How much does it cost to install a church sound system? Churches may spend several thousand dollars on basic sound equipment that they set up on their own or tens of thousands for professional installation with equipment that suits the size of the church.
Larger churches are likely to need to spend more on their sound systems. The two largest costs are the soundboard and construction. A quality audio mixer is needed to deliver clear, accurate sound throughout the church. Many churches also prefer to keep the wires and cables concealed, which adds to the construction costs. In fact, it may even be necessary to build a separate room to house most of the equipment.
The Size of the Church Determines the Cost
The size of the church is the biggest factor in determining the cost of sound system installation. When you purchase an MP3 player for $20, you are buying a device intended for one listener.
You may have dozens or hundreds of members at your church services. Increasing the number of listeners increases the required speaker coverage. With more seats, there is more space for the sound to travel, requiring more powerful speakers and amplifiers.
The type of service can also impact the cost of installation. With a traditional service that mostly includes spoken word, you may not need a lot of microphones. However, contemporary services that include electric instruments and group vocals or a choir may need extra mics and monitors.
Ensuring that your sound system meets your specific needs may also increase the price. Expanded functions, such as advanced signal processing, compressors, and advanced routing can add to the costs.
These details increase the need for a soundboard with a lot of inputs and outputs to accommodate the mics, speakers, and monitors. Depending on the complexity of the audio mixer, you may even need to pay for training to ensure that you have volunteers who know how to use the equipment.
One church sound system expert provides a cost estimate of $70 to $125 per seat to set up a quality sound system. For an 800-seat church, this system would cost $56,000 to $100,000.
If you have 80 members in your church, a $5,600 to $10,000 budget may suffice. This budget allows for a decent audio mixer with 16 to 32 channels. Keep in mind that you may need to sacrifice the quality of some of the other equipment to remain in budget. However, less expensive mics, speakers, and cables can be upgraded later.
Professional Installation Requires Construction
Setting up a quality sound system in a church involves more than setting up a few speakers and mics. A large part of the typical installation cost is related to construction and labor. The installation team may need to run cables under the floors, rig loudspeakers to the ceiling, or install a sound dampening solution on the walls and ceiling.
Increasing the function and coverage of the sound system also leads to increased sound pressure levels. In some cases, this requires additional construction, such as a specialized room for housing the equipment or cooling solutions to prevent overheating.
Houses of worship also tend to have additional needs, when compared to other venues. For example, many church services include both spoken word and music. The sound equipment needed for speech and music are not always the same.
While a lapel microphone or headset mic is often a great choice for speeches and sermons, it may not offer the dynamic range needed for capturing sound from live instruments. Compared to musical bands, churches tend to require a more versatile solution.
Expert assistance is also needed to get the best performance from the installed equipment. Issues such as feedback, hums, and buzzes can affect any system that is not properly set up. Professionals can troubleshoot these issues and find ways to reduce the risk of inferior sound.
Hiding the cables and equipment is another factor that increases the cost of installation. As mentioned, professionals may need to run cables under the floorboards. A clean installation helps conceal the wiring and cable as much as possible, instead of creating tripping hazards.
The Soundboard Is Often the Biggest Expense
A high-end digital soundboard with 48 channels can easily cost $5,000 to $20,000. With most setups designed for live sound, the soundboard is the most expensive individual piece of equipment.
While mixers are expensive, they are an integral part of the sound system. Investing in a quality mixer allows a church to build a strong foundation that can handle their needs over a longer period.
However, not all churches have the funds for a soundboard that costs up to $20,000. While $50,000 or more is a common figure for sound system installation, many churches may only have a budget of $10,000 or less.
Analog soundboards provide a way for churches to have live sound without breaking their budget. These mixers tend to cost a lot less compared to digital mixers and still includes many of the same settings.
With an analog mixer, you can still control channels using faders, equalizer controls, and microphone gain knobs. You also have the option of sending the master sound from the analog mixer to an outboard device to enjoy some of the digital processing and effects found on digital mixers.
In the end, the soundboard should support your current and future needs. It is often the most significant component in a sound system setup for churches or any other venue.
The cost of the sound system installation can vary significantly based on the specific needs of the church. An 80-member church should not need to spend as much compared to an 800-member church. The average cost for a quality sound system is between $70 and $125 per seat.
The biggest part of this cost is the soundboard. Churches that are working with a smaller budget may need to consider using an analog mixer instead of a digital mixer. However, construction can also become costly, due to the need for modifications to support loudspeakers, cables, and other equipment.