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.


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 »]

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 »]

Pick the Right Headworn Microphone


Pick the wrong headworn microphone and the pastor will want their old lapel mic back.  Transition successfully, from lapel mic to headworn mic, by picking the right microphone for the job.  They aren’t all the same in fit, functionality, frequency response or even wireless pack compatibility.

The Story

The audio tech grew tired of begging the pastor to, “PLEASE put the lapel mic in the right spot.”  Every weekend sermon had the tech pushing the mic gain to the limit so the congregation could hear the pastor while not hearing feedback.  After hearing the 87th complaint of, “I couldn’t hear the sermon,” he decided it was time for a change. [click to continue »]

One Time You MUST Upgrade Your Equipment (and the reason for the new site design)

Photo provided by libbym78

“We have been running on this mixer for 20 years.” “It still works.” “Most of the channels still work.” “We’ve learned to work around that issue.” “The musicians are used to it.”  These are just a few reasons you might give for not upgrading your equipment, financial issues aside.  But refusing to upgrade equipment also comes at a cost.  And it might be the musicians or the congregation who are ultimately paying the cost each week.

The stories of one web site, one church, one band and how each paid a cost…

I had fallen in love with the design of this web site.  [click to continue »]

Picking the Right Vocal Microphone: Why Diaphragm Size Matters

Picking the Right Vocal Microphone: Why Diaphragm Size Matters

Vocal microphones matter.  Picking out the right vocal microphone means looking at several microphone properties including the diaphragm size.

The typical microphone properties that come to mind include;

  • Microphone type (dynamic, condenser, or ribbon)
  • Polar Pattern (omni-directional, cardioid, super-cardioid, etc.)
  • Frequency Response 

You can think of those microphone properties simply as;

  • Level of frequency sensitivity (type)
  • Proximity of sound sensitivity around the microphone (polar pattern)
  • Frequency colorization (frequency response)

“Beyond those is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. [click to continue »]

How to Use the Praise Band to Clear the Stage

How to Use the Praise Band to Clear the Stage

The musicians are your front line for getting things done.  Following up on this week’s guest post by my pastor, I’d like to talk about teamwork, specifically work after the service.

For those of us who have service in a multipurpose room or have a portable church, every Sunday consists of setting up the stage in the morning and putting everything away after the last service ends.  Working as the only sound tech, this can take significant amount of time.  And, you might have  family waiting for you.  Let’s change all that.

You are on a team.  Team members include other tech crew folks, the musicians, and, as my pastor pointed out in that article, the pastor.  [click to continue »]

Asking for New Equipment – Know When It’s Right

Asking for New Equipment

In my early days of church audio, I would have asked for a piece of equipment and said, “We have to have this or the world will end!”  As you know, the Book of Revelation doesn’t indicate any pro audio gear deficit as a sign of the apocalypse so my requests were denied.  Years later, I’m taking a multi-step approach.

Every time I’ve wanted to buy new equipment or upgrade the existing equipment, I’ve felt there were two questions I had to ask myself;

  1. Can the church afford it?
  2. Do I want this so I can use it or because it benefits the church? [click to continue »]

The Four Key Areas of Safety on the Stage

The Four Key Areas of Safety on the Stage

You are responsible for creating a safe environment on the stage.  Don’t think of the sound booth as your only domain.  Your domain includes the stage.  It contains elements that can cause bodily harm just because of their existence.  For example, a microphone cable could be in the wrong place and cause the pastor to trip. You can keep environmental safety problems to a minimum by taking the proper steps to ensure a safe environment.

There are four components to environmental safety;

  • Cable control.  Use the shortest lengths of cable required on stage.  Extra cable can easily get snagged by a foot and spell disaster for the person as well as the equipment in which it’s attached.  [click to continue »]