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.
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.
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.
When installing microphones on lecterns or pulpits, we typically opt for a type of microphone known as a gooseneck microphone. These microphones are characterised by their elongated design and adjustable tops, allowing them to be pointed in any direction. This feature enables the speaker to position themselves freely in front of the microphone, eliminating the need to stand in a specific spot.
The gooseneck is plugged in on the lectern or pulpit via an XLR connection point that is discreetly wired and secured to the top of the lectern. The benefit of this is that it can be unplugged and packed away.
Here are some pros and cons of using a gooseneck microphone:
Gooseneck microphones are perfect for use on a lectern or in the pulpit, they allow for any speaker to position the adjustable head in any way they need so they do not have to stand in a specific spot, goosenecks can be unplugged for storage and security and plugged back into their XLR mount with ease. They are perfectly designed for capturing speech. They can also perform well in capturing acoustic, especially orchestral instruments.
When it comes to audio systems in houses of worship, choosing the right microphone is crucial for delivering clear and impactful sound. Two popular options are headset and lapel microphones. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision for your church's audio needs.
Headsets are worn around the head, with a small capsule positioned near the mouth. Here are some pros and cons of using headset microphones in a house of worship setting:
Lapel or lavaliers are small, clip-on microphones that are typically attached to the collar or lapel of the speaker's clothing. Let's explore the pros and cons of using lapel microphones in a house of worship:
Choosing between headset and lapel microphones for your house of worship depends on several factors, including the specific needs of your speakers, the type of performances or sermons, and personal preferences. Headset microphones offer stability and hands-free operation, while lapel microphones provide discreteness and versatility.
Consider the pros and cons outlined in this blog post, and test different options to find the microphone solution that best suits your church's audio requirements. By investing in the right microphone, you can enhance the worship experience and ensure clear and impactful sound for your congregation.
You may have heard someone say when discussing a new heating system, or moving a piece of ecclesiastical furniture in your church, “You’re going to need a faculty for that!”. A faculty is the equivalent of getting planning consent in the Church of England.
Churches are subject to planning law as much as any other building, however in the church of England this planning control has been seeded from the local council to the diocese.
This system also covers the additional demands of listed building or conservation area consent. Because of this, the system is quite involved and no less stringent than conventional planning consent.
However don’t feel too daunted, there is plenty of help available throughout the process.
For most things yes, for example, objects in the church as well as the building fabric and trees and monuments in the churchyard. Each diocese has a ‘De minimis’ (small matters) list of things exempt from faculty, although you still may need approval from the archdeacon for these.
List A just a log, no formal permissions are required, e.g. the gutters were cleared of leaves.
List B matters can be signed off by your archdeacon, often following consultation with the relevant DAC advisor. Not requiring a formal meeting of the whole committee.
For example, a new or replacement sound system requires only list B consent whereas a projection or streaming system requires a full faculty.
If you have a whole audio-visual project in mind, it is worth getting advice on whether to mention the sound system in the full faculty or just apply for list B for that separately.
This can allow you to go ahead with the sound system much quicker, rather than having it held up waiting for the full faculty permissions only required for projection and streaming.
As previously mentioned if you are thinking of a visual system typically comprising a projector and screen plus some flat screens for blind spots, or a camera system for streaming, you will have to go through the full faculty process.
This does involve some work explained in the next section and it helps considerably if your supplier is used to working in churches as they will generally come up with a scheme or options that they know through experience will have a good chance of being approved.
This can save a good deal of time and to and fro with the DAC and lead to a project that keeps everyone on board with the best balance of performance and aesthetics.
Go to https://facultyonline.churchofengland.org/home this is the home page of the Church of England online faculty system.
The first thing to do is create your own online account and link it to your church building. There is an extensive help section with guides on how to create the necessary documentation to support your application.
The most important of these is the User Manual for the system for parishes.
There are also some useful video resources from Lincoln and Carlisle dioceses, search for ‘church faculty system’ on YouTube.
Before you start wading through the online system, a good idea is to prepare a brief summary of what you would like to do and how photos help and send it to the DAC secretary.
Then arrange a follow-up phone call to discuss this information.
This will give you useful pointers as to how to frame your faculty submissions and potential pitfalls that can be avoided at this early stage, saving time later.
DAC secretaries positively encourage this approach.
If you are looking to apply for a faculty, then you will need to complete an amount of formal paperwork and submit plans, specifications and photographs to explain the works proposed.
You will usually need to consult your church architect for advice and have a resolution from the PCC in place.
After following all of the online steps and asking your DAC for final advice your chancellor will look at your application and decide whether to grant a faculty or not.
If your project has attracted opposition, then the chancellor may ask to hold a consistory court hearing before making a decision.
Before starting any work in the church it is always worth asking your DAC as they will be able to advise you on the best course of action going forward.
The speed of your application being processed also depends on what you would like to do, but the DAC will advise you all the way.
There are a very small number of listed churches which are not subject to Faculty Jurisdiction and therefore need to apply for Listed Building Consent via their Local Planning Authority for works to their buildings.
But if you have any concerns about whether you need a faculty or not, contact the DAC for advice.
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).
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.
Good sound quality very rarely just happens ‘out-of-the-box’, but takes a number of different components to achieve. Part of this is the quality of the equipment used, but another large element is the ability to tune or equalise (EQ) the sound system to make it sound as good as possible. This is where DSP comes in.
Traditionally, lower-cost church sound systems only have very basic bass and treble controls for the main output, with no ability to adjust this individually for each input channel. This can lead to very poor performance as there are no means to compensate for the particular frequency characteristics of budget loudspeakers. Typically cheaper loudspeakers will reproduce some frequencies far more or far less than others, due to their cheaper materials and lower design values.
As a result, two things will happen when you turn the volume of the system up. Firstly, the tone of the sound will change, with music and speech sounding thin and nasal. Secondly, when using microphones to capture speech, the microphone may start to pick up reflected or direct sound from the loudspeaker and re-amplify the loudest frequencies which will lead to nasty acoustic feedback (that piercing ringing sound we have all heard come from loudspeakers at one point). The acoustic response of the room can further compound this issue of feedback and poor audio quality.
Happily, there is an effective way to reduce these undesired effects and make the most of even fairly budget loudspeakers. The answer: Digital Signal Processing, or DSP for short. In a very basic sense, this is a small box which will sit between the output of the mixer and the input of the amplifier powering the loudspeakers. It contains audio processing that allows for very accurate mitigation of the frequencies causing the problems of feedback and gives an opportunity to compensate for the frequency response of the loudspeakers.
During the installation phase APi uses test equipment and importantly our experience of working in lively church acoustics to make the system sound the best it can, meaning that even our lowest-cost systems perform well.
DSP is a valuable tool and does allow for an increase in quality when using budget equipment, but it does not make a system which will compare to one where more capable loudspeakers have been chosen. DSP will be used even with higher-end systems, but for fine-tuning rather than fixing difficulties with limited speaker performance.
At some point applying a lot of DSP will have an effect on the overall quality of reproduction you may fix one issue and create another. For example, boosting the bass output will make a speaker sound better at low volume, but turning it up with this added bass could end up exceeding the limits of the speaker driver and causing damage.
Ultimately, adding DSP to any system will improve the achievable volume before the onset of feedback and smooth out the frequency response, making the system sound more natural and making the operation of the system far easier on a week-to-week basis.
Digital signal processing also gives possibilities to add delay to loudspeakers and other advanced features which allow even further fine-tuning of a sound system for maximum performance.