How much does it cost to set up a church sound system? The cost depends on the equipment. The most basic setup only requires a speaker and a microphone. However, if there is more than one microphone, or if you want to use effects to improve the sound, additional items are needed. You may also need a mixer, amplifiers, cables, and other items.
The average church spends about $56,000 on a quality sound system. If this is out of your price range, you may need to stick to the basic equipment and slowly upgrade your sound system. The mixer is one of the most important pieces of equipment, followed by the microphones.
The Mixer May Be the Most Expensive Component
The mixer is often one of the most expensive and important components of any sound system. These devices may cost between $200 and $20,000.
If you want to invest in one high-quality piece of equipment, start with the mixer. It is easier to upgrade the rest of your equipment later. However, the mixer is the core of your sound system.
When you only have a couple of microphones, you may only need a mixer with two inputs. After you purchase your next mic, you need to upgrade the mixer. Instead of dealing with this issue, purchase a mixer that provides greater scalability.
For example, you may search for a 16-channel mixer, providing room to upgrade the number of microphones that you use without needing to replace the mixer. This saves you money in the long run.
Besides the number of channels, you need to decide between analog and digital mixers. Analog mixers tend to cost less, and they are easier to use. However, they are easier to use due to the lack of extra features.
With a digital mixer, you typically have more equalizer settings, special effects, and control over the master mix. You can also save settings to limit the amount of time needed to adjust the sound for different situations.
For example, you may need to set the sound for sermons in the morning and then change the settings for an evening sermon that includes musical performances. The digital mixer helps save time by storing these settings.
Another option is to purchase a live sound package. These packages typically include almost all of the gear that you need for a basic sound system. They often include a powered mixer, speakers, speaker stands, and the required cables.
The only other equipment that you need with these packages are the microphones, helping you save thousands of dollars on other equipment.
Quality Microphones Are Needed for Quality Sound
A decent microphone can set your church back $100 or more. In fact, some of the most popular professional-quality mics cost $300 to $500 each. If you need half a dozen mics, you can easily spend several thousand dollars.
Before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on one or more microphones, you should consider which types of microphones you need.
Lavalier microphones are a common choice when there is just one person speaking in front of the congregation. These clip-on microphones can be clipped to the lapel of a shirt, making them unobtrusive and allowing the speaker to keep his or her hands-free.
Unfortunately, the lavalier mic will not work for a backing band or choir. If you have a backing band or live instruments, handheld microphones may be needed. They can be set up on mic stands and positioned in front of the instruments. If you have a choir, there are hanging choir mics.
No matter which type of microphone you choose, there are features to pay attention to. You need to choose between dynamic and condenser mics and choose the right type of directional pick-up.
For a house of worship, dynamic microphones are recommended. They are rugged and may last for many years, which will help you avoid the cost of replacement.
The other main consideration is the directional properties of the mic. The mic may offer omnidirectional, unidirectional, or bidirectional pickup.
The omnidirectional mics pick up sound from all directions. Unidirectional mics, such as cardioid mics, pick up sound mostly from one direction, while bidirectional mics pick up sound from two opposite directions.
In most cases, you will want a cardioid mic, as they pick up the sound of the performer without picking up the sound of your congregation singing along.
Set a Budget and Choose Your Additional Equipment
The costs for these items vary depending on the quality. If you want to save money on the cost of your sound system, you should set a budget and only purchase the essential items.
It is better to slowly build your sound system by adding components when you can afford them instead of purchasing the least expensive options right away.
As mentioned, you need a mixer and microphones. You also need speakers. However, the rest of the equipment may not be needed for a basic sound system for a small church.
A couple of quality speakers with good coverage, a basic mixer, and a few decent mics can provide an adequate setup. If you do not need a detailed sound system with a dozen mics and other equipment, you can spend more on the essentials.
The bottom line is that you do not need to purchase the highest-end equipment right away. You can start with the basics, including the mixer and mics. As your needs grow, you can purchase additional equipment.
It is easy for a quality sound system to cost tens of thousands of dollars. The soundboard itself can cost thousands of dollars.
A decent microphone may cost at least $100. You may spend a little under a thousand dollars on a pair of quality loudspeakers. With this basic setup, an inexpensive church sound system may still cost $2,000 to $3,000.
If you want to save money, start small and upgrade your equipment over time. Purchase a mixer that can grow with your expanding sound system. Instead of choosing a four-channel mixer to handle your four mics, choose a mixer with more channels, allowing you to upgrade your system without replacing the mixer.