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Church Sound: Technical Issues Aren’t Always Technical

Thinking outside of the "techie" box

By Brian Gowing June 7, 2013

Event #2
This one happened at my church. I was running sound during Thursday night rehearsal and everything sounded good, even having some fun times seeing just how loud our system can run (105 dB, and yes, the dust was coming off the HVAC ducts from the amount of bass that was pumping through the system.

Everyone goes home happy. Saturday night service rehearsal starts, and after the first song the worship leader asks “Did anyone hear that scratchy, ticking sound?” To which everyone in the band replied affirmatively.

We started diagnosing the problem by muting all the channels and going one by one through each channel attempting to determine what was causing it. We got to the acoustic guitar channel and the musician started playing. Well… waddaya know? There it is! It’s clicking and scratching like crazy. When he stops playing the noises went away.

The worship leader informed me that the same thing happened the week before, and they replaced the instrument cable, which seemed to get rid of it. Hmmm… So I started a decision tree in my head about what the cause might be and ruled most everything out.

I asked the acoustic guitar player to start playing, and noticed that he was wearing a long-sleeve dress shirt. I stopoed him and asked if his shirt had buttons on the cuff and opening. It does.

So I asked him to roll up his sleeves. No more scratching, no more ticking. Everyone was like, “seriously?” Yup. Problem solved

Moral of the story: Take a step back and observe before you dive into technical problem solving. The time and angst you save just might be your own.

The overall point of this post, or as my buddy Chris Huff at Behind The Mixer says, “The Take Away,”  is to avoid getting so focused on finding a technical solution to a problem that you overlook the obvious.

Sometimes looking at the environment will help you place the problem in perspective. While a significant number of technical problems can only be solved by technical solutions, don’t ignore the non-technical possibilities.

Brian Gowing has helped over 30 churches meet their technology requirements. Brian works towards shepherding the church, analyzing their technical requirements, sourcing the equipment, installing the equipment and training the volunteer personnel.  As he likes to say, “equipping the saints with technology to help spread the Good News.” Contact Brian here.

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