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How Does Acoustic Treatment better your worship experience?

Introduction: In the realm of sacred spaces, where voices rise in prayer and music soars to the heavens, the quality of sound is paramount. Churches, with their unique architecture and acoustics, often require specialised attention to create a harmonious auditory experience for both worshipers and performers. This is where the power of acoustic treatment comes […]

Introduction:

In the realm of sacred spaces, where voices rise in prayer and music soars to the heavens, the quality of sound is paramount. Churches, with their unique architecture and acoustics, often require specialised attention to create a harmonious auditory experience for both worshipers and performers. This is where the power of acoustic treatment comes into play. In this blog post, we'll explore how acoustic treatment works and why it's essential for creating an optimal sound environment within churches.

Understanding Acoustic Treatment:

Acoustic treatment involves the strategic modification of a space's surfaces to control sound reflections, resonances, and overall audio quality. It aims to minimise unwanted echoes, reverberations, and excessive sound reflections while ensuring clarity, intelligibility, and a balanced sound.

Absorption and Diffusion:

One of the primary methods of acoustic treatment is the incorporation of absorption and diffusion materials. Absorption materials, such as acoustic panels and baffles, absorb sound energy, reducing reflections and reverberations. These materials are strategically placed on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces to create a more controlled and balanced acoustic environment. Diffusion materials, on the other hand, scatter sound waves to prevent excessive focus on specific areas and enhance the overall sense of spaciousness and clarity.

Controlling Reverberation Time:

Reverberation time refers to the duration it takes for sound to decay by 60 decibels after the sound source has stopped. In churches, long reverberation times can lead to a muddied sound, reduced speech intelligibility, and diminished music quality. Acoustic treatment can help control reverberation by employing a combination of absorption and diffusion materials strategically placed throughout the space, ensuring a more optimal and balanced sonic experience.

Addressing Specific Acoustic Challenges:

Each church presents unique acoustic challenges based on its architecture, materials used, and intended use of the space. Acoustic experts assess the specific needs of the church and recommend tailored solutions. For instance, churches with high ceilings and hard surfaces may require additional absorption materials to counteract excessive reverberation, while others with dead or dry acoustics may benefit from diffusers to create a livelier sound.

Balancing Reflections and Speech Intelligibility:

Churches serve as spaces for congregational singing, preaching, and spoken prayers. Achieving clear speech intelligibility amidst the presence of reflective surfaces can be a challenge. Acoustic treatment aims to strike a balance between reducing excessive reflections and maintaining the natural ambience of the space. By strategically placing absorption panels and diffusers, sound energy can be directed towards the audience, minimising reflections and improving speech clarity.

Conclusion:

Acoustic treatment holds the key to transforming the sonic experience within churches. By strategically addressing reflections, reverberations, and speech intelligibility, the spiritual journey can be enhanced through immersive sound. With the expertise of an AV company specialising in church acoustics, you can create a sacred space where every word, note, and prayer resonates with clarity and emotion. Investing in acoustic treatment for your church is an investment in the spiritual connection between worshippers and the divine. Let the power of sound unite hearts, uplift spirits, and create an immersive auditory experience that elevates worship to new heights.

Both projection systems and multiple screens have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of each:

Projection Systems: 

Pros:

  1. Large Screen Size: Projectors can display images and videos on a much larger scale compared to individual screens, making them ideal for creating immersive experiences in home theatres, classrooms, or conference rooms.
  1. Portability: Projectors are generally more portable than multiple screens. They can be easily moved from one location to another, allowing for flexibility in different settings.
  1. Cost-Effective: Projectors can be more cost-effective when it comes to large-scale displays. Instead of purchasing multiple individual screens, a single projector can cover a large area.
  1. Space Saving: Since projectors don't require physical screens, they can save space in small rooms or areas where mounting multiple screens might be challenging.

