Add Power to Songs with These Volume Tips
By: Chris Huff
The two biggest mistakes I see sound techs make are when they tweak the mix during the ENTIRE worship set and when they NEVER touch the mixing board during the worship set. There is a time for active mixing and there is a way you can use it to bring power to a song.
For example, you push up the volume of the worship leader's acoustic guitar and you pull back the volume of the backing vocals. Using the right pushing and pulling of volumes, the instruments and the vocals are in proper relationship with each other.
Once the volume balancing is completed, the next step is using EQ controls and adding effects. By the time you have mixed each song, you have a distinct mix that's ready for the church service. The mix is ready, but it's not the end.
Organic, Moving, Changing
Not only is the worship leader trying to present the right music for the worship experience, but it's also the time you can bring more power to the music.
Mixing for the Moment
The level of active mixing to which you go, per song, is up to you and how comfortable you are with making these sorts of changes. However, there is one area where ANYONE behind the mixer can make creative active mixing choices: volume.
Creative Volume Mixing Tips
* Push the house volume on the last song. This is great when the last song is an up-tempo song with a strong powerful ending.
* Pull down the house volume on the last song. This is great when the last song ends with a cappella singing and all, or most, of the instruments are absent from the arrangement. This allows the volume of the congregational singing to be the powerful sound.
* Push up the backing vocals during the chorus of a song. Let their common-voice have power.
* Pull down the lead singer during the chorus of a song so they sing along with the backing vocals.
* Push a volume for an instrument that has a short solo in the song. Just don't push it too much. Too much volume can appear to make the sound about the musician and not about the worship music.
* Pull down a volume for an instrument like the drums during a slower tempo song. You might try pushing the volume for a totally different sound if the drum rhythm allows for it.
There are many ways you can use volume changes for active mixing. Take some time during the next rehearsal for testing out mix changes within a song. See what works and what doesn't.
That is to say, you should take time during rehearsals for experimenting with those mid-song changes. Failing is the only way you'll know what to avoid. Besides, you are doing this during the rehearsal, and this is your only time to practice.
Chris Huff is the owner of Behind the Mixer, a resource for churches and their research into sound systems, www.BehindtheMixer.com.