Drums in Church - Are You in the Monitors?

rebonn

Senior Member
It was brought up by a few of you in another thread about mics on church kits, or the lack thereof. I don't want to derail that thread so I started this one.

Mic'ing drums in church is a sore spot with me. The drums in my church are mic'ed, but I can't get the sound guy to turn me up in the monitors. They're barely in it, if at all. He always says that he can hear me just fine. But I sometimes get told by people in the congregation that the drums could hardly be heard. I've told this to the main current sound guy more than once, and he claims he will turn me up, but I never notice a difference. Then when they (usually a different sound person) do turn me up, I tend to get compliments. Not that I'm fishing for compliments. I just want the drums to be heard as clearly and as evenly as the other instruments. Plus I don't want to bash the drums in a relatively small room while playing hymns.

The other times that others have played the drums in my church (I play the majority of the time) and I'm in the congregation listening, I was ALWAYS disappointed in the drum volume and sound because they just weren't putting the drums in the monitors. All the other instruments were clearly heard, while the drums were being drowned out. And those guys play the drums louder than I do. I know it is usually the other way around with drum volume being too much. But not in this church building, because the acoustics are pretty poor. I'm a light player, and use mostly light sticks. I can play extremely softly with sticks. I learned to play that way decades ago. I can obviously play louder too, when appropriate. So there is no way the drums are too loud. In fact, when I first started playing in this church I sometimes got mocked (politely though) for playing too lightly. If someone said this to me, I would ask them to talk to the sound person, since they have the power to make me heard or not heard, no matter how hard I'm hitting.

I do realize that we don't have the best sound system. Sometimes they try to turn things up but get feedback or something. The sound team are also not professionals either. My frustration is that when I try to give constructive criticism to get a better mix, he'll say they'll do something about it, then usually don't. I think I'll be talking to the worship leader about this in hopes that she'll take the time to listen to the mix out in the sanctuary during practice, because she rarely does.
I'm confused. When you say the drums are not loud enough for people to hear in the audience because the drums aren't loud enough in the monitors , do you mean the PA when you say monitors?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
"Sound guys" as a whole can't deal with drums. There's too much to try and control, so they just turn us down. I can't even get into the mix with an e-kit. They make sure the worship team has drums, so we stay together, but people have told me all they heard were the clicking of sticks on the pads. I eventually stepped down. Got the lecture about playing for the only One who matters, and stuck it out longer, but in the end if I was devoting time to learn my parts, waking up early, giving up a weekend, setting up, tearing down, not doing other thing I could be, etc....having enough respect to at least have drums be heard (heard, not showcased) was a small ask.

My church also got a new digital board that was to make life easier. Far too sophisticated for most volunteers and it made an already stressful situation worse..
 

Ruok

Silver Member
I'm confused. When you say the drums are not loud enough for people to hear in the audience because the drums aren't loud enough in the monitors , do you mean the PA when you say monitors?
I guess so. I guess I never did learn that there is a difference between monitors and PA. If you wouldn't mind, please enlighten me on that, because I didn't realize there was a difference. I don't want to keep messing up the correct terminology.

I just know that the "speakers" :))) on the stage for us musicians/singers to hear have no drums in them, which I'm fine with. I can hear myself plenty from where I sit. It is the house speakers that have little or no drums in them that I have trouble with, only because I'm told from time to time that the drums couldn't be heard well.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Monitors are pointed towards the musicians, a PA is pointed at the audience. They are usually 2 different mixes, and sometimes, each monitor is a personalized mix just for 1 musician, the singer for example who only wants a guitar and drums in their monitor mix. You could be in the monitor mix and not in the front of house (FOH) mix. But you are supposed too be in both normally. And it goes without saying that with E-drums it's absolutely essential that you are in the FOH mix otherwise you only hear sticks on the E-pads.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
I guess so. I guess I never did learn that there is a difference between monitors and PA. If you wouldn't mind, please enlighten me on that, because I didn't realize there was a difference. I don't want to keep messing up the correct terminology.

I just know that the "speakers" :))) on the stage for us musicians/singers to hear have no drums in them, which I'm fine with. I can hear myself plenty from where I sit. It is the house speakers that have little or no drums in them that I have trouble with, only because I'm told from time to time that the drums couldn't be heard well.

Wedges used as monitors are called so because you are monitoring the sound you create.

PA stands for Public Address system. So the speakers pointed toward the audience.
 

Ruok

Silver Member
Thanks guys! I was kind of embarrassed to ask what PA stood for, though I've heard the term all my life.

So, last week I did use bigger and heavier sticks. Which I don't like to do because I do have some hand issues. Hopefully I won't suffer too much with that in the weeks ahead. I'm trying to stay relaxed and let the sticks do the work and hopefully I'll be ok.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
Have you tried playing quietly with brushes? This could really throw up the whole issue because no-one will hear you and the band may fall out of time. Just a thought.

We have a pro musician in our church and he regularly sits with the sound man (never yet a woman) and gets them to make adjustments. We have a full-time worship minister so we don't have this problem thankfully.

You have to be sensitive to everyone being volunteers but in your case, it might be sensible to take 3 months off and see what happens. It will be good for you primarily, but it should focus folks minds.

Peace
Davo
 

Ruok

Silver Member
Have you tried playing quietly with brushes? This could really throw up the whole issue because no-one will hear you and the band may fall out of time. Just a thought.

We have a pro musician in our church and he regularly sits with the sound man (never yet a woman) and gets them to make adjustments. We have a full-time worship minister so we don't have this problem thankfully.

You have to be sensitive to everyone being volunteers but in your case, it might be sensible to take 3 months off and see what happens. It will be good for you primarily, but it should focus folks minds.

Peace
Davo
Haha! If I played with brushes as quiet as I could and the band and vocalists wandered off the beat, the sound guy would probably still say he can hear the drums just fine! Haha!

This past Sunday we went through our morning practice before the service. The sound man was there the whole time in the sound booth. After practice the sound man left the booth. I walked over to the booth, and it just so happened that the song director walked in there too. I noticed that all the drum channels were still muted. I pointed to the sound board and I made the remark of "Oh look. The drums are still muted." She looked at me like she couldn't believe it, and unmuted them. So I just walked away shaking my head.

Unbeknown to me, she went to the sound man and told him. He came out of the room and walked up to me and apologized that he forgot to unmute them. I just said, no problem. Yet I'm thinking, how can you forget? IT'S YOUR JOB! You were just staring at the sound board for 45 minutes, and you forgot? Riiiiight!

I have the next 2 weeks to cool off. The second worship team starts this week and plays 2 Sundays in a row.
 
Top