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Should It Sound Like That?

From the Worship Leader series.


All the earth shall worship at the throne of the …BZZZZZ!” What in the world was that? All eyes turn to the previously unnoticed sound guy sitting sheepishly at the back of the church.

Feedback, the wah-wahs, boominess in the lead vocalist—these sound distortions rivet everyone’s attention on the sound man and his system. Nothing kills a good worship set like sound trouble. How does a church pick the right equipment anyway?

Though worship is clearly the aim, how we get there can be influenced significantly by the sound equipment a church purchases. Churches congregate in various sizes ranging from home fellowships, to the average Sunday gathering of under one hundred people to megachurches of thousands.

Each church has it’s own specific needs. Some churches are stationary while others have to be set up and torn down Sunday after Sunday. Some bodies have existing sound systems that need upgrading, and others have been allocated funds to purchase new systems. To talk about all the different possibilities would fill a book. So, instead, I want to offer some general guidelines when purchasing sound equipment that I hope will lead to answers that will help.

Quality Before Quantity Whether you are buying a completely new sound system or are upgrading an existing one, the most important thing to remember is: quality before quantity. Too often, churches buy substandard equipment because they want all the nifty components at once. A church is much better off buying a few top-notch pieces of equipment to start and then adding as funds allow. Don’t get me wrong; you need the basics but please make sure that your basics are made up of quality components.

When walking into your local Sound Superstore, here are two options:

System A:   For “x” amount of money you can get a “budget” 24 channel board, with 4 “white label” 2×15” mains, 1 16-channel snake, 6 10” monitor wedges, 10 multi-use mics with non-removal 10’ cords, 4 150-watt mono amps, a reverb unit (that sounds like…well…a ‘56 Chevy in a wind tunnel), a 6-band parametric EQ, a refurbished cassette deck and a user manual the size of a tri-city phone book written in a foreign language. Sounds like a killer system, right?

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Category: Fall 2001, Ministry, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Joe Randeen is an adjunct professor at Vanguard University working in the online learning industry.

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