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Church Sound: Turning “More Me” Into Quality

Sometimes it's wise to remember the old adage "less is more"

By Gary Zandstra May 24, 2013

Photo: blkmage.

What is it about sound engineers and musicians getting along?

In my experience, getting these two groups in sync is like putting angry cats in a room full of dogs. Sometimes there’s enough tension that it feels as though a fight is going to break out.

While commissioning a sound system in another state, my friend Jeff saw the cats and dogs ready to brawl, and also picked up some new lingo that I’d like to share with you here.

During the final rehearsal before the opening Sunday at a new church building, Jeff, having finished commissioning the system, was hanging at the tech booth, listening to and watching the worship band rehearse. 

The all-too-typical scenario played out—the musicians on stage kept asking for more monitor. The mix engineer, doing both house and monitors, was struggling to get any clarity in the house mix because the wash from the stage was overtaking the room. 

To remedy the situation, he was subtly backing down the level of the stage monitors as he boosted the level of the main system. Not necessarily a bad plan, a bit sneaky, but sometimes you do what you have to do. If he kept escalating the monitor level, there would be no hope of having a decent mix.

After a while—and a 9 dB reduction in stage volume—one of the singers demanded more monitor. The engineer, undaunted, resorted to a sleight of hand move, acting like he was turning up the monitor, all the while smiling at the stage.

This move seemed to satisfy the singer, at least for a few minutes, but then in the middle of the next song, as he struggled to keep his pitch, he stopped singing and shouted into the microphone “More Me Monitor,” turning red in the face. He then emphatically pointed to the monitor in front of him and once again yelled “More Me Monitor!” 

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About Gary

Gary Zandstra
Gary Zandstra

Consultant, Dan Vos Construction, Writer for Worship Facilities and ProSoundWeb
Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years. He’s also contributed numerous articles to ProSoundWeb over the past decade.


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