Technically Transparent Worship: Plan For It (Part 2)

Part 2 of 2 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

Time for part 2 of developing technically transparent worship; PLANNING.

The best results come when the whole team participates in a brainstorming session, with the pastor acting as the moderator.  Using a whiteboard, for recording ideas, is helpful. There are no wrong ideas at this point. The whole object is just to get things down in writing.

Brainstorming sessions generate seeds

I’ve been in so many brainstorming sessions where this happens.  We’re all tossing ideas around and then, out of the mess, comes an idea unrelated to any other ideas but ends up being the right one. All because a person said something generating the seed of the final idea. …keep reading »

Production Planning – Is There Room for God?

garage sign

No.  That’s the answer one can assume when looking at the extensive planning that goes into proper technical church production.  Even audio production planning seems to leave little room for God.  Or, so one might think.  Brian Gowing and I have been involved in church audio production for decades and we’ve found one thing to be true of production planning; the more planning, the more room for God.

I’ll start with Brian’s thoughts on this, or better yet, his story.


“Only God can change hearts. But, He expects us to give him our utmost, for His Highest.  This is why proper planning and execution are essential to allowing God to reach out and touch those hearts that, may or may not, be prepared to be touched.Let me give you a very personal experience about this. …keep reading »

Behind the Mixer Welcomes Brian Gowing

brian gowing

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Brian Gowing is joining Behind the Mixer. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge, both with his level of technical geekdom but also with his vast experience working with tech teams, worship teams, and church staff in creating unified teams. He’s also a great guy!

Brian and I met a few years, through the normal online arena of church audio blogs. Then, in 2012, we met face-to-face at the Gurus of Tech conference. We hung out the first day and stayed up late talking all things audio.

Since 2012, I’ve re-posted a few of Brian’s articles, emailed him with technical questions, and tried to convince him to move to central Indiana. …keep reading »

Does Your Congregation Experience Technically Transparent Worship? (Part 1)

Part 1 of 2 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

What is technically transparent worship? I’m not the first to use the term. I’ve been thinking about this lately, having visited a number of churches and observing how they handle a service.

Technically transparent worship means someone coming into your church for either the first or the 1,000th time will not encounter technical or artistic issues that interfere with providing them a total, enveloping, immersive worship experience that prepares their mind and soul to be impacted by God. This is an ideal or a mission statement, if you will.

Too many times, I see churches say they want to do this but don’t want to go through the planning pains necessary to achieve this goal. …keep reading »

10 Things No One Tells You About Church Audio. One of Them Still Drives Me Crazy.

The secret envelop.

Once the initial excitement of working in audio production wears off, it leaves one with a few unfortunate realizations.  I’m not saying audio work stops being fun.  I’ve been doing this for a long time and I still have fun.  I only wish someone would have cracked open the secret envelop and let me see the truth before being up to my knees in XLR cables.

This post reveals these “secrets.”  At the end, I’ll explain what can be done so everyone is back to having fun, albeit a lot wiser.

What They Don’t Tell You About Church Audio

1. Worst-case scenarios really do happen. …keep reading »

Why Doesn’t My Mix Sound Right? (What Works for Me)

Make your mix good to the last drop.  Photo by Mart1n

“I’ve done this before, I’m not an idiot,” I thought while making the third pot of coffee in three minutes.  The first time, I put in the coffee grounds but forgot the filter.  The second time, I’d rather not publicly discuss.  Let’s just say hot water sans coffee.  I’ve made hundreds of pots of coffee, usually while barely awake.  Why was this moment different?

Similar to making coffee, mixing can become second nature; set the gain, blend the volumes, blend vocals, clean up an instrument’s signal, etc.  But then it happens.  Mixing the same song for the 10th time, with the same band, with the same arrangement, wearing the same lucky socks, and the mix doesn’t come together.  I’ve been there, without the lucky socks. …keep reading »

Can You Create a Great Mix with Headphones?

Keep the headphones handy. Photo by Merene.

Are you mixing with headphones?  If not, you should be.  If you are, you shouldn’t be.  Confused?  Good.  There’s a right time and a wrong time for using headphones.

When NOT to use headphones

All of the time.

I get it, headphones provide sound isolation and therefore make for easier mixing.  The musicians can be heard without the distraction of other people talking in the room.  How do we listen to a lot of our music?  We listen through headphones.

The problem with sound isolation is it disregards the acoustic properties of the room.  I’ve mixed in two similarly-sized rooms and one room has a lot of reverb while the other has almost none.  Bottom line, what sounds good in the headphones can sound…umm…is there a Christian way of saying “crappy?”

When you CAN use headphones

When necessary. …keep reading »

Can’t Get the Mix Right: Blame Your Eyes

Hide those lyin' eyes.Photo by juliaf.

One sentence.  One sentence should drive music mixing.

Close your eyes and listen.

What you SEE affects what you THINK you should HEAR.

  • “I can’t hear the keyboard.”
  • “I can’t hear the bass.”
  • “I can’t hear my wife.”

Ah, words spoken by the seeing.

“I can’t hear the keyboard,” the intern said to me.  She trusted her eyes.  She was subconsciously saying, “I can’t hear the keyboard as loud as the other instruments.”  

For some reason, the eyes convey the idea, “If I see it then I should clearly hear it.”  But the ears have been listening to music for years.  Whether it’s songs on the radio, iPhone, or 8-track player (remember those?), the ears have been listening to PRODUCED MUSIC.  This is music produced, in a studio, with mix nuances in EQ and volume.  The ears hear the music. …keep reading »

Top Audio Production Highlights From 2013

Will you make 2014 better than 2013?

Was 2013 your year for upgrading to a digital mixer?  Or, was it a year of struggling with old equipment?  Looking back on 2013, I’ve had a lot of great times and a few I’d rather forget.  In the spirit of reflection, here is a list of audio production “tops” from 2013.

My Favorite Quote:

  • Wes Wakefield on mixing; “Fundamental mixing techniques win every time.”

My Favorite Live Audio Post

The Top Two Articles You Should Have Read But Probably Didn’t

The Top Ten Most Popular Articles, here at BTM, Written in 2013

4 Vital Production Tips to Propel Your Audio to the Next Level

Vital…Propel…Next Level…Can four production tips actually make THAT MUCH of a difference?  Yes, they can!  The sad part is a good number of people aren’t using these tips and their sound is suffering.  Answer this question; when does your mixing work begin?  Before you answer, I’ll give you three choices; once you enter the sound booth, once you enter the sanctuary, or once you get the song list?  

The problem is there are many of you who want to learn but there aren’t that many good teachers.  That’s where this list of 4 vital tips comes into play.  These are the simple things that should be done, could easily be done, but many times aren’t being done.  Let’s change that. …keep reading »