In a grand hall, a huge coliseum, and even a huge sanctuary, the more likely our mentality is “let’s do this the right way.”
Running sound in large venues drives us towards excellence. Now what is your mentality in a very small room?
If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself slipping into five pitfalls. Learn those pitfalls and how you can avoid them.
1. We don’t need no stinkin’ microphones
The biggest pitfall in a small room is the lack of microphones.
I’ve fallen into this thinking a few times myself.
Each time, it revolved around one instrument; the piano. A small room, a grand piano…maybe a baby grand…lift the lid and let the music waft out…um, no.
The problem with thinking that the piano doesn’t need a microphone is while it might sound pretty good during a practice, when the room fills with people, it can get lost.
Use microphones on instruments no matter how small the room. You’ll be able to bring up the volume when it’s needed…and of course you can’t put an instrument into a monitor if it doesn’t have a mic!
2. Amp’s rule, boys drool
Ok, I’ve been hanging around my 11-year old daughter a lot and her lingo is starting to wear off on me.
In a small sanctuary, it’s easy to think that a guitar amp can fill the room with enough sound. While that can be true, there are two critical issues with this thinking; volume and direction.
First off, if you allow an amp total control over the volume of the room, then you lose the ability to control the volume.
As soon as the guitarist switches from pedal A to pedal B with 2x the volume, you’ll be suffering.
The other issue is direction. Whoever is sitting in the sanctuary and is inline with the amp, is getting an earful of that instrument.
There are a few things you can do; mic the amp while making sure the amp’s volume is low, use a line-out option on the amp, and point the amp up at the guitarist so that’s not directed at people in the congregation.
The only exception to this is a bass amp. If the room is small, you might not need to mic it as long as you’ve got a good steady volume. But that’s another story.