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Church Sound: EQ The Sound Stage In 13 Easy-To-Follow Steps

Bringing out the particular frequencies in each voice and musical instrument

By Chris Huff December 19, 2012

This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.


Mixing a worship team is more than just setting sound levels.

Mixing involves bringing out the particular frequencies in each voice and musical instrument that, when combined together, present a high quality, emotional sound. 

A high quality sound means no low hums, no muddy sound, no high tinny sounds

To better understand it, listen to a well EQ’d classical music CD. In classical music, there are so many unique instruments each with their own ranges and uniqueness.

Here is a simple 13-step process to mixing:

Step 1

This simple stage is a preparation step that makes audio mixer work easier…group instruments and vocals logically when patching cables into the stage. 

For example, all drum microphones should be in consecutive channels such as 3, 4, 5 and 6. Not 1, 3, 7, and 8.  Backing vocal singers in 2, 3, 4, not 1, 7, 9. When you’re behind the mixer, it’s easier to deal with sets of similiars when they are grouped together.

Step 2

Complete all stage work regarding setting up the stage. Complete any on-stage conversations. In short, have everything for the service ready – minus the mixing of course, so you have nothing to mentally distract you. 

Mixing is just as much art as science so we want to let the creative part of the mind work unburdened.

Step 3

Have the mixing area clean of clutter and have a pen/pencil and writing pad available. It’s better to use a writing pad than the back of a scrap piece of paper. The writing pad means never running out of room when you write.

Step 4

Just like I tell my kids before we get in the car…“use the restroom.” The last thing you need is to be halfway through mixing and get distracted with that problem. 

After all, as soon as you leave the sound booth, you are more likely to talk with people and thus break your focus even more.

Step 5

Now that you’re ready to sit down at the mixer…

1. Label all channels. Label so you recognize them immediately when you see them. Therefore, label “Donna Vocal” and not “Vocal 2.” If you’re far away and can’t see who is who, then you might use location; “Left Vocal”/“Middle Vocal” etc.

2. Optional. Place your channels into groups. Groups allow a single fader to control the overall volume of a set of channels. Therefore, you can fade out the band with one finger instead of having your fingers on eight faders and trying to make it sound good.

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About Chris

Chris Huff
Chris Huff

Chris Huff is a long-time practitioner of church sound and writes at Behind The Mixer, covering topics ranging from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians – and everything in between.


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