by Gary Williams
With the expanding use of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software to enhance live worship, whether self-produced or purchased from a third party such as Loop Community and other providers, we see an increasing need for tools that speed up your workflow.
The Behringer X-Touch is both a highly visual, intuitive, surface controller with 100mm moving faders, and also serves as a remote surface for any Behringer digital mixer up to and including the popular X32.
Here's how I use mine:
Home Studio aka as "The Living Room" (No, I'm not married.)
The X-Touch gives me complete control of Logic X running on a Mac. It performs all the critical, repetitive functions quickly without having to navigate a mouse around a large screen. More detailed functions like EQ adjustment, and fine tuning effects can be performed on the X-Touch, but I still prefer to drag EQ filters with a mouse and to manage plug-ins directly on-screen, although it's nice to know that I can make a quick adjustment on the controller with its function and value labeled on the backlit scribble strip.
If you're like me, one of your favorite things to do is memorize complicated keyboard shortcuts. Well, maybe not. Thankfully, the team at Behringer gives us clearly labeled buttons and knobs for all of the fixed functions, and backlit labels that change according to the function. This makes the X-Touch easy to navigate at a glance.
I also appreciate the large transport control buttons and jog wheel. In a short amount of time, I found that I didn't even need to look at the X-Touch. My fingers find those buttons on their own.
The jog wheel makes it simple to put my playhead right where I want it, alleviating one of the frustrations of every DAW I've ever used. On-screen timeline rulers are small and require precise mouse movement. For the number of times each session that I have to grab that mouse, the time savings add up quickly.
The biggest time saver for me is the ability to mix down multiple tracks at once. Even with some purchased tracks, certain sounds and parts cut through the mix better in different environments and within different sections of a song.
If you create your own loops or tracks, this is even more critical.
Block 96% of ambient light, without covering the windows
We could spend all day telling you about how Da-Lite Parallax screens block over 95% of ambient light from windows and and other light sources. We could describe how it maintains a bright, vibrant image even when a room is filled with natural light. We could thoroughly explain how it offers extremely wide viewing angles, with no speckle or glare. But we'd rather show you.
After all, seeing is believing. That's why Da-Lite created a video to show you the difference.
As you can see, the difference is striking. That's why if you have a brightly lit room, Parallax is the best screen choice for your project. Please call us for more information on this amazing new screen technology.
Feedback is not always bad.
by Mike Sessler, ChurchTechArts.org
Audio guys are taught to fear and loath feedback. We have parametric EQs, notch filters, magic boxes and feedback eliminators, all to keep feedback from rearing it's ugly head. The mix could be great, the lighting perfect and the song words spot on, but if the pastor's mic runs into feedback, you feel like you've failed. For most of us feedback=bad.
But Is It?
The feedback of which I speak in the opening paragraph is of course, the electro-acoustical kind. The mic picks up it's own signal, it goes through the amplification loop and repeats, ending in a high-pitched scream. And I agree, that kind of feedback is bad. But not all feedback is. In fact, sometimes, feedback can be very helpful.
Getting Better All The Time
Any sound engineer worth his salt should be striving to get better all the time. But how do we get better? How do we know if we're making progress or just making things louder? One really good way to get better is to get some feedback. By asking others to critique our mix, we will learn valuable insights and hopefully, get better. The challenge is, we're so trained to avoid feedback (the bad kind), that we tend to avoid all feedback (the good kind).
Now, it can be humbling to ask for feedback. I've done this in the past, and sometimes go home feeling less good about my skill level. However, after the sting wears off, and I've processed the feedback, my mixing usually gets better. It's easy to get caught in the trap of thinking we have this thing figured out and continue to do the wrong thing over and over again.
I don't know.
by Mike Sessler, ChurchTechArts.org
I see this all the time. People speaking authoritatively from a position of ignorance. The internet is awesome for this. Just check out any of the online forums or groups. And pick a topic - any topic. I of course see this in church tech groups, but it exists everywhere. I also see it in every day life. I'll hear someone make a fairly definitive statement that obviously comes from a place of no knowledge or background. But boy, are they convinced they're right. My mom used to have a magnet on the fridge that said, "My mind is made up - don't confuse me with the facts."
What does this have to do with being a technical leader in church? Quite a lot, actually. I've removed a large amount of equipment from various churches over the years, and I'm sure it was all installed confidently. That is, whoever installed it was confident in their choice. Even if that choice was not based in any kind of knowledge or experience. Even if it didn't work. At all. That wastes a lot of money and undermines trust in our profession.
Why does this happen? Well, I think there is an unnecessarily engrained concept in most of us that we have to be right all the time. And we have to know everything about our jobs. Now, the truth is, it's impossible to know everything about a subject. And if you ask people that have been doing a particular thing for a long time, they will likely tell you that the longer they do it, the more they realize they don't know.
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