This can feel overwhelming to read, but don’t’ be. You will be so glad you made this change and wish you had been doing it sooner.
First off, this is very common in the performance business and church worship ministries have greatly embraced it. Churches and Artists like Lakewood, Gateway Worship, Bethel Worship, Desperation Band (New Life Church), Jesus Culture, Passion, and many others use this concept.
Many churches are using in-ears systems for their monitoring. If you are not, you need to! It will solve many of your sound frustrations. There are many different ones out there. Some are more expensive than others. If budget is an issue, there is a great inexpensive way to do it.
Guidetracks can be set up in a couple different ways. One way is in a R/L stereo track. On the left is the click and voice guide of the song. On the right is the mix (pads, gtr, vocals, perc.). The other way is using a multi-track software (Abletone, Protools, DP, Logic, etc) and a multi out i/o interface. With the stereo track, you simply send the click/guide to the ears only and the mix instruments goes to the house. With the multi-track mix, same setup but your audio engineer has the ability to mix all the backing tracks separately (which they will prefer).
If you are only planning on using a click, then you send the click to the ears only for the band to hear. It is recommended that either the drummer or a band leader run the machine. Most metronomes have presets and are easy to use.
How to use them in the mix:
In-ears – It is important that the click is clear in the drummers ears and your rhythm instruments. Keeping time is very important. Teach your musicians and even vocalists to relay on the click. You will find that your band will be much tighter in there timing together.
House mix – The enhancement (additional instruments / vocals) track is a great tool for your audio engineers. They should use that track to be there limiter in there mix. Using a mix level 10-0 (10-highest level, 0-lowest level), your track level should be at the 8-9 level. This allows your engineers to be able to place all other instruments in there supportive place.
The cues that are in the click side of the mix (that go to the in-ears only) is a great tool as well to send to your media/lyrics person in there own headphone mix. This allows them to heart the cues in the song at really help eliminate wrong lyrics being put up on the screen.
Low Budget In-Ear Solutions:
- If your budget is super tight and a full blown in-ear system is not possible, you can start by just sending your drummer the click and the cues to a small mixer with a couple channels on it. (Behringer Micromix MX400)
– Your next step in your budget is getting a headphone distribution rack unit (normally 8 channels per rack – $140) and using headphone extension cables to each musician and vocalist.
- With this unit (Powerplay P1 Personal Monitor Amplifier – $50), you can send an auxiliary mix directly to your drummer.
Hopefully this has opened your thoughts to a great tool that will truly help your team in so many ways.