Going the Distance for Your Mix!
More Audio Mixing Tips You Can Use!
Veteran Technical Director and CCI Solutions Church Relations Director, Duke DeJong enlightens us with a thought-provoking mixing tip! Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions. & www.twitter.com/ccisolutions
One of the things I learned as I first started to mix was how to get comfortable at Front of House (FOH). I could get set up comfortably and go for long stretches perched in front of the console, ready to enjoy mixing for hours on end. It was great fun, dialing in a mix that sounded clear and had lots of punch. I could enjoy mixing from my little world and it would sound great, and I knew everyone would enjoy it.
Unfortunately, not everyone did. I'd occasionally get comments from other FOH guys about what they'd change in the mix and I'd get bummed out. Sometimes I would even take it personally and feel hurt, not understanding why those people didn't like my mix. Fortunately I had some great mentors early on and when discussing this with one of them, the first question I was asked was, "Well, where were they sitting?" Wow, did my eyes open wide that day, when I realized for the first time that it wasn't about my mix, it was about my mix in that spot, which was very different to my mix at my seat. The next time I mixed I got everything going and walked down to where some of those guys usually sit, and I wasn't too happy with my mix either.
Your Own Little World!
When mixing FOH, it's very easy to get settled in and live in your own little world, but my challenge to you today is to go the distance to make your mix great for the audience, not just FOH. In fact, in reality it matters very little what it sounds like at the console, but it matters a whole lot what it sounds like in every seat in the audience. I've learned that when I mix, I have to spend a decent amount of time walking the entire room during sound checks and rehearsals to get a great feel for how the room is sounding. Even during service, now that we've added people (living acoustic absorption) it's critical again to at least listen in a few different spots to make sure what you are trying to accomplish with the mix resonates with the audience and not just FOH.
Can I Get a Groan from Anyone!
I have yet to visit a church with perfect acoustics and a perfect sound system. We can make a lot of strides to get close, but there are still going to be anomalies in your room. Get out from behind the console on occasion and go listen. My church has FOH right under the front of the balcony (can I get a groan from anyone?) and it's critical that I get out and listen to the house from other perspectives throughout services. If your mix position is compromised like mine is, meaning in the balcony, under the balcony, off to the side of the room or even in another room altogether, it's that much more critical for you to go the distance to make the mix right for the audience. But even if your mix position is great, you still need to go listen to the rest of the room occasionally because odds are there are spots in the room that aren't.
Wrapping it Up!
Mixing FOH is a fantastic role and I love doing it every chance I get. I get a chance to help churches and ministries lead congregations in worshipping and learning about our God. But if the mix is only good at FOH, who am I really serving? Go the distance for your mix, you'll see more people engage in worship and clearly hearing the message, and that's what it's all about.
Church Relations Director
Duke has over 14 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. Duke travels around the country for CCI Solutions and is available to help your ministry. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions