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Church Sound: Three Easy Ways For Preventing Feedback

Ways to avoid the dreaded amplification loop

By Chris Huff October 12, 2012

Let the worship music be heard without distraction. (Photo credit: David Alan Kidd)
This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.

 

You might be suffering from all three of these audio feedback problem areas. 

I’ve been emailing a sound tech overseas who has had feedback problems. 

In my initial email, I said it could be caused by one of a few things. 

As it turned out, he had all three conditions that were causing feedback. 

Let’s get to work…

Feedback is caused when a particular frequency becomes excited and is thus astronomically amplified causing the screeching and howling sounds. Reminds me of Halloween.

But seriously folks….feedback usually occurs when a sound is loud enough to be amplified by a stage monitor and then picked up by a microphone and gets into an amplification loop. In this loop, the amplified sound gets louder and louder until…

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!

The Three Easy Ways To Prevent Feedback

1) Place microphones in the right relationships to loudspeakers and monitors.

In the case of my overseas friend, his church setup had the pastor’s vocal microphone out in front of the house speakers. While such a scenario can work without having feedback, it’s a scenario that’s much more likely to experience feedback. 

This is especially true if the pastor moves the microphone or turns in a way that his/her body is no longer blocking sound between the house loudspeakers and the microphone.

Regarding floor monitors, vocalists should be very close to their floor monitor. The monitor volume should be loud enough that the musician can hear it but not so loud that the microphone picks up the sound when they are holding it up to their lips.

*Tip: Ask your singers not to drop their microphone to their side when they take a break.  Rather, ask them to first move away from the monitors and then they can lower their microphone.  Otherwise, they are essentially stuffing the microphone into the monitors and then it’s feedback city!


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About Chris

Chris Huff
Chris Huff

Writer/Teacher/Author, BehindTheMixer.com
 
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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