The Behind the Mixer Podcast

By Chris Huff

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Description

Chris Huff, from the Behind the Mixer Blog, reveals tips and tricks to mixing sound in the realm of church audio production. He covers everything from building a music mix from scratch to upgrading your audio console. You’ll even learn how things work, like audio compression and gating, so you can be a better sound tech. Discover the latest gear, newest mixing strategies, or learn the foundational audio production processes every church sound guy should know. You’ll even catch interviews and find out how other church audio engineers are coming up with creative solutions to everyday problems. Chris has been working in church audio for over twenty years, writes for pro audio publications, helps other church audio techs through his web site, and has authored several church sound system guides. He helps you with audio mixing, mixing monitors, working with musicians and church staff, buying new audio equipment, understanding how signal flow works, and most every aspect crucial for creating a top notch audio production, while working in the unique church environment.

Episode Date
Are You Breaking Music Copyright Laws? Probably.
21:26

Episode 40 - Music copyright laws are in place to protect musicians and the original music owners.  However, there are popular myths that churches have believed for years that have resulted in copyright infringement.  Chris covers these myths, myths on video licensing, and what you should be doing.

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Mar 21, 2019
Tips on Volunteer Recruitment and Retention
28:55

Episode 43: What mistakes are we making as tech team leaders?  For that matter, what mistakes are we making as volunteers? In this episode, Chris interviews his wife, who has worked in a variety of leadership roles, including the volunteer coordinator at the local hospital where she oversaw 90 volunteers.  Gina brings up key areas for retention as well as recruitment and they talk about how understanding personality types goes a long way to helping team members and becoming a better leader.

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Mar 07, 2019
Gear Recommendations: Walking Through a Typical Church System
29:58

What speakers should we buy? What about the mixer? These questions are part of typical conversations Chris and Brian have had with many churches over the years.  Only this time, Chris is playing the role of the pastor and Brian plays...Brian.  Discover how they look at a church system, the types of questions they ask, and how you should take a new look at your system.

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Feb 21, 2019
A Theology of Church Tech Arts: Interview with Dr. Josiah Way
52:51

What's the purpose of technical production in the church?  What about your church? Josiah Way answers this in his new book, Producing Worship: A Theology of Church Technical Arts.  On today's show, Chris Huff interviews Dr. Way to talk about the basis of the book and the important aspects of church technical work that's often overlooked by tech artists.  You'll also find out why Chris believes this book should be mandatory reading for pastors, worship leaders, and everyone in the church tech community.

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Feb 07, 2019
Reviewing the New Personal Monitoring System by Audio Fusion Systems
33:19

Audio Fusion Systems is a new contender to the personal monitor mixing realm and they are unlike everything else in one big way.  They claim you can get pro-level wireless monitoring using software on the devices you already have.  And it's unbelievably affordable and easy to use.  Does their product live up to the hype?  Find out as Chris Huff interviews co-founder Brandon Leafblad.

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Jan 24, 2019
Why Low End Frequencies Can Kill Your Mix
13:20

Low end frequency problems can plague a mix if they aren't identified and addressed.  In episode 39, Chris Huff discusses how the low end frequencies can work both positively and negatively.  He also discusses how you can control excess low end both on stage and in the sound booth.

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Jan 10, 2019
Your Production Successes in 2018 and What the Future Holds
39:47

It's the end of the year so Brian and Chris decided to take time to reflect on production successes of 2018 and what the future holds for Behind the Mixer in 2019.  Also, they're talking about YOUR successes, but....

Here's the thing, you might want to SKIP the podcast and just read the post on the web site.  We're not really sure what happened this time.  I think they had a little too much fun and were a little (way too) disorganized - a result of production work during the Christmas season I suppose.  Next year, they're looking at taking the podcast up to the next level.  But for episode 38, I think the extra work for the holiday season finally got to them.​​

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Dec 20, 2018
Microphones 101 and Why The Basics are Critical to Creativity
56:38

Don't assume there are only two different types of microphones; vocal and instrumental. Chris Huff and Brian Gowing explain how microphones are different, why they're different, and how to pick the right one for your need. They also talk about creative miking solutions for kids choirs, drums, cajons, and how microphone placement on an amplifier can affect the tone.

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Dec 06, 2018
How to Deal with Tech Team Bullies
47:10

Bullies exist even in the church technical production realm and if you're dealing with one then this episode is for you. Chris Huff and Brian Gowing explore the causes of the problem, how to deal with the problem, and how the entire worship experience is affected by a tech team bully. They also discuss the biggest question to come out of the situation; is it time for me to leave the church.

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Nov 20, 2018
Your Live Audio Questions Get Answered
01:00:25

How can I eliminate feedback? How can I get our ear-worn mic to stay on? Why do our new microphones sound so different?  Chris and Brian answer these questions and others related to live audio production.  They even discuss how to route channels on a Behringer X32. 

