Last Sunday I showed up at church with some big plans for improving the sound. I was planning to get the “air mix” (without the PA) sounding good, then rough in a PA mix, then tweak the monitor mix, then finalize the PA mix. But I didn’t have time for that. There were some connection issues that consumed the time I had planned to use for mixing. I was running up and down the stairs from the mixing board on the balcony to the stage several times to fix and verify the mix for the problems I encountered. I did so much running I had to shed my sweater. I did so much running that I had less time to mix than during the previous two weeks. But why did this happen?
Looking back I now see this was the inevitable consequence of me taking over the mixing board responsibilities. As the former mixing guy switches roles to being more of a drummer a big void opens up in the setup department that I need to fill. I had assumed that the former mixing guy would still be helping with the setup at his past level. I now see that was both unrealistic and suboptimal if my goal is to get the band sounding as good as I can. Of course the drummer needs to spend the time on the drums if the performance quality is going to me maximized. So there you have it: a classic case of me not fully understanding the problem I was walking into before creating a solution. It is time for me to step back and identify the problem I need to solve as the new sound guy.
The core problem I need to solve is how to get the band sounding as good as I possibly can given the time, talent, and equipment constraints I have to deal with. To make that happen I need to provide the band (and the drummer) with the ability to focus only on their rehearsal for the maximum amount of time I can. I need to provide the band with a great monitor mix so they can deliver their best performance. I need to set up the mix for the first couple of rows to sound as good as possible, then fill in with the PA. Now that I have defined the problem (which I am sure will grow as I experience whatever is going to happen next Sunday) I can revise my plan appropriately.
My big plan for next Sunday is to get the band set up as fast and as completely as possible. That means creating a checklist of what needs to get set up on the stage before Sunday and making sure everything gets set up. Once things are set up, I can work on the “air mix”, rough in the PA mix, sweeten up the stage mix, then finalize the PA mix. I should attend the Wednesday rehearsal and run some of these ideas by the band just to make sure I understand the problems I need to solve.
I will let you know what happens!