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Remote control phobia? This is for you.

Remote controls are very useful, but when you are controlling a new audio-visual system, is there a better way?

Usually, when a screen or projector is installed it will come with a remote in the box that can be used to turn the projector on or put the screen up and down, but these can be easily misplaced, leaving you with no way to easily control those devices. Therefore, we usually recommend a wall-mounted control panel, meaning that you can leave the remote controls locked away safely.

One particular product we use a lot is a small wall-mounted panel that takes away the need for remote controls, by becoming a central controller for the visual system. These controllers come in a range of sizes to suit the size of the system and some have additional features such as volume controls which can be programmed to control background music volume, for example. Ultimately, you still need to keep the remote controls handy as a backup - better to have them and not need them, as the saying goes.

Why is it better than lots of remotes?

  • Centralised Control: These controllers allow for centralised control of multiple AV components, including projectors and input selection from a single point. This simplifies operation and reduces the need for multiple remote controls.
  • Making life easy: Wall controllers can automate various functions, such as turning on or off the projector, adjusting brightness and volume, and selecting input sources. This streamlines the setup process and enhances user experience. In other words, it makes controlling your AV system much easier, and that is always a good thing.
  • Integration: The wall control panels we use are designed to integrate with various AV and automation systems, making them compatible with a wide range of equipment. This means they are useful in all sorts of installations.
  • User-Friendly: This is especially important in environments where multiple groups of people will be using the system, such as village halls or education installations. Each button function can be labelled accordingly, making the process of operating the system self-explanatory.

But what if I really like remote controls?

There are not many people who feel that way, but we want to be inclusive, so if you do love lots of remote controls, here are some reasons why you might want to stick with them over a control panel.

  • Cost: High-quality controllers can be relatively expensive, particularly when factoring in installation and programming costs. This cost may not be justifiable for smaller or budget-conscious setups.
  • Complexity: Setting up and programming SY controllers can be complex and time-consuming. It often requires specialized knowledge and expertise, so unless you are tech-savvy, you will need to call in the professionals.
  • Compatibility: While SY controllers are designed to work with a wide range of AV equipment, compatibility issues can still arise, especially with older or non-standard devices.
  • They can go wrong: SY controllers rely on technology, which can sometimes fail or experience glitches. They also rely on power supplies, which can get damaged by power surges or simply overheat due to age. When technical issues occur, they can disrupt presentations or events until resolved.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance and updates may be required to ensure that the SY controller and associated equipment function smoothly. This can lead to ongoing costs and potential downtime during maintenance activities.


In conclusion, wall-mounted AV controllers are user-friendly, simplify control of equipment and will bring all system control to one central location. While you still need to keep the remotes safe, you will not need to juggle them to turn your system on, but instead walk over to one point and within 2 buttons, the projector or screens will be on and the input source selected.

Faculty-free systems or temporary systems are audio or video systems that don't need to be fixed to anything e.g. speakers on speaker stands, a portable rack on wheels or a projector on a stand. 

The main benefit to these systems is that they are ‘’faculty-free’’, you can set one of these systems up without a faculty. This being said though, for any events or events like this it is always best to notify the DAC beforehand, you can do this on their online portal (More on faculty application below).

  • Cost-Effective: Temporary audio systems are often more affordable upfront than permanent installations. They can be a practical solution for smaller churches or events with limited budgets.
  • Flexibility: Temporary systems can be set up and removed quickly, allowing for flexibility in accommodating various types of events and changing needs. They are ideal for churches that host different activities in the same space.
  • Portability: Portable audio equipment can be used in different locations within the church or even outside the church premises if needed. This mobility can be an advantage for outreach programs or outdoor events.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Temporary systems may require less maintenance since they are not exposed to the same wear and tear as permanent installations. Repairs or upgrades can also be easier to manage.
  • Quick Installation: Setting up a temporary audio system is generally faster than installing a permanent one. This can be advantageous when time is a constraint.
  • No fixings: Temporary systems don't need to be fixed to anything, this means there are no fixings or holes that need to be made in the church so you wouldn't need a faculty 

Cons of Using a Temporary Audio System in a Church:

  • Limited Quality: Temporary audio systems may not provide the same audio quality, coverage, or features as permanent installations. This limitation can impact the overall worship experience and event quality.
  • Aesthetics: Temporary setups may not blend well with the church's interior design and aesthetics, potentially affecting the visual appeal of the worship space.
  • Reliability: Portable equipment may be more prone to technical issues or failures compared to fixed, permanent installations. This can lead to interruptions during church services or events.
  • Sound Consistency: With temporary systems, achieving consistent sound quality and coverage can be challenging, especially in larger or acoustically challenging church spaces.
  • Long-Term Costs: While temporary systems have a lower initial cost if they are used frequently, the cumulative rental or maintenance costs over time may exceed the cost of investing in a permanent audio system.
  • Setup and Teardown Time: Setting up and dismantling a temporary audio system for each event can be time-consuming, which may not be practical for churches with frequent activities.


