Church audio techs...

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
why are church audio techs such jerks sometimes? Case in point: I play for my church praise and worship band. Being the selfish s.o.b. I am sometimes I took this volunteer job simply to keep my chops up since I'm without a band at the moment.

My first praise and worship band at another church pretty much opened my eyes to the universe-sized egotism, greed, and arrogance that seems to manifest itself at that level in some churches. My simple dumb ass thought I would give something back to the church and community by volunteering to play drums for a small church 30 minutes away from me. You know, be idealistic and all. Do some good. Boy, was I wrong! But that's another story....

Here's my current beef: I thought I would really want to hear myself playing, you know, listen back to our band's work and see where my weak points are. Something about becoming a better drummer and musician or something of that nature. Well...got the CD's from about 2 months of services. Plugged those puppies in and WHOA!! Where the hell are the drums?? Currently they have me playing in a freaking drum cage, drums all mic'd and I have to have a fan because it gets too hot. All this work and no drums? I have several people telling me they can hear my drumming in the services, but now I'm wondering just how well.

These audio techs are very particular in how "they" want stuff...which sometimes makes it hard on me simply because they place the mics where they tend to be in my way while playing. Heaven help me if I leave the cage door open.... And I'm forever finding the drum hardware either missing and some jerk never puts it back,or the kit moved and nobody tells me it's been moved and I have to find this out 1 hour before worship service and take time away from rehearsal setting it back up. Now I'm busing my ass to be a good musician and "enhance" the service - and no drums can be heard on the CDs? I not knocking religion here, just some of the people who are involved in putting on the service. But then again, drummers are looked upon as cavemen by some who simply don't understand the instrument. To them, having drums around is a necessary pain in the ass....

Thanks for letting me vent....
 
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Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Only the very best live recording is going to give you the same mix as you'd hear in the live room though. I'll wager your drums sit just fine in the overall mix during the performance....he's just obviously able to rely on more of your natural volume than he is on the mics when you're playing live. But the downside is, you don't get a balanced mix when you hear a playback. I remember the imbalance well from many of the live to desk recordings of my own bands that I've heard back.

All in all though, he's mixing it to the room at the time, which is totally different than mixing to the recording. I'd wondering if his priority is the live sound on the day with a recorded mix being secondary?
 

fixxxer

Senior Member
I feel your pain, rogue. I play at my church as well, but instead of stuffing me in a glass cage with an acoustic kit, I have to play an e-kit. It's a nice one, but still an e-kit. There have been times that my wife has reported that she couldn't hear the drums. I've gone up to the sound booth to find that the sound tech has had me turned down- WAY down during the service. Very frustrating especially since that with the e-kit, he could completely turn me down all the way and I wouldn't know it!
I, too, have worked as a sound tech at the church. I do my very best to make sure that the mix is appropriate and that the praise band sounds as good as possible. But, I take pride in my work and I guess this can't be expected from everyone. Especially when they are "volunteering" their time.
The joys of church work!
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
All in all though, he's mixing it to the room at the time, which is totally different than mixing to the recording. I'd wondering if his priority is the live sound on the day with a recorded mix being secondary?

I'm thinking that's it. Putting more emphasis on the live sound on the day of the service rather than the recording. Which is probably good. I'm being grumpy here though. I heard the CD and immediatly thought "you've got to be kidding me! NO DRUMS!"

For his part, the live mix is very good. That's probably true though, he is more concerned with the live sound on the day of. Thank you, I never thought of that from that angle.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I think they actually fear the drums, but they know that they need them for the "contemporary" service. So, they do "allow" the drums under tight constraints and restrictions. I guess the drums are just one step away from savagery and dancing around a campfire. No truly experienced drummer would ever need a cage or be deprived of a crash cymbal. I recently auditioned for a church band with precisely the same intention as you. I didn't have the same experience as far as egoism, but it was the oddest audition I've ever been to. They didn't have any crash cymbals or tom toms. I decided this wasn't for me.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I was just thinking about something along this line the other day. I don't know why churches are so obsessed with keeping the stage volume down to nothing. You can play in the tiniest dive bar with much more volume than you can in a huge church. The drums are in cages, the guitar players are either going direct or they put their amps in those boxes with the microphones inside. Everyone is using in ears. I know all the arguments. It makes the front of the house easier to mix, blah, blah, blah. If you go see a band at a theater that is the same size as a church, they seem to be able to mix things with live drums and guitars. When everybody is in their own little in ear world, it just takes away from some of the interaction. The singers don't like the guitars so they turn them down in their mix, and then they sing out of tune. They don't like the drums and then they are off beat. The sound of all the instruments and sounds and frequencies mixing together just makes a sound and a feeling that you can't get when everyone is in their own little isolated island onstage. I guess I just have to be patient. The problem of people complaining about the volume at church is a problem that is literally dying off. The baby boomers and people who grew up after them listening to rock and roll aren't usually the ones having the problem with the volume.
 

