Optimizing Audio for Live Streaming

Hand pushes switch on audio control panel

Optimizing Audio for Live Streaming

Are your at-home viewers staying connected during your church’s live streamed service? Many church leaders assume that first-rate picture quality will lock in a viewer for the full run of an online church service. It won’t. To anyone but the sound engineer, it may come as a surprise that audio quality is far more instrumental than video quality in retaining viewership. Churches that create powerful online experiences have mastered the art of pitch-perfect sound. Are your viewers quitting the service part way through? If so, check out what is happening at the audio console. A family sitting on their living room couch watching a live streamed event will forgive grainy or pixelated picture quality if the audio is crystal clear. But let the sound become garbled or distorted, and they’ll sever the connection right away. Why? Sound is a human being’s most connective experience. Helen Keller said, “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” Unclear or distorted sound makes the viewer feel isolated. And isolated people inevitably find another community to join. How can you optimize audio to create a powerful live stream experience that connects with your church members watching from home or on the road? To find out, we checked in with two of MediaFusion’s long-time partners, AJ Lebron and David Jones, both full-time audio engineers at Community Bible Church (CBC) in San Antonio, TX. Between them, Lebron and Jones have spent more than three decades mixing sound for churches, doing everything from setting up a PA system in a kitchen-sized venue to managing the audio for a 14,000-person church service. What, we asked, makes audio so important for a live streamed church service? “It’s irritating not to be able to hear a football game,” Jones said, “but it is possible to understand what’s going on even without good audio. In a church service, however, audio is crucial to the experience.” Lebron agrees. “You want the end user experience to be the same whether online or in-person. You don’t want bad audio to be the reason someone doesn’t watch your online service.” In any presentation, visuals are supplementary to what the speaker is saying. When faced with limited bandwidth or file size, live stream producers are sometimes forced to choose between enhancing video and improving audio. Why choose audio? If the sound is on point in the room, won’t it be equally clear for viewers at home? Download the ebook, Optimizing Audio for Live Streaming, to learn more.