Buying the perfect PA System for your house of worship is a daunting task. You are bombarded with phrases like powered, passive, line array, flown or ground stacked; the list is endless!
To make matters worse, for each type of speaker, there are dozens of manufacturers all producing similar looking products.
The Best PA System for your Church
Your first step when it comes to buying the perfect PA system is to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all option. There are hundreds of variables that will determine which is the best for you.
You need to consider the size of your building, how high your roof is, if you’re inside or outside, how many people attend your church services, do you have a band that needs to be amplified, what instruments are in your band, and so on.
Our first piece of advice when it comes to buying a new PA system for your church is that if you are not sure what you need, ask a professional to have a look at your building and let them guide your purchasing decision. If you would prefer to decide by yourself, the guide below will give you some of the essential points to consider before buying your next PA System for your church.
What Are You Using Your PA For
When it comes to amplification, there is a perfect solution to every situation. A guitar amp, for example, is tuned in such a way that it sounds excellent for guitars but will make vocals sound muddy and clouded.
When buying a PA system, you should first map out who will be using it. If you only need the PA system for the sermon, you can get away with a smaller, vocal-based PA like the Fender Passport system.
Of course, if you have a five-piece band with a 10-person choir, then you’ll need a more extensive PA system with a much bigger mixing desk.
Is the PA Fixed or Portable
A church is more than a building. It’s a collection of people who meet with a common purpose. For some churches, that means moving around from time to time.
Does your house of worship do a lot of outreach events? If so, you might require a fully portable PA System. On the other hand, if your church only meets in the church building itself, you can look at getting a fixed PA System.
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What is your Worship Style
Traditional church congregations usually don’t require an over-the-top PA system. For the most part, they would have a piano or an organ which won’t need to be miked up, a few singers, and the preacher. In this case, a small PA system with a mixer with a handful of inputs will suffice.
If your church likes it loud, and plays mostly modern Hillsong style choruses as opposed to the more traditional hymns, then you’ll need something with a bit more power.
One of the most significant factors when it comes to selecting a new PA system is your budget. The best piece of advice is always to get the best system your budget will allow for, and future proofing your system will save you money in the long run.
How do you future proof your PA system? Buy getting something bigger than you need. If you need a mixer with 8-inputs, buy one with 12 or 16-inputs instead. Sure, many of those inputs will be wasted, but if you need more inputs, later on, you won’t need to buy a new mixer.
What Does a PA System Consist Of?
For your PA system to work, you need to ensure that you get all the basics. There’s nothing worse than trying to set up a new rig, only to discover that some elements are missing, and you need to head back to the shops.
Speakers – When talking about PA systems, most people think speakers. When buying your speakers, check to see if they are active or passive. Active speakers, you can plug in straight away, but if you purchase passive speakers, you will also need a power amp before you can use your speakers.
Power Amp – If you need a power amp, ensure that you buy the right amp for your speakers. You would hate to under power your speakers and sound bad, or even worse; you don’t want to overpower your speakers and potentially blow them.
Mixer – The mixer is where the magic happens. Make sure that your mixer has more inputs than you need, and that it’s not too complicated for your sound engineer to operate.
Microphones – If you’re replacing the PA system in your church, you already should have some microphones. But if you’re buying your first PA system, ensure that you don’t forget about the mics.
Monitors – Not all PA systems will require monitors. If you’re band or choir is large, or they play loud, then on-stage monitoring is a must.
Cables – Once you’ve got all your gear selected, the last thing to double check is your cables. Make sure that you have one cable going to each element of your PA. Then buy a few more spare cables. Cables tend to break, especially in an environment where they are shared – so be sure to stock up so that you’re never in a situation where you’re running around trying to find a working cable 5-min before the doors open.