The burning question that consumes us all.
But before we dive into just exactly what a mix template can do for you, let’s first define exactly what it is.
Mix Template | a digital file that contains preconfigured settings for any digital mixing hardware or software.
Still with me? Good.
More simple than you thought, right?
Before we dive into what all a mix template can (and cannot) do, lets talk about some perceived (and inaccurate) grievances, and some that might be onto something.
A mix template will not fix a MUSIC problem. If you have a metal guitar player that you recruited from the local metal scene that has no experience playing worship music stylings, a worship MIX template will not help that in any way shape or form.
Pretty obvious, yes. But I’m establishing a baseline here.
What a mix template will also not do is fix an INPUT problem.
By input here, we mean, in short, anything on the stage, or SIGNAL CHAIN related. a concise but not all encompassing list may include:
Most of this is fairly common sense, though no shame if some of this is unfamiliar to you. That’s okay.
Lastly, a mix template is not going to magically make up for lack of continued pursuit of excellence in your craft, regardless of how humble that might be. Excellence in audio and worship arts is a lifelong, never-ending (and to me, very satisfying) “journey, not a destination…”
– Aerosmith/Ralph/Waldo Emerson/Lynn H. Hough/all of the above/I’m not sure/Google doesn’t seem to know either.
To put it simply, if you select a mix template that is appropriate for your style of music, it will most definitely help you obtain better mixes – overnight. Shut the front door. Lock it.
There are “generally accepted” mix principles that, while may not be PERFECT for everyone and all situations, they are pretty dang good for most.
“Most” in this case being the unfortunate situation that 99% of all churches find themselves in, which is they are small, and cannot afford even one BAD engineer for ANYTHING.
Much less three: one each for FOH, monitors, and broadcast.
Most of you are running your tech with maybe one or two volunteers that have a heart to serve, show up, and are the only people who can be counted on. And that that makes them worth more than ten professionals.
By this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what the punchline here is. I’m gonna get to that.
But first, I’m gonna do something I really don’t like to do:
Well, I got started playing guitar when I was 11. I think that was approximately 2001. A cousin of mine (who happened to be my church’s youth pastor/worship leader) showed up at the family mobile home and presented me with a $250 check and said “God told me to give you this to buy a guitar.” Unbeknownst to him, I’d already been begging, borrowing and stealing whatever guitar I could get my hands on to learn and, needless to say, this was clutch.
But more on that story later.
Time goes on, I become hopefully better-than-mediocre musician.
At age sixteen, I got a red Fostex 16-channel recorder and began an illustrious career making mixtapes (not really).
When I graduated high school, I spent ALL my money on a white, polycarbonate, late-2006, 13″ Macbook. Remember those? They were notorious for the top-case (the entire “top” piece with the keyboard that covered up the innards) chipping and looking really tacky and cheap (because they were).
A little trivia to fill you with regret if you did not know this: Apple actually replaced these for about eight years after this model was released – completely free. You’re welcome.
This purchase enlightened me to the existence of GarageBand.
I was enamored.
The journey into computer audio began.
I majored in (actually a number of things that I hated before finally giving up and just doing what I wanted) audio engineering and actually finished my degree. Largely uneventful. I learned a couple of things. I got student loans.
Typical millennial woes type of story.
Moved to Nashville, because that’s clearly the thing to do when you finish audio school, and temporarily moved in with the same cousin that bought me a guitar. He moved there to be involved with a church he had been commuting a LONG way to be involved with. But again, more on that later.
I feel you waining on me, so I’m gonna skip to how all of this leads to you.
Years roll on. I keep making records. I keep playing music.
So my cousin, who now lives in Birmingham, AL, is a worship pastor at a church there.
They need an audio engineer because (as is the case with many churches even with the resources for staff/good gear) they were in really bad shape and needed some help.
To address the elephant in the room, yes I got the job because he was my cousin. I admit it.
But anyway. I go to work for this church, and let me tell you.
Not because anybody was necessarily mean to me or I observed any type of toxic cultural/spiritual issues.
I was awakened rudely, even as a person who was coming into a church audio engineer job with quite a good bit of nearly adjacent skills and experience in audio, by HOW RIDICULOUSLY HARD THAT JOB REALLY WAS.
Like. Woah. I had no idea.
The band isn’t happy in rehearsal. Something’s wrong with the IEMs. Hopefully get everybody happy in rehearsal. Service starts and the pastor makes a B-line for the sound booth to complain.
I should mention that my pastor/boss can’t carry a tune in a bucket and does not know the first thing about playing music or engineering, but I swear, he can sniff out hum/buzz/static/noise like a blood hound in a way i have never seen in my life. Adding to my list of troubles.
All hell breaks loose.
I’ve got my “supervisor,” who was actually the guy I was there to replace because he can’t hear the difference in thunder and a toddler beating on a pot in the kitchen
(not that anyone told him because nothing ACTUALLY bad ever got addressed and dealt with)
and he’s telling me how I need to do the job, which I was told before hand the tl:dr about what I was gonna run into there, and it was for sure not pretty.
