Knowing is half the battle, right? Not so here. Knowing is all of it. Hurdles like money, time, knowledge…those can all be fixed very easily, with the proper perspective. But we’ll get to those.

Step One in your church PA system adventure is knowing what the PA will be used for. This knowledge informs your choices later, so that your money is spent wisely and performance is up to snuff. We all know the folks who have all the best toys but have no clue how to use them, right? A great guitarist can make a 20 dollar pawn shop amp sound great, while the unlearned couldn’t coax a good tone out of a boutique monster if he had everything including the wind in his favor. Bad analogy…you get the idea.

Here are some questions you need to answer before you can move on. I’ll leave some of my own answers behind that are more or less universal to churches. It should also be noted that when I say PA system, I mean the whole smash. Mics, mixers, amps, monitors, main speakers…everything.

1. What kind of music is being played? The PA requirements of modern rock music and piano/vocal-driven hymns are vastly different. (It is assumed that regular human speech is a priority, since this is how we hear such things as sermons and testimonies.)

2. What kind of room are you in? This has the propensity to get technical, but is your auditorium acoustically fit? If you have no idea, ask. If the room has walls that are exactly the same (think perfect boxes and rectangles) and all of the surfaces are hard, it probably isn’t. A room that is acoustically “unfit” (this is not a technical term) will sound completely awful with some high-powered monstrosity of a PA system, and there are other hurdles involved here before you even buy a mic cable. Getting a professional to acoustically analyze your room is a VERY wise move if it hasn’t been done already. All the reading in the world does not prepare you for the firehose of information these professionals have locked in their brains.

3. Where do you see your church in 5 years? Will the musical tastes change? How about the building? Or the size of the congregation? Build for the future, not for the present. This applies to everything you ever do in your life. EVER.

In short…what do you play? What do you hear? What do you see?

More to come. Ask questions if ya got ’em.

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