Tech Times for Church Audio                                                                                           April 1, 2009

As the expression says "Garbage in - Garbage out". This couldn't be more true when it comes to microphones. If you don't have good sound coming into the sound system, you won't have good sound coming out. This results in feedback, and people not being heard.

This issue focuses on various aspects of microphones in your church sound system and how to improve your knowledge of microphones and hopefully the sound in your church. For more information on other aspects of church sound or video, check out our website or feel free to give us call.

Yours in Christ,

Lorne Atkins

In This Issue:

Wireless Microphones

Microphone Selection

Head Microphones are great

Fix Pulpit and Lectern Pops


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Wireless Microphones - You get what you pay for.

Wireless microphones are often a major source of problems in church sound systems. Too often we find churches that have decided to take Uncle Scrooge's method when it comes to purchasing wireless microphones. They will often rationalize that the $300 - $500 wireless microphone that they bought at the music store is as good as the $1000 one that the sound contractor is trying to convince them to buy. "After all, we only use it for about 1 hour each week".

In the case of wireless microphones especially, you really do "Get What You Pay For". These types of lower end systems often experience poor sound, drop outs, interference and simply don't last as long. Within a few weeks, the churches that bought them will abandon them and purchase a higher priced system. They end up spending more money in the long run.

Because of the complex technology involved, the quality of the system determines whether it works or not. Generally speaking, anything under $650 won't work in a church environment. Sometimes churches think they can't afford to buy a good wireless microphone when in fact, they can't afford not to. Alectro Systems sells some great wireless microphone systems for Churches.

A good wireless microphone system provides excellent sound and reliability. They are available in hand held, lapel and head microphone, and instrument versions.

Learn more about Wireless Microphones ...

Microphone Selection - Use the right tool for the job.

Many times people will neglect the importance of using the right type of microphone for the right application. Quite often the sound tech will grab any microphone out of the cupboard and use it to mic a group of children or an ensemble, not realizing that the design and purpose of the microphone is for close up vocal use. It's like using a paintbrush to sweep the kitchen floor, it's not very practical and just doesn't get the job done. The result, very little pick up and a lot of disgruntled looks from the congregation because of the loud squeal coming through the main speakers.

The success of your sound has a lot to do with your selection of the right microphone for the right application. It's important to know your microphones and what type of applications they are suitable for. To brush up on your microphone knowledge visit our article on Microphone Selection.

Head Microphones are Great - Far better than lapel microphones

Although a lapel microphone gives great freedom, its sound tends to be more "muddy" and prone to feedback. This may not be the fault of the microphone, but simply the fact that it is located on your chest. A head microphone completely eliminates these problems, but until recently, they have been avoided by clergy due to the appearance.

There are now several different head microphones available. Most are very tiny, flesh coloured and sound great. Due to their tiny size and light weight, you hardly know they are there. They provide perfectly natural sound with no feedback problems. Because they are always close to your mouth, and never change their position regardless of where you turn, the sound is consistent.

Compare some of our most popular Head Microphones ...

Fix Pulpit and Lectern Pops - Install a "popless" gooseneck microphone.

Do you have problems with "Popping" sounds from your gooseneck microphones? This is caused by the speaker's breath hitting the diaphragm of the microphone. Because gooseneck microphones have a relatively small diaphragm, they are especially prone to this problem.

If this is a problem for you, the first thing to try, Assuming you have a windscreen on the microphone, is to reduce the low frequency control on that channel of your mixer. If you still have trouble, there is a definite solution.

We carry a number of "popless" gooseneck microphones. They are designed in a way that your breath cannot hit the diaphragm. The best choice is the AKG CK47 with a GN-E series gooseneck. Not only does it eliminate pops, but it provides the greatest pick-up range and sounds the best.

Learn about Microphone Selection ...