As I’m sure you know, I really, really like our Aviom system. It has made a huge difference in the main house sound (by lowering stage wash) and has made the job of the FOH engineer far easier. By adding 5 additional monitor “mixes,” we can now give each of the vocalists their own wedge so no one shares. Overall, it’s a great system.

There have been a few hiccups, however. The first problem we had was with the musicians not knowing how to mix. Makes sense, they’re musicians, not monitor engineers. What was happening was simple; when the Aviom starts up, all the inputs are set to 50%. So as the musicians built their mix, they kept turning things up. The problem was, they quickly ran out of headroom. I was getting complaints that they “couldn’t hear themselves.” I’d run up on stage and look at their “mix,” and discover all channels at or close to 100%. Since they don’t go to 11, they were out of room.

To solve this, I’ve created a simple preset that I recall before each rehearsal/sound check. I programmed all the channels to 0%, except the talkback channel, so they can hear the FOH engineer calling for instruments. I programmed this preset into 16, so it won’t accidentally get erased. It takes just a few seconds to recall the preset and gives everyone a blank slate to work from. And I haven’t had a complaint since.

Another issue we’ve run into is with power outages. We have pretty flaky power around us, and it goes out from time to time. When this happens between rehearsal and the weekend, the mixes everyone so carefully set up are lost. Since it just happened again last week, I will be reminding everyone to save their mix before they leave Thursday night. That way we don’t have to start all over again on Saturday.

Since you can save 16 presets, theoretically everyone could be assigned a Aviom unit (one for drums, one for bass, etc.), and each musician could have their own number. More likely, I’ll just have them store it into 1, and it will be re-written each week.

The final trick involves the labels we use. If you visit the links page on this blog, you can download a template done in Excel that you can use to create custom labels. I started doing this a few weeks after we put the system in because we have 4 worship teams that rotate. The challenge was, how to affix the labels to the mixer so they would not shift for the weekend, but not be a pain to remove. In a flash of brilliance, I came up with vinyl report covers. I cut them down about 5/8″ from the folded edge, which gave me a tight “V” shaped piece of vinyl. I inserted some tape inside the “V”, then taped the vinyl to the mixers, over the channel marker strip. Now I print off the labels and just slip them into the vinyl each week. They stay put, and are easy to get out. Total cost, about $2.00.