In November of 2014 we met as a group to discuss sound here at Pathway and how we could get a consistent sound from week-to-week regardless of the person mixing. This led us to implement two things to help with this.
- In short, during that meeting we said that mixing a lot of times is more subjective than wrong. So, if we were going to have a common, consistent sound here at Pathway we needed to shape some of our subjectivities and preferences to a common, consistent ear.
- I would be that common ear because church leadership liked the sound of the mix I produced, and wanted that to be reproduced and repeated. Also, because I'm on staff, I would be one of the most consistent people among our different venues.
- It's not a dad walking along side a child on a bike with training wheels, or a puppet master controlling a puppet. Thinking about it this way really devalues and diminishes what it is we're doing when we're behind the soundboard. The weight of responsibility is MUCH bigger than that, so we viewed it more like flying a large plane rather than riding a bike or putting on a puppet show.
- This allowed all of us to learn together from a common resource.
- We would use some of what we were learning as discussion points during our copiloting times.
Serving in the Church
We need to fit under the umbrella of what's happening in Worship Ministry. There is leadership in place that helps drive the direction we go in our venues when it comes to style. We need to be sure that our egos and preferences are left at the door and we're mixing within that style and under that umbrella.
We are part of the worship team. So, just as a drummer would be expected to play within the confines of a song and what we're after here at Pathway, we as audio mixers need to mix within the confines of the song and what we're after here at Pathway. This wouldn't fly at Pathway.
The mixing console is your instrument, so you need to rehearse with the band. Questions are welcomed during rehearsal. If you need to hear something again, ask the worship leader to go over it again.
Looking Forward at Consistency
- This has worked very well in our Live service and there is a consistency week-to-week.
- I can't think of a better way to get all of us in rhythm and on the same page.
- Copiloting Beyond Live
- We will start being more intentional about copiloting with those in our other venues.
- Brian Clark will be coming on board as a copilot because he and I are in a consistent rhythm in Live after working all summer together. Brian has invested beyond our typical mixing responsibilities and continues to educate himself with tools like churchmix.com.
- Board Configuration
- Better for new recruits. Those training will not need to learn multiple board setups.
- Helpful for people who need to fill in for a service that they're not accustomed to serving in.
- Helpful for additional training and trouble shooting with our current mixers.
- This is beneficial for our band members. Many musicians play in multiple venues throughout the month. Having a consistent look will be helpful when it comes to in-ear monitor mixing.
- Color, labeling and channel assignments can be found at our X32 Layout blog post.
- The use of DCA groups. Using DCA groups shortens the real-estate that needs covered to mix, allows us to quickly, easily and consistently adjust attention demanding elements like lead vocals.
- The use of scenes. Every song should start as tight and dialed in as possible. Using scenes helps us accomplish this goal.
We went through a 24 question sound test from soundaudition.com and discussed our results following the listening test. This showed us that there is a lot going on and we can miss things if we're not listening closely (another good reason why a copilot is helpful).
We watched Listening Part 2 from churchmix.com and talked about sonic landscape. The big take-away was that some things need to be heard louder than others. It's okay if we don't hear everything equally or evenly. Much like this landscape portrait, the use of depth is intentional and needed.
Mixing is active, you can't just set it and forget it. If you're not actively mixing then your mix isn't as good as it could be. When we hear a song on an album it's mixed perfectly. What's happen is that their digital boards are programmed to make hundreds of adjustment while the song is being played. This is what we hear. If a perfect mix requires hundreds of adjustments throughout a song then we can't make none and have a good mix.