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Understanding Dynamic Control
Careful control of dynamics can is often the difference between an average mix and one that sounds truly professional.
Microphones in the Limelight
Microphone choice and placement are the two most critical aspects of achieving good theatrical audio—at all-important Christmas and at any time of year.
Audio Networking— Simple and Not So Simple
The convergence of audio and IT has a lot of potential benefits for houses of worship, but it comes with its own set of challenges and costs.
A/V Workflow Advice for Small and Medium-sized Churches
Most small and mid-sized house-of-worship productions can attain a more productive workflow through the application of tapeless, file-based recording technologies capable of operating on a network.
Making Room for the Congregation
If I am not listening to the congregation with an ear towards their participation, how can I make sure that there is room for them in the mix?
How to Get the Pastor’s Mic to Sound Like the Pastor
Too many sound engineers feel that only a touch of EQ is acceptable; they don’t want to “chop up” the spectrum. Not true!
Perceiving Loudness in a Worship Environment
It is not enough to think of balance exclusively in terms of volume. Tonality and the way humans perceive loudness is equally, if not more important.
Dirty Power: Avoiding the Evil Within
Dirty power has become the go to word to describe any oddity or instability in the incoming electrical quality. It often involves voltage fluctuations, frequency changes, and other variations that cause the power to be unstable. These fluctuations can range from the annoying to the deadly.
Drum & Instrument Mics: Testing.. Testing..
Veteran technical directors share their experience and advice on mic’ing techniques for drums, stringed instruments and guitar cabinets.
Christmas Planning: 10 Steps to a More Successful Audio Production
No 1: Keep an understudy in the loop on all communications and plans. Find the other nine, crucial steps from CPM’s Christmas road-worn tech veteran contributor.
The Basics of Gain Staging
EQ will not fix poor gain staging. Think of over-salted soup, it’s now part of the sound. In the glorious analog days, distortion worked for the sound guy like it did for the guitarist. Now signals are clipped and go straight from “Hey, that sounds amazing!” to “What just happened?” in a dB or two.
Handheld, Lavalier, Or Headset?
A report designed to help church techs pick presenter microphones.
When Your Audio System Fails
How will you and your team respond when the audio system goes down? Trouble-shooting is usually the lead tech's job. But what role should the team play?
Tips for Using Dante
While digital audio networking is not new, Dante is a recent game-changer due to its wide acceptance. Here are a few tips and tricks for new and veteran users.
White Paper: Considerations to Help Churches Get Great Sound
Video and lighting are wonderful additions to a worship service. But don’t get distracted; audio is foundational.
The Seven Day Sound Check: The Key to Stop the Last Minute Chaos
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out during sound checks? The change begins by starting your next sound check now.
Demystifying Loudspeaker System Design
Here are the fundamentals that can help save churches grief— and money.
Now Hear This! A Critical Look at Loudness
Even the best SPL meters cannot tell you how dull, bright, strident, muted, harsh, brilliant, smooth, or totally incomprehensible dialog and music may be.
Leave It On, or Shut It Down?
Many churches leave their audio equipment on day and night. But with today’s modern equipment, it’s literally a waste of time. Let’s look at what we mean by that and why.
Top 5 Reasons for Volume Creep
Ear fatigue can make us believe we need to boost the volume. Let’s say you’ve been mixing a loud band for thirty minutes. You'll experience Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS) which is an upward shift in the threshold of human hearing. In not-so-geek speak, what was first perceived as loud becomes “normal.” The Solution? Compression is not your only option.
When Mic and Console Makers Cooperate
Recent joint ventures will make the setting up and monitoring of microphones easier and more convenient.
Powered Loudspeakers: When They Are (and Aren’t) the Best Choice
Very often, how effective powered loudspeakers are is relative to the individual space. Here CPM reports on the upsides (think portability) and the downsides (heftiness when flown).
CPM’s microphone selection guide uncovers some out-of-this-world options that didn’t exist just several years ago. And it hits on the old standby basics that every mic cabinet should include.
