21st Century House of Worship
Nothing is worse than being in church when suddenly, the sermon stops. “I see we have a sleeper!” the speaker at the podium awkwardly remarks. A few rows down, a church patron can be overheard snoring loudly. Maybe the guy was out too late last night, or maybe he didn’t have his morning coffee.
Let’s face it; we’ve all been here. Sitting in church on any given Sunday and there it is. It’s not the fault of the choir, nor is it the one speaking. Most don’t realize that the problem may lie within the church audio and pro lighting rig.
Having a proper pro audio and visual setup in church is absolutely paramount in being able to deliver the message effectively, not to mention keeping patrons awake! Let’s hit some quick important points regarding what makes a good pro audio/visual rig in a 21st century house of worship.
Psychoacoustics, or the act of the brain processing sound into meaningful data, plays an enormous role in the church setting. If a church audio system is old, outdated and not properly maintained, a patron will have a hard time listening or paying attention to anything.
It’s extremely hard to pay attention when the church audio rig isn’t functioning properly. Screeching feedback, poor amplification, and microphones cutting in and out can cause the listeners to tone out the entire message.
With psychoacoustics, if there is enough bad sound being heard, the brain will actually shut down the input (the church audio) and completely block it out. This renders whatever is trying to be conveyed by the speaker to go unheard.
Bad audio doesn’t necessarily stem from one thing, but rather several. It could be the equipment that is being used or the setting it is being used in (acoustics). Both can have adverse effects on the sound presented to the listeners.
Sometimes, the equipment being used isn’t the problem, as the size, shape and texture of the room will greatly affect the sound. A common mistake made by not only by churches but live venues in general, is having a sound system installed that is not optimized for the room.
The power, quantity and placement of speakers, as well as the type of power sources and mixing consoles that are needed, must be assessed on a professional level. Doing this will ensure the ministry sounds as good as possible, within the budget.
Choosing the correct pro audio and lighting equipment is the first step to optimizing the sound and feel of the church. These days, it can be quite difficult to keep up with all the new equipment that is being released. Doing research will help make choosing the correct equipment for your particular circumstance much easier.
Will there be a live band? Choir? Will more than one microphone be used at one time? Will I need pro lighting or other non-audio components?
Answers to these questions can vary depending on the situation. For most church audio rigs, a multi-track mixer will be needed. This will be the hub of your rig and all incoming audio signals will be routed through it. This includes microphones, instruments or anything requiring amplification.
It should be noted that, for the most part, all mixers do the same thing. An incoming audio signal is routed through the inputs and out of the outputs. The main difference between mixer consoles is what happens to the signal when being passed through. Equalizers, effects and preamps all differ from mixer to mixer and can drastically change the sound. Choosing a mixer all depends on the ministry’s situation.
Loudspeakers will need to be chosen as what the room acoustics call for, as well as where they are placed. Choosing the correct loudspeaker not only depends heavily on the nature and overall orientation of the room.
It may not be economically feasible for some to have a full pro audio rig. In this case, you may decide to go the route of audio rental. This is an ideal option for ministries that may see occasional touring acts such as plays, bands or choirs and may not need a full rig all the time.
Any extra visual installations such as pro lighting, motorized rigging and drapery will only add to the aura of a good sounding room. These are considered the “cherry on top” that will add another level of engagement to the audience. It even might keep those who frequently nap during sermons awake!
Adding a pro lighting rig to a ministry will help engage and stimulate the patrons every Sunday. Whether its lighting rental, or an assessment on what may be a good addition to your already existing pro lighting right, you’ll be sure to make a great impact.