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How loud is TOO LOUD

 
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Post How loud is TOO LOUD Finis Dake
Yesterday the music in church was so loud it was painful. All of the older folks sat in the back and many sat in the entry way. I was deaf in my left ear for an hour after service. Are we replacing anointing with volume? Is it driving senior adults from churches? Newbie
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12/2/19 8:52 am


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Post Re: How loud is TOO LOUD Resident Skeptic
Finis Dake wrote:
Yesterday the music in church was so loud it was painful. All of the older folks sat in the back and many sat in the entry way. I was deaf in my left ear for an hour after service. Are we replacing anointing with volume? Is it driving senior adults from churches?


Pretty much the opinion of anyone in the church over 40 years of age is now irrelevant, though they give the majority of the offerings.
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12/2/19 9:57 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
If you can't hear the singing of the people around you, it's too loud. The purpose of the band is to lead the church in congregational singing.

I will never understand what pastors or music ministers who like it loud think they are achieving.
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12/2/19 11:15 am


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Post FLRon
A church I attended had a container of earplugs at the welcome desk. Really? The pastor actually suggested the “older folks” sit in a certain section where they had decreased the speaker volume slightly just for them. SMH

As a musician myself I cannot stand music that is too loud. There is so much more to music than volume, yet I see far too many church musicians who do not understand this principle.

And to answer a previous question: absolutely the anointing has been replaced by volume in many of our churches.
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12/2/19 9:59 pm


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Post It's not what you think, I don't think.... Aaron Scott
Being a musician, I know what it is like to practice with a near-perfect mix and volume. But the acoustics change when the auditorium has more people in it. What was plenty loud an hour ago will typically need boosting.

Further, live music feeds on itself. If a song is really nailing it, it is very easy to play with greater intensity/volume. This serves to throw off the mix. Thus, if the bass player gets too strong (perhaps from just really getting into the music), the guitars may turn up in an attempt to reclaim the appropriate mix. The sound man, assuming he has good ears, now realizes that the vocals are getting drowned out by the music, so he ups the vocals! And we're off to the races!


Lastly, few Church of God sound men (I use the term advisedly) know very much about mixing sound. I knew of one guy who came from a reserved, Baptist background who was put in the sound booth of a Pentecostal church. DISASTER! Pentecostal worship IS more exuberant--or should be!--than the worship in other churches. It will almost CERTAINLY be louder due to the greater enthusiasm that is often exhibited. This guy, the ONLY thing he knew about sound was to TURN IT DOWN! Everything seemed too loud for him.

This demoralized the band. We were practicing and doing our best, only to later be told that the, say, drums could barely be heard (and the drummer was by far the most accomplished musician on the stage!).

Run it all through the board, you say? Yeah, and what if Mr. I-Want-Us-To-Be-More-Like-the-Baptists is in the sound booth? Long and short of it, I didn't practice with the singers, hone my skills, and make the effort to turn up...only to not be heard. If I'm not heard, I'm not playing. Not because I'm some great musician, but because it's foolish to prepare for no reason. No one is blessed or benefited from seeing silent musicians.

With an Aviom system and headphones, I can make sure I hear myself. But I didn't come to just hear myself. I came to be a part of the performance. If I find that the music is poorly mixed, instruments cannot be heard half the time, etc., yeah, I'm out.

I know of one church that has a guy attending that used to mix sound for Clint Brown. Do they use him? Nope. Instead, they use people who have NO background of mixing sound. They simply do not care about their sound. They have a sizable church that has a good spirit, but as for excellence in sound, they don't have any drive in the direction.

Yes, they could just turn everything down, but then the mix is lost, people can't be heard, and so it goes.

Only those churches that have high-caliber sound men and instruments through the system (coupled with an in-ear monitor or such) usually get the sound right.

One sound man, Gary Apple, told me that by taking the high down and boosting the low end, you can actually be even LOUDER than normal, but because it isn't piercing, it is often acceptable to listeners. It may rattle your shirt, but it doesn't make your ears bleed.


Last edited by Aaron Scott on 12/5/19 3:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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12/3/19 8:32 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
Aaron, you make many excellent points about the difficulty that churches experience trying to mix sound effectively.

But at the same time, it's absolutely true that some pastors just like it loud. I have heard pastors specifically direct the sound team and musicians to make the sound very loud. As further evidence of this, if a church is giving out earplugs or creating a specific space where the sound is not as loud, it's clear the volume is not just an artifact of a team that isn't experienced enough to mix sound effectively.
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12/3/19 8:45 am


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Post Da Sheik
The average church soundman is in an impossible situation. Most churches have a volunteer in place that has little or no real training in how to mix music. If you’ve got several big egos on the platform, their mics are never hot enough and they always need more monitor. Musicians with amplifiers on the platform overriding the soundman’s control over the mix. If you’ve got a good sound person, treat them well. They have a thankless job.

But to the original point...if it’s punishing the people or impeding the worship of people, it’s too loud ! I remember one camp meeting I could actually feel my internal organs moving, the bass was so loud.
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12/3/19 9:58 am


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Post Is it because... roughridercog
People endeavor to create a concert atmosphere rather than a worship atmosphere? Just throwing this into the mix. Pun intended
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12/3/19 10:49 am


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Post Dave... Aaron Scott
Dave Dorsey wrote:
Aaron, you make many excellent points about the difficulty that churches experience trying to mix sound effectively.

But at the same time, it's absolutely true that some pastors just like it loud. I have heard pastors specifically direct the sound team and musicians to make the sound very loud. As further evidence of this, if a church is giving out earplugs or creating a specific space where the sound is not as loud, it's clear the volume is not just an artifact of a team that isn't experienced enough to mix sound effectively.


I hear you, friend. But it has too often been my experience that there are simply people with very sensitive ears (often older people) that pretty much will be uncomfortable with much over acoustic volume. That is, you can be playing at a perfectly legit level--one that SHOULD, I think, work well with our Pentecostal culture--yet be considered too loud by some.

Ideally, a sound man should have a decibel meter (you can get these on cell phones, although the app I have is absolutely worthless, since it thinks that pretty much everything is "whisper" level), using it to ensure that the total volume never goes above that.

If you're going to have a band, then it needs to sound like a band. And that is going to include volume. No, it shouldn't be too loud, but neither should it be too quiet. Either will make the work of practice and performance vain.

Indeed, as one poster put it, if you have a good sound man, he would be almost as important as the worship leader, in my opinion. A good worship leader with bad sound is not going to be successful.

In a band I played in, we made it a point to introduce the sound man as part of the band. In a sense, he was playing ALL the instruments.
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12/3/19 11:16 am


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Post Re: Is it because... Cojak
roughridercog wrote:
People endeavor to create a concert atmosphere rather than a worship atmosphere? Just throwing this into the mix. Pun intended

As I know you too are a musician, I was there before my hearing went completely, and I enjoyed the level of music, I could hear singing and instruments.

But to your comment quote: People endeavor to create a concert atmosphere rather than a worship atmosphere?
I actually think so, some without even realizing.

We are back in Florida and I asked my wife where she would prefer to attend last Sunday, her answer was, "Not the COG in this town, it is absolutely too loud."
So we drove over to Sanctuary in Deland. Loud, but not ear splitting.

YES I am old, I used to be a musician. When I hear extremely LOUD in church, I always think of the scripture where the prophet says something like, "Call louder, your god may be on a journey and can't hear you!" Shocked Embarassed
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12/3/19 11:47 am


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Post Bro Bob
Good post Cojak.

And Aaron made some good points. I have always known (I played sax) one basic thing he said, if someone is giving their time and effort, the audience ought to be able to find the sound they are making. So MIX is critical.

And it is true that it will always be too loud for some people, and to others there is never too much cowbell.

Some good points being made here, but we are never going to fix this problem, it is systemic.

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12/4/19 6:55 pm


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Post Carolyn Smith
Another reason could perhaps be that at least some of the musicians probably have some hearing loss from being around loud music.

And in my experience, it seems most sound men also have some hearing issues.

There's loud and then there's unbearable. I like it loud enough to hear myself in the monitor but not too loud. And it is difficult to get a good mix.

But we can probably do better.
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12/4/19 9:21 pm


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Post How about acoustic Sunday? roughridercog
See how that works? Laughing
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12/5/19 8:56 am


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Post Re: How loud is TOO LOUD Link
Finis Dake wrote:
Yesterday the music in church was so loud it was painful. All of the older folks sat in the back and many sat in the entry way. I was deaf in my left ear for an hour after service. Are we replacing anointing with volume? Is it driving senior adults from churches?


I went to a Spanish-speaking bilingual church that was waaaay too loud. I put cotton in my ears. The sound guy didn't care when my wife mentioned it. I talked to the sound guy about the problem of little babies and the loud speakers and he seemed to care.

They'd blast the speakers so loud you couldn't hear the preacher at the end during the 'altar call' time. Once, they had it low enough to hear it, and he said to turn it up. The pastor was all behind the loud noise.

We left, not over that, but over doctrine and practice that just didn't come from the Bible, and because we felt like what we were supposed to be doing would take us in a different direction.
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12/6/19 12:12 am


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Post Is this becoming a widespread problem in our churches... roughridercog
and meetings, or are these isolated incidents?
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12/6/19 8:26 am


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Post revuriah
I play guitar. I use an amplifier that uses vacuum tubes, and as a rule, more volume on the amp brings out the nuances and allows the output tubes and tone controls to operate at their peak (both clean and overdriven). However, being a larger church with a pretty silent stage (other than the subs), my amp is kept offstage in a closet with a mic on it. I can have my volume and the soundman can control my level at FOH. Our other player uses a multi effects unit directly into the soundboard. We are all using in-ear monitors.

It’s true that most instruments can be played dynamically, like guitars, bass, drums, and even keys. The louder the attack, the more the volume. On a stage where you’ve got uncaged drums and amps, it’s easy for volume to get out of control. That’s where being a solid musician comes in. That is one who knows what, when, and how loud to play.
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