Using Loops in Worship – Part 5: Equipment for Using Loops
Well, you’ve got some loops made and edited–now you need to figure out how to get them played from the platform. This automatically leads to some problems–like how to get the loop to the mains/FOH mixer, and how to split the headphone signal between different members–which we’ll look at in this article.
- A Snake. First, unless your FOH sound person is on the platform with you, you’ll need to figure out how to get the loops all the way to the back of the sanctuary. Some long 50′ or 100′ xlr cables could do the job, but if you don’t have one already, see if you can invest in a “snake”–a module that sits on or near a stage that has a large face full of inputs and monitor/speaker outputs and a long, thick cable that runs back to the FOH mixing console. A 12-CHANNEL Sh Series Stage Box Snake can cost less than $200, but you may want to get something considerably larger to allow for band growth.
- An audio interface. We talked about this earlier in the previous post, but it’s important to note again that you’ll need an interface to actually play the loops, not just to create them. If you’re using a computer (or even an iPod), the interface will help limit noise and eliminate possible points of failure for your computer’s hardware (by helping with processing and providing a much better input/output quality). Once again, we recommend the PreSonus FireBox 6X10 Firewire Recording Interface.
- A headphone distribution amp. In order to hear a click from the computer, you’ll need to send the click to a pair of headphones. The problem you’ll run into is that directly plugging a pair of studio headphones into one of the line-level outputs on the back of your audio interface can cause sound issues and won’t allow for any level balance. Plus, having only a click (metronome) in a pair of headphones isn’t as helpful as having some of the loop and some of the monitor mix in there as well! A headphone amp can help with these problems by offering multiple inputs and outputs, so multiple band members can wear headphones on the platform and each person can control what they hear. While Behringer isn’t known for its quality, for the price of their headphone distribution amps, you’ll get an amazing deal for a truly solid product. Check out the 8-channel or the 4-channel.
Hopefully by now you will have everything you need to start using loops in worship–just add the band and some worshipful insight from above! Let us know your thoughts on the equipment choices we’ve outlined here; there are always different options, and these may not be the best choice for your group and congregation.