Absolutely, you should be able to say how you would like to see it mixed. It's a continual dialogue for us and while I definitely defer to their expertise, I can't imagine not being able to have some conversation about what I'm aiming for and try to work together to achieve it.
Well, in defense of the sound tech, you are presumably up on the stage during the worship, and it's going to sound different up there than it does out in the room, whether you have monitor speakers or not. That doesn't justify the tech being "very offended," but it probably does come across to the tech as "somebody trying to tell me how to do my job who doesn't know what it sounds like out in the room."
You also didn't mention whether you're the worship leader or not; if you're not, then that's an extra level of somebody who, in the tech's eyes, wants things adjusted for them that maybe makes it harder for the tech to get a good sound out in the room. For example, when I'm running sound, I like to limit what's in the monitors to just the worship leader's voice and his guitar... I want everybody in the band to listen to that, to mix with what he's doing, and my experience has been that as soon as I start putting other things in the mix, we get people who are singing bad notes or off the beat, and it just makes it harder for everybody to get it together on the song. The other guy who runs sound does put the backing vocalists in the monitors, but then he has both a wife and a daughter singing, I only have my wife :-)
And even if you're passing along comments from somebody who is sitting out in the room (usually, "it's too loud"), they may already know it's too loud, but maybe they're contending with a worship leader who insists on bringing a guitar amp and cranking it up so loud that the tech has to crank the vocals in the room to get them hear-able.
Again, all this stuff doesn't justify "very offended," but being a sound tech can be a thankless job sometimes, and we do get frustrated when people on the stage ask for things that make it more difficult to get it right "in the room." You kinda just have to assume that even if it sounds weird on the stage, the tech is trying to make it sound good in the room, and anybody on stage really doesn't know how it sounds in the room.
Charles, Just out of curiosity, how does your sound mix work? Do the other instruments all have amps so that they can still hear themselves at least a little? Does that help minimize the battle of stage voume and room volume? I know that as a vocalist I would go crazy if I couldn't hear myself at least a little bit so that I know I'm blending well, but it would be nice to not have to compete to hear myself over all the instruments too. I'm asking this because I also help with sound (though I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination), and it would be nice to not have so much stage volume.
I agree with the others that, yes, you need to have the freedom to talk about the sound with your tech, but the trick is how to do it. I generally start with a question and ask for their help in solving it, like "I can't hear my vocals very well in this monitor; what would be your suggestion on what to do?" And then really listen to what he's saying and try to follow it.
But if that doesn't work, then you have to go deeper. And if he has a chip on his shoulder, it needs to be addressed eventually or you're going to have continual battles and misunderstandings. I would really try to spend some time listening to his side of life and find out how he's viewing thing; what's bothering him; what is frustrating; what does he love about it; etc.Butild a relationship where you can begin to talk freely.
Also take some time to learn about sound mixing so that you can provide suggestions that are hard to argue with. Better still, have him teach you.
But in the end the sound techs have to realize that their role is to support you, the worshp leader, as you try to lead the congregation and your team into a time of worship to our King.
If I need more drum or whatever in the monitor, I just say "I need more of Jimmy in the monitor." But then I've got good rapport with my sound team. I'm actually on the sound tech committee and tend to be the most knowledgeable one about the equipment. I can't overemphasize what Rick just said above, you should be as much of an expert as you can about your own sound system so that your suggestions are sensible and credible.
But when it comes to the house sound, I don't / can't really comment on that since I'm not out there in the seats and can't really break away during rehearsal to listen. I think the quality of the sound makes or breaks the experience when all other factors are equal. And I've noticed that some sound techs have a better talent for mixing than others. My wife will often say - "who did the sound today, it's terrible", but when she says - "the sound was good today," it's always one of the "talented techs" that mixed it.
So I guess I'm concluding that sound reinforcement is an important role in the whole worship service and it pays to have a good relationship with your guys. They can totally make or break your sound and since sound is a major part of the worship experience that you're delivering, it's very important to get it right. That being said, sound techs can think of themselves as the ruler of the experience and that needs to be addressed.
I know I'm not very good at this, but I'm reminded of Paul's words in Romans 12:18 (NIV):
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
I think it's been said early on, but maybe you need to invest in your relationship between your sound tech and yourself. Right or wrong, it sounds like people's feelings are hurt. I find that with people you have a good rapport with, even if you are out of line, they will at least respectfully consider your feedback. Even if it's the right thing, sometimes it's not the 'smart' thing.
Maybe you can invest some time in your sound tech and see where he/she is coming from. I know for me, I have to constantly remind myself, as a worship leader, you're not only serving the congregation, but your serving (with) other ministry volunteers as well. At my job, a co-worker put it, 'leadership' and 'followship'. (He added there are hundreds of titles on leadership, but none on 'followship'. If I had to think of one, the only one that comes to mind is the bible.)
