Top Ten Ways to Annoy Your Sound Engineer

The importance of sound engineers on Sunday mornings cannot be overstated. You, your team, your choir, your musicians, your pastors, and your pet turtles can rehearse every day of the week, but if your sound engineer falls asleep on Sunday morning or decides to blast the congregation with 15 seconds of screaming feedback, nothing else can matter.

So then it’s important not to annoy them. You want to be on the same team, striving for the same goal, building one another up in love, and not harboring resentment or frustration. An annoyed sound engineer will either (a) quit, (b) not care, or (c) both.

Some worship leaders might not realize how they’re annoying their sound engineer. Here are ten ways:

Unplug your guitar without making sure the channel is muted first. News flash: your sound engineer often has 89 things on his mind. Catch his eye and make sure he’s muted your guitar before you unplug it and make all the old ladies jump out of their skin.

Look at your sound engineer like it’s his fault when you do something stupid. I’ve mastered the art of this one. Let’s say I unplug my guitar before the channel is muted. Old ladies then jump out of their skin, and parents throw themselves on top of their children to protect them from the sounds of gunfire. What do I do? I look at the sound engineer like he should be ashamed of himself. For some reason this annoys them…

Always ask for more. I need a little bit more of my voice. OK now I need less Susan. And can I have more of my guitar? OK, now I need a lot more of my voice. I’m still hearing too much keyboard. Can you turn my guitar up please? Now I could use less electric. I can’t hear my voice. Is my guitar in this thing? (kneel down and put your ear to the monitor) I don’t think this monitor is on. Can you turn me up in it? I just need a lot less of everybody else and a whole lot more of me. Yes, just turn me up. Turn the rest of the band down. I could still use a lot more of my guitar. Can you give me some reverb please?

Assume that your request is the most important thing in the whole wide world. News flash: your sound engineer often is having to deal with burned out batteries, bad cables, setting gain structures, EQ, feedback, running monitors, recording the sermon, making sure the preacher has a mic, fixing the projector, dealing with complaints, and guitarists who are unplugging their guitar before the channel is muted. Just because you’re the worship leader and your guitar is too loud at the moment doesn’t mean he can drop all those things to attend to you.

Can you come down here and move this monitor three inches while I stand here with my guitar and watch you run down from the sound desk and back again? Sure, I could move it myself, but I’m the worship leader and I have to protect my hands.

Assume that your sound engineer can read minds. You want your back-up singer to start off the third song? Do you think you could tell your sound engineer ahead of time? No, it’s probably a better idea to keep that a secret and let him read your mind.

I know that you’re a sound engineer and have been setting up for three hours and have carefully considered mic placement and how to avoid feedback, but I’m the worship leader and I’d like to move everything around please. I’ve done this and it’s not pretty. You’re now moving beyond the realm of annoying your sound engineer into provoking his wrath and indignation against you.

Expect your sound engineer to defy the limits of the sound board. OK, so this Sunday I have four vocalists, 2 guitars, an electric, a bass, drums, keyboard, hand percussion, a small choir, a trumpet player, a synthesizer, and flute. Nevermind we have an 8-channel board and 2 monitor mixes. Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves, right? Get on it, sound engineer. Work your miracles.

Treat your microphone like it’s contagious. I like to sing with my mouth 8 inches away from the microphone. That way it lets the “space” get into the sound. Treat the microphone like it’s contagious. It’s awesome. It’s the new thing. My sound guy loves it. But for some reason it’s never loud enough. Go figure.

Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, we didn’t tell you that we decided half an hour ago to change the order of the service and what person was assigned to speak at different times. There was a moat filled with hungry alligators that was keeping us from reaching the sound desk, and those alligators had cell phone blocking technology which kept my text messages from going through, and those loud popping noises you heard were the hungry alligators unplugging my guitar when the channel wasn’t muted. You should really be more attentive.

62 thoughts on “Top Ten Ways to Annoy Your Sound Engineer

  1. Gord December 12, 2011 / 10:49 am

    You forgot about not being ready to start on time even though the sound guy was there an hour early to get things ready so you could.

    • Jason Johns February 13, 2012 / 4:43 am

      Oh snap sound guy! Haha if I did that when I was leading my sound guy would be super irritated hahaha. But then again, he’s a sweet man. He’d probably just sit there and smile and say, “no big deal”

    • Shawn K February 17, 2014 / 8:46 am

      Amen!

