Last Sunday I experienced a self-discovery moment. I decided to try out running the sound at my church. I am not a newcomer to mixing boards. In fact I have a nice 24-track board sitting 3 feet from me right now. It turns out that the church had to reduce the size of the band and that meant the drummer got the axe. The guy who used to spend full time behind the board plays the drums – so he shifted into playing drums with some sound setup when he was not on the throne.
And that is where I came in on Sunday Morning. After a brief introduction to how everything was wired into the mixing board, I was set free to mix the sound for the service. I quickly realized that I was in my element. First, it was a tweak to the high end on the drums. Then it was balancing out the levels between the backup vocalists. Pretty soon I was anticipating the switch of one of the vocalists from backup to lead with a quick boost to his mic. Yup, I was getting pretty comfortable. And then I went a step too far.
It seemed safe enough. I decided I was going to try to mute the “click” that occurs when the pastor switched on their wireless mic. Easy enough, right? Just mute the channel by default, then when the pastor reaches for the mic switch, un-mute after they have flipped the switch. It worked quite well for most of the service. The problem was, the last song was a round where the singers split the congregation up by which side of the church they were on. So I got wrapped up in panning the vocalists that were leading the left and right sides of the church left and right in the mix. That worked great but then the song was ending and I realized I needed to reset the panning for the walkout number. And while I was doing that, I missed the fact that the pastor switched her mic on and started talking – but no sound was coming through the speakers. Oops!
Next time, my policy will be to mute the channel only while the switch if being flipped, and leave it un-muted the rest of the time. That way, if I get busy, the worst that will happen is the congregation will hear a click.