From the Sound Engineer

I’ve found some postings like this genuinely beneficial in the past, so I thought I’d add some of these here and there. These are some changes and challenges we’ve dealt with since the move to the movie theater. Here are Zach’s thoughts…

1. for our move to the theater, we bought a lexicon mx-300 effects unit. it has a ton of uses but we mainly use it to add reverb to the very dry signal that we get in the theater. right now we’re just using the #2 Small But Large preset. maybe one day i’ll sit down and really tweak a user preset for the theater but for right now this works pretty well. the way we hook it up to the mackie 32.4 is a little interesting. we use aux send 5 to send our signal to the unit and then bring it back into the stereo input for channels 31/32. this enables us to tweak the amount of reverb for each channel and then have a master fader for the wet signal coming back. i guess we could also EQ the wet signal but i choose to bypass EQ on that channel. having the fader is great for matthew and anybody else that switches between singing and speaking. while he’s singing, we have a fair amount of reverb on his voice, but when he starts to talk, we want it to be drier. so i just pull down the fader on the F/X channel to take more of the wet signal out of the mix. then when he kicks the band back in, i just slide it back up to Unity. that way i can leave the aux send level on his channel in the same position all the time and just use the fader. same is true for pastor joe. i have a tiny amount of reverb on his voice but it’s much easier to use the fader to adjust that then the aux knob.

2. stay away from unbalanced cables and adaptors as much as possible! we’re starting to be able to debug some problems in our system (mostly hisses and whatnot) and a lot of the problems come from mismatched cables or bad adaptors. anything that uses a 1/4″ connector (except mono instruments like guitars) should use a TRS cable. this includes anything that goes into the mixer, the interconnects from the mixer to the rack units and the monitor mixes from the snake to the amps or the powered monitors. also, we’ve had several adaptors go bad or just provide a bad connection. if you can afford to buy an adaptor, you can afford to buy, make or have someone make you the correct cable with the correct connectors.

3. when we first moved into the theater, we didn’t use our DriveRack unit at all. we went straight out from the mixer and plugged into the theater sound system. on a lark, i plugged the output of the mixer into the DriveRack and then out of that into the theater system. even on Full Range mode (no crossover, no compression, etc.) it gives us a fuller sound. it must do some internal magic that fattens out our sound. it also keeps our levels down as at first it was clipping pretty bad with our normal output. so i have to drop our main output from the board about 5dB from what we used to send.

Thanks Zach! If you have any questions or comments, drop them to me at so I can pass them on to Zach.


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