One of the biggest problems that we are facing in the modern church is regulating the volume of the worship band; especially when it comes to drums. Drum shields for church are a great solution that is very helpful, however, not always enough to solve the problem on its own, especially if we are in small buildings with bad acoustics.
Let’s look at some possible solutions to how to find the best way to improve the sound in a way that will give freedom to the worship band to express itself, and at the same time create an environment that does not disturb the audience.
The ideal sound
It has been proven that the ideal sound for any kind of environment must not go beyond 85 dB. This amount of volume allows people to stay for a long time without damage to their hearing, attention, difficulty in conversation and so on. But perhaps the real question is — does loud volume help us to concentrate on God?
Here are some negative side effects of exposure to high decibel (dB) levels.
Here is the amount of time of exposure according to the decibel (dB) level.
So, in order to achieve a good sound, it is not only necessary to adjust the noise is not only important to use a drum shield for church, but it’s also important to fix all the levels of amplifiers and of the monitors.
Here are some tips that could help change the quality of the sound:
- Eliminate or reduce the number of monitors by using “ear monitors”. This will drastically lower the sound from the stage and will enable the regulation of the main exits.
- If there are amplifiers, these should point toward the musicians and not toward the crowd. If this doesn’t work, try to avoid the use of amplifiers.
- Use a drum shield and if necessary add some muffling since this will absorb part of the sound.
- In extreme situations where the acoustics are very bad and the volume is very difficult to manage, there is also the option of using an electronic drumset.
Why is the sound so bad?
Often in church, we have musicians that are not very well trained and do not have much live experience. So the more a musician is insecure, the more he will want to hear himself from the monitor.
This creates confusion since everybody else on stage will want to have a louder monitor in order to hear himself. And guess what, the louder the band is, the louder the drummer will play.
Of course, everybody needs to hear what he is playing and also needs to hear the other musicians, but often compromise is the only way. It’s not reasonable to want to hear the proper instrument like when you would play at home by yourself.
Combining all of these elements with poor regulation of the overall volume is a recipe for a bad environment, and can easily create undesirable situations that we want to avoid, such as conflict between the worship band and the church leaders.
This could lead to drastic decisions for the worship group in the future (i.e. limitations on the band, such as acoustic-only performance), or the loss of some of the members of the church community. (Unfortunately, things like this happen all the time.)
Drum shields for church
- Drum shields for church create a barrier from the projection of the drums. This does not mean the sound gets eliminated. The full sound is impeded from going forward, just like if you put a barrier in front of someone who is screaming.
- The barrier doesn’t eliminate or lower the sound, but it avoids the frontal exposure, which can make a big difference in the sound of the room.
- In most cases, the drums need to be microphoned and it is also suggested that the drummer should have good headphones or in-ear monitors in order to hear the rest of the band.
By applying all of these solutions you will be well on your way to creating a good sound in a church or other enclosed space setting. But in some cases, even if you try all the things I suggested it may not be enough, especially if the band is not very disciplined and they are not able to play at a low volume, or if the environment requires the sound to be very controlled.
In these situations, a solution could be to have an electronic drumset that will allow the regulation of the volume from the mixer. In this case, you won’t need a drum shield for church and this will allow more interaction within the band. (The drummer won’t find himself in a cage.)
These are two separate solutions for the sound that are both valid. Whichever solution someone chooses, I would advise that they make a good investment — it does not pay to be cheap!
If it’s a shield, I would suggest getting a good one, as well as microphones for a good quality drum sound. These, combined with other good equipment, can make a difference.
If choosing an electronic kit, you won’t need a shield and you also won’t need the microphones for the drums. In my experience, I would get one that allows the drummer to express himself freely; a cheap electric kit can be very frustrating to play.
An electronic kit will never be like playing an acoustic one, but I can honestly say that in the last years the quality has improved a lot and the latest models respond quite realistically.
In my church, we have just switched from having an acoustic set with a shield to a good electronic kit, and the quality of the sound is much better. In our case, not even a drum shield was enough since the church building’s acoustics were awful.
Drum shields for church vs an electronic kit
- It allows the drummer to play with an acoustic drumset (this could mean a lot for the drummer).
- There will be more presence of the drums on stage.
- This will help the band to follow more the dynamics without having to put the drums in their monitors or headphones.
- The drummer will be isolated from the rest of the band.
- You will need to buy a good set of microphones.
- To adjust the volume of the drums with the rest of the band you will need a good sound engineer in order to have a quality sound.
- You won’t need a shield.
- You won’t need microphones.
- With one kit, you can make any sound adjustments and choose different types/styles of drum kits.
- You have complete control of the sound.
- It won’t be the same as playing an acoustic kit (especially if it’s a cheap one).
- The feeling for the rest of the band won’t be the same as with an acoustic kit.
Giving your best
I believe that we should give our best in the service that we offer to God. By simply putting our hearts in what we do, having a desire to bless the community and see God’s Kingdom come down to earth, we will see great results in our performance and in the quality of the sound.
If we stick to this, the rest will come naturally. The more we can invest in improving our own abilities while also using good equipment (is either through purchasing a drum shield for church or an electronic drumset or any other investment), the better the overall results of our ministry will be. I believe that most pastors will be happy to invest in a team that is committed and is giving a lot of fruit.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and let me know what you think about it. Please leave a comment or any questions below.
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