The installation is over - what about training?
The building is finished, the sound system is installed, the training session has ended, and the tail lights of the system installer are fading in the distance. What's next?! A well-deserved break for everyone!
Over and over we find churches in what will become a predicament pretty quickly if training is not addressed. With the upgrade, the church now needs 3-4 tech volunteers (or more) where it needed one or two before, and some of those people who just finished the training session have never even seen a mixer or a switcher before, and have little to no idea of how everything works together. They all seemed to understand, none of them had any more questions for the trainer when he asked, but many of your team members went home overwhelmed and under-prepared. And the weekend is coming.
For budget reasons, churches often opt out of ongoing training, but making the best use of the new equipment requires that people know how and why they're doing what they're doing. Recently, we've come across a new video curriculum called the Ultimate Live Sound School DVD Set. It's a DVD-based curriculum taught by David Wills, a professional touring engineer who has worked with lots of top music acts over the past several years. These videos allow you to look over the shoulder of a professional audio engineer who has worked with the top names in the business.
In Free Church Sound Training, David will tell you about his background, and that lesson will tell you who he knows and should give you a good sense that he can help prepare your team on the basics of sound theory, signal flow, mixing technique and much more. Click here to watch that free lesson.
The Free Church Sound Training is an introduction to the more detailed Ultimate Live Sound School DVD Set. A couple of us have started using this DVD set and the more detailed training videos for the Presonus Studio Live and Behringer X32 in our own churches and find the videos to be a powerful resource for both group and for individual training. For more info on the Ultimate Live Sound School DVD click here.
Unfortunately, we often find churches are not able to equip volunteers for success on their own so they experience lots of volunteer turnover. The Ultimate Live Sound School DVD set will allow you to spread the knowledge of proper audio system operation to the team in a way that is well-presented, non-threatening and that comes with the benefit of the teacher being an outside expert.
Right now, the Ultimate Live Sound School is priced at $50 off the normal $199.95 price at just $149.95. The Ultimate Live Sound School contains over 6 hours of training, plus bonus sessions, that your team can refer to as often as necessary and share among themselves. Click here to order the Ultimate Live Sound School DVD set now.
Two keys to sound systems that behave well.
Two keys to sound systems that behave well
When designing a sound system, physics still applies, no matter how hard I might wish that it wouldn't. Many venues that we work in have low ceilings and comparatively far distances to the last row of the seating area. Think of the typical 1970's Nazarene church -- long and low, and it could be built inexpensively with standard wood trusses and asphalt shingles. 60' from front to back, 10' side wall height, 14' roof peak.
The Inverse Square Law says that sound pressure level (SPL) or acoustic volume drops 6 decibels (dB) every time you double the distance from the sound source. If we measure 94dB at four meters from the speaker, the SPL will be 88dB at eight meters, 82dB at 16 meters, 76 dB at 32 meters, etc.
When designing systems, if we're asked, what we hope to find is a room that's about twice as deep as the ceiling is high. In that type of space we can keep the SPL difference to about 3-4dB over the seating area with conventional speakers. Note that in the example above, there's a 12dB difference for the person sitting 13.2' from the speaker and the person sitting 52.8' away. That's why the 1970's Nazarene church style building is a tough place to install a sound system, and to do it well (not to mention inexpensively). That difference is 12dB represents more than a 50% apparent reduction in acoustical volume.
That halving of volume is not a big deal, if you want people to be able to sit in relative audio comfort at the back of the room, but more often than not, the audio technician (who typically sits in a corner in the very back of the room) adjusts the SPL to his taste making the acoustic volume much louder (read as "too loud") up nearer the platform or stage.
Unfortunately, system performance is close to the last thing that many churches and other performance venues discuss prior to design and eventual construction.
How to stop your tech volunteers from quitting!
The grind of weekly set-up and tear-down will consume your volunteers, unless you give them the tools they need. It's that simple.
Virtually all churches we work with, especially those that are mobile, struggle with the same issues. Whether it's developing skilled sound and video operators before their families "want them back", having the time and resources to develop skilled people at all, or just the drain of getting started at 5:30AM for the 8:00 service and striking it all after lunch, keeping weekend production teams going forward is a tough job.
Let's make it easier!
What's the most thankless job on the weekend services production crew? Cable taper - hands down. Especially if your church sets up and tears down every week, your crew spends a lot of time on its hands and knees with rolls of gaffer's tape (that's often the wrong width) measuring out a couple arm's lengths and ripping it with their teeth, while trying to keep the lines straight.
And we ask why our volunteers don't stick around.
What if we could help you make taping cables the job that people wanted to do?
Happy tapers stick around to learn other tasks, feel more productive and spend less time crawling around on the floor. And really, who wants to crawl around on the floor?
The GaffGun from Gafftech might well be your best-ever investment in volunteer retention and growth. Imagine 10 minutes of taping being reduced to a minute. Take a look at the video below.
QSC Touchmix Android App - Just Released
Explore the power and intuitive workflow of the award-winning TouchMix interface for yourself. Download the free TouchMix Control App to your iOS or Android tablet for the virtual TouchMix experience.
The TouchMix Control App features:
• Complete wireless control of all TouchMix functions and features on iOS and Android tablets
• Personal stage monitor Aux mixing control on iOS and Android smart-phones
• Connect up to 12 iOS or Android devices in any combination simultaneously
With sound quality that rivals professional consoles costing ten times more, the TouchMix is... Simply Genius.
Learn more about TouchMix Control.
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What others say
I had consulted with some of the AVL Integrators whose ads had crossed my email/online path. The scope they were used to, including the cost, kept me searching. I talked with some integrators who wanted thousands (tens of thousands in some cases) of dollars to produce the initial design for our upgrades, and then would start the search for bids on that design. I kept searching. I was looking for someone who would be able to work with a church our size (1,000-1,200 in attendance per weekend total in 4 services), brainstorm with me on a design plan, and then walk through the priorities/cost maze that would likely present itself.
Then I remembered a voicemail I had received from Dave Horn of Truth Seeker Productions. When I listened to his voicemail, and then found out through other means that he had done significant work with a sister church of ours in Columbus, I had the feeling...that's right...the feeling that this was the guy to help us. So I called him, we met, and the path forward that he suggested was a very comfortable one for me, and the rest is history.
We are very satisfied with the projection upgrades in our worship center and fireside room (a total of 7 laser projectors), the larger, 16 X 9 screens everywhere, motorized screens where necessary, installation of 2 Allen & Heath digital audio consoles, upgraded LED lighting and controller, and a state of the art video control and routing system, allowing us to utilize IMag and live streaming.
Dave Horn and the Team at Truth Seeker are knowledgeable and up to date about all things AVL; good listeners, strategists, installers, and trainers. And, great service, even after the final check was paid!
They know how to work with Houses of Worship, "budgets," and how to help you make tough decisions. You'll be glad you contracted with them. We are!
Building Generations for Jesus Christ,
Pastor Brad Pilkington, Spring Hills Baptist Church