Using Ableton as a Drummer: Part 1

IntroductionAs one of the drummers for my church, it took me awhile to get used to the idea of using a metronome during live sets. My worry was that it would sacrifice the emotional, spontaneous side of drumming, and make me into a more robotic drummer. In reality, the only thing I’ve found it does is force the entire team to stay tighter, and I’m all for that! So when I finally caved and decided to throw myself into it and get myself a good click for the songs we… Read More

Vista Lighting Remote: Getting Started

Thanks for picking up my Vista Lighting Remote for iOS! Before this little App will do anything worthwhile you have to do a bit of work to get remote MIDI control of Vista’s Byron:# 1. Setting up MIDI networking Mac OS X a) Opening Audio MIDI Setup To get started on Mac OS open “Audio MIDI Setup” which you should find under /Applications/Utilities. Once it’s open press Window->Show MIDI Studio (or press ⌘-2). You should see something like this: Double-click the “Network” icon. Now you should have the MIDI Network… Read More

Mainstage 3 Synth: Optimizing CPU and RAM Utilization for Worship

Ever wonder why MainStage is running slow, or why you’re hearing weird pops or cracks, or why switching patches creates this terrible awkward pause in that awesome huge pad you were using to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit? Yeah, me too. Here’s what’s going on:## MainStage CPU and RAM utilization Or “samplers versus synthesizers”… Your CPU is like the thinking part of your brain, and RAM is like the memory part of your brain. When you are trying to solve a math problem, your “CPU” is doing… Read More

3 Keys for Making Your Volunteer Church Techs Successful

Here are a few simple keys I’ve discovered to help make your church’s volunteer audio/video/lighting/whatever team as successful as possible:## 1. Invest in Documentation NOW There is this concept called “technical debt” in software development. It refers to the idea that code written quickly or without proper documentation creates a sort of debt with interest. This is because the code becomes more and more difficult to clean up and properly document the longer you wait. Proper documentation of your audio, video, lighting and networking equipment is exactly the same. Right… Read More

Digitally Mixing Modern Worship Part 3: Life with the GLD-80

About four months ago I began this series on digitally mixing modern worship with a post about getting started with the GLD-80. I thought it was time for a short post on how “life with the GLD-80” has been over the last few months, so here goes:# Volunteer Friendliness Unless you’re working for a “mega-church” you probably don’t have staffed audio engineers. Neither do we. When considering a new console, friendliness to volunteer audio engineers is really important. I’m not always able to be the one behind the desk, so… Read More

Digitally Mixing Modern Worship Part 2: Rethinking Everything with Dante

As I mentioned in part one, my church just moved from an analog rig based around the ML4000 to a GLD-80. I’ve been really impressed with the whole system so far, but one of the most “revolutionary” aspects was Dante audio networking. 1. What is Dante Anyway? If you’re more comfortable in the old analog world then think about it this way: Dante is like having a bunch of 64×64 mixers all patched together. Each mixer has (up to) 64 inputs and 64 outputs. You can hook a cable from… Read More

Digitally Mixing Modern Worship Part 1: Getting Started with the Allen & Heath GLD-80

I’ve been mixing worship at various churches for about a decade now. I started on the Soundcraft Series 200SR, mixed on Mackie for a while, upgraded to the Allen & Heath ML4000 (love that beast), got my hands on the PreSonus StudioLive for a bit and now my current church is moving fully into the digital world with the Allen & Heath GLD-80.I’m going to be writing a series of posts covering our recent migration to the world of digital audio. I’m going to be talking a lot about how… Read More

Worship Synth MainStage Keyboard Setup

It’s been a while since I talked about the synth rig I’ve created for our team here at Harvest Christian Fellowship, so I thought I’d post a bit of an update.If you’d like, you can download our MainStage set and follow along: Download the Set Background First off, you should know that I’m not typically the synth player. I’m actually the lead audio engineer as well as one of the two drummers we have, so I’m rarely behind a (musical) keyboard on Sunday mornings. My goal here is to have… Read More

Performance Drums/Loops Setup for June Rocks

Occasionally I get the chance to play some music. One of my favourite gigs is called June Rocks, a solid rock show put on by a small high school in Massena (Northern New York). Every year the students get to try out for the chance to sing any song they want backed a professional band in front of an audience of about 600. It’s a blast. My setup Every year my drum configuration evolves a little bit, and gets a little bit more digital. Here is what it looked like… Read More

Live Music (Part 2): Audio and MIDI Routing for Live Keys and Loops

This is part 2 in a series on setting up a system for live digital music production. Part 1 (on hardware) can be found here.## My Goal For me, the goal of my synth setup is to have an easy to use, stable and easily controllable synth and loops rig. Often times I’m not the one playing keys (I’m typically behind the skins), so I need my setup to be easily learnable. I don’t want to have to reach for my trackpad to mouse around and tweak settings in Ableton… Read More