The Basics of Power Distribution
The great benefit of electricity is that it can be manipulated through voltage and amperage trade-offs to accomplish almost anything that the system designer wants to achieve. And therein lies the potential danger.
Transformers Explained: Solutions for Cleaner Audio and Video
Sexy features on digital consoles often steal our attention away from basic signal integrity. Who can blame them? They are a lot more interesting than passive coils of wire wound around metal cores. Or so it would seem.
What You Can Learn From The Other Guy’s Mix
I missed the opportunity to learn about something that a different engineer was doing, because I was too busy thinking about what I didn’t like or would have done differently.
Secrets to Great Webcast/Broadcast Audio
A good audio signal is more important than high-quality video. You cannot keep the attention of remote viewers on your broadcast or video streaming if the audio is poor. What constitutes good broadcast audio? Here are expert tips on how to get started, and how to add professional polish.
Shocked! Advice for Church Techs on Electricity
Electricity can pose an unseen danger of our job. Here are a few steps to make sure you don’t end up injured, or worse.
Compression: The Secret to Slow Mixing
The idea use the mix to draw people’s attention to specific parts in the sonic presentation instead of correcting for erratic dynamic ranges.
When it’s crunch time, the role of the audio supervisor is to make critical decisions about what ‘must be done’ versus what ‘might be nice.’
Eliminating The Ball and Chain
Today’s digital audio mixers provide access to most features from tablets and smart phones—letting you be wherever you need to be—instead of at your console.
White Paper: 10 Questions on WIreless for the Next 10 Years
Advice from this all-star panel of wireless experts will help you steer a course through troubled waters.
Slow Mixing is Good Mixing
The best sets seem to take the least amount of effort to actually mix. It seems the slower that my hands moved the better the mix sounds.
Mic’ing Easter Productions (Audio Out of the Comfort Zone)
It’s easy to get complacent with mic selection because we get used to using a particular microphone for a particular application. Read CPM’s tips on how to change that up—and create results you can hear.
Loudspeakers: Takin’ it to the Street (or the Parking Lot)
A professional loudspeaker designer-turned-writer discloses what to look for in tools for small and portable churches, including all important cost/performance ratio.
You use them everyday, but do you really understand how they work? Here’s a must-read prep course on mics for live production.
Improving Sound for Your Live Stream
Don’t let poor audio get in the way of building your online audience.
The Importance of Clean Wiring
What you don't know could hurt you, your workflow and your signal quality.
Top 5 Steps to Better Personal Monitor Mixes
More than half of musicians using personal monitors are unhappy with the results. Even worse, they're likely to remain quiet and not tell you about it.
Four Simple Steps to a More Stress Free Christmas Season
A few ideas to reduce stress for churches of all sizes
Making Audio Better for Christmas Productions
Mic’ing techniques and wireless strategies for improving the sound of your Christmas productions.
Top 4 Steps to a Stress-free Soundcheck
Maintaining a stress-free sound check does not simply mean that everything is working technically. It's also about keeping a professional, clean and relaxing environment.
In the Pursuit of Good Video, Audio is King
With a little practice and some attention to detail, your videos can improve in quality by simply paying attention to the audio side of your video shoot and post-production work.
The Tale of the Territorial Soundman
Ever run into a soundman who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but refuses to allow anyone else to touch his rig?
The Humble DI: Part of the Musician’s Signature Sound or Meaningless Black Box?
The musician's gear usually ends at the stomp box, or the speaker cabinet. But the choice of DI, or whether to use one at all, can have a significant role in shaping the sound.
Tutorial: Achieving Uniform Coverage
How to realize consistent, predictable audio results through proper loudspeaker system design
Wireless Systems 2014: Prepare Ye for the Crunch!
You might want to start reviewing your options, including planning for investment in new falling-sky-resistant wireless systems.
How to Think Like a Sound Engineer
It starts with preparation. The guitar player isn't going to show up for service without having practiced. Neither should you.
The Secret to Effective Troubleshooting
The guys who immediately go into into panic mode are usually volunteers who have never set up a rig.
Mixing with Backing Tracks
Incorporating tracks into Sunday morning is a mix of music and technology. To pull it off well requires the coordination of the music team and tech team.