  2. Dave February 26, 2013 / 6:08 pm

    This is just too funny! You have certainly worked / volunteered in the wonderful world of church audio. Also known as combat audio.

  3. drew March 5, 2013 / 7:21 pm

    Just read this now – yip, can relate (but I’m also a muso!)

  4. Ian Goodwin December 31, 2013 / 8:05 am

    I have a screaming fit when my churches band does any of these yet nothing changes.

  5. Holley February 17, 2014 / 8:35 am

    LOL!!! I can personally attest to every single one of these! Although I will add one, “Excuse me madam, I need to talk to the sound guy.” Yeeeaaahhhh….. I’m standing behind the sound desk but there’s no way the sound “guy” could possibly be a girl with 7 years studio experience….. nope not possible 🙂

    • Malcolm January 18, 2016 / 8:39 pm

      Some of the best engineers are women.

  6. Sue Ellen February 17, 2014 / 9:33 am

    You forgot choir demands such as half of them saying they need more sound and the other half saying it’s too loud, turn it down.

  7. Darryl February 17, 2014 / 10:08 am

    Just another day in paradise 🙂

  8. Jake Blues February 17, 2014 / 10:15 am

    This would never happen at my church, we have the most tight worship team and all program material has been rehearsed on Tuesday and Wednesday so were all on the same page… 😉

  9. Justin February 17, 2014 / 12:05 pm

    Or when someone on the worship team decides to changes something on the board or with the snakes because they wanted to “try something,” (when no member of the tech team was there), and “forgot” to tell you what he did and then looks at you like you’re an idiot when you can’t immediately fix the problems that they created by messing with the sound in the first place.

  10. Ty February 17, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    That article is just a job description. Sound guys need to be competent and fast enough to deal with that stuff. Don’t run sound if you can’t handle the job!

  11. Tony February 17, 2014 / 5:05 pm

    Ty, I think you forget that most of us are Volunteers and rarely get payed its not a Job. We do this because we love to do it and its our service to our Lord. For me its because its my way to worship. There is nothing better than to have that perfect mix on a Sunday morning.

  12. andygledhill94 February 17, 2014 / 5:08 pm

    Reblogged this on agledz and commented:
    All very true, note to everyone – Don’t do any of thease

  13. Nicholas February 17, 2014 / 7:16 pm

    I think your sound engineer needs to chill out. Seems easily stressed!

  14. dave February 18, 2014 / 3:07 am

    Musicians in churches will expect a full professional attitude and result from the sound person but often, when the same thing is expected of them, they play down the importance of professionalism in favour of “it’s the message that counts”. Of course it is!!! So do your beliefs and congregation a favour and get your end of things together. You are fortunate in the US having quality audio installations in churches. In the UK you would rarely ever see a monitor or even a quality microphone, let alone a competent sound engineer!

    • Rubin January 2, 2015 / 6:40 am

      Well said, David!

    • Karen January 8, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      I have to disagree here. I am in UK and have been to plenty of churches that have good sound installations with wireless Microphones and plenty of monitors for the musicians, run by highly competent sound engineers. And as a worship band member I am very grateful for this.

  15. Samie February 18, 2014 / 3:22 am

    even when someone sing off key still sound-man Problem

    • Michael Smith September 4, 2014 / 2:02 pm

      Auto tune, or change key of track so vocal can reach it

  16. NeilS February 18, 2014 / 3:53 am

    There’s one important word that everyone is forgetting. “Morning”.
    Almost everyone, except the sound person, is half asleep. But that’s ok because they’ll be awake later after the service to rehearse the impromptu and scrappy ‘quick’ drama for the evening service, that they didn’t need any sound for; except of course a couple of wireless mics, couple of statics, PowerPoint presentation (with music from x.xx second to x.xx second), etc…

  17. Tony Papa February 18, 2014 / 3:01 pm

    Soundcheck?
    I have just arrived!
    We start the show within 2 minutes!

