This one is subtle, but very important!
We touched on it a little bit in yesterday's tip for how to get great sound from the pastor's mic. Today, we'll dig in a little deeper...
Easter Sound Tip #2
You and I both know that feedback can be a major disruption and distraction in our services.
But the tone and quality of sound from your vocals and instruments can be just as distracting if things aren't adjusted properly.
A few simple adjustments on the EQ can be all it takes to improve the quality of your mix and deliver a distraction-free audio experience.
Let's consider two common scenarios where EQ can be used to clean up the mix and cause fewer worship distractions...
It is possible to have a great sounding guitar tone that is full and powerful, but when the worship band kicks in, the guitar can get lost in the mix or muddy up the overall sound.
To fix this, try applying some basic EQ settings. You may find that cutting out some of the mids or low-mids (~300 - 900 Hz) from the acoustic guitar will allow it to sound more prominent in the overall mix.
Or if you need a little more clarity from the guitar, try a small boost around 3 - 5 kHz.
These are just suggestions for where you can start. Each guitar will have its own "sweet spot" and each band arrangement will have its own mix requirements.
Practice with the EQ for your instruments to help them fit in the overall mix without competing for acoustic space with the other instruments.
Want to learn more about where different instruments fit within the frequency spectrum? I've got a great frequency chart included with the free Great Church Sound mobile app.
One of the most distracting part of reinforcing live vocals, and one of the easiest to fix, is a boomy or tinny sound.
While this can seem like a relatively minor issue, it has the potential to cause listener ear fatigue. Ear fatigue is what happens when we need to strain to listen or understand what is being spoken (i.e. having a conversation in a very noisy room).
There are two primary frequency ranges that cause ear fatigue when it comes to vocals (singing and spoken word): Low end rumble or "boom" and high end brilliance or "tinny" tones.
The best way to get rid of boomy vocals is to roll off some of the low frequencies. Start by engaging the low-cut (or high-pass) filter for all vocal channels. This takes out frequencies below about 100 Hz depending on the console.
Additionally you can cut the range from 200 - 300 Hz to take out some boom and bottom end depth. Be careful though, or you'll start taking out some of the supporting "body" of the vocal sound.
On the high frequency side, you'll want to cut somewhere in the range of 4 - 6 kHz to take out anything that is too bright or if the vocal is sounding really thin.
And one more vocal tip: the primary intelligibility range of most vocals is between 900 Hz and 3 kHz, depending on the vocal (male/female, soprano/tenor, etc). Try a slight boost in the upper end of this frequency range to increase the clarity of your vocal channels.
Again, these are just suggestions for where to start. Each vocal and mic combination will have different sounds and tones you'll need to deal with. Experiment to find what works best. Using an analog sweepable mid or digital parametric EQ is a great way to sweep across frequency bands and find the sweet spot for your sound.
Download the free Great Church Sound mobile app to help practice your EQ skills.
And of course, feel free to leave a comment with any questions or your own suggestions!