement.

Here’s how I think this plays out for us in the Church. Us tech guys (and gals) can get pretty wrapped up in the latest and greatest technology. And it’s pretty easy to feel like we need that new MacPro, just because ours is now TO. Or Panasonic just released a new camera that makes our old one look not so wonderful (though it was the bee’s knees a year ago!). Or perhaps now that 7,500 lumen projectors are readily available, we feel we need to upgrade our 5,000 lumen ones.

This is where I think we can lean back on function. Does our current equipment still perform it’s stated mission well? If so, then there’s really no need to upgrade. Just because my Quad-core MacPro is now TO with the release of the Eight-core, I’m not planning on buying one (much as it would be cool). Why not? Because my Quad-core still performs just fine. The money not spent to upgrade a fully functional computer can be used to further other areas of the ministry. 

I started thinking about how much money the Church spends trying to avoid technological obsolescence. A lot of it has to do with the “use it or loose it” budgeting process (which is all-wrong for a church anyway, but that’s another post), but a lot of it is just buying stuff because we can. But what if we started looking at the big picture. What if instead of buying a new computer that we really don’t need, we took that money and partnered with a church in the third world (or another mission organization, take your pick). What if, instead of trying to figure out what stuff is merely TO (and not FO) and trying to find ways to spend that money, we used those dollars to help equip a church overseas that might not have say, chairs. Or a building. Or water. What if we actually cut back on our geek squad budgets, and gave more to others who have a lot less than we do. Instead of trying to keep up with NorthWillowGraingerBack (or insert your local mega-church here), we evaluated our A/V purchases based on Functional Obsolescence instead. How much more could we contribute to the Kingdom?

Now, keep in mind, I say all of this not to make anyone feel guilty. If you’re editing on a PowerMac G3, then it’s probably time to consider an upgrade. Or if you’re squinting to see the output of those 1,000 lumen projectors in the sanctuary, picking up some new 6K LCD projectors isn’t a bad thing. But think about what you’re upgrading and why. What could we accomplish for the Kingdom if we looked at technology through that lens instead? Just a thought…

“It was so hard to hear, I gave up.”

Recently, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine who is the media coordinator at a church I once worked at part-time. He had received a letter from a congregant expressing frustration after a recent service. It seems this congregant had brought his parents, neither of whom are Christ-followers. After the service, his father said, “I didn’t get much out of that. I don’t think that guy was a good speaker. It was so hard to hear him, after a while, I just gave up.” That has to be the height of frustration for someone who brings a friend or family member to church. You finally get them to come, and they can’t hear. Terrific.

The obvious first response is that the sound guy should have turned up the speaker. That may be true, but I’ve mixed in that room, and with some of the pastors, you’re dancing on a thin line that divides inaudible from feedback. The problem is twofold (maybe three, we’ll see if I feel like tackling issue three).

First, and this is a problem in many churches, schools and theaters, people on stage tend to believe that because they have a mic on, they don’t need to project above a whisper. Their theory is that the mic will amplify their meekest musings to a mighty roar. Rubbish, I say! At best, this line of thinking is ignorant; at worst it’s laziness. Here’s the deal: If you’re a public speaker, learn how to speak! And I don’t mean how to form words with your mouth and tongue. I mean learn how to speak in such a way that if the power went out, the person in the back row would not have to strain to hear what you have to say. And before you even think about telling me this is impossible, remember that PA systems in the church have only been around for about 30-40 years. Before that preachers had to preach. Billy Sunday preached to thousands at a time, outside, with no PA. Jesus taught 5,000+ on a hillside with no PA. Heck, I’ve witnessed a 90 pound, 14 year-old girl fill an auditorium that seated 800 people, and sing over an orchestra with no PA!  So you can do it.

The thing is, we as sound guys, can always turn you down. There is a limit however, as to how much we can turn you up. It’s not because we don’t want to, it’s the laws of physics. There is a point in every room where amplification reaches a point of no return and the system will begin to howl like a train closing in on a stalled car on the tracks. And since every pastor and public speaker I know consider feedback an anathema, you need to give us something to work with. Which brings me to the second problem. The microphone.

