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Church Sound: Delivering Sonic Clarity In A Concrete Box
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Dealing With Lack Of Clarity At Loud Volume

You can’t get a great loud volume in these rooms. 

I know a place that has a highly reflective room and they have really loud concerts…and I’ve never felt like any of them sounded good. 

What they needed was less volume to deal with the room dynamics.

Volume and reflection in mind, you’re dealing with volume in two places: monitors and main loudspeakers.

This is one area where I see sound techs differ on their approach. Some techs will say that in such environments, they set the monitor levels first and then the house levels.

The standard operating procedure, of course, is mains first and then monitors. 

Try it both ways. It’s also a great time to recommend in-ear monitors to the worship team.

Once you have the overall volumes the way you want, lower and raise the master fader and listen to the resulting sound. Eventually, you’ll find a volume that works for your room by getting the best mix clarity and definition possible.

The Take Away

There is no magical solution to getting a great mix in an acoustically nasty room where you don’t have the option of adding permanent and professional acoustic treatment. You can, however, modify your setup for creating a better environment.

Make your loudspeaker setup as directional as possible, watch your volume, and consider methods for absorbing sound behind the last row of chairs.

Ready to learn and laugh? Chris Huff writes about the world of church audio at Behind The Mixer. He covers everything from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians. He can even tell you the signs the sound guy is having a mental breakdown.

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