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Guest Mixing

I had the awesome privilege to fill in for a fellow sound engineer at another church this past weekend. I rarely get to mix anywhere other than Northview anymore, in fact I can’t remember the last time I have since coming on staff. I need to get out more – I really do, I realized this weekend that my mix had become complacent in a way.

Guest Mixing at MPCC

Rehearsal at MPCC

I know exactly how the sound system at Northview sounds, and things have become so dialed in and digital (meaning everything’s saved) that I don’t have to do much more than just push faders it feels like. It’s like going to the gym and not adding any weight to the machines. While yes I am “working out,” I’m not bettering myself.

Guest mixing over at Mount Pleasant Christian Church (MPCC) this weekend was a big shot in my arm, and a bit of a smack across my face. It woke me up and inspired me to make some changes at Northview.

Three Takeaways:

  • You don’t know everything. Getting outside your circle of influences can really open your eyes to some new ideas.
  • You’re in someone else’s house. Be polite, and remember you’re there as a guest. Don’t try to fix everything, and ask before you do try to change something.
  • Network with their team.  Be careful not to cloister yourself away. Get to know their team, talk about their victories and celebrate them. Who knows you may get an idea to steal, I mean “borrow.”

I would urge all church sound engineers to get outside their auditoriums and mix at other churches. I guarantee it will open your eyes and make you a better sound engineer. If only to teach you other kind of equipment. I was fortunate enough to get to mix on the same model console as I have at Northview. However it was setup completely different from how I would run it. That’s not a bad thing, I’m not where the buck stops for sound board layout. The great thing with digital is, I was able to save their settings and lay it out like I wanted it. Then after the last service Sunday, I recalled what I saved at rehearsal and they’ll never know I was there.

So get your ears out there and change-up your surroundings. How often do you mix outside of your normal auditorium?