  18. Alex February 18, 2014 / 6:01 pm

    Would that the world was filled with committed sound guys who were there for the practices as well as the Sunday services… I’ve worked both sides but from a muso POV there is nothing more annoying that having spent the practice without the sound guy (but with a trained person from the band doing set up) settting up the levels, mics, fold backs etc only to come in on the Sunday and find out that the sound guy has put it all back to standard settings because he didn’t know what you were planning – he would if he could be bothered to turn up to the practice! Rant over and thank you to all the professional and committed sound engineers out there – you make our lives wonderful 🙂

  19. Simon February 18, 2014 / 8:29 pm

    A note – Sound guys often aren’t told about practices till maybe the phone call saying ‘where are you?’ and a friendly email giving the details of the set-up for the service would solve the problem. My experience as a sound guy and heading up the tech team has been that if I have not heard that the set-up as left is from the band that is playing on the Sunday morning it is as likely not to be as it is to be. Yes maybe sometimes we as sound guys should ask. however I’m not always inclined to when I’ve spent several hours fixing the system this week and requested that the service be kept simple as I’m running the limp home rig because X or Y has gone wrong, or someone ‘borrowed’ half the cable stock etc. As a general rule, if you don’t email me by Friday night then its not going to be all ready for Sunday morning due to time restraints. oh and the set-up from your Wednesday practice… yeah we had the monthly youth event on Friday so it all got moved for that one…

    Kinda cant labour the point enough, your sound guy needs to be told about things before they happen else its the whole reading minds situation.

    same goes for preachers and power-points and videos… we don’t have an installed projector because our buildings too light and its unusable for half the year… don’t look surprised when I haven’t just bought my one from home, nor my laptop to run it….

  20. Tom February 18, 2014 / 8:43 pm

    If things go well, nobody notices, but if something goes wrong, everyone turns around and says with a frown “who’s running sound this morning?”
    We should all be gracious and respectful and appreciative and professional, doing our best, but sometimes things just don’t work together right. So I agree with Ty that some level of this unfair treatment comes with the job. If you can’t handle some of this, you ought to find another gift to offer/place to serve. No hard feelings.

    • Bill November 25, 2015 / 9:47 am

      When something with the sound goes wild, tie your shoes… When everybody turns around the sound booth will be empty… 🤗

      • Jamie Brown December 14, 2015 / 12:32 pm

        Those are wise words right there…

  21. Tim February 19, 2014 / 3:55 am

    Bottom line: if you’re going through a desk the sound engineer can make or break your sound, which means s/he should be chosen using the same care and criteria as the worship leader. They’re just as much part of the worship team as anyone else.

  22. Derek February 19, 2014 / 6:40 am

    John 13:34-35 – ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.””NIV
    If we all follow Jesus commandment and example, by loving each other and laying aside our own self importance, and then doing what we do for Jesus Kingdom, glory and praise, there should never be a problem in this area. We should all be working together to achieve the same goal, the proclamation of the gospel of Christ. 1 Goal = 1 Team.

    I’ve been on both sides of this discussion and gotten it wrong on both sides so I’ll not judge but if love drives us, love for Christ, love for His people, love for the lost, love for our team (musos and sound guys together), what a beautiful example and display of Jesus nature that would be. The congregation would never see an annoyed muso or frustrated sound guy. They would arrive to see a united team, ready to serve them. Ready to worship.
    And we would all sound better, be less stressed and enjoy what we are doing a whole lot more.

    Basically lets all put others before ourselves and treat them with love. They are just as important as you are (or as unimportant as you are).

    Blessings to all the sound guys(or girls) and musos who serve in God’s kingdom. Thank you for your service.

  23. Leif February 19, 2014 / 9:40 pm

    The best scenario: a worship leader who used to run sound with an audio engineer who used to lead music. I had this perfect arrangement for quite a while, and worship services were so smooth. The “oneness” factor was never an issue because we had healthy perspective and a good understanding of the challenges of both jobs. It’s all about Jesus, I know, but things are so good when there’s mutual understanding.

  24. Alex February 20, 2014 / 5:10 am

    Just to clarify the rant earlier – our practices are on the same night at the same time every week and we do have a rotating band so the levels and set up does vary each week. The sound engineers are aware of the time and the day, they just choose not to attend… I’ve also led a youth band in the past and had a team of two technical peeps who did both attend the practices and everything always ran smoothly on the Sundays as a result. Collaboration is a wonderful thing and Leif – what a fantastic scenario!

