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Why set up your band this way?

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  • Why set up your band this way?

    I'm wondering why a worship band would be set up this way. Out in the pews, the guitars are generally inaudible and the drum ride cymbal/snare hits are too loud.

    1. Electric guitar using multi-effect board, no wedge, no amp, in-ear monitor
    2. Acoustic guitar direct to board, no wedge, no amp, in-ear monitor
    3. Acoustic drum kit, not caged, not miked, drummer using full headphones for monitoring
    4. Acoustic piano, not miked, no wedge, no amp. Worship leader plays this and seems to use in-ear most of the time.
    5. Electric keyboard, direct to board, no wedge, no amp, in-ear monitor
    6. Vocalists use wedge monitors
    7. Bass guitar direct to board, no wedge, no amp, in-ear monitor ( usually too loud in the house )

    The drummer starts most songs by striking sticks together, so that becomes the transition from song-to-song. I've asked and there is no plan for the drummer to start using "rod" sticks for a quieter sound.
    Carvin AE185 guitar

  • #2
    I suspect this is a case of wanting to keep a clean, uncluttered stage appearance and maintaining centralized volume management over the instruments. It's a bit toward the extreme in that regard, but some churches are like that. What's out of whack in this situation are the acoustic drums and piano not being miked. That dictates that those two instruments will determine the volume level of the rest of the band through the PA. In a smallish sanctuary that might be okay, but the sound level of the piano degrades much quicker over space than does something like cymbals.

    However, I can say I'm NEVER surprised by the lengths some churches go through to contain and control the music. Given that most of the time the people playing the instruments in worship bands are volunteers and may not have the discipline over their instruments that only comes with many years of playing in a range of venues, it's probably understandable.
    The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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    • #3
      The problem is that some of team instruments are not brought up in the house to blend with the drums/ piano so can't be heard (guitars). The cymbal and snare wipe out the vocals when struck. Obviously the sound guy needs to walk the floor and get out of the elevated booth at the rear of the 250 capacity sanctuary. Since there are no plans to have the drummer use rods I'm not sure what gives.
      What's out of whack in this situation are the acoustic drums and piano not being miked. That dictates that those two instruments will determine the volume level of the rest of the band through the PA.
      Carvin AE185 guitar

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      • #4
        Aren't you the same guy who complained about your drummer on another thread?

        Nate
        Practical Worship

        Please Pray For My Wife

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        • #5
          I'm basically doing a reality check to see what others are doing. I recorded the worship service today while sitting back in the pews. What comes through is primarily snare, crash cymbal and soprano vocals. This confirms what I've been hearing, so I hope in time I can make useful suggestions, especially if I eventually start helping out at the sound board.
          If I was just wandering around complaining to other church folk, that's one thing, but sincerely seeking the source of the problem, and confirming with others ( like on this forum ) that what I'm hearing is probably a real issue, I view as constructive research.
          Carvin AE185 guitar

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          • #6
            If you're looking to see what others are doing it's pretty simple. Most churches I'm familiar with are either using electronic drums or putting the drums behind a sound shield and miking them. I'm personally a huge fan of electronic drums, and so is our drummer by the way. The issues most drummers have with electronic kits is they've only played with cheaper sets, or have not played with them enough to know how to master them.

            First, you can't expect one of the cheaper electronic kits to be adequate. Most of these are made for practice and not for performance. We use a Roland TD-15KV-S which prices out at about $2500. Secondly you have to be willing to spend some time understanding how to adjust the different parameters on an electronic kit to get the sound and volume you want on each of the different components (snare, hi-hat, cymbals, toms, etc.). Most soundboard people don't like electronic kits because they don't control those things as they would on a traditional miked acoustic kit. Instead they're controlled at the drum kit itself.

            The other problem you'll face is the un-miked acoustic piano. I can only assume if that's they way they want to use it, then the overall volume levels in the service must be very sedate. In order to balance everything, the person running the sound will have to match up all the rest of the volumes of the other instruments to the volume of the un-miked piano. That's not undoable, but it places an absolute limit on not only the instrument volumes, but the overall master volume as well.

            In our church we mic both guitar amps and we use a direct in on the bass amp. The electronic drums has one line going direct to the soundboard and another line going to a dedicated stage monitor so we can hear it on stage. We use monitor wedges which only have the voices and harmonica feeding into them. This setup means we have to closely manage our stage volume so that the PA does all the heavy lifting as far as projecting sound to the audience. This type of setup (with the right type of PA) will make sure the mix of the instruments and voices remains the same at all points in the auditorium.

