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Mixing Desk

Improve your front of house sound instantly

Here’s the situation, you’re running your church house sound and it’s, lets be honest, not great. It’s muddy, you have little, or no control and it frustrates the life out of you.

Sound familiar?

Let’s look at what you are working with. You’re a small church with a relatively good sound system. Monitor speakers provide your fold back system for the worship team, your guitarist is using his own amp, and the drummer is sitting behind his screens complaining that he still can’t hear anything no matter how much he turns up his monitor speaker.

Your sound tech is facing a no-win situation here. They are constantly fighting against the volume level in the building and the fold back sound. The fold back in a small venue will completely overwhelm your front of house sound so no matter what your sound tech does you cannot get a clean sound for your congregation.

In a small venue, live speaker systems for fold back will always overwhelm the front of house. They are not designed for use in such small venues, but rather for large stages in much larger venues. In a small venue the fold back will always muddy the sound as there just isn’t the headroom for two live speaker systems as such they will always be competing with each other. Sadly there isn’t a lot we can do about it.

Yes, you can spend all day tuning and checking the systems to try and get a better sound but if you want to improve your house sound dramatically there’s one sure fire way of fixing this issue without spending a fortune.

In one simple phrase, in ear monitoring.

Basically, you need to get rid of the on-stage monitors. They are killing your house sound.  The transition to in ear monitors will be the best move you will ever make. The benefits are simple. Your house sound will instantly be improved, and each of your band members can have their own dedicated monitor sound specifically tailored to themselves. The down side? It will take time for your team to acclimatise to the in ears. Some may never do so. You will get complaints, at least at first. However, if you persevere then the benefits will soon kick in and your team will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. The control it will give both your worship team and your sound tech will amaze them.

So, what do you need? There are really two options, they depend on both budget and the sound system you have in place.

The first option is to use a multiple input / output headphone amp system linked directly to your auxiliary lines on your desk. There are numerous systems out there that will do this but one of the cheapest and easiest is the Behringer HA800. This is an 8-channel headphone amp that allows you to insert separate inputs for each channel. Simply send a line from your auxiliary bus to the HA800 and plug your bands headphones in. Simple. Obviously, this is a wired system so you will need extension cords between the Headphone Amp and the user. The sound tech will need to set each AUX channel for the user at the desk.

Approximate cost for this setup – Around £200 plus cables.

The second option is to use a ultranet based system to give each band member ultimate control of their sound right at their feet. To do this you can use an ultranet monitor system giving you multiple separate monitor systems each fully adjustable by the user.

Firstly, you will need an Ultranet switch to connect everything together. Connect it to your desk via an ethernet cable. This then connects to your personal mixers (up to 48 of them) by each band member. These mixers allow each band member to directly control their in-ear sound to their own preferences. The clarity and control of a system like this is second to none.

This system is more expensive than the first option, running at least £1000 for 5 users depending on the system you have (this cost is based on a Behringer P16-D/M system).

Whichever system you go for, your sound tech will be forever grateful, and your sound quality will be dramatically improved.

Shoulder to Shoulder with Giants.

“On the internet, no-one knows you are a dog” was a favourite saying from a few years ago.

Basically this means that online you can be whoever you want to be. I think this is vital for churches. To often we look at ourselves and say, but we’re just not that big. We can’t possibly make a difference. We look at what all the big guys out there are doing and think that we can’t compete as we don’t have the resources, the people or the finances that they do.

You don’t need to.

Social media is changing the game. You now have access to a platform that levels the ground for you. You can have exactly the same reach as the big guys. You can make a difference. Your story can reach and inspire so many more people. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Just invest some time, and maybe a little bit of money (although you don’t even need to do the latter) and you will be surprised what you can do.

It never ceases to amaze me that so many churches don’t use Facebook (or any of the other social media sites), or if they do it’s for little more than a events diary. Come on. Think Big!

We have the perfect opportunity here to get the Gospel out. To reach people and engage with them. To tell Gods story. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Isn’t that the great commission?

