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Author Topic: Me...a soundman?  (Read 5668 times)

Wordman

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Me...a soundman?
« on: July 08, 2004, 02:27:40 am »

I am a songwriter by profession...but a group of people in our fair city know me as the Soundman.  I received this moniker because I knew where the power switch was on the mixer in our church, and now I spend a great deal of time there each week applying what I have learned here.  My question is, outside of this forum, where are the best places for non-certified, non-degreed and non-sound educated soundmen to learn more about such things as mixing, wiring, amps, eq's, monitor placement and the like.  I have about $20,000 in my home studio and could take it apart and reassemble it in another room in 1 hour and make it sound great...after 4 months I still can't seem to make that church sound good.  Don't get me wrong, I love doing this and the people there are so happy with the sound that they now wish to start funding some badly needed upgrades.  They are looking to me to supply them with guidance as to what is needed.  But I realize when reading some of the posts here that I don't know very much about what I am doing...for instance, what is bridging an amp, how is it done and why would I do it?  What is a curve in respect to eq, and headroom obviously doesn't refer to the height of our ceiling above our noggins but what is it?  These are a few of hundreds of questions that I would be very annoying trying to get answers to in this forum alone, but where can I learn the most about all the subjects common to a soundman's responsibilities?  Mags, web sites, books?  While the main church only seats about 150 people, attendance has increased enough since I took over sound to renew the people's interest in the music program...and since I want to give my best to God and His people, I need good information.  This forum and the people who post here are invaluable, thanks for all your info...where can I find more?
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Dave J

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2004, 03:04:51 am »

Well, I don't know how much help these will be to you but I subscribe to 2 different FREE publications. Pro Sound News and Church Production Magazines. Another thing that helped me is that I have several friends that are also sound techs, some based on recording and the others on live. It is nice to have someone to turn to for help. I have done most of my learning from product websites, the study hall here, and experience. Feel free to contact me through the private messaging if you wish. Asking questions is the only way to find answers.

Dave in ATL
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Phil Ouellette

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2004, 08:53:13 am »

I suggest you read everything in the study hall here.

You should join the CSC (Church Sound Check) discussion group.  This is an email list serv and it is specifically aimed at people running sound in churches. Sign up at www.churchsoundcheck.com

A couple of books you might want to consider picking up are:

For a more entry level kind of book check out "The Yamaha Guide To Sound Systems For Worship".

For a more in depth study guide take a look at "Sound Reinforcement Handbook Second Edition by Yamaha"

Don't be shy to ask your questions in the lounge also.

Phil
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Dave J

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2004, 05:36:56 pm »

Phil,
Thanks for the link to the CSC group. I didn't know it existed and think I will be heading over. After looking at the survey questions, I think I need to go do some measuring Sunday and report back.
Thanks,
Dave in ATL
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Bob Currier

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2004, 08:40:19 pm »

I echo the recommendations so far.  Let me add another: check around with other churches in your area.  After all, it's not like you're competition.  You might find a few new friends who can give you some good tips while listening in on your work.  Keep in mind, though, that some of the folks, especially at larger churches, might be paid staff members and work as consultants on the side.  So, some might prefer to charge you for some consulting help and that's okay (might even be a good investment on your part--especially for the installation of new equipment).  But check around, you'll be able to find plenty of folks willing to share their knowledge.

Another Atlantan,

--bc
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Phillip Graham

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2004, 12:14:05 am »

Wordman wrote on Thu, 08 July 2004 02:27

I am a songwriter by profession...but a group of people in our fair city know me as the Soundman.  I received this moniker because I knew where the power switch was on the mixer in our church, and now I spend a great deal of time there each week applying what I have learned here.  My question is, outside of this forum, where are the best places for non-certified, non-degreed and non-sound educated soundmen to learn more about such things as mixing, wiring, amps, eq's, monitor placement and the like.  I have about $20,000 in my home studio and could take it apart and reassemble it in another room in 1 hour and make it sound great...after 4 months I still can't seem to make that church sound good.  Don't get me wrong, I love doing this and the people there are so happy with the sound that they now wish to start funding some badly needed upgrades.  They are looking to me to supply them with guidance as to what is needed.  But I realize when reading some of the posts here that I don't know very much about what I am doing...for instance, what is bridging an amp, how is it done and why would I do it?  What is a curve in respect to eq, and headroom obviously doesn't refer to the height of our ceiling above our noggins but what is it?  These are a few of hundreds of questions that I would be very annoying trying to get answers to in this forum alone, but where can I learn the most about all the subjects common to a soundman's responsibilities?  Mags, web sites, books?  While the main church only seats about 150 people, attendance has increased enough since I took over sound to renew the people's interest in the music program...and since I want to give my best to God and His people, I need good information.  This forum and the people who post here are invaluable, thanks for all your info...where can I find more?