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Nov 01, 2018
BTM 034: Mercy Me, Touring Audio Engineers, and How to Take Advantage of Concerts
34:11

Have you ever wondered how a live audio engineer got a particular sound, when you attended a concert?  Do what Brian and Chris do, just ask!  In today's episode, the guys talk about how much you can learn by attending live events and listening with a critical ear.  They also talk about how they talk with those engineers either before or after a concert - and how you can, too!

Resources Mentioned:

 

 

Oct 18, 2018
BTM 033: What’s it Like to Be Married to a Church Sound Guy
28:52

Ever notice your spouse sitting alone (without you by their side) in the congregation while you're running sound?  You probably didn't see them before church because you were out the door by the time they woke up.  The life of a church sound tech means you are sacrificing time from your family to serve in the audio ministry.  In this episode, Chris Huff interviews his wife and they talk openly and frankly about how his audio production work (and the long hours) has impacted the family...and what every church tech AND THEIR SPOUSE should know to help them as a married couple and as parents.

 

Sep 20, 2018
BTM 032: The Guide to Portable Church AVL
41:55

Portable church audio, video, and lighting can be a beast of production work each week. Load it all in, pack it all away, and hope everything in between goes smoothly. On episode 32 of the podcast, Chris Huff and Brian Gowing discuss the biggest mistakes made in each of those areas - audio, video, and lighting, and how to overcome them.
They also announce the new Guide to Portable Church AVL.

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Aug 31, 2018
BTM 031: How Much Should the Music Mix Change Each Week?
59:43

Do you set the mix once for the band and never touch it again? What do you do when the skill level of the sound techs greatly varies? Chris and Brian have seen a lot of things done wrong and a lot done right regarding both questions. In this episode, they go deep as they answer these questions and even address worship leaders who think they know more about mixing than the audio techs.  They discuss why this can happen and how much of it's about their mindset - not bashing them, but seeing things from their point of view.  

Related Resources:

 

Jul 12, 2018
BTM 030: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Sound People
30:24

Isn't running sound only about mixing and working with gear?  Far from it!  In a recent article, Karl Winkler discussed the seven habits (skills) every audio tech should have.  In today's episode, Chris talks about Karl's article and digs into each of the seven areas.  

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Jun 21, 2018
BTM 029: What To Do When The Tech Team And The Band Are At Odds
47:43

ENOUGH!  At some point, someone in the band angered the tech team and things haven't been the same.  Maybe the animosity felt between the groups is the fault of the tech team.  Whatever the reason, it's time to admit there's a problem, get through it, and get back to working toward the same goal.  In this episode, Chris and Brian talk about why the Us Versus Them division can occur between the production team and the band.  They also talk about what can be done to get things back to the way they should be - where everyone works together and respects each other.

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May 10, 2018
BTM 028: The Six Things No One Told Me About Church Audio
22:49

Move past the microphones and mixers and technical side of church audio production work and you'll find there's a whole lot more to learn.  If you're lucky, you'll discover the six things that no one talks about - but they're so important.  In this episode, Chris Huff details each of these.  Out of all of them, the last one can make the difference between being happy or unhappy in your role as a church sound guy. 

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Apr 19, 2018
BTM 027: Ten Music Mixing Tips
26:57

Your growth as an audio mixer might have stalled out because you've allowed yourself to put limits on how you mix.  Chris covers ten tips that will help you take your mixing to the next level through, in many ways, by taking a fresh look at how you mix.  He also covers a few simple tips he's learned over the years for easy mix improvements in just seconds.

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Mar 29, 2018
BTM 026: Finding the Perfect Volume for Live Audio Production
01:05:14

Finding the ideal music volume for a congregation can be hard, especially when you're new to live audio production.  On today's podcast, Chris Huff and Brian Gowing talk about all of the facets of volume, in live church audio production, and their tricks to find that perfect volume.  They cover sound meter usage, the importance of measuring sound throughout a room, volume complaints, and share their methods for finding that right volume no matter the type of church.

Chris and Brian start the show talking about things going on in their production world, including Shure rechargeable batteries, Alclair in-ear headphones, and a possible event on the horizon.  Jump to the 7:35 mark if you want to skip it.

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Mar 08, 2018
BTM 025: The Art of Mixing Drums (Part 2)
17:45

Drum mixing is a complex topic which requires stage work, mix work, and working with the drummer.  Episode 24 focused on much of the stage work - the work required before even thinking about stepping behind the mixer.  This episode covers the mixing work, from mixing the kit pieces regarding volume balance to EQ adjustments and the use of effects including compression, reverb, and gating.

