If you’ve ever been behind the sound board mixing for a show or a church service, and you think you’ve got the perfect mix dialed in, think again.
It is rare that the audience is hearing exactly what you are hearing from the sound booth.
Normally, the sound booth is tucked away in some corner or even in another room. This creates a problem because as the sound mixer, you are receiving off-axis sound information mixed with potential reflections from the rear walls of the room. This will cause cancellation and summation in the sounds (frequencies).
When sound interacts with a room, it is rarely good, especially if your sound system has not been designed properly. The wrong speakers for the room might have been chosen, or even an appropriate set of speakers can be aimed wrong. Our only tip for dealing with this is when you dial in a mix from the sound booth, don’t get comfortable with it. Walk out in the middle of the room where your audience is and critically listen. You’ll notice that it sounds different. Sometimes this is difference can be up to 15dB. We are not only worried about level, but the balance between bass, mids, and highs. The rear of the room may have a build up of bass, so you are likely from the mix position, going to turn it down. This leaves the mix sounding “thin” out in the audience. This is why it is critical to mix for the audience. When you do make it back to the mix position, you’ll notice that the changes aren’t ideal for the sound booth position, but that’s ok. Make decisions based on the sound where your listeners ears are. Hopefully all of this can be done during sound check. We wouldn’t advise getting up and walking around during the actual service.