Since many churches aren’t large enough to have the acoustic volume from the stage diminish into the space of a large auditorium, the only feasible answer is to drastically reduce the acoustic volume of instruments, amplifiers, and monitors so that the sound in the public seating area is both manageable and not too loud.

The main offender in most cases is the volume of the drums. There are two choices to take care of that, and drummers don’t often like either of them. You can switch to electronic drums or you can put the drum set inside or behind a drum shield or isolation booth. Both can cut acoustic volume dramatically. If you choose the shield or isolation route, be prepared to buy some microphones.

I can hear you know, “if the drums are too loud, why on earth would I spend money to reduce the volume and then to increase it again?” That’s a fair question.

Inside an isolation booth, the congregation won’t hear any direct sound from the drum set. Using microphones will allow you to bring back just enough presence to make the sound the way you want it to be.

Electronic drum sets are another topic. No matter what anyone says, nothing feels like a real drum. Nothing sounds like a real drum. But the reality is that most electronic kits have better sounds than most churches are able to create with any combination of shields, isolation, microphones, processing, etc.

The drummer won’t like it, at least initially, but most everyone else will. Sometimes, we have to sacrifice. Seriously.

Minimizing the drum volume may take care of the issue for many of you by reducing the need for higher volumes to be heard over the drum kit. If not, your next most likely offenders are instrument amplifiers. Again, you have two choices; electronic emulation and isolation.

Tech 21 makes its SansAmp series of pedals that do really nice guitar amplifier emulation of well-known brands like Fender, Vox, Marshall, Orange, and more. They’re $149-299.95 and they work really well. Many guitar and bass players won’t want to give up their amps, but again, you might find that “giving up” a $299 practice amp for something that emulates a $1500 tube amplifier might not be a sacrifice after all.

Your other choice is to use an amplifier isolation booth, which will cut the volume in half. Again, you’ll need a microphone to pick up the sound that’s hiding inside the isolation booth, but that’s the price that you have to pay.

With those sources under control in terms of volume, you might find that the monitor speakers can continue to be used. If the monitor volume is still too loud, your only other solution is to go with what some call a Quiet Stage and to have all of your platform participants using in-ear monitors or headphones.

The possibilities for how to do in-ear monitors are endless. There are wired systems, wireless systems, systems with personal mixing (each user or group of users controls their own sound), systems that are simply extensions of your existing audio mixing console based around headphone amps.

To discuss specific solutions, give us a call. We’ve used and/or tried lots of things and everything that you’ve read about above has solved some problem for someone we know, alone or in combination with other products.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published