Volume Wars (Part 2)

Personal Monitoring Systems
As mentioned earlier, (IEM’s) In Ear Monitor systems are a saving grace to many in music-audio. They help control the audio monitor levels per individual. Try looking at Aviom products. Each instrument/singer has their own separate audio monitor module as they listen with a pair of headphones or iPod ear pieces. They can separately adjust the overall monitor mix to their liking. This ability gives them the option to pull up or down certain channels as well as their own. The nice part, all the stage volume is gone and everyone can hear themselves without sacrificing the main mix. The IEM signals are routed back to the main board. Guitar players can still use their amps as they are routed through the IEM in their personal channel. Check out Aviom for a more detailed description of their IEM system. Other sound proofing applications are found in drum shields and acoustic tiling.

Better IEMs
Looking for a more interactive monitoring/media/digital/all-in-one stand, while providing more bang for your buck? Try SamePage. Without buying a lincoln-log-set of components, SamePage has a new device that is synced to a personal laptop and networked between other touch-screen displays. From one screen, you can have your own visual monitor mix and digital sheet music display. You can upload, view, save and edit PDF music charts. SamePage, a service and product that was developed for worship leaders by worship leaders, is the world’s only fully integrated software and hardware solution that provides a paperless music management and display. The system allows worship leaders to access their music database, build playlists, view music electronically and download online content right from the stage. SamePage eliminates finding, sorting, organizing, and managing music for each musician and singer by consolidating everything into one system. All stations are linked together allowing the leader to keep the team on the Same Page.

Getting Back to Basics
Is there a way to balance a band without a sound system, IEM and even an engineer? Yes. How? By the band learning how to control their instrument and learn how listen to each other as a unit. Now you're talking about the hard work. Good old elbow grease of teamwork will never be obsolete. Back 20-30+ years ago in garages across America, bands had only 1-2 amps and acoustics. Each player adjusted their volume just enough to hear the entire band and singer. They practiced in this manner. They learned how to balance their sound. They rehearsed the sound of their songs rather than just the songs themselves. The result was a clean and polished compliment to their music. As time, technology and styles of music progressed, the volume levels increased. When sophisticated sound systems arrived, the volume wars spiked. This eventually crept into the Church, and is now where we find ourselves today. The whole genesis of a sound system is not to amplify the band. The real purpose is to make what happens on stage audible.

The time you spend working the sound of your band will have a beneficial result. Never underestimate the power of time well spent. Your band is priceless. Your team will grow musically as well as the quality of your sound. Plus, you help your engineer and audio team to do what they do best - actually mix the music. Instead of pulling down volumes or muting channels, their time can be better spent in adding EQ’s, effects and shaping the range of the sound. All of these details are necessary for the congregation to participate in praise. The worship is well facilitated by a conducive environment. When was the last time that you actually focused in worship without being distracted by noise (both by technology and emotions)?

Branon Dempsey is the Editor-at-Large for PraiseCharts Live as well as the Director and Founder of Worship Team Training: a ministry for local church worship ministries. He has studied and been trained by members of Maranatha! Music and Integrity Music for worship ministry and composition. Branon lives in Cypress, Texas where he is also a Worship Leader/Songwriter and has been in ministry for more than 17 years. Follow him online at twitter.com/worshiptt. © Copyright 2010 PraiseCharts. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.