The Sound Is the Song
If you think about it, a song is nothing more than a collection of sounds that, ideally, come together to create ONE sound. It’s a combination of voices, keyboards, guitars, drums, and other odds and ends that make a song sound like it does.
I learned a long time ago that creating a great sound begins at the instrument, not at the mixing desk. So, if I wanted to improve the sound of my song I must begin with improving the individual sounds at the instrument.
In my experience most people approach it from the opposite end. They assume that they sound great and that the mix engineer is responsible for the vast majority of their sonic problems. To be clear, a great mix engineer is worth his/her weight in gold, but I firmly believe we could improve the sound of our worship experiences greatly just by diving into the sounds at the source.
To quote Butthead: “You can’t polish a turd, Beavis.”
I’m not trying to be crass, but I think that quote perfectly sums it up. Does your guitar player really know what a good guitar tone should sound like? Do you? How about the drums? How often are the heads changed? How often are the drums tuned? What sort of keyboard sounds are you using? Whatever random piano sound happens to be on the Korg the church owns? This stuff doesn’t have to be expensive, but I can promise you good sounds don’t happen by accident and if the sound is the song then those things matter.