Mixing Two Services at Different SPLs

At one of the churches I’m working with, the tale is all too common. It is a large multigenerational congregation with a lot of history. As such, the attendance trend is for an older crowd to populate the early service, with the later service being dominated by younger families. This is not surprising as the same thing is probably happening all across the country.

One thing that can’t be avoided is the SPL preference of these two unique groups. I use the word preference pretty lightly. It’s stronger than that. The older generation becomes pretty vocal in their displeasure when the volume gets too much for them. Conversely, for some in the second service the volume never gets loud enough. If they don’t feel the Kick busting them in the chest, they’re not happy!

So what does the sound tech do? There isn’t time to rebuild the mix between services. A simple Master Fader change doesn’t work. That makes everything lose its presence, including vocals. Yet we don’t want to get crazy with changing instrument faders or we will upset the Pyramid mixing technique.

So we experimented this week. Here is our test method:

  1. During the first half of rehearsal, we build a normal Pyramid Mix as we normally would. We start with the drums and bass, mixing them at the appropriate level for the acoustic volume of the drums in the space. Then move up the pyramid until we achieve a great mix.
  2. Then for the last half of rehearsal, we reduce the master fader 6 dB.
  3. Then at the subgroups, we pull up the vocals and piano groups 3 dB.
  4. We ask the drummer to “ease up” on the first service.

So we have effectively “halved” (-6 dB) the apparent volume of the entire mix, while compensating the vocals and piano a bit. Now for 2nd service, we only have to adjust 3 or 4 faders ( Groups 5, 7, 8 back down 3 dB – and then Master Fader back up to its original position). Voila – we’re back where we need to be for 2nd service.

Some would suggest that we do the opposite (pull down drums, bass, guitars, keys, etc.) But for our situation, our method is the least amount of fader changes.

Have you done something similar? How did it work?

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Mixing Two Services at Different SPLs”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




SoundSessions

Audio Training for Live Sound. All content ©2010 Jeremy Carter Consulting.

Topic Tags

SoundSessions on Twitter

  • Free 30 day trial: StagePlot Pro for Mac: stageplot.com---------- *** --------- 5 years ago
  • anyone actually seen the new Source Four LEDs in person? Thoughts?---------- *** --------- 5 years ago
  • sorry about the lack of tweets as of late. Been busy with the new job as a Sr. Tech with PSAV at Gaylord Opryland. Lots of audio here!---------- *** --------- 5 years ago
  • my transition from Indy to Nashville would be ever so much easier if Peyton were to become a Titan.---------- *** --------- 5 years ago
  • RT @churchsoundguy: How to LEGALLY share the Super Bowl at your church this weekend: is.gd/SYuX5E #fb---------- *** --------- 5 years ago

%d bloggers like this: