Many things can go wrong when working with sound at a house of worship.
The church I belong to, like most, doesn’t have a great sound system. We would like to have one, but we’ve chosen to “make do” over the years.
One day, I asked the senior pastor what his primary goal would be if we could get a new system. He said, “We need something that would cause no distractions.”
I was expecting him to mention things like audio quality, ease of use, uniform volume levels at every seat, wireless features, and so on. The pastor’s answer surprised me at first. However, after thinking it over, I realized he was right. Pastors consider aspects that can have a negative impact on a service.
I’ve always thought of the church sound operator as a referee at a sporting event. No one notices when the job is done well. That’s the way it should be—no distraction. But when something goes wrong, everyone takes note.
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My train of thought continued. Can a well-designed modern sound system with simplified controls and intuitive applications lead to fewer problems and less distractions? The majority of modern audio components perform far better than their predecessors due to superior design. Not to mention they’re newer and less susceptible to problems. As to the issue of whether they’re “easier” to operate, I believe that’s a subjective opinion of each system operator.
This led me to consider potential sources of distractions and where they often originate when it comes to sound. How well are system operators trained? How well are churches equipped to schedule and manage system operators?
As noted, the church I belong to doesn’t have a “whiz-bang” sound system, but it gets the job done and doesn’t cause distractions. This is because we invested in quality components and had them installed by a qualified A/V systems contractor.
Not only did we choose to go this direction with the system when it was new, but we also rely on this professional to handle any upgrades of components, fix problems that come up, and to assist with “check-ups” on a regular basis.