Posted by Stuart Barbour on 28 March 2014

'Love Thy Neighbour – Stuart Barbour discovers how to rehearse at full volume, without waking the neighbours!'

It’s not often you get a ‘perfect fit’ for worship bands – but the JamHub could well run that risk. All the musicians in the band can plug in to one small unit, and then with headphones attached they can all rehearse in ‘silence’. If you’re able to team it with an electric drum kit, which are extremely affordable, then you have the ideal practice tool for worship bands. We asked Stuart Barbour, Worship Pastor at The Point Church in Burgess Hill in West Sussex to review it with his worship team.

Over to Stuart....

The Point worship team rehearse on Thursday evenings at the church offices on an Industrial estate. The surrounding offices are usually empty in the evening but on the night we tried out the JamHub it turned out someone in the office adjacent to us was working late so it was perfect timing to have a quiet rehearsal.

JamHub photo


First impressions out of the box were very good, it is a lot more compact than I was expecting, measuring approximately 37cm in width so it is very portable. The surface has a slight rubbery texture rather than hard plastic. The Tourbus model which we were using has inputs and separate mixes for up to six musicians. On this particular evening we had a singer with acoustic guitar, second vocalist, drummer playing a Roland V-Drum kit, keyboards and bass guitar. Each mixer has inputs for both an instrument and a microphone, which was perfect for the singer/guitarist. If we had an electric guitar player with us he would have plugged in straight from a guitar processor. (Or his iPad, see Stu’s previous blog on ‘I sold £1200 of amps for £12 of apps.' Ed)

So the only audio the person working in the office next door to us could hear would have been the whack from the drummer hitting the V-Drums, the two voices and theacoustic guitar which all combined is not an unreasonable level of noise (sorry, I meant to say ‘music’) and it’s quite possible they didn’t even hear that.

To get the best out of your JamHub you need to use a stereo quarter inch jack, this is because JamHub would like you to pan instruments to get a better stage feel to the rehearsal. In practise this was one area we weren’t prepared for as none of the musicians had a stereo jack. To get around this issue the JamHub comes with four mono to stereo adapter plugs but this means the leads may stick out becoming vulnerable to being kicked. The headphone output is for a quarter inch jack but all the musicians brought their in-ear headphones, which are all mini jack so we needed to get some adapters for these.

JamHub in action

Once we were all plugged in and had set the right amount of gain for our inputs it was very straightforward to get a good mix. Each individual mixing point has six separate knobs so you can control the levels of what you hear in your ears. You are all in control of your own mix. You can also add effects to your input and controlhow much you hear just for your mix. We were all set up and running without even looking at the manual which is great if you want to just plug in and play straight away. One interesting effect of using the JamHub was that we all sat in a circle closer to each other which really helped us connect as a team, we usually just spread out and use whatever space we have. After running a few songs our bass player commented that using the JamHub really made him listen a lot closer to what the other musicians were playing and for that point alone I would recommend it. On the Tourbus model you can record the rehearsal. There are six mini knobs to set up the mix and whoever is on input 1 can switch their headphone mix between their own mix and the recording mix. It records on to an SD card, which makes it easy to remove it and plug it in to your computer and find out if the bass player really was listening to the other musicians. Obviously you have to be able to reach the JamHub to adjust your mix and that could be awkward for the drummer and keyboard player so the JamHub lets you plug in up to four mixing pod extensions with very long leads. We had two of these for this review which were perfect for our drummer and keyboard player.


JamHub photo in action close up

Our verdict: The response from the team was excellent, they were all happy to use it, the sound was clear and being able to do their own mix was very useful especially because we use an Aviom system at The Point which means on Sunday they will also be using in ears and doing their own mixes so the rehearsal will be very similar to when we actually play live.listening to the other musicians. Obviously you have to be able to reach the JamHub to adjust your mix that could be awkward for the drummer and keyboard player so the JamHub lets you plug in up to four mixing pod extensions with very long leads. We had two of these for this review which was perfect for our drummer and keyboard player.

We are all keen to use the JamHub again so we are being very nice to the Treasurer at The Point…..who we all think is an extremely wonderful human being.

So, a big endorsement from The Point worship team. It is the perfect fit for churches and worship teams pressed for rehearsal space and the need to consider the neighbours! You could still rehearse when there are other meetings happening in the church at the same time. You don't need a PA system to set up for the rehearsal and you could even rehearse in someone's front room if you needed. Ideally, the provision of an electric drum kit makes the perfect rehearsal setup for bands. The new foldaway Roland drum kit is perfect for this. For songwriters, the provision of the recording function is perfect to capture ideas, spontaneous moments and to collaborate on songs.


tourbus small png2

The JamHub Tourbus retails at £655 but we saw it online for prices around £590. There are two other models in the range; the Bedroom and the Greenroom. For more details visit their website www.jamhub.com

 

 

Stuart Barbour is the Worship Pastor at The Point Church in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. www.thepointchurch.co.uk Catch him leading worship there most Sundays, or leading blues worship in pubs around the county.

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