Cons:

  1. Ambient Light Interference: Projected images can be affected by ambient light, which may reduce the overall image quality, especially in bright environments. A dedicated projection room or proper light control is often necessary for optimal performance.
  1. Image Quality: While modern projectors can produce impressive image quality, they may not match the pixel density and sharpness of individual high-resolution screens.
  1. Limited Viewing Angles: Projectors typically have a limited viewing angle, meaning the image quality and clarity can diminish when viewed from extreme angles.
  1. Maintenance: Projectors require periodic maintenance, such as lamp replacements and cleaning, to ensure consistent performance.

Multiple Screens: 

Pros:

  1. High Image Quality: Individual screens can provide higher pixel density, better contrast ratios, and more accurate colours compared to projectors, resulting in superior image quality.
  1. Flexibility: Multiple screens offer more flexibility in terms of displaying different content simultaneously or arranging them in various configurations. They are well-suited for multitasking, gaming, or applications that require displaying multiple sources at once.
  1. Better Viewing Angles: Each screen can offer a wide viewing angle, ensuring consistent image quality from different positions in a room.
  1. No Ambient Light Interference: Unlike projectors, individual screens are not as susceptible to ambient light interference, allowing for better visibility in brightly lit environments.

Cons:

  1. Cost: Purchasing and setting up multiple screens can be more expensive than a single projector, especially when considering the cost of separate display units, cables, and mounting solutions.
  1. Space Requirements: Multiple screens require more physical space compared to a single projector, which may not be feasible in small rooms or constrained environments.
  1. Installation Complexity: Mounting and aligning multiple screens can be more complex and time-consuming, requiring precise measurements, cable management, and configuration.
  1. Limited Screen Size: While it's possible to create large displays with multiple screens, achieving extremely large sizes can be more challenging and costly compared to projection systems.

Conclusion:

When deciding between projection systems and multiple screens, consider four important factors: specific requirements, available space, budget, and desired visual experience. By understanding these elements, you can choose the option that best fits your needs. Take into account the purpose of the system, the physical area available, your financial limits, and the kind of visual impact you want to create. A well-thought-out decision can lead to an effective and cost-efficient solution that maximizes the overall value of your chosen display setup.

In an era where live video streaming has become an integral part of online communication, selecting the right broadband speed is crucial to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience. Whether you're a content creator, a business hosting webinars, or an individual connecting with your audience, the quality of your live video stream is directly influenced by the capabilities of your broadband connection. In this article, we'll explore the factors to consider when determining the ideal broadband speed for live video streaming.

Understanding Live Video Streaming Requirements:

  • Upload Speed:
    • The primary factor influencing live video streaming is the upload speed of your broadband connection. Unlike regular internet usage that emphasizes download speed, live streaming relies heavily on a robust upload speed to transmit data from your location to the streaming platform.
  • Resolution and Bitrate:
    • The resolution and bitrate of your live stream play a significant role in determining the required upload speed. Higher resolution (such as 1080p or 4K) and bitrate settings demand more data to be transmitted, necessitating a faster upload speed for a lag-free stream.

Recommended Broadband Speeds for Live Streaming:

  • Standard Definition (SD):
    • For streaming at standard definition (480p), a minimum upload speed of around 3 Mbps is recommended. This is suitable for basic live-streaming applications where high resolution is not a priority.
  • High Definition (HD - 720p/1080p):
    • If you aim for a higher quality stream at 720p or 1080p, consider an upload speed ranging from 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps. This ensures smoother streaming, especially if you're engaging in activities like gaming, webinars, or sharing detailed content.
  • 4K Streaming:
    • Streaming in 4K resolution demands a considerably higher upload speed. For a reliable 4K live stream, aim for an upload speed of at least 20 Mbps or more, depending on the complexity of your content.

Factors Affecting Broadband Performance:

  • Network Congestion:
    • The overall demand on your internet service provider's network can impact your broadband speed. Consider peak usage times and select a broadband plan that provides consistent performance during these periods.
  • Wired vs. Wireless Connection:
    • A wired Ethernet connection typically offers more stability and reliability compared to a wireless connection. If possible, connect your streaming device directly to the router using an Ethernet cable for optimal performance.

