If you look at the small bio piece on this page, you will see it says that I am a former Sound Designer/ Engineer. For about fifteen years, I worked at various theatres around the country either designing sound or running sound for various professional theatrical productions. It was something I enjoyed doing a lot and something I wish I appreciated more while I was doing it. And I do miss doing it. These days, I get my sound “fix” by running sound at the church my wife and I attend. It’s not as complicated as mixing a musical, but it has its own challenges.
Recently, our church underwent an auditorium renovation, where the back half of the room was completely redone and risers were installed with very comfortable theatre seating. As I write this, we had our first service in there last night for Good Friday. And while the theatre person in me is excited by the renovation itself, as a part of the renovation were a couple of upgrades to the sound system.
The first upgrade was to the main speakers. We had two speakers hanging in the center of the room that tried to cover the whole space. Don’t get me wrong, these speakers were pretty good, just not for this space. I ended up adding two powered Mackie speakers that sat on top of the subs and using them as fill speakers to cover the main speakers’ blind spots. Those speakers were pulled down this week and replaced by two line arrays that give much better coverage of the room. They’re not perfect, as I have heard some minor blind spots while walking the room, but those blind spots are barely noticeable and it has been a huge improvement to the room. Plus, the guys who installed it are coming back in a few weeks to tweak things based on what we hear after a couple of weeks of use. But, overall, I’m quite happy with the new speakers.
Now the second upgrade came as a surprise to me. When this renovation project started, new speakers were always part of the plan. What wasn’t originally a part of the plan was a new sound board. When I first heard the rumor we were getting a new board, I didn’t believe it. Then, I started getting excited as we were converting from an analog sound board to a digital one. When the new board came in and I opened it, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. But I also needed to shift my mind set. It had been a year and half since I last used a digital board, and the mindset is very different. But, I soon got back into the swing of it as I started figuring out and programing the board for use in our space. For me, it was a lot of fun.
I now have one service down using the board, and looking for to later today, when I get to use it for the first time with a whole band (instead of the keyboard, acoustic guitar, and vocals I had last night for Good Friday). I’m also looking forward to the long weekends I have coming up, where I have to get everybody else who runs sound at church up to speed with a digital console. In the meantime, I have a new toy to play with.