It is depressing to hear the awful sound reinforcement in so many of our churches. The sound is hardly audible, or the sound pierces the ears. The monitor mix overshadows the house levels. The soloist cannot be heard over the instrumentation. The feedback is excessive.  These are just a few of the symptoms of bad sound in our churches. In many cases, churches have very inadequate equipment. But I would dare say, that in the majority of cases, much of the problem lies with one major component of our systems–the operator.In general, we would not hire a pastor without Bible training, a pianist without musical training, or a church cook without culinary experience, yet we are quick to put any willing soul at the helm of our church sound system without providing adequate training. By the way, adequate training is not the same thing as showing a person how to turn on and off a channel and how to increase and decrease the gain on those channels.

Adequate training involves, among other things, an understanding of signal flow, mixing techniques, an understanding of speakers, various types of microphones, and a good dose of critical listening skills. In so many cases, a technician with proper training can take an audio system that sounds awful and make it so much better by understanding how to make the needed corrections.

In my survey of churches, very few have people running the audio systems that have even a knowledge of the basic essentials of mixing sound. So the question comes, how do we change this?

Finding excellent, hands-on training opportunities seems to be rare. NC is very fortunate to have some world-class training coming our way September 8-10 during the Worship Arts Technology Summit. On Thursday, participants spend the day learning the basics of audio systems with intense hands-on training. This is followed by two additional days of instruction on a more advanced basis on Friday and Saturday. The three days of training is $149/person plus food/lodging costs at Ridgecrest. This could be the best investment you ever made for your church’s sound. Learn more about the audio track.

Imagine how much better our times of corporate worship can be if we have appropriate audio reinforcement. Yes, you may need to upgrade some of your equipment, but it may be upgrading (i.e. training) the most important component (the operator) will drastically improve the sound in your worship space.

I hope to review some learn-at-home products soon, but in my opinion, there is no substitute for live training.

What ways has your church provided needed training for your audio technicians?