You don’t need to spend a fortune, Just build slowly. Encourage people in your congregation to like and share your posts and your reach will soon start to grow. You only need to post a few times a week. It doesn’t have to be spectacular stuff. Just make it relevant and engaging. You don’t need to be a graphic designer or a media producer to start reaching people. You just need to tell your story.

There are numerous ways of engaging with people online. You can just put out single line quotes, memes or pictures that you find encouraging (Be careful of copyright though!). If you have the capability you can create more visual posts. Get a photo from a stock supplier (we used for the above image, use it, it’s free! ) add some text and away you go. Want to go even further? Video is your friend. Interviews with members of your church who have a good testimony are a great way to engage with people. Even just posting your sermon is a good start. I know a lot of churches record the audio and leave it at that, but to be honest, these days that doesn’t work. People are used to consuming media visually. That means you need to look into video. It doesn’t have to cost much. A small camera and tripod. Then just basic editing skills will get your sermon online fast.

After that? The sky is the limit. The only limits online are your imagination. You can reach far more people than you know.  Before you know it, you will be standing with those Giants. Shoulder to shoulder.


Covid 19 really changed the game for churches over the last 3 months or so. We’ve seen churches that have never even thought about online services master getting online and presenting their weekly sermon, or in some cases their entire service, online through YouTube, Facebook, or other streaming service. This has been a paradigm shift of Biblical proportion. Now though, things are starting to move back towards normality. So you can do away with the online stuff again can’t we? It’s served its purpose after all. Is it time to go back to life as it was before, or do you need to seriously consider keeping going with our live streams after we get back into our buildings?

In my opinion you should definitely continue to use livestreaming as another tool in your ministry kit. Live streaming is fast becoming an essential for any ministry if they want to reach out into the community and beyond. Think about it. There are so many people out in our communities that wouldn’t even begin to step through a church door. Maybe they can’t physically get out and about because of illness or disability, maybe they just don’t like churches. These people may still tune in to what you have to offer if they can do it from the comfort of their home. What about people who cannot attend due to other commitments at the time of your services? For example, emergency workers on shift rotas. They may be able to tune in online or even catch up at a later point.

You could even be reaching people beyond your immediate community. When our church live streams we pick up people from all ends of the country but also from the other side of the Atlantic. It is phenomenal the impact you can have once you get your message online. You never know just who may be watching. If your message is timely and impactful then you could find it reaches to the far corners of the globe.

Once you have decided to continue to live stream what next? You have been live streaming from your lounge using your phone. Will that still work? The answer, as with most things is it depends. If you are going to record from home and simply upload to YouTube for later viewing, then it might. If you want to record your whole service, then again it might, but probably not. And what about those of you who haven’t even thought about live streaming. You just closed your doors and waited it out. Where do you go from here?

The next step.

Firstly, you have to decide on what you want to achieve, and how much your budget is. Yes, to continue livestreaming after lockdown you are going to need to invest some money in equipment. Sorry to say that but it just will not cut it to continue with ropey videos recorded by hand on a phone. You can and need to do better. At the very least you will need a better mic and a tripod.

Do you want to record the service beforehand and just put it out on YouTube, or do you want to do a full live stream where people can interact with your volunteers?

Obviously, we’d all love to do the whole Hillsong or Elevation bit. You know, multiple cameras, full tv operations etc. (No? It must be just me then!), however,  most of us don’t have the money or resources (personnel or equipment) to pull that off and to be honest it wouldn’t work for 95% of the churches in the UK. We just aren’t there. Yet. You can, however, produce something that is specifically you. It is your church, your vision, your style. You can make a difference online. You can reach people who you never thought you could before. So grab hold of it and run with it. Work out your budget. Work out your needs and wishes. Then go with the best that you can for that point and get it done. Get online. Get broadcasting. Get reaching people. As a famous brand says, “Just do it”. Don’t let fear or discouragement hold you back. Realise that for a while your viewing figures may well be stuck in the single figures (if that), but they will grow as your congregation starts to get behind your vision and starts to understand the value of this project. Who knows where this could take your church? Maybe YOU will be the next Bethel or the next Hillsong or maybe, just maybe, you will find your true calling as a church and fill a need in peoples lives who have been desperately waiting for you to turn up and show them Christ.