we recently built a new children's area in our church, where parents can go sit with their kids during the service. i installed a small PA system that is connected to our sound desk, sending a mono signal to that room.
now here's where the problem comes in: the whole worship session is also sent there, resulting in a very, very bad mix for that room, for obvious acoustic reasons.
is there a way to capture the auditorium ambiance and improve that mix? i have tried a condenser mic in the auditorium, and tried mixing that in there, but it only sounds distant and doesn't help much.
i dont know if there is another way of doing this?
Do you have the capability of a dedicated (probably pre-fader) aux send from your main board that you can tweak for your children's area? While it would not give you dynamic control (unless it is a digital board that you can adjust the levels remotely) it would give you a static mix tailored to the acoustics of the new room.
I Found this online. I hope it helps :-)
When customers call asking about a way to send the audio from the main worship area to other parts of the building, they usually get excited about this simple, low-cost approach. Dieter’s solution is to split the signal coming off the main mixer using an inexpensive headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier provides multiple outputs with individual volume controls. Now you are able to send multiple line level signals to separate areas in your building and independently set the volume at the right level for each area. It also keeps the volume control for these areas in one place. Just label the room name under the volume knob and you are ready to go. Dieter uses the Behringer HA4700 and really likes the results. His church is still using this method to feed the sound from the main sanctuary to a classroom and the cry-room.
That's precisely what we did in our church. Actually, the first effort was a home amp that was wired wrong and could have burned the church down; but after it fried uneventfully, we found something with one in and two outs that worked great.
To underscore Luis' fine notes: shielded shielded shielded shielded shielded. Thou art my strength and my SHIELD. Any piece of long wire can become either an antenna or induces current in some unwanted way (I am not an electrical person, but have experienced most of the bad effects of wrongly placed or unshielded cables). Unshielded wires can result in weird stuff when you turn fluorescent fixtures on, or a UFO passes by - anything can get them going.
His other advice is good, too - LABEL! That way you don't unplug your house mains when all you wanted to do was silence the nursery because it wasn't working right that day.
It sounds like you need 2 different mixes - 1 for the auditorium and the other as if for a radio audience. What I would be inclined to do would be to simplify the worship mix as much as possible, and mix using phones: keep it down to the main singer + acoustic guitar, keyboards and an ambient mic to give some of the feeling and pick up the other instruments at low level. You can probably mix these 4 sources using aux send levels without too much difficulty, and although it won't be an amazing sound, it will give who ever is in there a flavour of what's going on.
FWIW we set this up a few years back, only to find that the adults didn't want it because they couldn't concentrate on either the children or the meeting. Your church may well be different.
I'm not disagreeing with any of the technical answers - you need a second mix and some degree of hardware to make it better, but there is another aspect I've always accepted: the feed to the nursery and/or children's areas is usually not as good as the house mix in the auditorium. It always seems to cost more than it's worth and it never sounds quite as good as the real thing. That's just my two cents. I'm not against making it better, but one should realize that it's like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hydrant. Or taping jello to the shower walls.
Everyone who has advised you to do a direct feed off of the main board in whatever way you are able to bring it in, have given you good advice. You shouldn't worry about capturing auditorium ambiance, but rather delivering a straight up clean signal.