Tips for Optimal Live Streaming:

  • Perform a Speed Test:
    • Before going live, conduct a speed test to ensure your upload speed meets the recommended requirements. This helps identify potential issues and allows for adjustments if necessary.
  • Upgrade Your Plan:
    • If your current broadband plan falls short of the required upload speed, consider upgrading to a higher-tier plan that better aligns with your live streaming needs.
  • Optimize Streaming Settings:
    • Adjust streaming settings on your platform to match your broadband capabilities. Balance video quality with a smooth streaming experience based on your available upload speed.

Conclusion:

Selecting the right broadband speed for live video streaming is essential to deliver a seamless and enjoyable experience to your audience. By understanding the upload speed requirements based on your streaming resolution and considering additional factors affecting broadband performance, you can make informed decisions to optimize your live streaming setup. Regularly assess your internet speed, upgrade your plan if needed, and leverage best practices to ensure your live video streams are a reliable and engaging part of your online presence.

The main difference between a digital stage box and an analogue snake is how they transmit audio signals. Here's a breakdown of each:

Analog Snake: An analogue snake, also known as an analogue multicore or analogue audio snake, is a physical cable with multiple channels used to carry analogue audio signals from a stage or performance area to a mixing console or audio interface. It consists of individual balanced audio cables bundled together in a single jacket or enclosure. Each channel of the snake carries an analogue audio signal, typically using XLR connectors.

Key characteristics of an analogue snake include:

  1. Analog Signal: Analog snakes transmit audio signals in their original analogue form. The electrical voltage of the audio waveform varies continuously, representing the audio signal's amplitude and frequency.
  1. Simple Connectivity: Analog snakes connect directly between the stage or performance area and the mixing console. Each channel of the snake needs to be physically patched or connected to the corresponding input or output on the console. This direct connection requires manual routing and management of cables.

Digital Stage box: A digital stage box, on the other hand, is a device that converts analogue audio signals into a digital format and transmits them over a digital audio protocol or network. Instead of individual analogue cables, a digital stage box uses a single digital connection to carry multiple audio channels between the stage and the mixing console.

Key characteristics of a digital stage box include:

  1. Digital Signal: A digital stage box converts the analogue audio signals into a digital format, typically using converters built into the stage box. The audio signals are transmitted as digital data packets over a digital audio protocol, such as Dante, AES50, or AVB. This allows for the preservation of audio quality and enables additional features like remote control and signal processing.
  1. Remote Connectivity: With a digital stage box, the physical connection between the stage and the mixing console is established using a digital audio protocol or network. This eliminates the need for long analogue cable runs and provides more flexibility in terms of distance and routing. The stage box can be placed near the stage, while the mixing console remains at a convenient location, connected via a network switch or direct digital connection.
  1. Enhanced Features: Digital stage boxes often offer additional features beyond audio signal transmission. They can include built-in preamps, remote control capabilities, integrated signal processing, and the ability to send control data alongside audio signals. These features provide advanced functionality and streamline the setup and operation of audio systems.

Summary

Analog snakes transmit audio signals in their original analogue form over individual balanced cables, while digital stage boxes convert analogue audio signals into digital data and transmit them over a digital audio protocol or network. Digital stage boxes offer remote connectivity, advanced features, and more flexibility compared to analogue snakes. They are instrumental in larger setups where long cable runs and enhanced functionality are required.

Digital Stage Box Source

Analogue Snake Source

Are digital snakes only a single CAT 5e/6/7 cable?

The choice between analogue and digital systems depends on various factors, including your specific needs, preferences, and the nature of your non-permanent audio setup. Both analogue and digital systems have their advantages and considerations. Let's explore each to help you make an informed decision:

Analogue Systems:

Advantages:

  • Simplicity: Analogue systems are often simpler to set up and operate. They typically involve fewer components and may be more user-friendly for those who are not audio professionals.
  • Signal Continuity: Analogue signals experience a continuous waveform, which some argue can produce a more natural and warmer sound. For certain applications, such as certain types of music, this might be preferable.
  • Cost: Analogue systems can be more cost-effective, especially for basic setups. If you're on a tight budget and don't require advanced features, analogue equipment might be a suitable choice.

