Mix Sound Like A Pro, Part Ten: Wrap Up!
Veteran Technical Director and CCI Solutions Church Relations Director Duke DeJong shares the tenth in a series of articles dedicated to help you learn how to mix sound like a Pro for live worship. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions & www.twitter.com/ccisolutions.
Over the past few months we've been talking about how to mix sound like a Pro. We've discussed how to get your input gain set correctly, how to tackle the EQ and what should determine how you build your mix. We've covered nine key topics which will help you get on your way to mixing like a Pro. If you've missed any of the 9 keys, go back and check them out in our Worship Tools Learning Center. (Under the Live Sound for Worship section)
Only as Good as the Music!
As we wrap up this series, I think it's important to talk about one of the most important elements of great mixes. At the end of the day, the mix will only be as good as the music created by those on stage. In reality, the work of the FOH guy is to take what the artists on stage create and work it to create one great sound. I used to watch some of the cooking competition shows, and I think there are some great analogies there in the roles of the musicians and the sound tech.
The Cooks in the Kitchen!
The musicians and singers are the cooks in the kitchen, responsible for the quality and flavor of each dish created and presented to the audience. A Sous Chef and a variety of cooks will all have a hand in creating the dish, but ultimately the taste of the dish is the responsibility of that team under the guidance of the Head Chef. The quality and flavor has to be great, but right before that food goes out to the audience, one last person arranges the food with a beautiful, meaningful presentation that hopefully impresses the audience at first glance also known as the "Expeditor". As the FOH tech our role is to give the food created for us the most fantastic presentation we can.
Taste as Good as it Looks!
I don't care if you have an amazing gift for mixing, poor content will ruin great presentation. Amazing food has to taste just as good as it looks. It's rare that someone walks away from a meal saying, "It tasted awful, but the presentation was awesome." The same holds true for mixing. When is the last time you walked out of a music experience thinking, "The musicians weren't playing together and the vocals were pitchy, but man the mix was blended well"? It all comes down to the content, and if the content isn't there, none of it matters.
Worship Team Carries the Weight!
If you are a Worship Leader, musician or singer who is called to lead our congregations in worship, I want to bless you and honor you. I always marvel at those who have the skill and talent to play an instrument, remember both their notes and lyrics and lead 100's to 1,000's of people in worship. I can not do that. I'm not gifted to do it. Frankly trying to do so in front of all of those people would terrify me. You carry a weight on your shoulders that most techs will never truly understand, and most of us are very grateful that we get to play a small role serving alongside you.
As creative artists serving in the sound ministry, we hope you understand that for the most part, we can only sweeten your content so much. The flavor, the content, needs to come from you and your worship team. As your sound team strives to produce professional sounding mixes on your behalf, their ceiling will be the one your content provides. It's up to you to set the bar for flavor, and it's up to you to create content that the presentation can support.
If you're having a challenge with content as a sound artist, talk openly with the leadership of your music ministry. Be humble, but be truthful. In an earlier part of this series we talked about communication and coming under authority. Go back and re-read that section, then schedule to get together over coffee to share vision and life together.
Give Us Your Feedback!
We've had a blast diving into some of the keys to mixing success and have had great feedback from many of you. If you have feedback or ideas that you'd like us to expand upon, I'd love to hear from you! If you have a topic that we haven't covered, or topics you'd like us to go more in depth on, please let me know. Our heart for the Worship Tools newsletter is to help those of you serving week in and week out be successful in ministry. And since this newsletter is about helping you, you have a chance to influence the topics we cover here.
Thank you for all that you do to serve God, your family and your community. We are grateful that we get to serve you as you serve those with whom God has surrounded you.
Read the Complete 10 Part Series Here