Confessions of the Church PA Guy : Part 1

Church Sound Desk example
Our church Sound-Desk is way smaller.

This post is a break from previous write-ups as I put the ‘personal’ back into this personal blog of mine. I hope you enjoy reading. Just a head’s up – it’s written in PA system lingo. ( FYI:  PA system is the Public Address System)

Part 1

It’s pretty hot outside, and I’m pretty glad I’m sitting in the service all morning. There are cartoons, special Sunday morning movies on TV, a nice Sunday Special newspaper to read all of which I’d love to do. But sitting in the AC and waiting for the meeting to start is an experience in itself.

So here I am at the console, waiting for the first service to end. The first service is very simple one. Just a guitar and a couple mikes.  The preacher has obviously forgotten that we have a time limit to help the musicians prepare for the second service. Maybe he’s using up that little buffer in Christianity we call ‘grace’.  The musicians have entered our rather small hall by now and are sitting at the back with me near the console. We’re whispering away to glory even as the preacher is screaming his guts all the way to the very good climax.

Finally he finishes. I glance at my wrist and think to myself “Oh look at the time! There’s just 5 mins for the next meeting” Five minutes?? Darn it. I wish we had a panic button. “Hey Mary tell me which mike your on”“Sound check please” “Guys, can we move that speaker to the back-end of the hall” “Reduce my bass and increase my highs and mids.” “Neil, I can’t hear myself on the monitor” “Check your wire” “Blah blah…. The shouts and yells go on and on as something of everything is to be done in 5 minutes.

“Good morning brother!”

In the midst all the Hullaballoo between me and the musicians, a nice old man offers his hand forward oblivious to the fact that he’s just interrupted a whole sound check in process. I turn my head towards him and in slow motion you would have been able to see the drops of sweat leave face. “Good morning Uncle! How are you?” “Fine, Fine. How is your studies?” “Uhm..Good! Thanks!” “Grow and do well in it ok. And don’t forget the church in the meanwhile. It is good to do these things also. Don’t forget hah, see you.”  “Ok Uncle, Catch you later”. That two-minute conversation-that-could-be-done-later is costly.

Worship is about to begin. Using the wireless microphone I ask my worship leader friend on the monitor speaker if he remembered to bring the ear phones for the console. He smiles and nods his head in pure Indian fashion. So is that a yes? Or a no? “No Dude”. At that moment I really feel like upping the highs of his guitar and give him that oh-so-loud noise we call ‘feedback’. Being Christian, I think I’ll get a bigger reward for not doing it now that the thought crossed my mind, don’t you think?

During the service the main singer waves to me to see because again she can’t hear herself. I tune up her volume but I get no response. The fact that I can’t hear her voice stand out because I don’t have the headphones adds to my frustration. I hit the mute button of her keyboard on my console for a second. She notices something’s wrong and does what everyone does in such situations, look at the PA. I ask her in signs if it’s ok and she gives me the thumbs up.

Next I realize the guitar is gone off. I would have noticed earlier, but guess what? No headphones. I check the 7 knobs I have to and everything is fine. I have to then check the wire and plug. There it is, the plug is loose. Ten years of loosening out plugs has worn it out. Have to literally hold it in place.

And then worship ends. It goes well. A few squeaks here and there, but nothing super tragic. Sure we’re dealing with a decade old system. Yes it has a lot of dust and even rat poo (Yes really, tons of it we have to sweep every morning). But it works, ok? Got to get ready for the preaching now… (To be continued)

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2 thoughts on “Confessions of the Church PA Guy : Part 1

  1. Dear Neil,

    I really liked your post. I personally work for R and S (India) Electronics Pvt. Ltd. We have specialised systems designed to suit the reverberant atmosphere of churches.

    We would love to give you a demo of the same in case you want to experience it.

    Thanks and waiting to be hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,

    Kabeer Ghosh – + 91 9819370548

    • Hi Kabeer, thanks! Glad you liked it.

      I love the way businesses are using the internet now to seek out new opportunities. Great job on your part. And you’re in luck too – Our church is seeking quotes for a new sound system. The whole thing is to be upgraded.

      I checked your website and would love if you could customise something for our services too.

      I’ll shortly email you something on that.
      God bless you!

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