Virtually every small and medium-sized church with a band fights the same fight. I've heard it called "platform wars", "volume wars" and similar descriptions, but in most cases the facts are simple – the stage volume (monitors, instrument amplifiers and acoustical volume of instruments like drums) is simply too loud. And that additional volume forces the sound system in the main seating area to be even louder and/or worse sounding than it needs to be.

At my own church, we still fight with this most weekends and we're making progress. The first step we took was to get as many of our musicians as possible on earphones or headphones, and to eliminate stage monitor speakers.  That cost us less than $1000. We have some additional steps to take, but let's stick with solving the in-ear monitoring equation for now.

What we did was to buy a simple headphone amplifier, the HA4x4 from Elite Core. It's $119.99 and can provide up to four users the choice of between 1 and 4 different headphone mixes. Another good option is the PreSonus HP4 for $149.95.

How do you create a separate mix for ear/headphones? Most audio mixers have auxiliary mix busses and just like you'd send a feed to a monitor amplifier, you can do the same to a headphone amplifier. In this case, you can send up to four different mixes so that each musician can hear exactly what he or she wants to hear and at the precise volume they'd like, all without bothering anyone else or adding to the volume level in the seating area.

Elite Core also makes wired bodypacks with volume control. The WBP-VC gives the wearer a secure place to plug in the earphone mini-plug and an XLR connector for the connection to the headphone amplifier with a beltclip. Try the Elite Core Prohex-Core-18 at $37.99 to get the cable and volume control you need.

Combine all of that with a set of earphones from Shure like the SE-215 at $99.00 or ATH-M30x headphones from Audio Technica at $69.00.

Next time, we'll talk about making some or all of this wireless, but we wanted to give you an affordable entry point for reducing stage volume in your facility.

Let us help design a custom solution to quiet your stage volume today!


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