fixxxer

Senior Member
You bring up a very good point, DrumDoug. Although I am fortunate in the fact that our church is willing to play contemporary music along with traditional hymns, there is a great deal of concern of "what the older members of the congregation will think" in terms of volume and even in the way we play some songs. There is (in my opinion) a level of oppression in even some of the contemporary stuff. There is this idea that that "you don't want to cut loose too much" because we don't want to "offend". It is frustrating sometimes because you feel very robotic after awhile.
I guess this is where the church environment is different than other venues- you have to somehow "please all of the people all of the time". But, then again, it's not what you are playing or how, it's why............
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
why are church audio techs such jerks sometimes? Case in point: I play for my church praise and worship band. Being the selfish s.o.b. I am sometimes I took this volunteer job simply to keep my chops up since I'm without a band at the moment.

Here's my current beef: I thought I would really want to hear myself playing, you know, listen back to our band's work and see where my weak points are. Something about becoming a better drummer and musician or something of that nature. Well...got the CD's from about 2 months of services. Plugged those puppies in and WHOA!! Where the hell are the drums?? Currently they have me playing in a freaking drum cage, drums all mic'd and I have to have a fan because it gets too hot. All this work and no drums? I have several people telling me they can hear my drumming in the services, but now I'm wondering just how well.
They can still see you so, you're still too loud - lol! And that is the way it is in some churches and the jerk sound tech isn't only in churches!

But way to go on the wanting to hear how you sound and getting the service cds - you're doing something right even if you aren't getting much help!


Mike

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Skitch

Pioneer Member
I was just thinking about something along this line the other day. I don't know why churches are so obsessed with keeping the stage volume down to nothing. You can play in the tiniest dive bar with much more volume than you can in a huge church. The drums are in cages, the guitar players are either going direct or they put their amps in those boxes with the microphones inside. Everyone is using in ears. I know all the arguments. It makes the front of the house easier to mix, blah, blah, blah. If you go see a band at a theater that is the same size as a church, they seem to be able to mix things with live drums and guitars. When everybody is in their own little in ear world, it just takes away from some of the interaction. The singers don't like the guitars so they turn them down in their mix, and then they sing out of tune. They don't like the drums and then they are off beat. The sound of all the instruments and sounds and frequencies mixing together just makes a sound and a feeling that you can't get when everyone is in their own little isolated island onstage. I guess I just have to be patient. The problem of people complaining about the volume at church is a problem that is literally dying off. The baby boomers and people who grew up after them listening to rock and roll aren't usually the ones having the problem with the volume.

Hey! I used to play at this church!


Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
I feel your pain, rogue. I play at my church as well, but instead of stuffing me in a glass cage with an acoustic kit, I have to play an e-kit. It's a nice one, but still an e-kit. There have been times that my wife has reported that she couldn't hear the drums. I've gone up to the sound booth to find that the sound tech has had me turned down- WAY down during the service. Very frustrating especially since that with the e-kit, he could completely turn me down all the way and I wouldn't know it!
I, too, have worked as a sound tech at the church. I do my very best to make sure that the mix is appropriate and that the praise band sounds as good as possible. But, I take pride in my work and I guess this can't be expected from everyone. Especially when they are "volunteering" their time.
The joys of church work!
And even moreso, other musicians may be able to turn you down as well and this in turn starts causing problems with the time on the band.

Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
 

blackbyrd

Member
We have been blessed with two awesome guys that are basically the extra members of the worship team. When they are gone WOW you can tell the difference. One of the fill ins turns the monitors way too loud (everything but guitars and bass and me are through the system) and I cant hear the bass. The other guy doesnt understand what a monitor is for.....being behind a fishbowl (not by choice) I have to be able to hear the mix......then we had the one guy that wanted to but had no clue.....wow...when a good sound man is there thank them....you never know who you get when they go on vacation lol
 
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