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  • Writer's pictureSteve Baker PhD AIA

Sanctuary Soundscapes: Integrating Audio Systems in Churches

Updated: May 16

In the 21st century, the church has done an amazing job sticking to tradition and maintaining the elegance and solemn beauty that has made it instantly recognizable for hundreds of years, but that doesn’t mean that they’re stuck in the past. 


Beyond the basics such as electricity, running water, climate control, and disability access points, churches have been more than happy to implement plenty of modern technology. 


One of the most commonly integrated forms of modern technology is audio. 


Using audio systems in churches can be extremely beneficial, and it’s not a major renovation to have proper audio systems installed. However, if you’ve never taken on such a project, it can be a bit to take in.


Here is everything you need to know.


Introduction to Church Sound Systems 


A church sound system is a professional sound system. It’s not a simple CD player or speaker system. 


These typically consist of a sound booth and control table that is wired to speakers in key locations around the church.


Where the speakers are located depends on the intended effect and the layout of the church, and speakers can be one-way or two-way depending on what the goal of the project is. 


It’s used to spread sound, whether that’s music, audio input from a mic, or anything else, throughout the target area to reach the audience.


From the sound booth, churches typically have a member of the church who is experienced with sound systems tasked with operating everything and ensuring things go smoothly. This is important because the sound system itself is a bit more complicated than a typical stereo or similar device.


How Can an Audio System Help the Church?


So, what are the benefits of audio systems in churches? They were never crucial in the past. So, what has changed? 


Well, it’s not that an audio system will change the core function of the church or how it operates, but it adds more capabilities to the church


Playing music, handling the audio for video demonstrations, providing entertainment during more casual church functions, and similar things all benefit from installing a proper sound system. 


A sound system can also greatly benefit larger churches by allowing the priest or pastor's voice to reach church members and visitors who might not be close enough to hear clearly


More complicated things are also possible, such as being able to listen to sermons from different rooms, communicating across the church without phones, etc. 


A lot of benefits can come from implementing an audio system into your church’s infrastructure.



How Much Does an Audio System Cost?


Using a church audio system is a little more complicated than adding new speakers to a car or setting up a home entertainment system. As such, it costs far more.


A sound mixer - an integral component of a professional audio system in a church.

On average, a church sound system costs between $20,000 and $500,000. The higher end of that range tends to be for larger, more elaborate churches, though. 


That’s a considerable expense for most churches, but it is a long-term investment that will add countless capabilities to the church after it’s installed.


How Long Does It Take to Install a Church Sound System? 


This greatly depends on the size of the church. A small church with a simple sound system can have its sound system installed, set up, and running within a couple of hours


However, a larger church that needs to seat tens of thousands of people and has a massive nave to cover will take exceptionally longer. It might even be a multi-day project


Can the Church Stay Open While the Sound System is Installed


Technically speaking, the church doesn’t need to close. The sound system itself will likely only affect the nave and a few side rooms.


However, it is a complicated process with plenty of wires and tools lying around, and services won’t be able to be held during the installation, and you certainly don’t want guests moving around the areas being worked on.


So, it’s best to schedule the installation for a day when the church doesn’t congregate and any activities that are being held don’t require the rooms being worked in. 


Luckily, the process isn’t very long. So, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a suitable time and day to get the project completed.


Does Every Church Need a Sound System? 


Not every church needs a sound system. Very small churches can typically get away with a microphone setup and portable speakers.


However, in larger churches, a sound system is a must. Without one, sermons will only be truly heard in the first few rows, and much of the church body won’t get the experience they came together to have.


A pastor preaching using an audio system in a church.

However, all churches can benefit from one. Like we said earlier, sound systems can be used to play music, and handle the audio for movies and clips that might be played during more casual church functions such as youth groups, and more.


If it’s financially feasible, every church should strive to get a proper sound system installed


What Structural Work is Done When Installing a Church Sound System? 


Very little work has to be done to the building itself to install a sound system.


Depending on your existing electronic capabilities, you likely only need to have things plugged in, some surface-level wall cuts, and extensive wiring to connect everything. In some cases, electrical wiring might need to be adjusted. 


In any case, it’s a simple project for a professional, and there’s no serious damage done to the church.


Final Thoughts


In conclusion, the use of audio systems in churches represents a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation in the 21st century.


These systems not only enhance the worship experience by amplifying voices and facilitating multimedia presentations but also foster a sense of inclusivity within the church community.


Before installing sound systems in a church, it is advisable to complete all current renovations and constructions. For this task, you will need a reliable partner.


Baker Architects is your go-to source for all your church-related architecture and design needs. From foam molding to construction, we collaborate with you to bring your vision for the church to life.


You can trust our church architects to provide the highest quality service possible and understand your church’s needs from a spiritual perspective.


Contact us today!

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