OK, right off the bat I am not a sound guy. But my wife is a Sound girl. She has a wonderful ear for music and can make a church sound system work. I’m a tech guy. I can get computers to do what I want them to do, unless it’s a compaq then I just want to pull my 1911 pistol and shoot it eight times.
Working in the soundbooth is fun. It gives me something to do while the preacher is preaching. I run his powerpoint, and advance the slides for the worship service. I’m a man and men don’t sit still well, society labels this as ADHD but I am reading a great book about how I’m a man and society tries to force men into a girly little box (rabbit trail: when I finish I’ll do a full review of the book). The wife and I make a great team in the soundbooth, as long as I do exactly what she says…
We are doing Revival this week at church. It has been great. Allen Speed from Calvary Baptist, Jal NM is doing a great job preaching…for someone not from Texas. He used to be a Texan but he betrayed the Great Republic and went to New Mexico. Yeah, its only 18 miles due north of us, but still. Our worship leader is a guy named Ryan Dennis he is a bi-vocational pastor at West of the Pecos Cowboy Church, Pecos, Texas. He is a phenomenal music guy. He has a great voice, and can play a piano wonderfully. Both are great guys, we really like them, but Branalyn (my wife) wants to kill them… just a little bit. She has detailed her reasons here (http://www.branalyn.blogspot.com/)
It boils down to this. Most preachers/worship leaders have no idea how the soundbooth is ran. They think they do, but really they think it’s a magical place that makes the speakers work, and when they don’t obviously we are idiots who have no clue what we are doing. And them giving us a powerpoint, 2 specials on 2 separate cds and a video, and “by the way we’re using two mics because this one is a duo” at 6:55pm when we start at 7:00pm has nothing to do with our inability to preform these simple tasks. Not to mention we are stuck with a Compaq that proceeds to crash at 6:57pm when we test the video. (We tested the video because last time we tried a video it crashed during the middle of the service).
It is not that hard to get everything going but like anything it takes time to get everything set up correctly. So here are some simple rules that will make youe worship service go smoothly and your so your soundbooth people wont be plotting your doom.
- Have a plan. Know what you are doing before you start. Nothing is worse than starting one song that we though was first, then hear “That one comes last” Also if you are singing certain songs we can even put the words on screen.
- Share your plan with the Soundbooth. A well written order of service is a wonderful thing; it is the Gospel to the Soundbooth.
- Share this plan AT LEAST 45 minutes before the start of the service. This allows everything to get cued up and ready to go with time to work out any bugs. Also people are not there yet so your video isn’t spoiled when we make sure it’s running right.
- Do a sound check. This makes sure that you actually turned your wireless mic on and we don’t have to interrupt you. And inevitably the speaker always asks the soundbooth guys if he is on, because it’s always our fault that you never turned the mic on.
- If you aren’t an expert keep the advice to yourself, nothing is worse than trying to resolve an issue and 15 people are offering advice such as “Is it plugged in?” ” Is the volume up?”
- Never tap or blow on a mic, this can damage them and is just tacky. Say something, if you have your mic turned on we can fix it.
- We are only as good as the equipment you give us. We have spent hours redoing the entire sound system at our church, called people, read the instructions. It’s as good as it gets with what we have to work with.
- We are only human, and are volunteers; and can only do so many things at once, give us a second to get things going before you say something.
- Branalyn feels that it should be a requirement for anyone on stage to spend time in the sound booth to gain a little perspective.
- Technology is always changing and improving. The way we did things 10years ago is much different than today. Send your sound guys to a training every now and again so they know how to use new technologies.
I don’t say any of this to be rude, Branalyn and I enjoy the soundbooth its a way we get to serve our church. This is just to let everyone else know what it is like to do this job. And maybe get a few less dirty looks.