Herb on the left.


of Essential Sound System Understandingness

To The Nursery Workers Of First Baptist Church, Tecumseh, OK

Article One: New Equipment

1. The new nursery (you will notice that you are in the new nursery) is equipped with two (2) speakers with Rotate-O-Matic-O-Rama mounting brackets. This feature allows the speakers to be directed at the audience member(s) with greater accuracy than the previously used Stuck-O-Matic-Against-The-Wall models from the late 1940's (see old nursery building, or if you're really brave, the entire contents of the floor-to-ceiling sound storage cabinet in the sanctuary overflow). For example, if a particularly unruly infant happens to be causing trouble during a particularly evangelistic sermon, place him or her in the crib directly below the speaker in the south room, rotate the speaker down to the 180 degree (six o'clock) position, and turn up the volume to 10.

2. Having said that, let me point out that the new nursery is equipped with two (2) volume controls, affixed to the wall, and corresponding to the two (2) speakers. The controls feature a double-wide, stainless steel plate for easy cleanup of the various stuff that needs to be cleaned up in a nursery, and a large, black knob, which, with the aid of a small screwdriver, can be removed and run through the dishwasher or autoclave. The volume control in the north room conveniently corresponds to the speaker in the north room. Consequently, the volume control in the south room conveniently corresponds to the speaker in the south room.

NOTE: Do not be alarmed if you happen to turn the knob from the 10 position directly to the 0 position, or vice versa. This is a nifty feature of this particular type of volume control.

NOTE AGAIN: Another purposeful feature of the volume control is the stepped action. It is not intended to be a smooth, variable action like the volume controls used to be on your car radio, television set, or stereo system, before those were replaced by two (2) push buttons with no tactile feedback whatsoever.

Article Two: Idosyncrasies of Program Material

Being a conscientious sound engineer, I have taken steps to ensure as smooth a sound as possible in the nursery area, given the content of the program material I am given to work with. This program material (hereafter referred to as PM) has certain idiosyncrasies (hereafter referred to as Herb Moring) that I wish to make known to the workers of the nursery. They are as follows:

1. Herb Moring, despite his reputation, is actually a man of spontaneity. Throughout the course of the music portion of the service, Herb Moring (hereafter referred to as Herb) will wonder about the platform in search of what we in the audio business refer to as the "sweet spot." Sometimes the sweet spot will be behind the pulpit microphone (12" to 24" away from Herb's mouth). Sometimes it will be beside the pulpit or facing the choir. Sometimes it will be over near the organ. This particular sweet spot may or may not be accompanied by a handheld microphone (2" to 8" away from Herb's mouth). Herb relentlessly pursues the sweet spot. Thus, Herb, to your perspective, will simply disappear from time to time, and this is perfectly natural and is to be expected, and there's not a darn thing I can do about it.

2. Herb's effects on your aural experience in the nursery goes beyond his own voice. It also extends to the drums and orchestra.* Now we must point out that Herb is in no way responsible for this particular audio phenomenon, except for the fact that he orders up the playing of the instruments. It just so happens that these instruments are loud enough on their own to be used in the sanctuary without sound reinforcement (that's what we in the business call it), thus they have no microphones positioned on them (except any time that Rhonda plays a solo). Therefore it is likely that you, being quite removed from the acoustic performance, will not hear these instruments very well, if at all. To be honest, it is too complicated to do a setup required to put these instruments into your speakers. It could be done, but one has to draw the line somewhere. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. It grieves me to think of the children, deprived of a proper musical experience, knowing that this is just the sort of thing that can lead to all sorts of trauma in their adult life. But then, no one ever said your job would be easy, did they?

*This list currently includes the organ, because it has its own speaker system, independent of the sound system. However, my plan for the future is to have the fabulous Alan Wells of Enid, OK, owner of his own personal Hammond C3 organ (official church model), Leslie cabinet, Mellotron (yes folks, I said Mellotron, and for those of you who do not know what a Mellotron is, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves), and various other antiquities of the musical and sound industries...let's see, where was I? Oh yes, I plan to have Alan rig up a direct line output from the church's organ that I can then feed into the sound system for the purpose of providing you with lots of organ music, as well as provide the organist herself with lots of organ music. You see, she sits around the corner from the organ speaker, so when everyone is wailing away, she can't hear herself play. And that is, as we say in the industry, a pretty severe situation. Well, that's what Alan and I would call it.

© 2015 Dane Tate