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Feb 22, 2018
BTM 024: The Art of Mixing Drums (Part 1)
33:49

Drum mixing is a complex topic which requires stage work, mix work, and working with the drummer.  Add on to that subjects like shielding and volume issues and the idea of mixing drums quickly becomes a heavy topic.  Chris and Brian cover all of these subjects, including reverb, gating, and compression, in this two-part series.  Part 1 focuses on much of the stage work - the work required before even thinking about stepping behind the mixer.

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Feb 15, 2018
BTM 023: New Audio Products for 2018, Announced at NAMM
49:35

New audio products are coming to the market this year (2018) and Chris and Brian go to the NAMM trade show in Anaheim, California to check out the new products like speakers, audio mixers, microphones, and even find a few surprises along the way.  Find out what's coming out this year, what's worth noting, and how you can take advantage of the training courses offered at NAMM.

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Feb 08, 2018
BTM 022: Joining the Sennhesier Advisory Council
16:06

How much does a pro audio company care about the church market?  In the case of Sennheiser, quite a lot.  In this episode, Chris Huff and Brian Gowing talk about being part of the Sennheiser House of Worship Advisory Council, what it means to you, and how suggestions from last year's meeting will impact you next year.  They discuss this year's meeting and why it's good to know the people behind a company.

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Feb 01, 2018
BTM 021: How to EQ Acoustic Guitars
26:33

How does one EQ an acoustic guitar?  It's not a simple one-step process but a process that begins on stage.  Chris Huff walks you through every step, from determining the natural sound of the guitar to dealing with monitor feedback to the final EQ and effects work.  He includes steps to avoid common pitfalls and details a method to give the acoustic guitar a percussive sound.  No matter how big or small the band, there's plenty of tips to help everyone.

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Jan 25, 2018
BTM 020: Tips to Working with Audio, Video, and Lighting in Portable Churches
47:40

Are you hauling AVL equipment in and out of a venue each weekend because your church doesn't have it's own building?  There is a lot that can go wrong.  There's a lot that people do wrong.  Chris and Brian want to help by talking about the ways in which you can streamline your load-in/load-out process, work with volunteers, and how you should transport equipment and ultimately keep it and everyone safe.

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Jan 11, 2018
BTM 019: Interview with David Manners
31:00

There's a world of other church audio techs out there and Chris interviews David Manners about how such a community benefits each member.  Call them a flock, a tribe, or a world wide tech team, joining one might be the next step you need to talk.  Chris also finds out how David got started in church audio production and his amazing journey.

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Jan 04, 2018
BTM 018: Audio and Video Maintenance
38:43

Microphones, cables, projectors, and many other AVL components require annual maintenance (some more often).  In today's episode, Chris Huff and Brian Gowing go over the areas of maintenance and give you tips on how to perform each one.  Brian covers his ears as he lets Chris cover the disgusting process of cleaning in-ear headphones.

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Dec 28, 2017
BTM 017: Which Monitors are Right for You?
36:27

Floor monitors, personal mixing systems, and even small spot monitors are available for musicians to use on stage, but which type is the best?  The answer lies in a number of factors and Chris Huff and Brian Gowing cover all of them.  Did you know the quality of the headphones used with personal mixing systems contributes to the success of their use?  The guys even talk about which in-ear headphones they recommend and those to avoid.

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Dec 21, 2017
BTM 016: Build Your First Audio Production Team
19:23

Too many people work on a one-person audio team.  No vacations, no sick days, and burnout is just around the corner.  Now imagine recruiting another person to join the team and that team growing.  But how does that happen?  In this episode, Chris details the exact steps to take to recruit and train a new person.

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Dec 14, 2017
BTM 015: Four Bad Habits of Mixing and How to Overcome Them
14:09

There are four ways in which live audio production can sound unprofessional or otherwise detract from the event.  Chris details each of these while he battles through the seasonal crud that gives him a voice no one would want to mix.  Two of these areas focus on mixing vocals.

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Dec 07, 2017
BTM 014: Sound System Tuning with Nathan Lively
43:30

Are your speakers in the best spot for your room?  Are you confused about the sound you're getting from the subwoofers?  In this episode, Chris interviews audio engineer Nathan Lively, author of 105 Questions about Sound System Tuning.  They explore common questions and answers and ways to improve the sound quality in a venue.  Chris also finds out about Nathan's change from aspiring musician to audio engineer.

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Nov 30, 2017
BTM 013: A Personal Thank You
04:12

What would a time of THANKSGIVING be without giving thanks to every person across the globe who is working behind the mixer, devoting their time and energy to helping their church, their congregation, and everyone within the church.  Chris extends that thanks in this episode.

