What To Account For When Building A Church’s Sound System From The Ground Up

When purchasing equipment, look toward the future, and always build a system that you could grow into, and look to have it last for up to a 10-year lifespan.

What To Account For When Building A Church’s Sound System From The Ground Up
Among the elements to pay close attention to when building a sound system for your worship space are microphones. While wireless mics might be the first option, Shure's SM57 is a solid wired mic that would likely serve your needs.
What To Account For When Building A Church’s Sound System From The Ground Up
Among the elements to pay close attention to when building a sound system for your worship space are microphones. While wireless mics might be the first option, Shure's SM57 is a solid wired mic that would likely serve your needs.

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.
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The sound system is often the red headed step child when it comes to worship.

The dream is to have the perfect room, great speakers, the best microphones, and a professional to run the board every week. Where we end up depends on what we do with what we have.

I wrote an article for Worship Tech Director last year, Prepared To Record Video of Your Church Services?, posted Feb. 17, 2016 about making videos, and one of my comments in that piece was that sound is the most important element in video. To emphasize that, I noted how you can have a blank screen, but even with just audio, you will still get the point.

However, take the best HD picture and remove the sound and what do you have? 

For me, I never wanted to be the sound guy. It’s just that no one else really knew how to mix. And no one wanted to. I play bass and do vocals. I didn’t know how to mix either, but I did know what a mix should sound like. From there, I experimented after reading a few books, and found some great teachers along the way, until I figured out what needed to be done to arrive at a quality mix. 

It does not have to be that complicated.

Let’s start with the microphone. Always buy the best microphone that you can afford. First off, I know that we all would like to have a wireless system. However, at $800 or more per microphone for a good mic, you may need to instead buy a significant number of wired mics, along with only a few wireless mics. For example, the Shure SM57 and SM58 are still around $100 each, and are great microphones and would be worthy inclusions as part of your system.

The next place I would spend my money is on good cables. A good mic, paired with a cheap cable, will still add interference, which creates unwanted feedback into the system.

After that, look to buy the best speakers that you can afford. When researching the right speakers for your system, recognize that they are made with specific venues and sound in mind. Analyze how you will use your desired speakers the most, and then buy that type of speaker.

Even after looking at microphones, cables and speakers, one of the most overlooked items when building a system is the amplifier. Your amplifier needs to provide enough power to capably run your speakers without distortion. Also, the electronics of the amp (the number of ohms) should match the output of the speakers.


More About Ralph Hicks
Ralph Hicks is the Tech Director for the West Asheville Baptist Church, based in Asheville, N.C. He started serving in church when he was seven and has been a part of the volunteer staff ever since. After singing in church and running sound for 20 years, he moved behind the camera where he spent several years. He was the church's Front of House Engineer, before becoming the Technical Director six years ago.
Get in Touch: rhicks@westashevillebaptist.org    More by Ralph Hicks

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.


Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Team Management · Budgeting · Volunteers · Acoustic Panels · Acoustics · Amplifiers · Cables · Digital Console · Microphones · All Topics

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