For any space that needs an individual or a band to be heard, investing in PA speakers is a good choice, especially in a church. Church PA speakers mean that anyone speaking into a microphone can be heard, your band and singers can reach the back of the room, and there is no misunderstanding as everything is clear.
Choosing the right speakers is an entirely different matter! Contrary to what you may think, the manufacturer of the speaker should be the last consideration – getting the correct setup for your church auditorium is vital.
A PA speaker system is measured in watts. For a small venue with a single singer playing soft songs, you might be fine with a 60 watt system, where a moderately sized room could need 750 watts. The key factors involved are the volume you need to achieve and the size of the room.
The larger the room, the louder you’ll want to turn it up. An underpowered PA rig will distort and crackle as you increase the volume, and you’ll need to hit a certain level so the back row can hear – the sound has to travel a certain distance. However, the number of people in the room will also affect how far sound travels, again requiring the volume to be increased. Always err on the side of higher wattage, but for a true perspective on the size of speaker you need, consult a trained sound engineer.
The second point to consider after wattage is whether portability is important. If you are installing the PA system in a fixed position in a room, it won’t need to be portable. If you’re only in there once a week and need to clear out afterwards, or if you aren’t always in the same room or venue, portability may be more important. Additionally, portable systems can be mains or battery powered, which will once again be determined by your needs.
Thirdly, look at your budget and the features you need. A basic PA system will cost a certain amount, but with all the bells and whistles it could easily double in price – do you really need a complex mixer and built-in effects?
Straight and simple amplification may be all that you need with the ability to control the volume of each microphone and instrument – anything more could be overkill. Even if you have a PA budget stretching into the thousands, always be wise with what you spend, and remember the output will only be as good as the input. Make sure you invest in decent cables and microphones too.