Nov 25, 2017
BTM 012: Learning the X32 and Everything Audio: Interview with Brandon Wilson - 012
45:46

Jumping into the world of live audio production is no easy task.  This week, Chris interviews church audio tech Brandon Wilson and finds out how he went from zero experience to mixing on an X32 digital mixer.  Brandon also explains how finding an online community of audio techs was a blessing.

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Nov 16, 2017
BTM 011: Listener Q and A: Tackling Feedback, Mentoring, and More
39:30

You asked, they answered. Audio production topics include compression, feedback, mentoring, and what to do with your old equipment.  If you've got a question for Chris and Brian, drop them an email via the link in the podcast resource links.

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Nov 10, 2017
BTM 010: Listener Q and A: Tackling Compression, Wireless Microphones and More
32:19

You asked, they answered. Audio production topics include sound booth placement, the pros and cons of digital microphones, line array versus point source speakers, and how best to silence a channel (SILENCE, I MUTE YOU).  If you've got a question for Chris and Brian, drop them an email via the link in the podcast resource links.

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Nov 02, 2017
BTM 009: Are Powered or Non-Powered Speakers Right For Your Church
45:42

Loudspeakers are available in active and passive models, but which is right for you?  Chris and Brian detail the differences between the two models, the advantages of each, and how a church sound system can benefit from either.  Powered and non-powered speakers have come a long way compared to fifteen years ago.  Chris and Brian also debate which is best.

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Oct 26, 2017
BTM 008: Chris and Brian Hit the WFX 2017 Conference
40:22

The WFX 2017 conference was packed full of AVL equipment and Chris Huff and Brian Gowing tackled it...or it tackled them!  In this episode, they cover how to get the best out of a conference and the dangers that could cost you thousands.  Chris also hits some of the gear highlights.

Note: Most of the audio from this podcast came from their first video which can be found here:

 

Oct 19, 2017
BTM 007: Five Steps to Picking the Right Audio Mixer
25:24

Avoid spending unnecessary money on your next audio mixer by walking through the five easy steps Chris suggests.  He explains how to invest in the church audio mixer you need, not what you think you need.  You'll also find out the critical step most people forget.

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Oct 10, 2017
BTM 006: How to Create a Great Mix on an Analog Mixer
21:06

Analog mixers are used by top-notch live audio touring engineers.  Yet, many people think only a digital mixer can create a great mix.  In this episode, Chris takes you through the five steps to acheive a great mix with an analog console.  Even though church audio production technology has jumped by leaps and bounds, you can still create a great mix with an analog mixer.

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Sep 28, 2017
BTM 005: Improve Mixing Skills Through Multi-Track Recording: Interview with Gary Zandstra
42:07

You've got a digital mixer and want to take your audio mixing skills up a notch, but how do you do it?  Chris Huff talks with long time audio engineer and recent entrepreneur Gary Zandstra who has just the answer.  Gary details his start in audio production and how there's new technology that makes multi-track recording and playback simple - and perfect for working on your craft.

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Sep 21, 2017
BTM 004: Microphones: Solving Common Problems and How to Pick the Right Microphone
41:27

Are you frustrated with wireless microphone problems?  Does it seem like your microphones aren't giving you the great sound they should?  Have no fear, Brian and Chris are here!  Together, they cover common wireless and wired microphone problems...and solutions.  They also discuss the four major microphone properties every sound guy should know to guarantee they are using the right microphone for the job.

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The Guide:

 

Sep 14, 2017
BTM 003: Why Your Wireless Microphones May Need Replaced ASAP
13:05

Do you use wireless microphones or wireless in-ear transmitters? If so, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Chris Huff and Brian Gowing dig into the details of the FCC's latest changes to the 600MHz frequency range accessibility and what it means for churches across the nation. Some churches already have to replace equipment because of this move.  They also discuss what you need to do next.  

Resources:
http://www.behindthemixer.com/wireless-microphones-fcc-600-mhz/

Sep 06, 2017
How to Work with Musicians and the Heart of Worship, Interview with Apryl Allen - 002
33:16

Have you ever heard of grace under pressure?  Chris interviews church audio tech Apryl Allen to find out how she started in church audio, what goes on in a typical day in her life as a tech, and how the spiritual side of audio production is greater than we often think. Please subscribe to the podcast to catch interviews, gear reviews, and mixing tips and strategies.

Sep 06, 2017
From the Lighting World to Church Audio Production, Interview with Eric Weedon - 001
44:11

Welcome to the first episode of the Behind the Mixer Podcast. Chris Huff starts with an interview with church audio tech Eric Weedon to find out how Eric started in church audio, what he believes is a sign of success, and the most important non-techie thing a sound tech needs to know. Please subscribe to the podcast to catch interviews, gear reviews, and mixing tips and strategies.  

Sep 06, 2017