From a practical standpoint, on Sunday mornings, I am totally at the mercy of the A/V and powerpoint team. I'm dependent on them to make my monitor mix sound 'right' and house sound 'good'. (It's been said before, but the monitor mix ends up never sounding like the house mix!) About the only feedback I often pass-on is other feedback I get from the congregation 'or' personal comments I come up with when listening to the recordings after they are burned.
Is there something you're specifically trying to address? Are the worship team members not balanced? The overall mix is too loud? Vocalist or instrumentalist don't sound good?
I feel that the mixer is just as much of an instrument as the drums, keys, bass and guitars are. The two main differences is that how the sound tech plays his or her instrument greatly affects each and every instrument that is being played. If a guitarist doesn't know how to keep time, then he is going to affect the overall sound. If the bass player doesn't know how to play to the kick, then he is going to sound sloppy. And if the sound tech doesn't know how to properly mix and place each instrument and vocal into the correct space that complements the uniqueness and frequency of the instrument, then the sound is going to be sloppy and mushy. It will force the statement that no matter how much the band practices, if the sound tech doesn't practice on his or her own instrument or is comparably trained, then all the labor is for naught.
That being said... it is the worship leader's responsibility to make certain that the person behind the mixer is just as knowledgeable at what he or she is responsible for, just as the person playing the bass, keys, drums or any other instrument. There are times when the lead needs to be coached how to play a particular song or if a tone he is using doesn't work. The same is true for the sound tech.
Again, let me emphasis that I feel that just as much training/practice needs to be given to the sound tech and his mixer, just as any other instrumentalist. It drives me crazy when a person thinks he has the chops to run a mixer when he has never stood behind one before and knows nothing about eq'ing, compressors/limiters, etc., etc., just because he likes music. And it drives me even more crazy when the same person thinks that he should not submit to the leadership and authority of the worship leader.
I will caveat this by stating that he is FOH and hears what they on the stage do not and can not. But that does not mean that we can not share with him or her what type of mix is expected, even if it doesn't match their taste. I would not want my lead guitarist to play an impromptu solo that was not rehearsed or was asked not to play it during rehearsal. I would expect the same from anyone "playing" the mixer.
Tell your sound tech to repent & grow up,sound techs are part of the worship team,my thing is they should be music inclined,like sing or play an instrument ,well if you want to know how it is mixed listen to it a pratice ,or get a wireless rig come off the platform & listen,sorry the sound tech must be in submission to the worship leader,well do you know what you are listening to,if you are off the wall ,you might get a response that is not real nice ,the ? is do you know what you are doing ,I have played in clubs in Blues bands so don't even talk about glass around the drums real musicians laugh at church players when they see that ,I told some stuff that goes on in church to kats that play in another world like some one must have beamed them down,so you need to learn from Nashville kats ,mmm rabbit trail,monitors is that what you are talking about ,got the cash get Avion montor system ,you all need to listen to the sound, as musicians you make one sound together work on that,the last thing if you have to do fire your sound man.listen /watch Kelanie Glockler on youtube.com look at her band very carefully they are pros ,do what they do & you will come up to the level that you desire ,Morningstarministries look at their band too ,monster players I said a lot cause I have been around a long time ,.get in a room not the stage ,with amps ,not those silly direct boxes ,face each other listen to each other ,play a groove set on chairs ,couches or stools ,the last thing thw worship leader has the last say ,they have to be in charge,glass around the drums is for recording not control if you drummer can't play right get him lessons ,the secret to playing drums is this LEARN THE ART OF LAYING BACK musicanship must be the thing you are shooting for so work on that ,my favs are Don Potter ,Leonard Jones ,Suzy Yaraei,Kim Walker ,Brian & Jenn Johnson they are all on youtube.com
Hi Larry - it never hurts to see what the rest of the industry is doing. But hey, Nashville Kats are 3 feet under water right now, so I'm sure they're a little edgy. In the mean time, they have no idea why we have glass around drums in some churches. (Which makes sense in many situations.) Every sound reinforcement situation is specific and needs it's own skill set.
But there is a zone that is owned by the sound crew and that's the house sound during performance. There is no way the worship leader can tell the sound tech how it sounds when he's up on stage. That's the trust relationship that has to happen.
Be that as it may, I agree with your first statement - they need to have an ear for music and mixing and being a musician helps.
Kelanie Gloekler - I like her willingness to break out and try to sing with soul and not stay in the mold of typical worship music.
"Start the whole thing with prayer and get all your irritations out in the open"
This is a very good place to begin taking the focus off of "you vs him". It takes some skill, but if you can begin having everyone sitting in a circle and give them all room to voice their thoughts on all aspects of the role you have as a team, then it can be a non-threatening way for everyone to see that this is all about the overall sound, not their individual preferences. But keep a handle on it, and as the leader/facilitator make sure that the positives are mentioned as well, and that nobody gets picked on.
Once your sound tech has to start explaining him/herself to a whole group and not just you, there's a good chance that they'll realize they have to start doing something different.
In all reality, somebody has a big chip on their shoulder; the trick is figuring out how to remove it without major surgery...:)