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Church Sound: The Optimized Stage—Input Sheets
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Plan For Anything & Everything

As I said, this input sheet can accommodate just about anything that our worship team throws at us each weekend.

This represents almost the entire pool of musicians that we have to draw from, so even if everybody was scheduled for a weekend, they would still all fit.

When we don’t need an input, we simply don’t use it.

We’re so committed to this process that we’ve gone to the trouble of labeling the input snakes with the input they are supposed to be taking. Even the XLRs in the rack are labeled not only with what they are, but where they are supposed to go.

Of course, we worked this process for several months to be sure we liked it before labeling everything, but relabeling is not that hard when we have to move a few things.

Stay Flexible

The system is not completely rigid, however. Occasionally the band really wants to hear the tracks in stereo, and if we’re not using synth 2, I’ll patch a send to route the tracks to the M-48s on 27 and 28. Sometimes we have both percussion and winds, and when we do, I’ll steal a few inputs from either vocals or synth 2.

It should also be noted that each of these inputs is patched to a corresponding channel in the SD8. Stereo sources are patched as stereo channels to conserve faders and channels (one of the best features of the SD8). Our baseline show file has the most commonly used channels on the surface, and we add, subtract and move as needed.

This whole process took a while to sort out, but now that it’s there, it takes no time to implement each week. In fact, most of the decisions are already made for us, it’s a simple matter of filling in the needed names.

As I said, this is developed for our situation, but I’ve done the same thing at other churches. In one church, we had four completely different bands rotating through each week and an analog console.

I spent many hours trying to figure out how to develop a standard patch for that situation, but once I did, weekend setup became a breeze.

Like most things we do in church tech, 90 percent of the effort is in preparation. Putting in the time up front makes the weekend run smoother, which is of course, the point of this whole series.

Next time, we’ll talk stage cabling.

Mike Sessler is the Technical Director at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, CA. He has been involved in live production for over 20 years and is the author of the blog, Church Tech Arts. He also hosts a weekly podcast called Church Tech Weekly on the TechArtsNetwork.

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