  25. Mary P. New March 21, 2014 / 6:47 pm

    As part of the congregation, I have noticed that “seamless sound” is not noticed, nor appreciated – just taken for granted. Sound is noticed when it does something out-of-order to get the attention of the listeners. As the mom of a sound-guy of over 24 years, I know that they can be invisible unless perfection fails. And, importantly,
    acknowledge these servants and professionals when appropriate and feed them at events when they too would like a meal, just as your hungry guests! Just a Mom

  26. bud April 12, 2014 / 12:29 pm

    Being from a very small church, with a budget of $0.00, using equipment that is twenty years old with the exception of the computer which is an old dell running xp and a screen projector that is about 7 or 8 years old. We( which is just me running the both the audio and video equipment) and 2 – 3 singers are expected to put together a song service in 30 minutes before the Sun morning service before church.
    Not to mention many times just minutes before the service we are told of a change in the order of service or someone wants a video or something found on the internet and you are expected to do all this in just minutes before the service. Why do I do it you might ask Because the Lord has laid it on my heart to try to do this until someone comes along to do it right. Pray for us…….

    • Dave Shain January 2, 2015 / 2:03 pm

      maybe he wants you to be a part of making it right… shift your focus and start talking with those who make decisions.

  27. sowingmercy April 25, 2014 / 6:28 am

    Ha! Now I have some, albeit limited, understanding of what our sound engineer went through this last few weeks before Easter. And they pulled it off.

  28. sowingmercy April 25, 2014 / 6:29 am

    And our sound engineer also told me where to hold the microphone for my solo. I listened.

  29. mchael smith May 20, 2014 / 10:12 pm

    I love talkback thru monitors so I can listen to the choir and respond to them that dont know I can hear the church ladies gossip, my fav response is this is god I hear yo and watch them all squirm wondering who is that ? 🙂

  30. Steve May 21, 2014 / 3:38 pm

    I’m a a drummer and my sound guy always gets annoyed when the youth band is on. For some reason he hates laptops plugged into the board, but when the service is finished, he cheers us on. Sound guys are amazing though. Beautiful servants of God.

  31. Mike January 2, 2015 / 2:05 am

    What’s the old adage…”An actor without techies is a naked person standing in the dark trying to emote. A techie without actors is a person with marketable skills.”

  32. Dave Shain January 2, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    1. Pay attention to the song set. After all, Contemporary Christian music is pretty funny. It’s a mix of worship and egotism and pleas. Most songs are all about me anyway. I want, I think, I know, I see, I feel, I am, I do, I will, etc., etc. Why bring God into every song? Throw four (or better yet, five) of them into any given Sunday and watch the Sound Engineer’s head fall off. It reattaches easily. He’s used to it.

    2. Speaking of the song set – Pay attention to the pronunciation of the lyrics – especially the ending syllables. There’s no difference in “falling into the arms of gray” and “falling into the arms of grace”. That’s not even mentioning Jesus (aka Jees, Jeesah, Jesuh, Jeesas). It shouldn’t matter as they called him Yeshua back in the day anyway, right?. Maybe it IS a faulty microphone, after all.

    3. Speaking of the lyrics… pay attention to the lyrics. Opening with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is most appropriate around the time of celebrating the birth of Jesus. It even references The Fates (three sister deities, incarnations of destiny and life. Their names being Clotho, the one who spins the thread of life; Lachesis, she who draws the lots and determines how long one lives, by measuring the thread of life; and Atropos, the inevitable, she who chose how someone dies by cutting the thread of life with her shears.) Any Worship Leader knows that “Thou shall have no other gods before me” is more of a guideline than a command. Make sure your Sound Engineer knows that, too. He’ll appreciate you for telling him that “English changes – get over it.” It’s all about production for him anyway.

    4. Be more flexible with your song set so your Sound Engineer doesn’t get bored. Adding new songs as you feel the need (especially while already playing a live worship set) is good for keeping him on his toes. The levels set for each instrument and the actual mix are secondary to being “spontaneous”. The presets for effects timing, panning, gates, limiters, and channel selection shouldn’t be complicating a mixing board in the first place, and he definitely needs the exercise because he just sits there all the time. Plus, it being a “set” is an oxymoron.

    5. Make the conscious decision between “in-ears”, and using stage monitors. There’s already enough to mix without a “stage mix” for clammering band preferences – That’s what “ears” are for. Go with “in-ears”. Then, leave them both IN instead of one in and one out. If you “want to hear what it sounds like in the house”… use a house mix in your ears. That way you can stop screaming or strumming harder to be heard. Your instrument will thank you, also.

