Great sound is the key to a satisfying and rewarding church experience. When the music and voices are clear, and the spoken word is conveyed with power and persuasion, a church sound system has successfully done its job. Achieving that level of quality and performance doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning, careful selection of components, and skilled installation. Moseley Electronics has expertise in developing audio and visual solutions for churches and can guide you through the process.
COMPONENTS OF A CHURCH SOUND SYSTEM
Every place of worship needs a sound system to ensure voices and instruments are heard. Simply being audible isn’t enough. You need consistent volume everywhere and the best possible clarity. Mixing and balance are important since you don’t want one instrument drowning out the choir, or a church speaker booming out across the congregation.
Achieving these results requires four main components. These primary components include:
- A mixer or soundboard
These capture sound from the choir, the speakers, and the instruments. There are many types of mics and even a small church sound system will need quite a few. The sound you relay to your congregation can never be better than what the mics pick up, so it pays to buy the best you can afford.
This combines the inputs from the various mics and sends the result to the speakers. Arranging inputs into channels makes it possible to boost the level of some and reduce that of others. The more channels on the mixer, the more inputs it can handle.
Even if your congregation is small right now, choosing a mixer with more channels – 32 versus 16 or 24 – will let you expand your church sound system when the time comes.
These boost the power of the signals sent from the mixer to the speakers. As a guide for how much power they need, a room seating 150-250 people requires 750-1,500 watts. For good quality, look for a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and low total harmonic distortion (THD).
For the best overall performance, choose amplifiers and speakers together. Many speakers today have amplifiers built-in. Such “active” speakers are an alternative to “passive” speakers that need separate amplifiers.
These broadcast the sound to the audience. Their power, along with how and where they are placed, is the key to achieving impressive results. Using multiple speakers avoids the problem of sound being too loud for those who are close to them and too quiet for people further away.
Keep in mind that placement matters because the audience will find it disconcerting if the sound seems to come from somewhere other than where performers or speakers are located.
Poor quality cables lead to poor sound. Always invest in good cables with well-made connectors. A cable snake is a device that consolidates multiple cables, as from a host of mics, into one. This keeps the floor or stage tidy and avoids performers tripping or getting tangled.
If you expect to use electronic instruments like guitars and keyboards you will need direct injection boxes. These plug the output from the instruments directly into the mixer.
An equalizer is a tool for adjusting sound levels to compensate for building acoustics. It’s set up once and should not need adjusting again unless something changes in the building.
While an established church will probably want a sound system that’s installed permanently, this isn’t the only option. In some situations, a portable system may be more useful, and certainly more flexible. This is especially true when planning a new church if services are held in a variety of locations, or the space has other uses.
Options for portable church sound systems are almost as numerous as those for permanent systems. The specialists at Moseley Electronics will be pleased to explain what’s possible.
CHURCH SOUND SYSTEM INSTALLATION
To maximize the audio quality from your church sound system, layout and installation must be planned carefully and undertaken appropriately.
Professional installation will address:
- Microphone locations
- Mixer location
- Number of speakers, height, and mounting method
- Cable placement
For example, overhead mics are ideal for the choir, but speakers may prefer headsets or lavalier (shirt/jacket mounted) mics. The mixer should be located centrally where the person responsible for sound can experience what the audience hears. Speakers may be fixed to walls with brackets or mounted on stands.
Moseley Electronics are sound system specialists and we understand the special needs of churches. We’ll explain your options and design and install a system that meets your needs and budget.