Tag Archive: audio

It’s almost here! The next couple weekends will be full of Christmas plays, concerts, and cantatas. We volunteers are in the midst of the chaos right now, and we had better be ready for some troubleshooting.

Among the many problems we may encounter during rehearsals, non seems so annoying as that dreadful buzz coming from the speakers.  In order to shoot-the-trouble, it’s important to know what causes the buzz and how to fix the problem.

It could be as simple as a power cord running parallel to an audio cable, or as huge as a bad channel on the mixer. I find it helpful to have a list of possible problems and a logical way to work through solving the issue.

We had an issue with the foyer speakers a few months ago. We spent weeks listening to the problem, checking connections, fiddling with settings. Finally, we traced it all the way back to the mixer board. What we thought was a cable or hardware problem, turned out to be a bad auxiliary.

Hope you figure out that buzz quicker than we did. Good luck with your productions!


There are so many digital mixers on the market right now. So many, that I don’t know what all I need and/or will want as soon as I figure out everything that it does.


I discovered the Behringer X32 and a chart comparing it to some other digital mixers.

We have had good experiences with our other Behringer products. From FullCompass.com a Behringer X32 and a digital snake is under $4000. I was pretty excited by this. From my other post, I thought I might have to spend more than $25,000!


Behold, the mighty digital console!

The end of the year is fast approaching. The financial year of many churches will be turning over soon, and that means new budgets.

This is the time to start answering those questions, “What new equipment do we want?” and “What equipment will best suit our needs?”

I mentioned yesterday the possibility of our church buying a new digital audio console. As I was researching, I found some considerations when buying audio consoles. He has suggestions on what size of console to buy as well as an overview of the many options to ponder when buying a console.

Happy Cyber Monday! I hope everyone found some great deals online.

It seems to me that everything is going digital. And I don’t think it is just me. Small venues could only dream of a digital audio console a few years ago. Now, they are much closer (though still out of reach for some) to being a regular feature of not-so-mega churches and theaters.

I had a conversation with a fellow tech person this weekend as to what the next step should be for our sound system. Going digital was the main theme. My question was, how do we go digital?

The obvious answer is the digital audio console. And I was surprised to discover that going digital did not mean getting rid of all analog components. Instead, it meant we could move our analog equipment to a different area and use a digital board as a remote control for the system.

I can’t wait to find out about all this digital equipment.

Radio Shack amp used at camp

I am blessed to volunteer at a church with a fairly modern audio video system.We have no more jury-rigged contraptions, and the Radio Shack equipment is finally being phased out.

A couple years ago though, I worked at a camp out in Colorado. Its sound system was a stack of Radio Shack amplifiers with in-line faders, old 70’s PA speakers, and an early Shure wireless system that kinda worked. What a fun summer of troubleshooting and jury-rigging!

These tips for making the most of the outdated sound system sure would have come in handy out there at camp. I think it was a good experience for me to work with that old equipment (especially as a beginner). It gave me an appreciation for the new stuff and helped me to figure out how to troubleshoot problems. (I also realize how important those tips are.)


Mini shotgun mics for a DSLR
Many venues are changing over from the shoulder-mounted video cameras and the hand-held cameras to the DSLR. They are relatively inexpensive, and they take wonderful video. They’re also versatile and can be mounted to any number of tripods, rigs, and jibs. However, they don’t record very good audio.

Maybe we can’t decide which one is our favorite, but we can integrate them together by using different types of mini shotgun mics. I would love the ability to attach a small but effective mic onto a DSLR or a hand-held camera, like my Canon HV30. These mini shotgun mics would allow me to record way better audio than the on-board mic.

More and more churches are heading to the web to get their message out. Almost any church has the capability to put content on the web.

If you have just started posting content online or are thinking about starting, a great place to begin is with sermon recordings. Sermons are pretty easy to record, and there are plenty of resources to help get them uploaded to the web.

The more difficult part is producing content that sounds good audibly online. We use a compressor during live recording to level out the highs and lows of the volume. Our pastor is very dynamic. He speaks quietly and then will raise his voice suddenly. The compressor makes it all about the same volume level. This keeps the listener from constantly having to raise or lower the volume on their device.

We record the audio in Audacity, and export it as an MP3. Our podcast is available for download or streaming on our website. But we could easily put it on iTunes or other similar sites.

The important thing is to make your sermons sound good whichever way you put them online.

I do a lot of different things in the sound booth. Sometimes I end up doing the audio recording of the service. Usually, the crew will just upload whatever was recorded to the website as-is.

However, it would sound better if we could do just a little editing with some readily available tools to make it sound even better. Kind of like if the listener was actually in the room.

By learning how to use audio filters, I think our online audio stuff would be more euphonious (Yay! I learned a new word; it means pleasing to the ear).

Got Good Gains?

Mixer Faders

Few tech volunteers come with amazing in-depth knowledge when they join the team. Most of them learn on the job. They are shown the basics, and then they go to work.

“Here, move this fader up and down until it sounds right.” Okay… I guess I can do that.

What is the next step to doing a better job? Learn more than doing just the basics. Let’s start with setting the gains on the mixer board. Pretty basic stuff, but it makes a big difference in how the audio sounds.

Feedback Frenzy

Boy covering his ears.

A common response to the annoying high-pitch frequencies commonly know as Feedback.

Sounds like a wacky Awana game, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’m talking about microphone feedback. I think all sound technicians deal with feedback at some point whether they work at a theater, a church, or a DJ at a club.

As the quiet and shy person that I am, the last thing I want to do when running the audio mixer is to have that terrible screeching sound come over the speakers. As the piercing sound penetrates everyone’s ears, all eyes turn to the sound booth. What is he doing up there? Make it stop!! Owww!

Well, don’t let that painful and embarrassing moment happen again. Here are some tips to keep feedback from happening. You’re welcome.