    6. Pay attention to people in the audience once in a while. It’s funny how noticeable it is when everyone’s hands are not raised in worship. You see that ok, don’t you? What you don’t see is that they are staring at YOU, not at the Sound Engineer at the back of the room. Glare at your Sound Guy harder. He obviously isn’t paying attention, and they appreciate the funny faces you make to keep things light.

    7. Offer to double the Sound Engineer’s salary… or better yet, joke about doubling it in front of them. They’re a volunteer anyway, so you can be twice as generous here, at least. Triple it, even (3 times nothing is greater than 2 times nothing). They may have been doing this for years, in different venues, with dozens of musicians, bands, and even have valid industry training and certification. But, at the end of the day they still aren’t being paid, and are usually there as much as you are (or more). Not being paid automatically excludes them from being professionals. Ever thought about volunteering yourself? Like you – they don’t need to eat.

    8. Even though it’s been mentioned elsewhere, it’s important enough to mention it again here… hold the microphone in front of your mouth, or step up to the microphone when it’s in its cradle on a mike stand. If your voice is coming out of your nipples or your belly button, maybe you should hold the microphone there.

    9. When leaving the stage during rehearsal in order to hear what the band sounds like in the rest of the room, and then going to the sound booth for possible adjustments, make sure you are yelling loud enough at other people discussing it in front of the Sound Engineer. After all, there’s stuff coming out of the amps and you need to be heard indirectly by the Sound Engineer. He’s only listening for your voice and your instrument anyway. It’s called critical listening for a reason.

    10. Start calling them the Sound Guy or the Sound Gal. They only think they’re engineers. They’re not building or driving anything. Better yet, make it personal. Every Sound Engineer throughout history has oddly been named “Hey” by their parents (yes, even the ladies). So feel free to keep saying “Hey, I need more of me in my mix”, or “Hey, can you give me less drums”, etc.

    11. Keep adding instruments so it looks better. One Bass, three Electric guitars and five Acoustic guitars just looks so cool. The fact that there are only three distinct parts to play, and six of them are all strumming power chords doesn’t affect anything. Better yet – add even more and just don’t use their sound feeds. No one will notice musicians playing with no sound coming from them. Think Milli Vanilli.

    12. Just as good as #11 –Once in a while, pick a song with an instrument that you don’t normally use, say a banjo. Then use a pre-recorded track and get someone to stand onstage and pretend they are actually playing it. Again, no one will notice. It’s only worship and looking cool beats musicianship hands-down. Better yet – pick a percussion instrument like an xylophone or steel drum.

    13. Variation on #9 above: Bring your Acoustic guitar with you and continually play your normal part while in the sound booth. It’s helpful for the Sound Engineer to be able to see your frets occasionally. It doesn’t affect the mix at all, because you’re offstage.

    14. Break it up. Switch it around. Don’t tell your Sound Engineer. Better yet – encourage your Pastor to start from the back of the room instead of entering from back stage. He can worship in the sound booth (or right next to it) with his amazingly loud voice. Improve on it by encouraging him to encourage others to join in. Chances are that there are ushers, lighting, camera, and computer people nearby. Bonus points if he can tap or bang on something and has little or no sense of rhythm.

    15. Keep moving on up the ladder. You came from a 200 seat venue and are now leading a 2,500 seat venue with three full services. 200 people to +7,000? Wow, you obviously know what you’re doing… so it’s ok that the first thing you do is get rid of that $30,000 Aviom in-ear system and go back to the stage monitors they used ten years ago. Bonus points for doing away with the band click-track entirely. It’s also distracting to the Sound Engineer that doesn’t listen to it anyway.

    16. Variation on #14 above: Don’t tell the person who brings an instrument (in the congregation every Sunday and plays from their seat), that they should stop. This isn’t about worship, or excellence, or presentation. It’s all about them. You might offend the Sound Engineer if you politely explain to a congregant that they need to stop.

    17. Always remember that your ears are the standard that all is measured to. When you’re younger, there needs to be more bass. As you get older, there needs to be more treble. When you’re really old, there needs to be more everything. Can’t you’re Sound Engineer finally realize how old you are? Tell him what you want constantly. See #10 and #14 if in doubt.

  33. Rick Bazuin January 2, 2015 / 9:07 pm

    Noticing the “mute the guitar” comment more than once. An “inline” tuner pedal with “mute” could remedy the problem. Yes, very common problem!

