If you are livestreaming your church worship service, I would argue that the audio quality is more important than the video quality. People will keep watching a video that is not perfectly clear and sharp, but they will turn off a video they can’t hear.
Maybe you started out with just using the onboard audio from your phone or mobile device, or perhaps you are using the main mix from your soundboard. I want you to know that you really need to choose one of the three methods below if you want your audio quality to improve. Watch the video above and check out my summary below.
1) Use an Aux Mix from Your Existing Mixer
This works with analog or digital boards, and can be quickly setup. You would use the audio from an aux mix and send it to your streaming setup. If you have amps or drums on stage, you will need to adjust the mix to compensate.
There are many ways to set this up, but with digital mixers, you can use a matrix mix or a post-fader mix. This gives you a starting point that you can adjust, and will allow the aux mix to follow what you do on your FOH (front of house) main mix.
Another tip is to use good headphones to adjust the mix. Closed-back headphones will do a better job of blocking out the ambient sound in the room. And don’t fall into the trap of using noise cancellation headphones, they simply don’t work well for mixing. At our church, we use the Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones (affiliate link) and we turn off the main speakers and subwoofers while setting up the aux mix so that we can hear better. It does mean that your sound engineer is mixing two separate mixes, so it’s not easy.
One more slightly modified option that I didn’t mention is that a second person could mix on an iPad and monitor on headphones connected to the mixer.
2) Use a Second Mixer Console
Again, there are several ways to accomplish this. With an analog mixer, you can use a splitter snake. I definitely recommend using one with transformer isolation to avoid causing problems with phantom power. With many digital mixers, you can network the mixers together to share the inputs between the two boards.
This allows you to place the second mixer in an isolated room with good monitor speakers to help you dial in the mix. Of course, this doubles the workload and will require a second sound engineer for each service. But you will be able to get a better mix.
This option does require an initial investment, but it will take some of the pressure off of your FOH sound engineer on Sunday mornings.
3) Use a DAW
This third option is quickly becoming popular due to the increased computer power we now have at our disposal. Instead of using a second sound board, you would route the audio through your network into a digital audio workstation (DAW) like Ableton Live, ProTools, or Studio One. Then you could use mix the live stream audio just like a recording session in a studio.
Obviously this is more technical and requires someone that has a good understanding of how a DAW works, but you can achieve amazing results this way, and it could even work out to be cheaper than a second mixer.
Your next step …
Evaluate how you are currently sending your audio to your livestream and come up with a game plan for improving the quality. Let me know if you have any questions.