More Aviom Tricks

18 07 2007

As I’m sure you know, I really, really like our Aviom system. It has made a huge difference in the main house sound (by lowering stage wash) and has made the job of the FOH engineer far easier. By adding 5 additional monitor “mixes,” we can now give each of the vocalists their own wedge so no one shares. Overall, it’s a great system.

There have been a few hiccups, however. The first problem we had was with the musicians not knowing how to mix. Makes sense, they’re musicians, not monitor engineers. What was happening was simple; when the Aviom starts up, all the inputs are set to 50%. So as the musicians built their mix, they kept turning things up. The problem was, they quickly ran out of headroom. I was getting complaints that they “couldn’t hear themselves.” I’d run up on stage and look at their “mix,” and discover all channels at or close to 100%. Since they don’t go to 11, they were out of room.

To solve this, I’ve created a simple preset that I recall before each rehearsal/sound check. I programmed all the channels to 0%, except the talkback channel, so they can hear the FOH engineer calling for instruments. I programmed this preset into 16, so it won’t accidentally get erased. It takes just a few seconds to recall the preset and gives everyone a blank slate to work from. And I haven’t had a complaint since.

Another issue we’ve run into is with power outages. We have pretty flaky power around us, and it goes out from time to time. When this happens between rehearsal and the weekend, the mixes everyone so carefully set up are lost. Since it just happened again last week, I will be reminding everyone to save their mix before they leave Thursday night. That way we don’t have to start all over again on Saturday.

Since you can save 16 presets, theoretically everyone could be assigned a Aviom unit (one for drums, one for bass, etc.), and each musician could have their own number. More likely, I’ll just have them store it into 1, and it will be re-written each week.

The final trick involves the labels we use. If you visit the links page on this blog, you can download a template done in Excel that you can use to create custom labels. I started doing this a few weeks after we put the system in because we have 4 worship teams that rotate. The challenge was, how to affix the labels to the mixer so they would not shift for the weekend, but not be a pain to remove. In a flash of brilliance, I came up with vinyl report covers. I cut them down about 5/8″ from the folded edge, which gave me a tight “V” shaped piece of vinyl. I inserted some tape inside the “V”, then taped the vinyl to the mixers, over the channel marker strip. Now I print off the labels and just slip them into the vinyl each week. They stay put, and are easy to get out. Total cost, about $2.00.





8 responses

19 07 2007
Jason Cole

Thanks for the great ideas. I love our Aviom system as well. One of the things we struggled with for a while was similar, musicians are not mixers. I solved it by sending a copy of the stereo house mix to the last 2 channels on the Aviom. This mix is run thru a TC Electronics Finalizer Express to enhance it and provide some limiting. Now the band can start with the a qualtiy stereo mix and just add “more me”. They love it. It gives them a really nice feel to whats going on. There are also a couple of audience mics added in to that mix to help them hear the room a little as well.

Have fun.

19 07 2007

Hey you spoke of the problem that the band runs out of headroom when they’re mixing. There’s a nice feature of the avioms where you can hit a couple buttons and it will reduce the entire mix in proportion about 6db. So you keep your mix, but it’s at a lower volume level and gives you some headroom. It’s accomplished by hitting the two keys labeled (trim).

We just recently put avioms in at my church and we also plan to add some audience mics. Haven’t had time to put them in yet.


19 07 2007
Mike Sessler

Great Tip, Jeremy. I hadn’t paid attention to that feature. That would be a quick way to solve the headroom problem after they turn all the channels up to 100% (all the way from 0 that is…). Thanks!

23 03 2009
Terry Howard

We recently moved into our new facility and I included a complete AVIOM system in the sound & lighting budget. We’ve had two services with the system and its really working great. All musicians & vocalist are in-ear monitoring with individual mixers. I’m the Worship Pastor and I am using Westone’s ES3x monitors with custom moulds and having some trouble with being so “isolated.” I am curious about adding audience mic(s) to fold back some ambient room into our mix per Jason’s comments. Any and all feedback & suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, this system will definitely improve both our vocals & playing! -th

23 03 2009
Mike Sessler

Terry–That’s probably the #1 complaint of musicians who switch to in-ears of any type. We’re playing around with different ambient mic options right now. This past weekend, we set up a small diaphragm condenser just to the edge of stage left, pointed out to the congregation. This gives the band an approximation of what they would hear if they didn’t have buds in.

It worked pretty well, though it’s a little tricky getting the gain set on it. You can’t really dial it in until the room is full and everyone is singing, and the band really can’t get the channel dialed in until then either.

Still, the reports were good. You just have to make sure the engineer doesn’t route the ambient mic to the house, only to the Avioms. I think you’ll find once you get it dialed in, it really helps you feel more like you’re back in the room.

Also, I should point out that I’ve moved the blog to it’s own domain, and as we’ve just installed a new system, with Avioms, in our new church, I’ll be writing a lot more about it. You can find it here:

Thanks for reading!

22 04 2009

I would like to know how I could mix our 8 digital drum channels into just 2 aviom channels?Thanks,

23 04 2009
Mike Sessler

Steve–It’s pretty easy. You will need either 2 Auxes, 2 Groups or 2 Matrices. Simply mix your 8 drum channels down to those 2 outputs and send them to 2 channels of the Aviom. Essentially, you’re creating a sub-mix; instead of going direct out of the drum channels, you’re pre-mixing them, then sending the result to the 2 Aviom channels.

Using Auxes is the easiest if you have them available; you can create a nice stereo mix of the drums by varying the amount of each drum you send to the 2 Auxes (think of them as Left & Right Aux instead of Aux 1 & 2).

Hope that helps. I would also point out that I have moved the blog to it’s own domain, and I’ve written quite extensively about Avioms there. You can find the new blog at

Thanks for reading!

27 09 2011
Greg Campbell

We have been using the Aviom for two and half years now. Love it. We have had some problems or complaints from our drummers about not having enough volume from the Aviom to really get the drum channels up above the live drums in the drum booth. Anyone had that problem before? Or, every now and then a mixer would do something strange and the mix would be totally different. Not sure what that is, it would only affect one or two mixers and it never seems to be at the same time. My guess it has something to do with the network or cat5 connections but not sure yet. Any one had that problem before?



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