  34. Larry January 3, 2015 / 6:05 pm

    I’ve always found that a flask of Scotch
    tends to smooth out the bumps in the service; me and The Lord have an understanding.

  35. Stephen Ward January 3, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    We have an understand between myself and the rest of the music ministry at Living Grace. Every time someone new comes onto the team, part of their requirement is to meet with me. I sit down with them, usually with coffee, and we go over a few “commandments.”

    Commandment #1: I am the primary sound technician here at Living Grace. I was appointed to this job because I am good at it, and because I am passionate about it. You will respect these parameters.

    Commandment #2: In lieu of Commandment #1, you will NEVER tell me how the “sound guy at your last church” used to do it. He’s not at Living Grace. I am.

    Commandment #3: You will make every conceivable effort to ensure that I have your full and undivided attention before you ask me for something, as I am at all times relatively busy. You will also learn the importance of waiting your turn. If I can’t get to you immediately, I will eventually, so be patient.

    Commandment #4: You will NOT EVER tell me how “it’s supposed to sound in the house.” I have a standard. I have a system. Very rarely do I ever receive complaints from the congregation on the quality of the sound, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s fine.

    Commandment #5: I spent several hundred hours helping Living Grace raise money for those fancy Aviom in-ear monitors you have on stage, so I don’t HAVE to worry about your monitor mix, because I was sick of it. You will take care of those in-ear systems to the best of your ability, or you will lose the privilege of using them. Period.

    Commandment #6: Do not expect me to fix your instrument if something happens to it. That’s not what I do.

    Commandment #7: If you have any special sound needs for the service, make sure you notify Pastor Alan (worship pastor) NO LATER THAN the day of rehearsal, who will then convey those needs to me. I’m not making changes after rehearsal.

    Commandment #8: I expect a full written itinerary of the order of the worship service, every week, e-mailed to me within 48 hours of the first weekend service. If I don’t get that, I get cranky and you don’t get the quality you’re accustomed to. It’s on you.

    Commandment #9: You will set the output levels of your instrument during service sound check, and then you will not touch them again the rest of the day. From that point forward, I control your levels. If you can’t hear your instrument as well as you’d like, again, that’s what the Avioms are there for. Adjust your level there. Too much output from your instrument could cause your signal to peak, which will cause clipping. While I have compression on your channel, it can still be thrown off because you think you should be louder. Turn your guitar up mid-service, and I’m likely to mute you until you turn it back down. Let’s not go there.

    Commandment #10: I love you. I’m glad you’re here. I look forward to working with you, and I will absolutely bend over backwards to make sure that you’re taken care of. You and I are on the same team. I know that. I hope you know it too. If we work together, this relationship is going to be great. If you work against me, it won’t be pretty.

  36. Shooz January 4, 2015 / 3:22 am

    I being from both ends of this a worship leader and a sound engineer I get all of this. I was running our sound for a week long camp and I have a rule for my sound guys at any of these camps. To make sure everything is ready for the band to just come in and then set your levels by 4:30pm service doesn’t start until 7pm I ask the bands to be there by 5pm to practice and so I can set levels and there has been times when they don’t show up until 5:50pm and I have a pre-service roll that I play an hour before service and I got the levels set then I cut the band off at 6pm and just start the pre-service roll. That makes me upset when I’m there for an hour and 20 minutes before them waiting

  37. Aditi mishra January 4, 2015 / 6:56 am

    Wow…. Accordingly sound guy is a man of great PATIENCE…. and he has to be.. It is compulsory.. But if u really apply these methods on him… He’ll be like… Just go u @#$&%%%@#@$&….. Whatever… I just wanna say… AMEN!!

  38. Deon Scheepers January 5, 2015 / 6:45 am

    Experienced sound engineers know that the band will be 3-6db louder when performing and that they need to deal with their own insecurities while sound checking. They will therefore set the monitor levels correctly before the time and then pretend to do everything asked of them with a smile knowing that what they set the levels at will be the final setting when everybody’s fears have calmed.