            Hope that helps.
            The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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            • #7
              Thanks Dunedin, very helpful. I'm going to have to double-check on the miking of the drums and piano. I can't see anything at all from the pews, but it doesn't make sense that the drummer would be using what look like full headphones without at least some miking of drums and piano. I'll be getting together with the worship pastor in August so for now I'm just going to be studying the manual for the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 This rig does seem to offer the ability to do some mixing remotely via an ipad, but since the faders are not digitial, not sure how that works.
              One of the most difficult things for a musician who has some some mixing is to simply stay out of it. Especially when most people are blissfully unaware of the problems. They'll notice it once fixed I suspect.
              Carvin AE185 guitar

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              • #8
                The recording will help.

                Maybe get a couple more samples to show consistency.

                I've mixed sound on several occasions for a couple different bands, so I may be able to shed some light.

                Obviously the sound guy needs to walk the floor and get out of the elevated booth at the rear of the 250 capacity sanctuary.
                That's 90% of the problem. Putting the mixing booth on some elevated out-of-sight place may be aesthetically pleasing but about as practical as putting the steering wheel for your car in the trunk. The sound in the booth is so much different than in the sanctuary. The last church I was in had one of those elevated booths (on the second level of a 1000 seat sanctuary) and it was worthless to try to set FOH mix from there. We had a guy that would go around with a mic during sound check and relay to the main tech what to fine-tune. Right before I left there, they were installing a new sound booth on the main level.

                It's pretty rare where a church will not have some kind of shield around the drum kit to help deaden the noise. With an acoustic drum set, the whole sound level is at the mercy of your drummer. Having no way to harness the acoustic kit is a bane for a sound tech in a small indoor room.

                Based on what you are telling us, where I would start would be to set up one of those plexiglass shields around the drum kit. To help it sound better in the sanctuary, you may need to run one overhead mic (maybe two) and one for the bass drum. After that, maybe work out a system to have someone down in the room relaying up to the board on what to fine tune.
                If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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                • #9
                  If the church room holds 250 (did i hear that right?)...then there's really no reason the drummer can't use hot rods, or even cool rods. Our room holds around 350, and hot rods are just perfect. Our drums are un-miced, and unshielded...but for that size room, It works great. We use wedges for everyone, though, (no in-ears) and a small hot-spot speaker for the drummer to hear what he needs to hear. So here's our set-up that works really well for us in our 350 sanctuary:

                  -Drum set, totally acoustic, no mics, no shield, but no real drumsticks EVER.
                  -6ft grand piano, partially open, but also miced. (you need to mic the piano if you have drums)
                  -Acoustic guitar, plugged directly to house system.
                  -Bass guitar, with private bass amp...not run through house system at all...we just tell him when to turn it down.
                  -At least one singer (the leader), but sometimes up to 4 on individual mics
                  -(No electric guitar yet...)

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                  • #10
                    If the church room holds 250 (did i hear that right?)...then there's really no reason the drummer can't use hot rods, or even cool rods. Our room holds around 350, and hot rods are just perfect. Our drums are un-miced, and unshielded...but for that size room, It works great. We use wedges for everyone, though, (no in-ears) and a small hot-spot speaker for the drummer to hear what he needs to hear. So here's our set-up that works really well for us in our 350 sanctuary:

                    -Drum set, totally acoustic, no mics, no shield, but no real drumsticks EVER.
                    -6ft grand piano, partially open, but also miced. (you need to mic the piano if you have drums)
                    -Acoustic guitar, plugged directly to house system.
                    -Bass guitar, with private bass amp...not run through house system at all...we just tell him when to turn it down.
                    -At least one singer (the leader), but sometimes up to 4 on individual mics
                    -(No electric guitar yet...)

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                    • #11
                      I haven't figured out why the drummer can't use rods, but the Worship Pastor seems to support the use of regular drum sticks only. Most songs are started by the drummer hitting sticks together, but if rods don't work for that he could tap the high hat instead ( I would think ).
                      Carvin AE185 guitar

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                      • #12
                        Hey bud, I replied to your post on the worship central website.... might I add that the presonus 24.4.2 is defo a great mixer we use it with our band and we love it! Use youtube videos to help more than reading the manual as presonus themselves have hundreds of videos online..... search in youtube mixing the church, this is a video by doug gould and it is epic as it loves at biblibal principals and mixing on a presonus 24.4.2.

                        I was at a church on sunday there and the sound was horrendous but becuase the people love to worship no one seems to care, but I thought it was distracting and took away my focus!

                        Cheers

                        D R

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                        • #13
                          I think the average person in church will notice when the sound improves, but may not hear the problems before they're fixed unless it is really bad. That Presonus series of videos by Doug Gould looks very good.
                          Carvin AE185 guitar

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