How to Mix and Record Church Services—and More
Important frequently asked questions and answers to help your worship team accomplish its goals.
30 Day Worship Sound Tools Videos
Worship M.D. audio expert Doug Gould's collection of 30 instructional videos presented by PreSonus
How to Become a Better Sound Engineer
Anyone who’s been mixing for more than a few minutes knows the band never plays the same during sound check as they do during a performance.
Powered Loudspeakers: Pros and Cons
A clear-cut guide for tech leaders considering a self-powered loudspeaker system for worship or portable events.
Practical Tips for Ideal Mic Selection
Application helps church techs determine microphone choice. But hand-in-hand with application goes experimentation. To know what works best in your space, you have to try it out and listen. Just make sure to experiment outside an actual service or live production.
Digital vs Analog: Which Best Serves Your Church?
While flexibility will always be greater in a digital console, it carries a steeper learning curve and a generally higher price tag than analog.
The Essentials of Monitor Mixing
"Can I get more me in my monitor?" Don't be too eager to grant such a request by turning them up. Here are three ways to avoid the vicious cycle of keeping musicians happy.
How to Develop a Successful Audio Team
If I could hand them the most annoying and monotonous jobs, the least visible positions and the menial, tedious stuff and they showed back up next week, I knew I had a winner.
Building the Perfect Mix: The Sum of the Parts
Years ago, I could never figure out why I was having to make so many frantic mix adjustments during the first song of the set. How could things have changed so drastically in just a few hours? Quite by accident, I figured it out.
Loudspeaker Selection: Beyond the Basics
A CPM must-read from an expert panel of your peers
Tech Director Torture: The Engineer in the Audience
Don't judge me. You do it, too. Admit it. You no longer just hear the song, all you focus on that ringing snare or the acoustic guitar that's ready to feed back. Two things happened that changed my attitude when sitting in the audience.
Mic’ing Easter Productions
How to do it with some preplanned rhyme and reason
Is There a Wrong Way to Build a Mix?
Do you start with vocals or drums? It may not matter if you follow this five-step method to building consistently successful mixes.
Tutorial: How to Select an Audio Console
Three important steps for the church tech, plus common sense considerations
Tutorial: A Techy’s Guide: Preparing for Easter
And helping senior leadership realize and embrace your vision.
The View From Monitor Beach
While the glorious A1 tech was basking in the glow of a screaming crowd mixing FOH, I was back on monitor beach becoming part of the band.
How to Mix Vocals For Live Events
Vocals are the crown jewel of the song. You can only do so much by riding the fader. For excellence and professionalism, your mix requires more preparation, knowledge and skill.
Five Things New Sound Guys Need to Understand
Most of you work with museum-grade equipment, gymnasium-grade acoustics and MacGyver-grade survival skills. Still, I have encountered hundreds of techs who don't understand the basics. They are getting by, but only barely. Here are a few critical issues every sound tech needs to understand.
The Key to Clarity in Your Audio Mix
Mix clarity comes from volume differentiation, effects usage, but most of all, mix clarity comes from frequency ownership.
Mixing Live Sound for Christmas
Tried-and-true tips from a technical veteran
Top 3 Keys to a Successful Tech Rehearsal
Our’s is a work of translation. Our mission is to take whatever is in the pastor, worship leader or director’s imagination and make it real. We take whatever they are envisioning and give life to it. We have to make their vision jump off the stage and into the audience. That’s your challenge. That’s the skill. That’s where you find excellence.
Wireless: Top 5 Tips For Your Christmas Production
The more wireless systems you have, the more headaches you can generally expect. Here are a few life saving tips out to make your life easier during the most wonderful time of the year.
It All Starts With Drums
Getting a great drum mix isn’t always up to the audio guy. It starts at the source.
Improving Your Mix, One Channel at a Time
A four-step plan to improving clarity, location, blend and contrast in your mix
How to Configure Your Church PA System
Configuring a church PA system, including dealing with room acoustics, proper loudspeaker placement, and much more.
