Sometimes I gently respond to these questions and give a "soft pitch" for why a church may want to consider calling a reputable audio contractor or two.
I have one word for you...
Listen, I know there can be some amazingly talented and knowledgeable folks at your church. But ask this one question:
"Do they design and install professional-grade sound systems every day?"
Your electronics mega-retailer tech does not.
The live sound salesman at the music store does not.
And neither does the technical director at the mega church across town.
Ok, before you string me up and tell about all your church budget woes, let me say...
I'm not talking about buying your little audio gadgets and do-dads on Amazon or Musicians Friend and playing around with a custom audio hack you just heard about for in-ear monitors. Feel free to experiment!
I'm talking about your holistic system design, loudspeaker selection & placement, acoustic analysis, rigging, code requirements, and planning for future needs.
There are often a lot of very talented and dedicate technical folks in the church that can assist with installation and determining the needs for a new sound system. But even with the best design intentions, it is extremely prudent to get another set of eyes on your plan. You can end up wasting a lot of time and money, or worse.
I've been an audio systems installer, designer, and sales engineer since 1999. I've seen a lot of systems in that time.
And I've had to fix a bunch of well-intentioned Do-It-Yourself mistakes.
Some of them were even dangerous and posed life safety hazards (like loudspeakers hung with dog leashes).
Then there was that time when someone asked me to help them design a sound system for their brand new church based on an article they found on eHow.com. (No, that's not a joke.)
Ok, I get it. You have to start somewhere.
But when it comes to spending your money and being a Good Steward of your church budget, you owe it to yourself to at least talk to the professionals before you buy the next sound system or wiz-bang-loudspeaker-that-will-make-our-church-sound-amazing-and-solve-all-our-problems.
Did you know...
A lot of churches actually buy three different sound systems before they get the one they really want and need.
Here's a great article from Jim Brown about that very travesty and why it happens.
And Mike Sessler from ChurchTechArts has some more detailed advice (and encouragement) for getting started on the right path for new systems or system replacements.
Are you ready to find a great pro-audio contractor in your area that specializes in church sound?
Here's a great list of qualified church sound contractors that I have personally talked to.
Reach out and at least start a conversation.
These guys aren't "used car salesmen".
I've been a contractor for much of my professional career. We're here to help!
Let us help you truly deliver Great Church Sound!