Upgrading Mixing Consoles:The Volunteer Factor

By EXW Staff
November 13, 2023

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by Chris Huff

When the curve is too steep, you could be upgrading to a better console but getting a worse result because its "too much board" for your volunteers.

At the end of the rainbow isn't a pot of gold, it's a well-trained volunteer. In a perfect world, you'd have a team of highly-trained volunteers who are up to any challenge. In the real world, the level of volunteer technical knowledge varies greatly. It's for this reason your volunteer's skill sets should be a factor in upgrading your mixing console. This is especially true in your secondary venues.

The Problem with Secondary Venues

A common problem with secondary venues, such as youth venues, is they usually don't have experienced techs lining up to help out. Consider it a blessing if you do have top-notch volunteers working in your secondary venues. For some, that just isn’t the case.
Regarding the skill level of those second-tier volunteers, and I say that respectfully, you have to take their skill sets into consideration when planning your upgrade. What is an appropriate console for one venue might not be appropriate for another and that's ok.

Upgrading and Improving Your Volunteers

So far, your existing volunteers have been the point of focus. Take a moment to consider a mixing console upgrade as a time for refreshing your talent pool. This can be done in a few different ways.

First, consider training your volunteers, again. Maybe you trained them in using the mixer five years ago but they never figured out how to get a good mix from a band. Maybe they never had any formal training, which I’d guess is more common than we’d like to admit in these secondary venues.

Second, consider it a time for enlisting new volunteers. You should regularly review your volunteer list so you protect you team. You might have people who are ready to roll off. You might have people eager to serve but who are afraid to ask because you are always high up in your production loft with barbed wire and guard dogs…or maybe that’s just me.

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