Recently we found ourselves working closely with a local church to resolve a few sound system issues they’d been struggling with following a reconfiguration of their main worship space. The problems had started a few weeks after the change and were getting worse by the day, so they asked we could come and take a look. After all, we’ve worked with many churches to help them improve their AV quality or hammer out configuration issues after the fact.

Like the church’s worship leader, the volunteers were all friendly and fairly tech savvy, and none of them had a clue as to what could be causing the issue. The system was, as they described it, “just out of balance” and none of the changes they had made had solved it. Complicating matters, the worship area had a low ceiling and they were using numerous delays to maintain good sound coverage.

Solution 1.
We started with the system processor to see how things were set and how the delays were running. Using some specialized tools and equipment to run tests, we managed some significant improvements with modifications to the equalization and general levels. But things were still audibly off.

Solution 2.
Checking the mixing board, we realized one of the board outputs wasn’t working correctly, and as a result lower volume levels were only noticeable in some areas and over-emphasized in others. The speaker in front of the mix position was too soft while it was still at full volume in most of the room. So, with some re-working and patching, we corrected the levels across the space—but this still did not solve the core problem.

Solution 3.
We were searching for more potential causes when one of the worship volunteers mentioned that the wireless in the building had been struggling recently. I looked and sure enough the wireless was set to the illegal 700 MHz band—and this was the problem for sure! We brought in another wireless microphone in the 500 MHz band, thinking we had solved the problem, but it still wasn’t quite there.

Solution 4.
Turning to the big guns, I got a new set of testing and scanning equipment and discovered that the worship space was literally awash with a variety of radio frequencies, with a huge spectrum from 100 MHz up to 1000 MHz inexplicably packed with RF “hash”.  It was clear this was interfering with the wireless, as well as the rest of the system electronics.

Without a clear actionable solution, we advised the group to wait and see, and soon enough the problem resolved itself. Over two weeks the extraneous RF signals dropped in level before disappearing altogether—along with the problems the worship team had been having.

The Moral of the Story
From this experience, as well as countless others, we’ve learned how important it is for a technology provider to have not only the knowledge and experience to competently diagnose overlapping problems in complex AV systems, but to also have the right tools and equipment necessary to rule out factors and bore down to the real issues at play.

Sometimes, when you’ve already tried everything, you reach a point where only an expert can give you the answers you need. If you’re having issues with your system, give our team a call at (616) 836-1776, and let us help you diagnose and resolve your problems with real, workable, and affordable solutions—fast!