  39. Deon Scheepers January 5, 2015 / 7:15 am

    Just face it – if you want to be a sound engineer serving amateur musicians then you better have a thick skin. You also need to be able to quietly enjoy the humor in a group of insecure and fearful people trying to become a coherent group facing the scariest crowd ever. Suck it up and smile. If you are good at it you know what is required and how to achieve this despite the physical and emotional challenges that will invariably come your way. You know that you will be very busy for a few hours and if you dont like commitedly serving people then you are in the wrong place. If you need that booth and be seen to turn knobs on the equipment around you in order to be somebody then you are a problem and should be removed as soon as possible. If you are not capable of prioritising, systematic problem solving and smilingly ignoring annoying comments then you should immediately remove yourself. Be aware that the worship team in every church seems to be the most vulnerable target for the enemy. Do nothing that will make you a stumbling block. Do everything in your power to become a transparent servant who makes sure that everything happen seamlessly.
    A large part of the sound engineers job is to deflect attacks of the enemy on the worship team. No space for an ego out there.

  40. xfade January 8, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    Someone pointed out the morning factor, and that everyone is half-asleep except the soundguy. I beg to differ, the soundguy is probably trying the hardest to wake up because, to help make ends meet, he had a gig at the local venue Saturday night, that was suppose to wrap at midnight, but went until 1:30am, while the church warm-ups started at 7:00am, so he had to be there at 6:30 or earlier. He only looks alert because he just chugged an energy drink, 24oz Mtn Dew, or a venti Latte with a tripple shot of Espresso. He’ll be mostly awake by the time first service starts, but until then, his brain is limited to about 23 tasks at once instead of the usual 89, so take it easy on him!

  41. Mike February 10, 2015 / 9:57 am

    I have been doing sound for several years.We have several of these same issues. I’m never able to be at practice. We have about an hour practice before service on Sunday morning. Usually the service goes pretty smooth, but when i do mess up they let it go.If its bad we will talk about it afterword.I very seldom leave aggravated. The past couple of months we have had someone helping that can come to practice.He knows more about sound than i do.him being there on practice nights definately makes it run smoother.

  42. TDS January 10, 2016 / 1:32 pm

    I once had a female backing vocal who had kept a glass of water beside her monitor. Personally, it bugs me, but you have to pick your battles. Anyway, she bent down to pick up her water (microphone in hand) and feedback (much as you’d expect) started to wake the dead. She looked at me and said “It’s wailing at me?!” I replied….”Yep, it’ll do that if you hold your microphone next to your monitor.

    When you’ve asked the bassist to turn down his bass amp, patiently explaining that his amp is drowning the auditorium, but every time you’re not looking he cranks it back up.

    Although I was a little less-than-wise with my words once…..
    Vocalist: What do you do if someone is off key
    Me: Attempt to work with the sound that I have
    Vocalist: What if you can’t make it better?
    Me: Usually, it’s possible
    Vocalist: But when you really can’t….?
    Me: I have a mute button. I can make it go away

    Quite often the assumption is that just because you’ve practiced one way during the week, everything will be the same for the service. Not true. Vocals can be different, temperature can affect things, guitars have often been taken home and played and fiddled with in-between practice and service. I’ve trained sound people, and I always drum into people the importance of starting from scratch. When I switch that sound desk on, I reset my gain structures, my EQs and often my monitor sends. I usually give everyone a basic mix and then they can ask me to change it from there. If there’s a sound problem, I know exactly what I’ve done and so have an idea how to overcome it, I don’t want to have to imagine what Jerry or Steve did last week or the week before.

    People touching things they don’t understand. I wasn’t on duty one particular time, but I caught someone trying to turn the iPod volume down at a youth social event. They started touching random knobs and buttons. Seriously, either control the volume from the iPod or ask someone who understands the desk to do it.

    I think the best prank I’ve ever seen played is during a rehearsal for a youth band. The last church I was at had a particularly talented young singer. She was really gifted. Anyway, she was in full flow rehearsing one of the songs. Her Mum (who was one of the church’s main worship leaders) came up to the sound desk. I thought she was going to ask me how long till we finished. Oh, no. She reached into the toolbox, and I’m standing there wondering what she’s up to. I see her pull out the wireless handheld mic and switch it on. She then crouches down behind the desk, out of view of the stage, and looks at me. I twig what she’s up to and give her a nod. She starts to sing along. Slowly, I fade the daughter’s vocal out of only her own monitor, fading her Mum in with equal measure. This goes on for a good 30 seconds before the poor girl gets a horror stricken look on her face! Brilliant! I’d never have thought of it myself, but it was pretty amusing at the time.

  43. DANIEL February 6, 2016 / 10:26 am

    same here in Lagos nigeria.

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