Free Live Sound Training for Churches
Free three-part video series featuring David Wills who has mixed thousands of church events, as well as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, and Diana Ross and many others.
How to Compress Bass Guitar
Compression is rarely a “set it and forget it” situation. So don’t approach compression on bass as a one size fits all solution
How to Choose an Audio Console
Four no-nonsense points for careful consideration
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Tackling the challenges of mic'ing your Christmas production.
The Benefits of Cutting Before Boosting
In a world obsessed with getting more of what you want, why not boost first? The answer could be found in your next order of French fries.
Could You Mix in Another Room?
EEK! What's that!?! Is that a bass amp on the stage? You've heard about those. What are you going to do? You're depth of knowledge makes the difference between “the nightmare situation” and “just another part of the job.”
Mixing With Volume Restrictions
Time to change your mixing process. And it starts with the lead vocalist.
Constant Curvature Arrays: A Flexible Hybrid
CPM takes a look at a popular new-generation alternative
Concepts in Audio Console Set-Up
The advantage of a consistent layout means you can mix almost any band on any console without looking where the faders are. In contrast, I’ve watched other guys mix and spend half their time searching the board for the guitar fader, only to miss the solo.
What Guitarists Wish Production People Knew About Guitar Set-ups
“Dude you just don’t understand, my amp has to be that loud.”
A Small Church’s Guide to Working With Wireless
Many of today's most basic wireless systems have the features required to work properly in an increasingly crowded wireless environment. So the solutions to smaller church’s wireless reliability problems may already be right at their fingertips.
How to Compress Vocals
Since most church vocalists are not trained professionals, we can improve the level and blend of the vocals in our audio mix by adding compression to each vocal channel. But compressors take time and energy to learn. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
A Best-of-Breed Round-up of Mixing Consoles
Wireless Mics for Worship
An exclusive CPM report designed to help church tech leaders answer this important question: Are you ready for digital wireless?
Loudspeaker Development: History in a 10-Minute Read
As speakers have become powered (or not), networked and steered— what does that mean for modern worship tech teams?
Upgrading Mixing Consoles: The Volunteer Factor
Digital consoles can offer sensory overload for many a volunteer. When the curve is too steep, you could be upgrading to a better console but ultimately be getting a worse result because the console is "too much board" for your volunteers.
Making Your Low-End Work
Creating great-sounding low-end may be more than half the battle of producing a phenomenal mix. These four steps will help create that clean, distinct low-end we all pursue.
Making Guitars Sound Great
Making guitars sound great is more than throwing a mic in front of it and twisting a few knobs. It takes time to understand the individual sounds the players are going for. Mixing this way will create a mutual respect for you and your players and it will also make your mix sound better.
Modular Mixers: The Future of Audio Mixing?
If this trend takes hold, the one-piece audio mixing console – analog or digital – may be headed for extinction as the market shifts to modular, network-connected digital mixing systems.
Tutorial: Four Steps to Making Vocals Pop
Try giving background vocalists a different type of mic than your lead vocalist. If the lead vocal has a very different microphone in tonality then the volumes can stay about the same and he or she should pop through very well.
Taming the Beast: 5 Ways To Overcome Drum Volume
While you can tune your snare down, you can’t tune your cymbals. A drum shield is usually the "go-to" solution, but options exist for managing your worship band's loudest instrument.
Tutorial: Smart Boxes
The New Era of Networked and DSP-enabled Loudspeakers
The Effect of Effects
Employing an effect can be more than throwing reverb on an input. It’s finding a voice that remains transparent while enhancing and accompanying an input source. Easier said than done.
Tutorial: Do-it-Yourself A/V Installations: A Recipe for Success or Disaster?
As a church leader, would you rather have energized, fully-engaged and excited or tired, disengaged and aggravated staff? Sometimes it’s a smart call to let your highly qualified, fully capable tech staff leave at 5PM while someone else does the install.
Tutorial: Mic’ing Pastors
When a mic sounds good, you look good. But there are a myriad of mic types available, and sometimes pastors can be finicky. While headset mics are our reviewer’s favored option, we offer up a range of product types to cover a host of scenarios and needs.
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