Last night in church, the sound guys told me there was a problem with the primary FOH mixer. When I looked at it, I was shocked.
Our primary mixer is a hybrid digital mixer, Mackie tt24. The thing works great for our application. We have 36 usable channels currently, the last 8 digital from a TOSLink optical cable, and many presets which make it very versatile and nearly irreplaceable. Most of the settings are saved in the board itself, so even if you made a change while it was off, no problem, just call it back and viola! However, a few knobs aren’t tied to the digital functions. Sound is analog, and so are gains.
The board has an analog gain for every input. We don’t have them labeled for a specific input since different people use different mics at different times. Someone got in the soundbooth and turned every analog gain he could find, either to its maximum, or its minimum. He also changed them on the secondary recording mixer as well. This on top of a Sunday service when the Pastor’s mic died mid-service, and a piano that didn’t sound right, and a little red light on the DVD input that wouldn’t turn off no matter what I did to it!
There’s a wedding on Saturday, so I spent at least 5 hours today fixing these problems.I had to backup the settings on the board, upgrade the firmware and test each mic and set the gains again to a “normal” position. I tried to tackle the hallway music since I was up there, too. I did some other minor fixes and made a couple changes to the area, like finding a plug into the backup battery that was plugged into nothing.
This experience showed me to do maintenance on the equipment more frequently. I’d been saying I needed to do the hallway sound for some time, but hadn’t gotten around to it. Plus, the piano was way off, some monitors were buzzy, things need to be addressed much sooner than later.
It also taught me to not completely trust children. More-so that we adults ought to protect our pricy investments from those who might cause it harm. You can think that because a black tarp covers it or that because the shiny lights aren’t on no one will touch it. But we’re all humans, sinners, who can mess up and mess something up.
It wasn’t all bad, really. I learned a bit more about how the mixer works and how to maintain it, so it wasn’t a complete loss. Plus, it should be sounding very good for the wedding and service…
PS: One other benefit was the red light turned off! Yay!