Mike Stranks wrote:OK; I'm bowing-out now as Seablade has arrived. Not only is he in the States, he knows church sound very well and he knows MUCH more than me! :D
I certainly wouldn't bow out, I haven't been around much intentionally lately as I am just to busy to spend much time on forums these days.
Our room is decently small. It will seat around 400 according to the sign on the wall... But usually around 30-50 on a Sunday. So it's small.When I was originally trained the Audio Engineer said the room was designed and set up horribly for the sound. Styles of music are really average church songs. Acoustic with background vocals. I don't know any other way to really explain it.
Hmm sounds like an average fellowship hall to be honest. And reading your description it sounds like you are playing primarily acoustic praise and worship music. If I am filling in the blanks correctly and this is the case, I wonder seriously about the desire to play the drums harder, and would certainly be looking at a drum shield with an acoustic kit for that size of room and crowd. But also depending on the construction of the room, I am guessing a big rectangle with parallel walls, tile floors, and solid smooth walls,(Typical for fellowship halls) you may have a hard time getting truly 'clean' sound in general.
If you are using seperate amps for monitors, and have multiple monitors, then yes running multiple monitor feeds is likely the best way to go. While switching to IEMs is an option, I would look first and foremost at working with your drummer to see if you can get them on IEMs/Headphones. They will need the most drastically different mix from everyone else most likely. There is even a thread on this (Look for a title along the lines of "Question for the drummers") where you will get a lot of opinions of drummers and IEMs. I personally would suggest setting up a small mixer in the back for them, a Soundcraft Notepad or similar works great, that you give them their monitor feed into a line input, and they can plug a area mic in over their kit so that they can get more of themselves if needed. Total cost will be the mixer, headphones, and possibly a mic or two, so you are looking at a few hundred dollars(Probably in the range of $300) for what I consider a decent(But not great) setup to get them on headphones/IEMs.
I would then move your two guitarists so that they are playing near each other, and share a monitor, and have your vocalists share a monitor.
What you would do is send from a Pre-Fade aux to one amp channel, to your vocal monitor. Then from a seperate Pre-Fade aux to a second amp channel, to your guitar monitor. And finally from a third pre-fade aux to your drum mixer, where your drummer would mix it and adjust his level himself.
If you are doing primarily acoustic music, controlling the drum sound is going to be your first priority, especially with an audience that small, so the drum shield should be high on the list(Or a skilled player and playing more controlled, see my point about the problem of perception from my earlier post). If you do this, get the drummer on IEMs, and get individual monitor sends for your vocalists you will likely find things much easier for mixing monitors.
However this doesn't answer the point about stage spill from the monitors. This should allow you to lower all your monitor levels some as you are controlling the acoustic sound of the drums on stage better and don't have to compete AS much with them, but when dealing with an audience/congregation of 50 I suspect it is safe to assume everyone is close to the stage and you will always have some problem. You could go with IEMs, but personally I think attaining a good acoustic balance with the stage sound is a better solution. Use the FOH sound to fill in the missing sound from the acoustic stage sound. This means the mix you create won't necessarily sound good on headphones, or anywhere else that you don't have that acoustic bleed from the stage, but that it sounds good for those 50 people sitting right near the stage that are there to hear the message and participate in the worship.
All the above in the end are only general guidelines, it is exceedingly difficult to give firm advice without actually being there, hearing the room and the music both as well as the system, and I had to take a lot of guesses/assumptions from previous posts. So don't take them as hard and fast rules, you will need to try them, apply them, and determine what works for you and what doesn't.
I will be curious to hear the rest of your equipment list though to help refine some of my suggestions.