Wulf's Webden

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Trying the Blue Box


Our mixer desk at church has seen well over 20 years of service and has been increasingly losing functions. We’ve put up with intermittent signal on the headphones and a lack of pre-fade listen metering on a good chunk of channels but when, towards the end of last year, it also lost output on one side, we decided it was time to get a new desk. At the moment it is usable (everything gets summed to mono in any case) but the next failure could be critical! Consequently, we did some research and ended up purchasing a Soundcraft UI24R.

We aren’t quite ready to switch over to it but have been testing and experimenting. Today was the first time we used it for a service. Our regular Tuesday morning Communion only needs a couple of microphones so it made sense to patch it in with some temporary leads.

I’d say it worked pretty well and, particularly for the main mic, it was much clearer than before. We are also able to set up phantom power per channel so I was able to plug my condenser mic in. As I expected that is a much better fit for picking up general speakers than the dynamic mic we have been using. Dynamic mics are rugged but they are designed to be used up close; great for singers but it is a frequent challenge as different people step forward to speak, read and pray throughout the service. Some are happy to adjust the mic to a reasonable position but they are always further away than ideal so I think a pair of condenser mics will be in our fairly near future.

The biggest bug in today’s set up was that the output from the new desk was on the hot side. I only twigged part-way through the service that this is why we were hitting some feedback when I was trying to set up. Afterwards, we turned down the hardware output level and were able to then make full use of the virtual mic sliders.

It is only a first outing in a real service but I think our new blue box is going to serve us well.

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