It depends on what you are looking for, if you are having a one-time event then a faculty-free temporary system will probably be best for you, but if you know that there are going to be a lot of events or you want to use the system for services every week then you will most likely need a more permanent solution. It is always worth talking to a specialist who deals with audio-visual systems in churches. 

To read more about pertinent installations see our article here.

So why won't wireless speakers work in a church environment?

We are often asked if it is possible to use wireless speakers to form a church sound system. this is because churches, especially the older ones, are not very suited to running cables. It’s not something that we can hold against the people who built them all those years ago, but it does present a real challenge when installing any new audio-visual equipment. Often these buildings are Grade 1 listed or higher, which makes it necessary to pay extra attention to cable runs and fixing positions.

Newer church buildings do not usually have the same constraints as running plastic trunking is usually permitted, or cable routes have been thought about in the original design of the building, which saves our engineers a lot of time during an installation.

But a question we are often asked when installing sound systems, in particular, is one which we think deserves a further explanation, as we hear it so often. That question is this:

Why can’t you use a wireless speaker instead of running all those cables through the church?

Now, at first glance this might seem like a very valid thought; after all, in today’s world, most people have a wireless speaker in their house, whether that be a smart speaker in your kitchen so that you can dance while you cook, or a portable speaker you take to the beach with you to play some summer hits while you sunbathe.

I, myself have a portable Bluetooth speaker, which I use all the time for all sorts of things - even when I want some accompaniment while singing in the shower. It’s brilliant and sounds great, so why wouldn’t I want to use it for a church sound system?

Well for a start, I would need a lot of them to give the kind of volume I would need for even a small church. As a comparison, the portable speaker I use has a power rating of 30 watts, which is impressive considering its size. However, when you compare it to a typical loudspeaker we install in our installations which is rated at 240 watts, you can see that there is quite a large difference in the amount of volume we are going to achieve. It’s a bit like putting a Smart car up against an Aston Martin; there is only one winner.

Another problem with using a wireless speaker in a church is that it would be very unreliable. Churches are generally made of lots of stone and other reflective surfaces, which is why they are often so reverberant. But as much as this is great for concerts, it does not work in favour of wireless connectivity, which will struggle to clearly communicate due to all the reflected signals it will receive.

Bluetooth, which is the technology most wireless speakers use, relies on line of sight to give a reliable connection between the two devices paired together. As soon as you add columns and thick walls in between, that signal will struggle to reach our wireless speaker on the other side of the church and we will end up with very jittery audio. Adding this on top of all the signals it is seeing come back from off the hard surfaces in the church and you have little hope of it ever working reliably. 

“But my Alexa is on the wi-fi network and I connect my phone to it that way!”

This is true, but often churches do not have a wi-fi network to connect to, coupled with the fact that this will only allow you to play music, so will not allow us to connect all the microphones and other elements of the sound system to it too? Some speakers have to be physically wired into the network, which then defeats the point of using it over a conventional loudspeaker in the first place.

A nearly empty battery indication.

Another problem with wireless speakers is that they either need to be constantly connected to a power source or if they have a battery, then they will go flat and need to be recharged after a certain period of time. That is fine at home when the speaker is sat on your bedside table, but not so easy when it’s sat on top of a column in church.

The main reason why you would not use a wireless speaker in church is because that is not what they are designed for! They are designed to play music and give an impressive sound output for their size, but they have not been created to sit as part of a church sound system. Installed sound systems are capable of clearly reproducing speech and music, and the products we use have been (in most cases) purposefully designed for this environment, with specific characteristics that make them ideal for the church environment. 

Two loudspeakers positioned on a church column.

For example, the loudspeakers we select have been designed to focus their output on a limited area, which greatly reduces the amount of reverberation which will occur when the system is used. Wireless speakers spread their sound as widely as they can, but this will bring down the intelligibility of the sound when in a church with lively acoustics. 

Ultimately then, as good as the idea of using a wireless speaker as part of a church sound system may first seem, there are a number of reasons why this is not a good idea and why spending time finding appropriate cable routes to loudspeaker positions is worth the headache.

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