One of the biggest questions you will have when first looking at a new church audio-visual installation is the cost. This is because you are going to need to agree on a budget with the PCC or church leadership and then possibly apply for grants or look to the congregation to help with fundraising for the project.
Giving accurate pricing is very difficult because of the unique challenges each church presents, which means no two quotations we send out are ever exactly the same. As a general rule though, we are able to give price brackets which your system may fall into depending on which of the boxes you need to tick.
If your church is listed, then this can limit the choice of equipment and mounting locations as permission may have to be sought for the fixings and cable routes. Subsequently, we will have to come up with more creative solutions to mount loudspeakers, projectors and other equipment in place, as fixing will need to have as minimal impact as possible on the fabric of the building. If your church building is relatively modern, then this will likely make running cables and securing things to the wall easier, which can reduce the amount of time that the installation should take.
It might be that our proposed system is outside of the budget you have allocated for the project, but hopefully, after reading this page you will have a much clearer idea of not only the cost of an installation but also if we are the right partner for your project.
Firstly, it’s important to list the main factors which are going to have the biggest impact on the cost of the installation:
Now that you know the key factors affecting the price of an installation, here are some rough guidelines to give you an idea of the figures you need to consider before continuing on your journey to a new audio-visual system. Please note, all prices below are inclusive of VAT.
Sound systems can come in all shapes and sizes and were the first type of AV equipment to be installed in churches and heritage buildings. A huge factor in the cost of a new sound system is whether you need the ability to run a live band through it, which requires a step up in the type of loudspeaker we will select due to the requirements of live instruments, especially bass guitars. Subsequently, larger power amplifiers will be needed and a higher standard of mixing console will also be required.
If you only require a speech and background music system, then depending on the size of your church, you can expect to pay around £8,000 - £10,000.
Churches with a regular requirement for live band reproduction will need to spend between £12,000 - £22,000 (depending on the size of the church and the band) to get a system capable of accurate and full-range music.
Projection and visual installations are usually the most expensive, due to the cost of the various equipment needed to make the system work effectively, but also because of the cabling requirements which are usually fairly substantial.
Wherever possible, we will use projection as this gives the best result; a single projection screen can be seen by far more people than a flatscreen display due to the larger size. We can also find ways to mount the projector and screen that will make them as unobtrusive as possible, such as our winch screen method which lifts the screen up into the chancel arch when not in use.
For an installation using standard equipment, the price would be around £12,000 - £15,000. This figure will increase to between £15,000 and £20,000 when a more complex method of projection screen deployment is required.
Having a system comprising of multiple flat-screen displays mounted around the church, often using metal strapping on columns to avoid disturbing the fabric of the building, is also an option where projection is not feasible, or practical due to high lighting levels or multiple blind spots. Flat screens are usually a more common choice in newer buildings, where having the screens visible is not an issue.
Systems using multiple flatscreen displays range massively in price but will be anywhere between £10,000 to £18,000 depending on the number of screens and complexity of the video distribution to each of them.
Live streaming has become a huge part of the audio-visual setup within churches since the Coronavirus pandemic first hit in 2020 and the value online viewing brings has continued even beyond lockdowns and social distancing.
Generally, church live streaming installations consist of at least one Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) camera, at least one laptop input and potentially a DVD or BluRay player input. A compact production switcher will be included to stream directly to YouTube, Facebook or Zoom and ideally, a custom control interface that will handle all the camera controls, input switching and can also control other devices such as projectors.
A typical live streaming system with one PTZ camera will cost roughly £6,000 - £8,000. This will increase to over £10,000 when additional cameras are added and if multiple outputs are required to feed the church visual system as well as the live stream.
Lots of church buildings have wonderful acoustics for choirs and concerts, but this becomes unhelpful when trying to understand speech. Even with the aid of sound systems, if the church has a large amount of echo, loudspeakers may actually exacerbate rather than resolve the problem. Therefore, some buildings will need to be treated with acoustic panels to lower the reverberation time (the time it takes for a sound to dissipate to an inaudible level) which will then make it much easier to hear speech.
The great thing about acoustic treatment is that there is a huge range of shapes, sizes and colours of acoustic panels, which allows us to choose a style that is going to perform the role of bringing down the amount of echo, but which will also not impact the aesthetics of the church.
A typical acoustic panel installation will cost between £4,000 and £7,000, for a small to medium hall but can rise considerably depending on the size of the space and the amount of reverberation absorption required.
Due to an ageing population, an increasing number of people are wearing hearing aids to compensate for hearing loss. The level of hearing loss with people wearing aids varies, but even slight hearing loss at key frequencies can cause individuals to have difficulty understanding in busy environments.
Induction loops are really effective in churches because they allow the hearing aid wearers to have a direct feed from the sound system, eliminating the other noise happening around them. We have an article which explains hearing loops in more detail, including the laws and regulations surrounding them, which you can visit here.
The simplest way of providing an induction loop in a church space is to run a cable around the perimeter of the nave, encompassing the congregation area. An amplifier sends a current around this cable which creates a magnetic field inside the cable loop, which can be picked up by the coil inside a hearing aid.
Usually, installing an induction loop system is quite quick providing that the required cable route is reasonably accessible. Therefore, the cost of a hearing loop installation would be between £2,000 and £3,000 if done as a separate project. However, hearing loop systems need to be connected to a wider sound system to function, so are generally installed at the same time, which will allow the cost to be closer to the bottom of this price bracket. Generally, hearing loop installations are VAT exempt as stand-alone projects, or the equipment directly related to the loop system only, if within the context of an entire sound installation.
If you have read through this article and you would like to discuss your requirements further after learning about the costs involved, then please get in touch with us and we would be happy to go through this with you and decide on the best next step, often a site visit by one of our sales team.