MPB Sound and Light from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire have been designing and installing sound systems for churches since 2009, and we have produced some resources which you may find useful:

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Advice for church sound systems based on previous installations

Choosing the right kind of mixer for churches

If you do not have anyone to operate your system during services and it has to be switched on before and after use then a simple "in-line" mixer could be a good choice.

The picture to the left shows a simple mixer in a pre-existing church cupboard.

Where there is not always an operator for the sound system a smart mixer that automatically detects the volume levels from each microphone makes an even better choice .

The lower picture was taken on another of our installations.

The church wanted to be able to hold conferences and events, and therefore their sound desk has 24 microphone inputs, and inputs for video playback.

The wooden desk was built by a specialist Church AV manufacturer

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Image of simple church sound system in existing cupboard installed by MPB Sound and Light Ltd
This is an example of a simple church sound system installed into an existing cupboard
Image of advanced church sound system mixer installed by MPB Sound and Light Ltd
This is an example of an advanced church sound system installed into a special wooden desk

Choosing the right kind of church microphone

The best microphones for use with lecterns are high quality condenser microphones on flexible stems (Gooseneck microphones) .

An example of a gooseneck microphone is shown in the picture to the left.

Condenser microphones require a power source, either from your mixer (known as phantom power and supplied via the mic cable), or an external supply.

Condenser microphones are much more sensitive than dynamic microphones which makes them better for use in Church.

We have had churches using older less sensitive dynamic mics who found they interfere with hearing loops, producing a high pitched whistle.

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Image of church lectern or pulpit microphone installed by MPB Sound and Light Ltd
This is an example of a successful gooseneck condenser mic on a church pulpit

hearing loop systems for churches

The purpose of a hearing loop system (or induction loop) is to provide a signal that can be picked up by any hearing aid equipped with a telephone pick-up.

Under the Equality Act of 2010 you are required to make "reasonable adjustments" so that your service is accessible to people with disabilities, and this includes hearing loss.

Hearing loops in churches can be run at ground level (which is easier to install) or around the wall plate (out of sight but takes longer).

Hearing loops must be fed from a sound system for the best quality sound.

Image of church sound system in  a bespoke oak cupboard installed by MPB Sound and Light Ltd
This is an example of a small church sound system installed into a bespoke cupboard, the hearing loop amplifier is on the bottom shelf

Choosing a wireless microphone system for church

Quality Hand Held wireless mics are less prone to feedback than lapel mics. They rely on being held correctly or a correctly positioned microphone stand.

Lapel microphones are very common and if the wearer has a suitable collar or tie they can be quite effective. The antenna and thin microphone cable require gentle usage. If the wearer turns their head away the sound quality will drop.

You can only use between 3 and 4 licence free analogue radio microphone systems at the same time.

A licensed system can have up to 12 microphones at the same time.

It is worth investing in Duracell Industrial AA batteries for your church sound system. With good quality equipment and antenna placement you can expect to get 8 services to a set of batteries.

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Image of a simple church sound system with four wireless mic receivers installed by MPB Sound and Light Ltd
Four Wireless microphones used in a church sound system with a JTS antenna booster