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How can I improve our Church's sound?

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How can I improve our Church's sound?

Postby Jeffrey Gian » Sat May 15, 2021 6:04 pm

Hello everyone!
I'm new here and also a newbie when it comes to mixing and mastering. I've few question for y'all would real appreciate y'alls opinion.

So our church setup is very simple Mics and instruments are plugged straight into the mixer to PA speakers.

Our Rig;
Ocatapad- Bass gtr(active pickups)- Acst gtr - Keys - Mics -Soundcraft Ui24r(mixer) - PA speakers.

Theres are no experienced sound guy and so I'm learning and trying to improve our Sound. Recently i started learning about EQ and Dynamic and out of curiosity i searched up for mic preamps but while i was reading i came across line level and mic level(which i always overlooked about learning) and realised that two of our mics are plugged into line level and our instruments in mic level input. And i learnt that mic runs in lower voltages compared to instruments. The Ui24R has only 2 line inputs and I'm assuming it's the first two ports as they are the only ports that have 'Hi-z' input options.

1.What can we do to maximize our sound ?

2.We have no Di box or mic Preamps,which one would y'all recommend buying first and why?

3.What would be the problems as we have plugged our mic to line levels and instruments to line? (Yes I'm gonna rectify it but still i would like to hear yall input and experiences)
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby James Perrett » Sat May 15, 2021 6:40 pm

Hire an experienced sound engineer for a day or two to teach you how to run your sound system. We don't know your acoustics or how the musicians set themselves up so we could give you advice that is actually way off for your particular setup. Watching someone experienced, while having them explain what they are doing (and why) will give you a much better start.
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 15, 2021 6:56 pm

James' idea is definitely the best way but there are a couple of things we can clear up in the meantime.
Firstly, as well as mic- and line-level signals, you also have instrument-level (the output from an unamplified electric guitar or bass). These signal levels are in between line and mic level signals and it's these that require the Hi-Z (high impedance) inputs.
Your Ui24R has 20 inputs with mic pre-amps. The bottom row of XLR inputs are only designed for microphones.
The top row, with the 'combi' inputs can take either microphones (on XLR) or line-level input (on TRS). The first two of these can be set to be hi-z inputs for instruments.
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby Jeffrey Gian » Sat May 15, 2021 6:59 pm

James Perrett wrote:Hire an experienced sound engineer for a day or two to teach you how to run your sound system. We don't know your acoustics or how the musicians set themselves up so we could give you advice that is actually way off for your particular setup. Watching someone experienced, while having them explain what they are doing (and why) will give you a much better start.
Yes i do agree, although do you suggest getting Di and or mic preamps?
Is mic preamp necessary as there are many mic level input in our mixer but only 2 line level so what can we do for our four instruments?
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby Jeffrey Gian » Sat May 15, 2021 7:10 pm

blinddrew wrote:James' idea is definitely the best way but there are a couple of things we can clear up in the meantime.
Firstly, as well as mic- and line-level signals, you also have instrument-level (the output from an unamplified electric guitar or bass). These signal levels are in between line and mic level signals and it's these that require the Hi-Z (high impedance) inputs.
Your Ui24R has 20 inputs with mic pre-amps. The bottom row of XLR inputs are only designed for microphones.
The top row, with the 'combi' inputs can take either microphones (on XLR) or line-level input (on TRS). The first two of these can be set to be hi-z inputs for instruments.
That's great! thank for the info, Which instruments would you suggest for the first two ports also the bass guitar has active pickups(if thats a concern)?
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby Kwackman » Sat May 15, 2021 8:44 pm

James Perrett wrote:Hire an experienced sound engineer for a day or two to teach you how to run your sound system. ....Watching someone experienced, while having them explain what they are doing (and why) will give you a much better start.

This is the most cost effective and sensible solution.
Try local PA Hire companies for recommendations perhaps?
Good luck!
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby James Perrett » Sat May 15, 2021 10:13 pm

Jeffrey Gian wrote:Yes i do agree, although do you suggest getting Di and or mic preamps?
Is mic preamp necessary as there are many mic level input in our mixer but only 2 line level so what can we do for our four instruments?

There is no need to buy mic preamps if you have a mixer with mic inputs - anyone who suggests otherwise is simply taking advantage of your inexperience. From the picture that I'e seen, the UI24 uses combined XLR/jack connectors so you have at least 10 line inputs.

This shows that it is essential that you stop trying to do this on your own and engage someone who knows what they are doing - they'll save you wasting your money on things you don't need.
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat May 15, 2021 10:42 pm

The advice so far is spot on.

Find an experienced sound person who can help you. Maybe someone in another church in your area could help you.

... and as a sound-guy who specialised in church systems I'd be happy to help... just send the plane fare and a commitment to hotel and food expenses and I'll be on the first available plane!

