To address some of the monitoring issues at the church, I have been looking at the Aviom Personal Monitoring System. Dan Gerhard, who designed the sound system for The Apprentice, selected Aviom for the live finale of the show.
His view is that he was able to keep overall stage volume to a minimum by using electronic drums and eliminating on-stage guitar and bass amplifiers. The musicians used In-ear Monitors (IEMs) connected to the Aviom Personal Mixers to allow them to hear a studio-quality stereo mix while performing. He writes:
The use of the Aviom system combined with IEMs minimized multiple sound sources in the relatively live hall. If there is a musician trying to communicate with the monitor engineer by hand signals, it puts a pretty big psychological strain on their performance. With the [Aviom] Pro16 Mixer right in front of them, they are able to control what they hear. This is a very different mentality and helps keep the musicians focused.
I have talked to our worship pastor about the Aviom system. We have also talked about whether we would keep wedges and amps onstage. Unlike Dan’s application, which was background music, our application will need to keep open air cues for the worship leader, vocalists, and electric guitar. Hence the need for hotspots. The rest of the band, bassist, drummer, second keyboard, acoustic guitar, will likely prefer IEMs over open air. Particularly if they can control their own mix.