A professionally installed sound system is a priority in churches to ensure the congregation can clearly receive the clergy’s sermons. Without an efficient speaker system, it may be difficult to keep members engaged and focused, resulting in a less than satisfactory experience for all. Fortunately, by following some simple guidelines for choosing and placing speakers for your church, you can create a more immersive experience for everyone.
Considerations for Speaker Selection
Before deciding upon which speakers are best for the church, the following should be considered:
Room size and shape
There are major differences in acoustics between a small school auditorium, the movie theater, and a 30,000 square foot sanctuary. Those with high ceilings will sound quite different from wider rooms with lower ceilings. Larger venues may require a wireless system for advanced sound requirements, while smaller speaker systems will suffice for smaller church venues.
Churchgoers seated in the back rows should be able to hear every spoken word just as clearly as those sitting in the front. Without suitable speakers, sound is unevenly distributed across the room.
An expensive sound system may not necessarily be the best sound system for your church. Stay within the planned budget when selecting an appropriate sound system. Careful evaluation of the sound needs can help in arriving at a sensible budget for sound system purchases.
The classic worship music that uses bells and acoustic instruments will have different sound requirements than those that use the more modern rock music style. Bands using modern instruments will require more adjustments to reproduce and reinforce instrument frequencies.
Portable or permanent
Church congregations often meet in places that are used for other functions during the week, such as community halls, schools, hotels, and storefronts. If speakers cannot be permanently installed in these locations, a portable sound solution can be considered.
Types of Speakers
Speakers are available in several types and sizes. Here is a general breakdown of some popular speaker types to consider for a church.
Active speakers are generally suitable for smaller venues. They feature self-powered amplifiers that are already well-matched, making the system simple and inexpensive to install. Active speakers also have a mixer built in with equalizer settings. Since each speaker’s volume can be independently adjusted, it is a good solution where varying volume levels are needed.
Unlike the active system, passive speakers are not all-in-one systems. They are also best suited for larger church venues. They use separately connected amplifiers and speakers which are adjusted by a control center. The advantage to passive speaker systems is that each component can be upgraded should the need arise.
When it comes to speakers, there is no one-size fits all solution. There are several types and installation configurations as described below:
As a permanently installed distributed sound system solution, these speakers are built into the ceiling and hidden from view. They are best for larger venues where increased sound coverage is needed.
These speakers are built into cabinet enclosures and mounted with brackets on the wall or ceiling. There is a lot of flexibility in using surface-mount speakers since they come in many shapes and sizes and can be mounted to suit the room’s acoustics.
This is the most common sound system solution found in sanctuaries, since they have configuration flexibility. The point-source speaker is a single or multiple speakers that can broadcast a full range of sound from one point. They can be configured as a single center cluster, left and right clusters, or left-right-center clusters.
This configuration is used mostly in deeper rooms that require sound to be carried further. Line array speakers are a series of speakers vertically aligned and pointed towards different areas for a more even sound distribution.
As we have seen, there is a variety of speaker selections and configurations available for churches. Selecting the most suitable type is largely dependent on the size of the sanctuary, seating arrangements, and room acoustics.