As with most houses of worship, you may be working on a tight budget with dated technology and equipment. Now that you’re considering upgrading to meet your ministry’s goals, CCS Southwest is the best choice to help you broadcast your message. Our AV experts can design a church audio system that shares your ministry with the world. Being cognizant of all the typical rules of sound reinforcement is applicable when discussing sound systems for churches.
Questions to Ask When Buying a New Church Sound Equipment
We know that it is not easy to shop for sound quality when you are not listening to yourself. First, you want to start considering what speakers you’ll want. With a few details, you’ll be able to find the right speakers for your congregation. Here is a list of a few questions you’ll want to answer as you are shopping for a church audio system:
- Will you need active or passive speakers? – Active and passive speakers not only have different components but are used for different reasons. For example, active speakers are perfect for orators and work well as a sound system for a small church. They have built-in power amplifiers that only need a power source or battery to operate and are usually tuned to the speaker already. It’s an essential all one system powers your speakers and any line-level signal plugged into it like a microphone, guitar, or even an MP3 player. Many active speakers have a mixer already built-in with EQ settings and microphone amps. These are also ideal for bands, professional orators, DJs, and cafe owners looking for a no-fuss setup. You don’t have to be technically savvy to set these up and they’re easily portable. However, if the PA system goes down, you’ll have to get the whole unit fixed or replaced.
Passive speakers need different amplifiers or mixers to control them with speaker cables to connect the sound from the amplifier to the speakers. These are not all-in-one systems like active speakers, so you’ll need to make sure that those speakers and amplifiers are on the same page. These church speakers are best for larger sound setups. Since the amplifier and the speaker are separate, you can easily upgrade each component and service is much simpler. Passive speakers are lightweight and are easily adjusted using a control center.
- What are your inputs and outputs? – For clarification, an input is any pathway for which an audio signal can go into the speaker, like a microphone. The output is any pathway for which an audio signal can be sent out like a speaker. These terms are often confusing because they are used interchangeably. What’s important to remember is to follow the signal path. This refers to the direction in which the signal is traveling. For example, when the signal is traveling out of a guitar to the amp, it is considered an input since the signal is traveling from the instrument and into the speaker.
The number of inputs and outputs may depend on the kind of speakers you have and require careful inspection. The same connections should be used when getting new speakers. Now DSP or digital sound processing is often included in powered speakers to add more control over the quality of the signal before it’s sent to the speaker. For the best loudspeakers with reliable DSP active speakers are the preferred option.
- How is your room shaped? – The shape of the room where the congregation gathers is critical in creating the best church audio system. The focus should be directing sound away from the walls and ceilings while sending the sound to your flock. For example, a room that is tall and narrow with high ceilings will require a different setup than one that is wide and flat. The size and shape of your sanctuary can affect room acoustics, proper loudspeaker placement, and reflexivity. Certain frequencies sound better in different shaped buildings. It may be the perfect place for prayer and contemplation but may need correction for an effective PA system that will maximize sound.
- Are you wireless and what is your worship style? – The larger your wireless system is, the more complex it will be. If you are a traditional church with larger congregations, your wireless system may be more complex with different and more advanced sound requirements. For more contemporary or small churches looking to simply amplify the pastor’s message, you may be able to use a smaller sound system. Still, if you have a band using modern instruments, your system will have to be set up to reproduce and reinforce all instrument frequencies.
- What’s the budget? – At the end of the day, your budget is going to determine how much you can scale your sound system. Regardless of how good the sound system looks, if it’s not in the budget, it won’t be a good fit. Evaluating your needs and thinking about short- and long-term goals is a good approach to purchasing the right church sound equipment for your congregation. Developing a three to five-year plan while addressing immediate needs is a strategic approach to spending smart. Taking the time to evaluate your ministry’s goals and communicating with church leaders, administrators, and church staff will help in developing a plan that adds functionality over time.
Know Your Church Audio System Building Blocks
There are a few key components that you should be aware of that should be a part of any sound system for the church. Your system should be consistent when the choir performs, the pastor is preaching, or the drummer performs a solo. At CCS, our professional certified team members are experts at tailoring the sound system using the appropriate components to maximize sound in your sanctuary. Below you’ll find a brief list of the essential components your sound system should have:
- Mixer – One of the first components you should consider is a mixer. It is the backbone of any church audio system since it provides audio inputs and outputs, routing, microphone amplification, and much more. This is why knowing the number of inputs you have is so important. Understanding how amplification will work and whether you’ll be getting an analog or digital mixer are all important considerations.
- Microphones – These are absolutely necessary. If you know you’ll be walking around a lot, a wireless mic system will be the best option. You may want to consider head mics and specific systems tailored for singers and choirs.
- Monitors – Regardless of who is performing or speaking, you need to be able to hear yourself. Stage monitors facing loudspeakers are used to amplify performances. When a performer’s voice is coupled with acoustic sounds and speech, they are especially useful for reinforcement.
- Speakers – As mentioned previously, good speakers are part of the foundation of sound systems for churches. Taking the time to understand your congregation’s specific needs and setup will guarantee you have a great sound system with top quality reinforcement. You’ll also need to determine whether you are looking for portable or permanent speakers.
Contact a CCS A/V Specialist Today
We have extensive experience in AV installation across several industries including years of working with churches and their sound systems. We are experts in combining sound and visual components for residential and commercial customers throughout the US. The CCS family of companies was recently ranked as one of the top commercial audiovisual integrators in the country by Commercial Integrator. With over 300 employees and 130 million in revenue, it’s safe to say that we are a trusted source in providing two decades of AV solutions.