Service is over, and all three of them are pointing fingers at me.
Probably the first thing they all agreed on ever, though none of them would ever admit it.
…most of it was all my fault. I didn’t know what I was doing.
Even if it didn’t sound great, they had a standing structure that got them through the day, and I rolled in and absolutely wrecked it. And quite frankly, I had no idea how I did it.
Time goes on, I really apply myself at getting better. Things get better.
People got nicer to me. Still to this day not sure if it was because they became nicer people or because I got better at my job. Largely not important to the story.
As is always the case, I had to wear a lot of hats. I had to juggle taking care of the band, the house mix, the broadcast mix, and eventually any and all things to do with the video side of our productions because there was just no one else to take it on and move it forward.
I quickly realized that ANYTHING with a screen, knob, fader, button, software, lense, port, jack, what have you, was gonna get fixed, it was gonna be me.
I was gonna be called, and if I couldn’t do it, it would cost the church money. It was a big responsibility that I wore to the best of my ability.
But I’m rambling again.
Now for the part that really, REALLY does interest you.
…I developed the systems and structures in place that makes our service/event production run, and I trained volunteers.
Most of this was fairly simple and easy to do. Most volunteers did a great job and there was nothing to complain about. Most media roles could be easily automated and simplified to something most people could do.
The role of the audio engineer was uniquely, well, unique.
This didn’t come quite so easy.
Because it really was a difficult job, even for skilled and talented mixing enthusiasts.
And I really didn’t have a lot to work with in terms of volunteers with experience.
It kept things working, sounding solid, and with minimal issue. And there was absolutely no allowing that to take steps back by me stepping away from the sound booth, which was where my primary role was during a service, even if I had many other concurrent hats to wear even during service.
But honestly, I was sick of being glued there, so I HAD to figure this out.
How do I hand off this very complicated role, and BIG responsibility, maybe the most pivotal responsibility of the stability and flow of service, to someone who quite honestly has absolutely no mixing experience or even critical listening ability at all.
I studied my scene. I spent months observing habits of the worship team, the pastor, or anyone who could get a mic and how they use it and how anyone I answered to reacted to that and called an audible.
I recorded data, both mentally and digitally, about any and all things related to what could possibly happen, both musically, practically, and even spiritually, and I became intimately familiar to personal tastes and how they differed between all people I answered to. All in response to factors they have absolutely no way of explaining or describing to me what they want, and 9/10 when they try, they send you in the WRONG direction to make it worse.
You’re still wondering what this has to do with you. I get it.
Not a literal box. It’s a metaphor.
And within this box is safety. Security. Rules and guidelines that helped to empower my inexperienced assistant to do a job and navigate a role that he, quite frankly, was woefully ill-equipped to bare the full weight of. He hadn’t been doing it for years, and he certainly hadn’t developed the insight and instincts necessary to understand and relate to musicians that can only come from actually playing music for years of your life.
Time goes on. Due to some personal reasons, I had to step away from my job at the church. And I began consulting locally for other churches.
I should also mention my then volunteer I handed my box to now currently works for my old church full-time, doing not some, but ALL of the job I did.
I began spending my days (and Sundays) in a lot of different churches. Whether I was just filling in to help mix FOH or broadcast for the day, pulling wire, installing software, troubleshooting issues, installing new gear, tuning PAs, data was being collected.
You name it. I was doing it. I was putting my skillset I learned from the church to work.
Time went on, and I continued to consult and support local churches, mostly smaller churches anywhere from 50-200 members. Not a stretch to say I was was working in churches very consistent with MOST churches in America.
In doing this, I began to notice something that I in no way intended to happen.
Maybe not flawlessly; it needed modification here and there to really flow. But it worked. And it facilitated a scenario that was MUCH better than the place they were at, that place being everything really sucked, and it caused a lot of unnecessary tension and problems in their team and their culture.
Audio is hard, guys. It has challenges even for people who are really good at it.
However, you can leverage my skills, experience, troubles, heartache, pain, trial and error, wasted hours of troubleshooting something you know nothing about, and skip WAY ahead to a quality and level of sound just about overnight, a level that would otherwise take you years, maybe even a lifetime to craft the skills on your own.
It does start with a mix template, which we price to be affordable on any budget, but that purchase gets you so much more than that.
We truly have a sincere heart to help the church, and our fellow engineers who are struggling to get good sounds out of their equipment.
WHAT YOU GET WITH YOUR PURCHASE:
(Digital Audio Workstation)
i.e., Logic, Pro Tools, Reaper, Gargeband, etc.
Comes with all Macs. Limited, but can be fun. A good place to start if you’re familiar with Garageband and want to use something you know.
Our 100% WorshipTech.live approved and recommended place to begin your computer audio journey. Reaper is free, extremely stable, and works on both Mac and PC.
For people who have some stronger opinions about what software they wanna use. We include a template for all major DAWs. This template is our best seller.
For the same people with specific needs, but better quality, third party plugins. These templates were built 100% with Waves Gold bundle, a $9.99/month subscription.
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