How do you improve the sound of your church PA system? You should start by understanding how your equipment works. Learning how to properly set up your sound system and adjust the settings on the mixer may help improve the sound.
If you need to upgrade equipment, start with the speakers. Quality speakers ensure that the sound is delivered without unwanted noise. If you are not satisfied with these solutions, installing extra components may help improve the sound. These options include graphic equalizers and compressors.
Understand How Your Equipment Works
Audio mixers often possess a large selection of settings and effects that you can apply to your master sound. It is easy to stick with what you know and not think about using some of these settings to improve the sound. Amateur sound engineers may also struggle to fully understand how each setting or effect works.
Instead of upgrading your equipment, you may simply need to gain a better understanding of how your equipment works. Tweaking the settings on the mixer, repositioning the speakers and microphones, and adjusting the volume may help deliver superior sound.
Try repositioning your loudspeakers and checking their volume settings. This one easy step may make a major difference. The sound delivered through the speakers bounces off walls and other surfaces. Ensuring that the speakers are in the right spot may help reduce feedback, echoes, hums, and other issues.
The first rule is to ensure that the speakers are pointed at the audience. No matter where you are seated in the church, you should have a direct line of sight to the front of the speakers. They should not be obscured by other structures.
In many cases, the biggest problem with the speaker placement is the height of the speakers, which affects the vertical coverage of your speakers. You want people in the back of the church to hear the same sound as people in the front. This often requires the speakers to be positioned at a greater height and angled down toward the congregation.
If you cannot afford to rig the speakers from the ceiling, there are affordable adjustable speaker stands that can provide more height and control over the vertical coverage.
You should also ensure that the person in charge of the sound in your church knows how to work the mixer. There are training programs designed specifically for this purpose. A professional sound engineer can help explain how each of the EQ settings, special effects, and volume controls affect the overall sound.
Consider Upgrading Your Loudspeakers
Tweaking the sound on the mixer, repositioning your mics and speakers, and checking the line levels may not be enough to improve the sound. However, you may not need to purchase entirely new equipment. Instead of upgrading everything, start with the speakers.
Upgrading the speakers may not require as much of an investment compared to other equipment, such as a high-quality mixer.
When selecting new speakers, you first need to choose between passive and active speakers. Passive speakers require an external power source, such as a power amplifier. The power amp increases the sound signal from the mixer before sending it to the speaker.
Active speakers are powered and do not need an amp. These speakers tend to cost more, but they eliminate the need for longer cables that run between the passive speakers and amplifiers.
You should also pay attention to the coverage angle of the speaker. Manufacturers typically describe the coverage angle, which may be narrow or broad. Broad coverage is recommended when you have a limited number of speakers and need to ensure that the sound reaches everyone.
Install Extra Components to Boost the Sound
A basic church sound system may not include a lot of different equipment. You may send the sound from the microphones to a mixer and then directly to the power amplifiers or powered speakers.
Adding an equalizer between the mixer and the amps or a compressor between a mic and the mixer provides more control over the sound.
The purpose of the graphic equalizer is to provide control over the master mix that is sent to the loudspeakers, instead of tweaking the frequency of each mic.
You can use the settings to increase or decrease the levels of various frequencies. This allows you to turn down the unwanted frequencies and emphasize the desired frequencies.
The best way to tweak these frequencies is to play familiar music through the sound system. You should play a track that you know well so that you can hear the differences in frequencies.
If you hear a hiss or hum, you can attempt to lower the sound of the frequency causing the problem.
Start by boosting the frequency to isolate it and ensure that it is causing the problem. If you increase the frequency, the problem should be worse. Once you identify the problem, you can decrease the gain to filter out the sound.
Another potential issue occurs when sudden spikes in the volume get picked up by the microphones. For example, you may have a person in your choir that occasionally increases his volume. These sudden spikes in volume may cause feedback and other unwanted noise.
A compressor can help put an end to this problem. The compressor works by compressing the loudest signals, allowing you to increase the overall volume without worrying about sudden spikes in volume.
If you are not happy with the sound that comes from the loudspeakers of your church sound system, there are several ways to fix the problem. You should first ensure that you are utilizing all the settings and features available on your soundboard. You may even want to consider paying for a training course to fully grasp how all the bells and whistles on your mixer work.
The next step is to upgrade your speakers. Choosing a speaker with the right coverage can help deliver better sound through the church. You may also want to consider adding a graphic equalizer and a compressor to your sound system setup. The graphic equalizer lets you remove unwanted sound, while the compressor helps produce even the sound.
These tips should help you improve the sound of your church PA system. If you still do not get the quality of sound that you were expecting, you may need to upgrade your mics, soundboard, or other equipment.