Digital Sound Boards: Only As Smart As The User

Two Missteps with our board over Christmas:

Number 1:
During our Christmas services, like many of yours, the stage was setup differently. That meant we had different patching at the patchbay and in our digital board. For our choir specials we used thee Shure SM-81 mics on the choir. Normally we only use 2 but we had a larger than normal choir.

Patchbays and digital boards can be great but they can get confusing at times. Our typical signal path is something like:
Mic -> Stage Jack -> Patchbay -> Snake Channel -> Input on Board -> Fader
This gets a little more complicated by the fact that our patchbay is in our amp room located behind the stage. The SM-81s are condenser mics so that means that they need phantom power.

So I make my patches get back to the board but I’m only getting signal on 2 choir mics. So I open up the input meter page where I can see all my inputs. As expected I see my track and 3 inputs picking up sound.

So I patch the third input to my choir mic and start mixing. But I’m fighting feedback the whole weekend. I later realized the third input I patched in. The one I thought was a choir mic was the baptismal mic. Not the best choir micing technique.

I had gotten my stage jack number and snake channel swapped. Got it fixed and then ran into problem 2.

Problem 2:
Our stage and room have poor acoustics. Some things we have learned to get the most out of our choir. Which I think micing a choir is one of the most challenging things for a sound reinforcement. We put a graphic EQ on each channel to notch out some feedback, use a parametric EQ on each channel, and then use an expander to only open the channel when the choir is singing.

We had our choir mics patched correctly but were still running into feedback. We had the EQs inserted into each channel. But it was only after 1 service that we realized the graphic was inserted but the insert was not turned on. So the graphic was being bypassed.

Just some of those little problems that come up when you get out of your routine.

Anyway it’s a short work week and I gotta get some content cranked out for this weekend. I’ll try to post some of the graphics and I’ve picked up some great resources I’ll share hopefully later this week.


January 3, 2008. Sound.

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