Considerations:

  • Signal Quality: Analogue signals may be more susceptible to interference and degradation over long cable runs. This can result in a loss of signal quality, especially in non-permanent setups where cable lengths may vary.
  • Flexibility: Analogue systems might be less flexible in terms of signal routing and processing compared to their digital counterparts. This could be a limitation if you need to adapt to different setups frequently.

Digital Systems:

Advantages:

  • Signal Integrity: Digital signals can be less susceptible to interference and degradation over long distances. This makes them more suitable for non-permanent setups where cable lengths may vary.
  • Flexibility and Processing: Digital systems offer greater flexibility in terms of signal routing, processing, and manipulation. This can be advantageous if you need to adapt your audio system to different environments or requirements.
  • Compactness: Digital systems often allow for more compact setups since signal processing can be handled within the digital domain, reducing the need for multiple analogue components.

Considerations:

  • Complexity: Digital systems can be more complex to set up and operate, requiring a certain level of technical expertise. If simplicity is a priority, an analogue system might be more suitable.
  • Cost: High-end digital systems can be more expensive than their analogue counterparts. However, there are affordable digital options available, and the cost difference may be justified by the additional features and capabilities.

Conclusion:

For a non-permanent audio system, the choice between analogue and digital depends on your specific needs, budget, and familiarity with audio equipment. If simplicity and cost are primary concerns, analogue systems may be a suitable choice. However, if you prioritize signal integrity, flexibility, and advanced processing capabilities, a digital system could be more appropriate.

Ultimately, it's essential to consider the specific requirements of your audio setup and choose the system that aligns best with your preferences and goals. If possible, test both analogue and digital systems in your intended environment to determine which one meets your needs more effectively.

Dealing with a lapel microphone catching on garments and causing disruptive noise is a common issue in audio setups. Here are some tips to help mitigate this problem:

  • Positioning:
    • Ensure that the lapel mic is properly positioned on your clothing to minimize contact with the fabric. Clip it securely in an area where it won't easily snag, such as the centre of your chest.
    • Experiment with different attachment points to find the most secure and least obstructive placement.
  • Use a Tie Clip or Windscreen:
    • Consider using a tie clip or a small clip designed for securing lapel microphones. These clips can help keep the microphone in place and prevent it from moving around on your clothing.
    • Adding a foam windscreen to the microphone can also help reduce friction and prevent noise caused by the mic rubbing against fabric.
  • Secure Cables:
    • Make sure the microphone cable is neatly secured and tucked away. Use cable clips or adhesive cable organizers to minimize cable movement, reducing the chances of the mic catching on clothing.
  • Clothing Selection:
    • Choose clothing made of materials that generate less friction. Avoid materials that are prone to static or create a lot of noise when in contact with the microphone, such as certain synthetic fabrics.
    • Opt for smoother textures and designs that won't easily catch on the microphone.
  • Adjust Clothing Fit:
    • If possible, adjust the fit of your clothing to minimize contact with the lapel mic. Looser or differently styled clothing may reduce the likelihood of snagging.
  • Add Strain Relief:
    • Attach a strain relief loop to the microphone cable near the connector. This loop can absorb some of the tension if the cable is tugged, reducing the impact on the microphone.
  • Secure Excess Cable:
    • Coil or secure any excess microphone cable with a cable tie or Velcro strap. This can prevent loose cable ends from getting caught on clothing.
  • Microphone Mounting Accessories:
    • Explore additional mounting accessories designed to minimize clothing noise, such as magnetic mounts or suspension mounts.
  • Body Movement Awareness:
    • Be mindful of your movements, especially when adjusting clothing or turning. Avoid sudden, jerky movements that may cause the microphone to catch on clothing.

By implementing these tips, you can reduce the likelihood of your lapel microphone catching on garments and causing disruptive noise, ensuring a smoother and more professional audio experience.

