David Holford

Getting Rid of Our Crackle and Buzz

I spent a long time today with a sound consultant. It was time and money well spent. I found out all the ways that our church sound system had been installed incorrectly.

The people who installed the system seven years ago all had the best of intentions. They are all friends of mine. Some of them still go to our church.

The current system does project sound and people hear what comes out of it and some are blessed by it. And some people are satisfied with that. They don’t mind that the main speakers crackle and buzz, that there are dead spots in room where the microphones don’t work, that the front row mostly hears back of the stage monitors and the back row can’t hear the drums. They don’t know that we’ve been using speakers designed as stage monitors with no throw and no low end for mains. And they certainly don’t care that we’ve been using sends as returns and other strange things.

Now that an expert has helped us see the light – or hear the sound – at least the worship leadership team recognize the error of our ways. He fixed and tuned up our system as best he could and made a big difference. Once we take his advice and buy the right equipment and have it installed correctly, the difference will be immense.

I constantly encounter people who want a do-it-yourself theology. They see no need for a consultant – a theologian or a team of them – to install their theology. Often they don’t even see the need to call it that. Often they even object to calling it that.

As a result we have a lot of Christians who crackle and buzz. A few people hear the Gospel they share and find it adequate, but most people can’t hear because they are too close, too far away, or the microphone is located in a dead spot. If they run into a problem, they seek out a friend who knows just a little more than they do. And if all else fails, they just turn it up louder.

Sometimes the bits of equipment are so piece-meal it is hard to even call it a system. Things are thrown in here and there. Half of them don’t work. But I will tell you about our equipment storage room some other time.

The big difference between a sound system and a theological system is that in the case of the latter, newest is not always best. In fact, the value of the two types of systems may be inversely proportional. With our sound system. we are considering a 32-channel digital board. With our theology we need to consider the oldest of theologians, the Church Fathers. We need to consider that which as worked through the centuries. We need that which has been believed always, everywhere and by all.

Then we need consultants who are rooted and grounded in this system. Those are the consultants who can fit the existing principles into real-world solutions. They know that you can’t take single sentences here and there from the Owner’s Manual and expect to understand either the manual or the system it supports.

Despite the best of intentions, do you need to change your system or get a consultant?

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