In addition to some good advice already here, I would make several more egghead recommendations.

"Sound System Engineering" Don and Carolyn Davis-the closest thing to a definitive textbook out there.  Plenty of math.

Synaudcon-the place where the consultants learn and banter.  I easily get my 45/year out of it from the listserv. www.synaudcon.com

Also, there a litany of differences between studio and live audio, not the least of which is volume off the stage.  Presuming your PA setup isn't completely incompetent (a bigger presumption than it should be), then getting the stage volume down is a big help.  There are other threads here, and at CSC, on this.
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Phill Graham

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering

The Georgia Institute of Technology

yam4000vca Jim Gould

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Re: Me...a sound man?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2004, 09:11:30 am »

As a person that has designed and installed systems in several hundred churches over the years I will take the time to answer your questions that you asked in your post.
There is something that I will state about church sound that you may not realize and it makes the whole thing harder to deal with than secular sound.
In church sound you are dealing with non professional players and singers.What I have found is that their useage of a microphone is not real good. Then you have the segment of the players that have played in bars possibly in an earlier life and have picked up a lot of habits there that are not good for a church as far as sound goes.
When you combine that with the fact that most churches have other things that what would make it sound good in their design you have a recipe for not so good results maybe.
Now for the good news. There are better tools at a lower cost than ever before to get this done. As you have already discovered live sound is another world from your home studio,or for any studio for that matter.
You have found this resource which is a good thing as a source for information. I would also try to find a local mentor. Should be someone that is quite accomplished at live audio and is able to explain to you how and why things are the way they are. It would be good for you to pose a question and them to offer several solutions to the problem in a good,better,best,way as to cost. The books mentioned in other posts are good too.
To get to the answer to your questions.
Bridging an amp in essence is taking a stereo amp and combining the A and B channel to get a more powerful amp.
With that said a bit of an explanation as to why do it is in order. The main reason to do it is to obtain the maximum headroom. See how I slipped that word in there too as they are related. Lets say you have an amp running stereo at this time and you want to increase the headroom capabilities of the system. As long as the load of the system is not less than 4 ohms it would be possible to purchase another amp of the same make and model running one on one side of the system and one on the other side. This can save you money as you are buying one smaller amp to get the needed increase in power.
If I was designing this system from the start I would use one amp in stereo. The reason I would do that is any cost savings you may have adding another amp of a smaller type would be canceled by having to by two of them.
As I am old school I am in th epast in some ways. Even to this day with all the amps quite able to run bridged mono I prefer to see amps run in stereo. It is just a more stable situation for the amp.
The headroom is how much power does it take to obtain the volume that you want on the speakers you are driving. Sound is a dynamic thing when related to music and many times in some churches the spoken word too. What we need to do is provide more watts than what we use. That is headroom. Headroom is good as it allows the music to be clean and the amp not running near its limits. Typically it is distortion caused by pushing an amp to the limits that causes problems in many ways such as blowing speakers.
Many people over time have seen that their speaker is rated say at 200 watts and assumed I will by a 200 watt amp and not blow the speaker. WRONG. That is the quickest way to blow the speaker. I would go in a church with a 400 watt amp and in other places maybe even more.
As to the EQ curve. My knowledge of it is it is just a term that describes what a 1/3 octave EQ may look like as to the position of the sliders. In other words what specific frequencies needed to be cut or boosted to obtain the desired sound in the room. That is the eq curve.
This post has been a bit long but I hope you derived some information from it. I would try to answer other questions you have in email if you like. You are a long way away and no threat to any consulting work here in PA for me. Any information I can give here is of a more general nature and is not a sub for a person on site.
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Wordman

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2004, 12:39:24 am »

Checked out CSC and loved it...lot of help there.  Thanks for the tips.  You guys are great!
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Wordman

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Re: Me...a soundman?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2004, 01:31:24 am »

Great idea, thanks.  I'm working on setting up a tour of a couple of other Church's operations now.  I figure if I can look at what they've done, ask why to what I don't understand, and get an answer that I do understand, it will be very worthwhile.  Thanks again.
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Scott Raymond (Scott R)

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Re: Me...a sound man?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2004, 01:26:29 am »

 
Jim,

Saw your post here and just wanted to say thanks!  Phil K. plays in a lot of Churches so..... Your post about Glass Harp a while back got me to the website where I found a number of MP3's as well as old and new recordings for sale.  I was aware of GH but a friend told me their material wasn't available anywhere.  I've been listening to all the downloads and can't get enough of them.    When I get a chance I'm going to pick up some of the CD's.

Thanks again Red!!! Very Happy

Scott

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Me...a sound man?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2004, 01:26:29 am »


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