Using Scenes on a Digital Audio Console

by Curt Taipale

Most digital audio consoles offer a feature called a “Scene”. You can think of it as taking a digital “snapshot” of most of the settings on the console, which can be recalled with one or two clicks or button hits.

So imagine that you have your usual worship team this Sunday, with everyone using their usual instruments, plugged into the usual inputs, with Fred singing on wireless mic #1 and Sally singing on wireless mic #2, and so on. During the rehearsal last Thursday night you stored all of those console settings by saving them as Scene 1.

Then early Sunday morning, you muffle your scream of surprise when the guest gospel quartet showed up unannounced for their 7:30 AM soundcheck. They are old friends of your pastor, they happened to be coming through town that weekend, and your pastor invited them to come and sing the offertory this morning. He just forgot to tell anyone else about it. If you had an analog console, you might be tearing your hair out or running out the door about now.

But in this case, the Scene feature on your digital console just saved you a therapy session. You proceed with their soundcheck, taking it in stride as though you do this every week. You get things set so that everyone is happy, and then you deftly store all of those settings in Scene 2. Then before you forget, you hit Recall Scene 1 so that you’re ready for the start of the service.

The first service starts, your usual morning worship music set goes as planned. When it comes time for that offertory, you hit Recall Scene 2, and you’re ready for the surprise quartet.

When they’re done, you recall Scene 3, which has your settings for the pastor’s message and so on. No muss, no fuss.

That’s one way to use Scenes. Growing up on analog consoles, that is how I have used scenes. By comparison, I have friends who set up several scenes for each song during a worship service. They have one scene for the introduction, the next scene for the verse, another for the chorus, yet another for the bridge, still another for the ending. And they set those up for each song.

That can become even more valuable if you’re mixing monitors for the players, since some individuals like to hear slightly different mixes on each song. That would be a challenge on an analog console. On a digital console, it’s closer to having fun.

Truly, there’s really no right or wrong way to use Scenes. Feel free to use whatever system works best for you.

Copyright 2015. Taipale Media Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Originally published in the December 2012 issue of TFWM.