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Church Sound: Technical Issues Aren’t Always Technical

Thinking outside of the "techie" box

By Brian Gowing June 7, 2013

This article is provided by Gowing Associates.

A couple of issues that arose in a couple of the churches I support bred the title for this post.

I realized after these events that it’s sometimes hard for techie types to think outside of the technical box. They sometimes get so focused that they can’t see the forest for the trees. Some of this is due to not having enough technical knowledge and experience. Some of it is due to the exact opposite. I know that doesn’t make much sense but bear with me.

Event #1
I received a phone call from one of the techs at a church. They’ve been there for a couple of hours checking to ensure that everything is working on the new computer that was installed the week before. Since they use split tracks, they were trying to figure out where the balance control was in Media Player 10 to select between the music and the vocal track.

Well, it turns out that while it used to be in the graphic equalizer plug-in in Media Player 9, Microsoft appears to have taken it out of 10. So I had them load up Winamp which took care of that issue since it does have a balance control. Problem number one solved.

Then they were attempting to play a video, but were only getting the video and not the sound. I had them download and install the K-Lite Mega Codec pack which solved Problem 2. So far so good. I hang up the phone and go about my day.

A couple of hours later I received another call from the tech saying that the monitor screen that is “Y-d” with the rear confidence projector feed is showing blurry and doubled. Since I had checked all three monitor outs when I set up the desktop the week before I knew that all of them were working correctly on the front and rear projectors and the control monitor when I left.

The tech had tried everything he knew. I’m thinking about all the possible permutations of what could cause it, from a bad graphics card, bad Y adapter, bad cable, bad driver, etc. Keep in mind the tech has been trying to get this resolved for the last hour or so. All I’m thinking about is that I hate computers at this point!

I asked him if the projector also is showing the bad graphics since I’m figuring that if the projector and the monitor are both showing the same bad stuff, chances are good that it’s either the Y adapter or the graphics card. He hadn’t tried the projector so I had him go upstairs to turn it on. No projector. It turns out the pastor had borrowed it and didn’t tell anyone.

So I asked him track down the projector and plug it in. Viola! Everything is hunky-dory!

Moral of this story: Don’t take for granted that everything is where its supposed to be. He could have saved himself a lot of time had he turned on all of the equipment because he would have noticed a missing projector.

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