In many churches, the sound coming from the stage is louder than the house mix…and this is a problem. You will never experience a quality mix if stage noise is out of control.
There are three main causes of excessive stage noise:
Good news is, there are simple ways to fix these problems so you can achieve balance between stage noise and your house mix.
When the acoustical energy coming from the drums is too much, you need some type of shield and sound absorption around the drums. You don’t need complete isolation, as some would believe. A five-foot drum shield with sound absorption panels behind the drums will make a world of difference.
Keep in mind, a drum shield alone is not going to help much. Without sound absorption panels behind the drums, a drum shield will just cause the sound to bounce around before reaching the listener at about the same intensity.
You also need to communicate with the drummer if they are playing too loud. I know, this is a hard thing to get across to a drummer that loves to beat the heck out of the drums, but keep at it. Find ways to help them realize that the drums actually sound better when control is used.
Important side note: Drums should always be mic’d, even if you are in a small room. There is no other way to get a full sound out of the kick, toms and snare. Learn how to mic and mix drums here.
An alternate way to make drums quieter is to use different sticks. Learn more here.
Guitar amps should be fully isolated. There really isn’t a benefit to hearing direct sound from the amp in the audience. There are several ways to take care of this:
Keep in mind, this will not do you any good unless you are using in-ear monitors. Otherwise, you will be running the guitar through monitor wedges and recreating the noise.
I know, some people are going to put up a fight. But it’s worth the fight.
And you know what? The people that fight you the hardest will likely end up liking the in-ear monitors a few months down the line.
You see, there is no other way to get control of the massive stage volume that comes as a result of your musicians needing to ‘hear themselves’.
Switching to in-ear monitors doesn’t have to break the bank. I have a post on how you can do it pretty inexpensively:
Is your excessive stage noise coming from something I have not mentioned in this post? Use the comments below to let me know.