Introduction:

Creating a memorable and spiritually uplifting church service involves more than just powerful sermons and heartfelt worship; it also requires support from a reliable and well-designed audio-visual (AV) system. Selecting the right AV system for your church is crucial to ensure that every member of the congregation can fully engage with the message and worship experience. In this article, we will explore key considerations and recommendations to help you choose the best AV system for your church service.

Assessing Church Size and Layout:

  • The first step in selecting an AV system is understanding the size and layout of your church. Larger spaces may require more powerful audio systems and additional display screens to ensure that everyone can see and hear clearly. Consider the acoustics of the space and any unique architectural features that may impact sound distribution.

Audio System Components:

a. Microphones: Invest in high-quality microphones for pastors, worship leaders, and musicians. Consider both wired and wireless options based on the church's needs. Remember a wired microphone will always be more reliable and cost effective than wireless.

b. Mixing Console: A user-friendly mixing console is essential for balancing and adjusting audio levels. Look for a console with sufficient channels for all instruments and microphones.

But overall look for a console that your users will feel confident and comfortable operating.

c. Speakers: Choose speakers that match the size and aesthetics of your church. They are the one part of the audio system that is always on display so they mustn’t dominate visually. Ultimately there may be a trade-off between looks and performance, some congregations will be happier than others sacrificing one for the other.

Visual Display:

a. Projectors and Screens: Select high-resolution projectors and screens for displaying lyrics, announcements, and multimedia content. HD resolution is good to have but not essential, widescreen format is essential as all content is this shape. However, 4K resolution is fairly pointless as most viewers will be too far from a screen to see the difference.

Consider the size and placement of screens to maximise visibility for the congregation. Sometimes there are several options for this, especially old buildings there may seem to be no obvious option, that's where a specialist church installer will have experience and solutions to offer.

b. Cameras: If your church would like to broadcast services online, Quality cameras will provide better long-term value for money and greatly increase low-light performance over basic webcams for live streaming. As control and operation of cameras and streaming equipment can be a lot more complicated than using say a laptop or phone to stream, finding a supplier who has experience working with churches will always produce a simpler-to-use system tailored to your needs.

Lighting:

a. Stage Lighting: Enhance the worship experience with well-designed stage lighting. Consider intelligent lighting systems that can be programmed to create dynamic atmospheres during different parts of the service. These can be programmed to allow push-button recall of lighting scenes enabling anyone to operate the system. Stage lighting can also improve the quality of your streaming output as most cameras perform better with higher light levels.

b. House Lighting: Ensure proper ambient lighting for the congregation, allowing them to read hymnals or follow along with scriptures without straining their eyes. A specialist church lighting designer will understand the unique requirements of lighting older buildings sympathetically.

Integration and Control:

Choose an AV system that allows seamless integration and control. This includes the ability to control audio, video, and lighting from a central location, making it easy for operators to manage the entire system during services. This may now include wireless operation from a tablet allowing control from the minister if operating solo.

Budget Considerations:

While it's crucial to invest in quality AV equipment, it's equally important to stay within budget. A professional church AV contractor will help you prioritise essential components and explore cost-effective options without compromising on performance.

Conclusion:

Selecting the best AV system for your church service requires careful consideration of your church's size, layout, and specific needs. By investing in high-quality audio, visual, and lighting equipment, you can create an immersive and spiritually enriching experience for your congregation, fostering a deeper connection with the message and worship. Two key components of this are 1. Selecting a provider who has a proven track record in the church sector and 2. Good communication between the church and contractor ensures that the project is delivered to your expectations and the operational capabilities of your team.

In the world of projectors, understanding the term "projector throw" is essential for achieving the optimal display in your desired setting. The projector throw refers to the distance between the projector and the screen, and it plays a pivotal role in determining the size and clarity of the projected image. As you venture into the realm of projection systems, you may encounter the need to purchase a lens separately, leading to the question: What is a projector throw, and why does it necessitate a separate lens purchase?

Projector Throw: The Basics

Projector throw is essentially the distance required for a projector to cast a particular image size onto a screen. It is measured in feet or meters and is a critical factor in determining how far or near the projector needs to be positioned for an optimal display. Projector throw ratios express this relationship by indicating the amount of throw distance required to achieve a specific image width.

