Yesterday, with our worship team to Mount Albert to Hillside Evangelical Missionary Church, I can definitely say that I was in the enemy’s line of sight. I could tell that he was focusing in on me, because I was trying to do a lot of preparation to make sure that everything would go smoothly. Sure enough, a crack in my armour was found.
I spend Saturday evening preparing all of the tones in my POD X3 Live unit to ensure that I would be spending more time in worship and less time trying to concentrate on the sounds in my POD, and where everything is. I even made sure that I had the intricacies of Gearbox worked out so I could easily arrange everything into two banks. So far, so good. I have my tones in order. Now, I went to check out all of the relative volumes of my tones on the amp that was taking with me to Mount Albert, and all seemed well, so far. Not to mention that I figured that it was such a great idea in my head to plug everything into the effects return of the amp. Why not? It actually sounded amazing. I thought I did good…
… just waiting for the first fiery dart to fly.
The enemy is smart. He let me believe I did well and it was going to be a great day in worship. He was sitting there waiting for the right moment to lodge his assault on me. He was getting his timing right to then when I would throw the power switches he would start letting loose one by one. I knew he hated the fact that I believe in Jesus, but I never saw this coming. I let own overconfidence in myself become my weakness, and my guard was down. Enter the fiery darts:
Fiery Dart #1: All of the relative volumes of my tones were out of whack. A bug in Gearbox doesn’t clear the temporary memory of the POD properly. Thus, I believed that the volumes were good. I had to re-adjust everything as we went along in rehearsal.
Fiery Dart #2: All of my tones were set way too hot! They were blowing the inputs of the PA system. I was checking things with a low master volume setting on my amp. I should have measured everything up in my audio interface with the Master Volume on full, or better yet, it no Master Volume control at all on the direct side. I wouldn’t have this problem if I checked and calibrated the levels properly. This made it easier for the next couple of darts. As a result, the sound guy was forced to mic my amp for a better sound. This set me up for the next set of fiery darts.
Fiery Dart #3: As a result of the second fiery dart, my amp was driven way too hard. This become evident once I started turning things up to monitor my sound. All of my sounds were sounding way too brittle. They were hard on the ears and I wound up having to change my patches on the fly during rehearsal. Nothing sounded the way I wanted it to. Again, I should have checked all of this against my audio interface without any Master Volume.
Fiery Dart #4: Right in the middle of Rock of Ages, the sound starts dying out on my amp. That was a sorry sight. I had to just keep playing. I was wondering what happened. The sound guy wondered what happened. If anything, it was a result of driving the amp way too hard. I saw this happen on the tiny Fender Amp in the church.
As a result of those darts yesterday, I hooked my POD back up the audio interface and I started lowering volumes. What I am going to do is take off the Master Control and keep the gain at unity. This way, I can bring the volumes right down to the proper levels on full. This should keep the live side sounding proper and hopefully will not burn out the circuits of my amp. We on worship team this next weekend, so this should give me the week to prepare.
And, even though I felt these darts, God still used our worship for His purpose and everything worked out for the greater good!