The pastors at this church continue to insist on using the dreaded lavaliere mic. Lavs have their place to be sure (I use them all the time in video production), but on stage is not one of them. Again, the problem is physics. Allow me to delve into a little science lesson for you. We need to consider the inverse square law. The inverse square law simply states that for every doubling of the distance between the sound source and the mic, the acoustical energy is cut in half. That means it’s half as loud. I have suggested to my friend that he try having the pastors wear an earset mic, such as the Countryman e6, or AT892, or DPA 4066. His response was, “Oh, the one they call they Brittany Spears mic? Yeah, tried that.” 

OK, first of all, Brittany doesn’t wear an e6. In fact, the e6 is practically invisible. And if you’re concerned about what a mic like that looks like, well, get over it. Back to our science lesson for the why. Now, consider that a properly fitted e6 (or similar) mic will place the microphone element approximately 1/2 inch from the speaker’s mouth. The best case scenario for a lav is going to put it at least 4 inches away (and under the chin). Now, let’s apply the inverse square law and see what we find. For the purposes of illustration, we’ll say that the sound level at the lavaliere is 10 (it’s not, I’m simply using this number to make the math easy). When we cut the distance from 4 inches to 2, the sound level doubles, making it 20. When we cut the distance from 2 inches to 1 inch, it doubles again; now we’re at 40. Cut the distance to 1/2″, where we find our earset mic, and it doubles again, this time to 80. So simply moving the mic element from 4 inches to 1/2 inch away from the mouth, we’ve achieved an eightfold increase in sound level! 

If you don’t think that’s significant, let me put it another way. What would be the impact on your ministry if you suddenly started receiving an eightfold increase in offerings? Do I have your attention now? By giving your sound guy eight times (8 times!) the sound energy to work with, that radically changes the amount of amplification that can occur before the dreaded feedback happens. That means he (or she) now has a chance to turn you up so people in the back row can hear.

Finally, if we combine those two solutions (talking louder and wearing the proper mic), no one has to strain to hear what you’re saying. I don’t think I know of a pastor who works hard all week on a sermon, yet doesn’t care if anyone hears it or not. The whole point of preaching in the first place is to impart God’s truth to your hearers. Yet, if they can’t hear, what’s the point? Telling someone to buy the CD or listen online is not an acceptable solution. Get with the program, learn to speak properly and wear the right mic. There I said it. Let the e-mail and comments come!

I mentioned that there were possible three causes for this problem. Since I’m on a roll, we’ll dive into that as well. In this case, there are issues with the room’s acoustics as well as the speaker system. Simply put, neither are optimal. As I  said, I’ve mixed in that room, and I’ve gotten it to sound pretty good. Still there are some incredible standing waves and resonant frequencies that have to be dramatically notched out in order to keep feedback at bay. Doing this cuts a big chunk out of the audio spectrum, and really hurts intelligibility. The room is also rather reverberant, which makes it harder to localize sound. 

We have this problem (only much, much worse) at CPC. I’ve been lobbying for acoustic treatment and new speakers since before I started. And it’s not just so we can play the rock music louder at Upper Room. It’s so the 80 year-old grandma in the traditional service can hear the morning message clearly without straining. In my friend’s church, the much needed acoustic treatment has been rejected due to the way it looks. Again I say, get over it. If you’re more concerned about the way your room looks that making sure people can hear, you’ve got bigger issues than sound problems. Not only that, acoustic treatment doesn’t have to be ugly. 

Of course, this can all be avoided by designing and building the room properly in the first place. If you’re getting ready to build a worship space, stop what you’re doing, and hire a highly qualified (and probably expensive) acoustician to look at the plans. Then give him or her free reign to fix them. Skip this step at your own peril. Failure to get the design and build right will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you will get letters like the ones referenced above.

FaithTools Podcast Episode 19 Up

This one is entitled iDang! Some of the topics include raising your credibility score, church audio level policies, volunteer appreciation and some iPod apps we’d love to see. You can check it out by clicking the logo below. Thanks Colin for all the work pulling these podcasts together, it’s a great resource!

Faithtools Podcast Ready to Go

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