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Lee Fields: Mixing For The House-Of-Worship Environment

Jun 07, 2012

Lee Fields is currently FOH engineer for Northern California’s Bayside Church and its main worship leader Lincoln Brewster. In this interview, Lee shares some of his views on mixing for the House of Worship environment.

Which console(s) do you use?

I use almost all manufactures, but mainly Avid and Yamaha consoles.

Which live mixing challenges do you feel are unique to the HOW environment?

For me, the challenges are the same as a concert; however, the implications of the message being delivered are a lot heavier than just going to a concert to be entertained. It makes delivering a great sounding event that much more important.

How do you approach your mix in the HOW setting?

Again, the same as I would in a concert. The idea of worship is very much based on crowd participation. Therefore, I try to make sure that every decision I make mixing helps create an atmosphere that is engaging in that way.

What is your goal for your mix in a service?

To reinforce what the band is doing, and help translate that in the best way possible. That might seem like a boring answer, but I really do try to maintain that perspective.

What opportunities and challenges do you feel are unique to your work as an FOH in a HOW?

For me, it’s cool that I get to mix different events all the time, but with the same core band or team. That way, I do not have to mix the same 20 songs every night of the week. That keeps it interesting and keeps me on my toes a bit.

What advantages are there to using plugins in addition to the processors that come with the desk?

Just having a catalog of gear inside the console gives me options for days. I don’t think I’ve ever said, “Sorry, I don’t have the plugin do that.” It’s like having the world’s largest toolbox with a never-ending set of tools.

Do you use volunteers to mix services? If so, how do you incorporate using plugins with their training?

Yes, occasionally. My default file at the church comes preloaded with all the plugins already on. Also, my plugin libraries are full of unique vocal settings, different drum kit settings, etc. Basically, no matter what happens, there are plugin settings that are easily recallable, so that the volunteer doesn’t have to worry about tweaking things too much or at all.

What are your favorite Waves plugins?

C6, CLA-76, API 550B, API 2500, and SSL E-Channel.

What are the benefits of MultiRack in terms of time, space and transport?

Being able to fly with a MultiRack rig in my backpack is amazing! For portable churches, it’s also killer. Now we can use smaller consoles like Yamaha LS9s and have Waves plugins.

What advantages of low latency processing do you find most beneficial?

With low latency processing, we can have MultiRack on the monitors and no one can hear the latency. This has enabled us to use MultiRack in almost every situation for monitors.

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