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Church Sound Systems choosing a sound system that really works

A church sound system in most cases requires only a sound reinforcement system not a public address system or a sound stage like those used for music festivals, unless your church is a major cathedral. An ideal sound system would be designed for sound that appears to come from the person speaking. Your new church sound system needs to be designed quite specifically for a church environment.

Audibility is improved by visibility, if the speaker can be seen, the congregation will have an increased sense of understanding. Also the congregation may include profoundly deaf people who may be lip-reading not listening. Ideally all places of worship should make provision for those with hearing loss and a specialist system will be needed for them.

Choosing a system

Firstly you need to decide whether you want a sound system that only improves the sound levels and intelligibility of normal hearing people and secondly whether you also want to provide for the hard of hearing that rely on hearing aids

In a church congregation it is likely that a relatively high proportion of elderly are people with a hearing loss.

There are two types of sound systems for church. An amplified loudspeaker based sound system which increases the sound levels which will improve listening for everyone and help those with impaired hearing, but do not need a hearing aid.

The second type is an induction loop system which is designed to be used solely by those who use a hearing aid that includes a "T" switch. It is not suitable for people without one of these hearing aids. Using a loop system enables deaf people to hear whatever is transmitted through the loop. A difficulty in using these systems is that speech or music that is not captured by the system and transmitted by the loop will not be heard by the listeners. One advantage is that induction loops are zero rated when supplied to a charity.

An induction loop system is a separate system to the main sound system and will share an input from the same sources of sound as the main system. Loop systems are essentially an aerial system that is installed about one metre above or below ear level so can be installed at or under floor level.

You will need to discuss the specification of your new church sound system with your supplier and arrange for quotations from companies that specialise in church sound systems. Installation of the fixed items like amplifiers and cabling (but not microphones) in listed buildings are usually VAT exempt which can save you money.

You may need to consult your architect about the design and positioning of speakers and the route and containment of cabling in the case of new buildings either to comply with building regulations if a listed building or simply to meet your church's organisation rules about installation works.

Your supplier will be able to define the power of your amplifier system but you will need to advise on the number and location of inputs such as microphones and music sources etc. Microphones may be fixed for a lectern, pulpit or the choir or could be wireless microphones either hand held, lanyard or lapel types for those who prefer to walk about or for those who will speak from the congregation.

You may need a media player to play recorded music and teachings and even recording equipment for those who are housebound

Selecting loud speakers requires combining sound quality with aesthetics. Modern speakers can be attractive, they are the most visible item and can be selected and positioned to be aesthetically pleasing rather than an eyesore. A good combination is needed for positioning the speakers for best sound quality and least obtrusiveness.

There are various types of speaker and mounts available, wall mounted, ceiling mounted, on stands or on the floor. Positioning is important and the best level is just above hearing height with the speakers angled towards the listener although building limitations and aesthetics may be the deciding factor.

Cabling needs careful planning if it is not to be detrimental to the appearance of the church and should be installed in a suitable and unobtrusive containment system

Cabinets for amplifiers and other equipment need to be placed with access for the controls and to be unobtrusive, either out of view or inside suitable “furniture”. A secure storage area for microphones, batteries and extension cables will be needed.

As you can see church sound systems are specialist installations needing careful planning and design by competent installers - the local hi-fi shop is not the place to start.

About Author Jennie Zheng :

Jennie Zheng <a href="" target="_blank"></a> writes articles for <a href="" target="_blank"></a> designers and installers of Church Sound Systems <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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