The Art of Snare Mixing and a Frog – Yes, a Frog

I created a frog.  It wasn’t intentional.  Naturally, I’m not talking about a real frog but just look at that photo!  You’ll never read a mixing book that says, “make the snare’s EQ curve look like a frog in water.”  If you do, immediately stop reading the book.  Seriously, when it comes to snare mixing, the last place you want to be is behind the mixer.

There are three factors in creating a good snare drum sound:

1. The snare drum.

Snare drums don’t all sound the same just like all acoustic guitars sound different.  Even with a house drum kit, a drummer might bring their own snare because they like it’s sound. [click to continue »]

Video: Instrument Microphones and…Hot Sauce?

A reader emailed me asking about the difference between two instrument microphones.  His question came down to this; is the more expensive one worth the price?  If only it was that easy.  Find out how price is the last thing to consider and how it’s really about…ummmm…hot sauce.

BEFORE YOU WATCH THE VIDEO

I’m an audio guy.  Video is new to me.  The video first went out in the newsletter and after a number of people gave the same recommendations, I edited it a second time.  This is the second edit.  Let’s just say I learned a lot.  Also, when I film the next video, I’ll work on the reverb in the room – already got plans for that. [click to continue »]

Avoid These Four Costly Production Assumptions – I’ve Made Them All

My mom used to say, “never assume anything.”  This is never truer than with audio production.  I’ve made many a costly mistake because of an assumption.  I made one just last wee…um, never mind I said that.

I’d normally jump in with a story but today, I’m getting right to the details!

The Costly Audio Production Assumptions:

1. Assume the last sound tech had it right.

Unless the band and stage setup changed between the last service and the current service, “most” everything should be the same.  Same musicians, same instruments, same channel assignments, same gain settings, etc.  A good audio tech knows that even with the same band and instruments, EQ work will vary week-to-week and in many cases, from song to song. [click to continue »]

The Excellence Mantra Has to Stop!

Aiming for excellence has become a church tech mantra and it has to stop! This post will attract many comments on both sides but, I’ve never been one to shy away from a good, rousing discussion so here goes!

I’m guilty. I’ve written about constantly improving your knowledge and skill at audio engineering. I’ve talked about aiming for excellence, both with equipment and with your skill level. Numerous church tech blogs talk about the same thing, to the point where I’m beginning to get a little tired of hearing it. It’s become a church tech mantra.

We’ve become so focused on the “doing” that we’re forgetting about the “being.”

I live and breathe the church tech stuff. [click to continue »]

Do You Have a Case of Big Church Envy?

Prepare to be uncomfortable.  You have fallen prey to Big Church Envy.  You know who you are and what I’m talking about and you’re starting to squirm in your seat.

Just because a church the size of Willow Creek or Saddleback has a fantastic mondo sound, video, and lighting system doesn’t justify YOU spending that kind of money on equipment. These Big Churches are a different breed and can set the bar for the rest of us. That doesn’t mean we should copy them.

The Symptoms

It’s fun to drool over a Big Church’s latest $50,000 digital mixer or $100,000 lighting setup.   [click to continue »]

You Made Behind the Mixer Number 7 – Thank You

Every year, the fine folks at ChurchMag compile a list of the 30 Top Church Tech Blogs.  They look at factors from Google Page Rank to social media and a few others.  But to even be considered for the list, a site first must be nominated.

The result is a list of the top 30 sites covering areas of tech including;

  • Audio / Video / Lighting Production
  • Podcasting
  • Social Media
  • Stage Design
  • Web Site Design
  • and Even Marketing (technology is everywhere!)

You Made Behind the Mixer #7!

Through nominations, commenting on posts, subscribing to the newsletter, and JUST BEING REALLY COOL TECHIES, you put this site in the TOP TEN.  [click to continue »]

How to Mix Two Electric Guitars

Guitars can energize a mix or absolutely destroy it.  I’ve watched rookies look dumb-struck at the mixing console because they didn’t know how to handle mixing two guitars.  Mixing two guitars is a simple process in which you do the same thing to each guitar channel EXCEPT with one added step.

First of all, you MUST identify the role of each guitar in the song.  A guitar is either going to play rhythm or lead.  Take the two guitars in the song and identify the role of each.

Let’s say, in this example, there is a rhythm guitar and another guitar that will play rhythm with the occasional lead elements in the song. [click to continue »]

Which Four Wireless Microphone Mistakes are You Making?

There are four wireless microphone mistakes that get a sound tech in trouble.  The first mistake is one I’m often asked about.  I will be upfront and say that I’ve made two of these mistakes. Two, maybe three.  No, two.  Forgive and forget, right?  [sigh]

1. Allow signal seepage (that sounds… disgusting!)

It goes like this;

  1. Channel gain (trim) knob is at zero.
  2. Fader is at unity or below.
  3. The wireless signal still seeps (bleeds) through into the channel and out the main speakers.

Why does this happen when the gain is turned to zero?  The answer is simple and the solution even simpler.  [click to continue »]

The Next Microphone You Buy Could Be Counterfeit – Spotting Fakes

The Shure SM58 is the most popular counterfeit microphone on the market.  You might own one.  Sennheiser’s have been faked.  Even rack components are being faked now.  Here’s the kicker, in some cases, the fakes are being sold at the same price or higher than the authentic products!  And the fakes are getting harder to spot.  Consider these ways of spotting a fake microphone.

I’m focusing on the Shure SM58 but the concepts apply to all microphones.

Six Ways of Spotting Fake SM58′s

1. The price is too good to be true.

Shure has a “Minimum Advertised Price” policy.  That’s why SM58′s should NOT be advertised for less than $98.  [click to continue »]

Is Your Small Church Audio Team Under-Equipped? Here’s Your Gear Checklist

Are you running sound at a small church or a new start-up church?  If so, chances are you’re struggling with the sound reinforcement system. I’ve seen a lot of “inventive” systems cobbled together by well-meaning folks and believe it’s time to toss out a life-line.

I’ve put together a list of the essential pieces of sound reinforcement equipment for a small church. Because most small churches don’t have much of a tech budget, I’m not going to be specifying high-end equipment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have pro-quality and tour-grade gear.  I want you to have good gear – I’m NOT here to say it’s ok to buy bargain-basement gear. [click to continue »]