Using Loops in Worship – Part 2: Do You Need Loops?
If you’re like most worship leaders, you can be rather busy sometimes! You may have no idea how or where to look to get started with loops in worship, or you may just be the person assigned to finding out more about it. Either way, this post will help you get started on the right foot: what questions should you ask, and where to find the answers.First and foremost, you should make sure that using loops is a good idea for your church. If you have, and the right people (money people and decision people!) are on board, then what do you do next? Where do you start the journey? These questions are good jumping-off points:
- Does our sound system have the right capabilities for using loops? Most churches need at least one open input (preferably two or three) for the loops to run through the mains. If your loops are in stereo, you’ll need two (left and right inputs). If you plan on routing a click track through the main FOH (front of house) mixer, you’ll need an additional input as well. We’ll get more in depth about all that later–just be sure there are some empty “holes” on that snake or FOH board…
- Can our drummer follow a click track? If you are blessed to have a great drummer, chances are they’ve been faced with the idea of playing to a click track before. One of the main reasons using loops can benefit a band is that there’s someone with a metronome in their ear the entire time, keeping everyone tight. If you don’t have a drummer or one who can play in time, you’ll also need to invest in an IEM (in-ear monitoring) system that you/a band leader can wear to follow the click.
- Do I have the right tools to play the loops on the platform? Most of the time someone’s laptop can do the job just fine, but as with all things electronic, adding a computer to your bands’ lineup adds at least one more point of failure for you. Make sure that you’ve got a computer with a USB or Firewire port, at least 1 GB of RAM, and a decent speed processor (over 1.5 gHz). We’ll cover software later–you need the hardware first! A great choice for live looping in a venue is a MacBook or MacBook Pro (the older PowerBooks work well also), as Apple computers tend to be more “artistically inclined” than PCs. Finally, you’ll want this computer to be “dedicated.” Try to secure a computer that you can use for rehearsals and services that only serves to play loops (at least on the platform).
Obviously this is just part of the overall puzzle you’re trying to put together–this should serve as a good starting point for your team as you jump on the “loop train.” If you need help or want to stay tuned with the courses and posts, subscribe to our RSS feed!