Throw Ratio = Throw Distance / Image Width

For example, a projector with a throw ratio of 2:1 means that for every 2 feet (or meters) of throw distance, the projected image will be 1 foot (or meter) wide.

The Need for Separate Lens Purchases

Now, the reason why projector throws often lead to separate lens purchases lies in the diverse requirements of different installation scenarios and the flexibility needed to achieve the best projection outcomes.

1. Customization for Varied Throw Distances:

Different venues present different spatial challenges. Some environments may have limitations on how far you can place the projector from the screen, while others may allow for more flexibility. By offering separate lenses, projector manufacturers empower users to customise the throw distance according to their unique needs.

2. Lens Options for Installation Versatility:

Standard lenses that come with projectors are designed to meet common throw ratio needs, for example most are 2:1 or less. However, for users seeking more versatile installations or dealing with physical placement constraints, additional lens options become necessary. Separate lenses, such as short-throw or long-throw lenses, provide the flexibility to adjust the projector's position without compromising on image size.

3. Specialized Applications and Features:

In specific applications, such as large auditoriums or immersive museum displays, precise control over throw distance is crucial. Separate lenses may offer advanced features like motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift, allowing for seamless adjustments without physically moving the projector.

What We Consider When Choosing a Lens

When faced with the decision to purchase a lens separately, several considerations come into play:

1. Compatibility:

Ensure that the lens is compatible with the throw ratio requirements of your specific projector model. This information is typically provided in the projector's specifications.

2. Installation Constraints:

Consider the venue and installation constraints. A short-throw lens may be suitable for confined spaces, while a long-throw lens may be necessary for larger auditoriums.

3. Image Size and Quality:

Different lenses can impact image size and quality. Choose a lens that aligns with your preferences for brightness, clarity, and the desired size of the projected image.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the concept of projector throw is fundamental to achieving an optimal projection experience. While it may require an additional investment, purchasing a lens separately provides the adaptability needed for diverse installation scenarios, ensuring that your projection system is tailored to the unique demands of your environment. Before making a purchase, carefully review the projector's specifications, consider your venue's characteristics, and choose the right lens to unlock the full potential of your projection setup.

Many projector manufacturers have a ‘lens calculator’ on their website making simple the task of selecting the right lens.

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.

Conclusion:

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:

Pros:

  1. Directional Flexibility: Gooseneck microphones can be easily adjusted and positioned to point directly at the sound source. This makes them ideal for situations where precise directional control is required.
  1. Reduced Feedback: Their focused pickup pattern and directional control help reduce the likelihood of feedback in live sound reinforcement setups, such as in churches.
  1. Unobtrusive Design: Gooseneck microphones are often designed to be discreet and blend into the environment, making them less visually obtrusive than other types of microphones. Not needing a floor stand avoids clutter.
  1. Durable: They are typically built with sturdy materials and can withstand a fair amount of physical stress and bending, which is useful in high-traffic or busy environments.

Cons:

  1. Limited Mobility: While the flexibility of the gooseneck allows for precise positioning, it also restricts the microphone's mobility compared to handheld or lapel microphones. 
  1. Size and Aesthetics: While the discreet design can be a pro, it can also be a con, as some users may find the appearance less appealing or may struggle to locate the microphone in a crowded room.
  1. Installation and Mounting: Installing gooseneck microphones can be more involved than simply placing a microphone on a stand. They often require specialised mounts or fixtures.
  1. Cost: High-quality gooseneck microphones can be more expensive than other types of microphones, especially when you factor in the cost of accessories like mounts.

Conclusion

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.

Faculties, what are they? 

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. 

Do we need a faculty?

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.

Are there different types of faculty?

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.

How do we apply for a faculty?

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.

What should we do first?

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.

What do you have to do to apply for a faculty?

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.

Who decides if our faculty is granted?

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.

How do we improve our chances of getting a faculty without delays?

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. 

Is a faculty required for every CofE church building?

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).

  • 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.

Conclusion:

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.

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