Seriously; don't ask a shop/supplier to help you... I've seen too many churches taken in by unscrupulous sales people who've sold gear that isn't needed, gear of a far higher spec than is needed and given rubbish advice into the bargain. :(
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Re: How can I improve our Church sound?

Postby Jeffrey Gian » Sun May 16, 2021 9:40 am

Thank you all for your inputs I've found the community really helpful we might hire local sound guy although that's not going happen anytime soon due to lockdown.
Last question;
So i should connect the bass with active pickups and acoustic guitar to first-two input of the mixer and enable Hi-z, right?
Thanks again everyone!
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun May 16, 2021 10:40 am

Small addition:

If your acoustic guitar has a preamp (if it needs a battery) then hi/low impedance is not a major issue and it could be plugged into any jack inputs on the mixer without problems, as can the bass. I would still use a DI* for both.

f it doesn't (if it has a passive pickup) then chances are it would benefit considerably with a proper hi impedance jack input.

*There are other gadgets and gizmos that can greatly improve guitar/bass in place of a DI but get your basic system sorted first.
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby Jeffrey Gian » Sun May 16, 2021 11:13 am

shufflebeat wrote:Small addition:

If your acoustic guitar has a preamp (if it needs a battery) then hi/low impedance is not a major issue and it could be plugged into any jack inputs on the mixer without problems, as can the bass. I would still use a DI* for both.

f it doesn't (if it has a passive pickup) then chances are it would benefit considerably with a proper hi impedance jack input.

*There are other gadgets and gizmos that can greatly improve guitar/bass in place of a DI but get your basic system sorted first.
So I'm gonna guess passive DI for bass and keys but with stereo outs for keys right? And active Di for acoustic as some say.
And can you name the equipment's that'd help acoustic and bass guitar, actually I'm the bassist of my church but also i also take care of the audio aspect of our church as there is no tech guy.
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby blinddrew » Sun May 16, 2021 11:44 am

I'm going to disagree slightly here. Before spending any money I'd try with what you've got.
Channels 1 and 2 on the Soundcraft are designed for instruments to be plugged straight in so start with that. Keyboards into any of the other line input pairs.
Start with the instrument levels at minimum though, particularly with the bass.
If you find that you're getting ground loops or other issues then it's worth looking at a DI or two, but it shouldn't be necessary from the off.
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby The Elf » Sun May 16, 2021 12:03 pm

The very worst thing you can do at this point is spend money. You risk having extra hardware in the chain that may be inappropriate and confuse matters further. Even worse, you will be convinced that you need to keep that extra hardware in there because you've spent money on it, yet it may be the one thing that's causing the problem.

Take a deep breath, read what the guys above have said (they know their stuff), take things one step at a time and keep it as simple as you possibly can - one connection at a time. Do all your testing on your own (or with one assistant, if you really must) and lock the doors until you've finished!
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby Jeffrey Gian » Sun May 16, 2021 12:10 pm

blinddrew wrote:I'm going to disagree slightly here. Before spending any money I'd try with what you've got.
Channels 1 and 2 on the Soundcraft are designed for instruments to be plugged straight in so start with that. Keyboards into any of the other line input pairs.
Start with the instrument levels at minimum though, particularly with the bass.
If you find that you're getting ground loops or other issues then it's worth looking at a DI or two, but it shouldn't be necessary from the off.
So you mean plugging both bass and acoustic to Channel 1 and 2 that'd be line level as theres no instrument level in Ui the other option is to turn on Hi-z which according to shufflebeat isnt a major problem. So you suggest with and without is it?
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Re: How can I improve our Churchs sound?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun May 16, 2021 1:02 pm

Jeffrey Gian wrote:
blinddrew wrote:I'm going to disagree slightly here. Before spending any money I'd try with what you've got.
Channels 1 and 2 on the Soundcraft are designed for instruments to be plugged straight in so start with that. Keyboards into any of the other line input pairs.
Start with the instrument levels at minimum though, particularly with the bass.
If you find that you're getting ground loops or other issues then it's worth looking at a DI or two, but it shouldn't be necessary from the off.
So you mean plugging both bass and acoustic to Channel 1 and 2 that'd be line level as theres no instrument level in Ui the other option is to turn on Hi-z which according to shufflebeat isnt a major problem. So you suggest with and without is it?

I'd agree with Drew here.

I wrote:If your acoustic guitar has a preamp (if it needs a battery) then hi/low impedance is not a major issue and it could be plugged into any jack inputs on the mixer without problems, as can the bass.

The mixer inputs you have are perfectly serviceable. There are only two reasons I can think of where this would be a problem:

1) You are a long distance from the mixer, for a variety of reasons balanced XLR leads (hence DIs) are better suited to long runs,
2) You have a passive pickup on your acoustic guitar which might not like the mixer input and would be better served by a high impedance input close by.

If your guitar has a preamp installed (or a pedal preamp) then you can happily plug that into your mixer via a TS jack (guitar lead), also in this case active/passive DI will make little difference to the outcome.
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