Whether pur­pose­ful or not, there tends to be a level of sep­a­ra­tion between musi­cians and sound engi­neers. Active mix­ing is a way to lower this bar­rier and for musi­cians and engi­neers to work together in order to cre­ate some amaz­ing wor­ship times. Here are some of the con­cepts behind active mix­ing and how it can con­tribute to your worship:

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Firstly, active mix­ing requires the sound per­son to be lis­ten­ing. This can­not be stated enough. Active mix­ing requires that the sound engi­neer knows the songs, the arrange­ments, the mood and the atmos­phere that the wor­ship leader is try­ing to cre­ate. This comes with good com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vant heart­ed­ness. It does not come from a “turn up and flick some switches” men­tal­ity, it requires real invest­ment into the wor­ship life of your church.

When these are in place, active mix­ing will come nat­u­rally. By def­i­n­i­tion, active mix­ing is sim­ply the rais­ing and low­er­ing of cer­tain parts of the song as the song sees fit. For instance, you might boost a gui­tar lead break, lower a kick drum, EQ a key­board or bus vocals on the fly. Each song will require dif­fer­ent mixes, and by actively push­ing faders and turn­ing knobs, the sound engi­neer is equally involved with craft­ing the mood of the song.

It’s always impor­tant to actively mix to the mood of your church. If there’s an atmos­phere of praise, where peo­ple are singing loudly and mak­ing all sorts of noise, it’s prob­a­bly going to be OK if you mix things up a few DB or so. Like­wise, if the mood is reflec­tive and prayer­ful, choose which instru­ments you’re pulling out and giv­ing pri­or­ity to in the mix. It’s impor­tant that you’re always lis­ten­ing and reassess­ing the mood of the room.

As well as the mood of the room, look for ways to use audio to shape it. You might feel that the energy of the room is a bit down. A great way to boost this is to put some upbeat music on under­neath intro­duc­tions or announce­ments. Just make sure that you’re not com­pet­ing with your main MC or pas­tor for attention.

Here are a few areas that active mix­ing can really help with:

  • If you have a singer that’s enthu­si­as­tic but not very “tune­ful”, be aware of it and be ready to pull them out of the mix if they get too off

  • Pay atten­tion to the fre­quency range of your key­board and piano. If your keys player is mak­ing use of all their keys, live EQ can really help to lessen clashes between frequencies

  • EQ can also help with harsh high end fre­quen­cies. If your drum­mer is start­ing to build a song with a bit of pas­sion, but is going hard on their cym­bals, you can help lessen those higher fre­quen­cies with some EQ (if your drum­mer is miced)

  • Pay atten­tion to which instru­ment is the lead for that song and push them fur­ther out in the mix. Again, with some prepa­ra­tion, you should be famil­iar enough with the songs to know what to boost.


There’s plenty for sound engi­neers to do dur­ing wor­ship times and we need to get out of the men­tal­ity that our job is done once every­thing is going. As an act of wor­ship, lets do our best to make the sweet­est sound to the Lord that we can. Active mix­ing is one way that we can achieve this.

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