Skip to main content

How to keep the sound person in church happy

Disclaimer: I am not a professional sound engineer. I am an amateur who does the sound desk at church once a month. 

Another disclaimer: Your church may not have the luxury of a sound desk. I read an article recently in a Christian magazine that talked about the role of a "Worship Pastor" as if every church had one. I realise this article may not be relevant, though it may be useful in future.

The speaker at a Christian festival starts his talk on the stage with a joke. "What's the difference between a terrorist and the sound guy? You can negotiate with a terr-". The rest of the sentence is inaudible.

That's not a good way to keep the sound person happy. Here are some tips.

Care of microphones

Microphones are like ears. They don't like being banged, or having warm, moist air blown into them (unless it's by someone very special). If you want to check if a mike is working, speak at normal volume, or just tickle it. If you tickle it you should hear a scratching sound.


Church microphones are not miracle workers. When you pray, speak clearly. Hushed, reverent tones that you might use in a housegroup may not get picked up properly in church.

Starting off

At concerts there will be a sound check when the band and the sound engineers work together to get the microphone levels right. It would be great if everyone who was going to speak in church turned up early (even before the pre-service prayer meeting) so that they could work with the sound person to get the mike position and volume right. That's not going to happen though. So when you first step up there the sound person will not have the volume turned up full. He or she doesn't know how loudly you're going to speak, they don't know if you're going to clear your throat loudly, or adjust the angle of the mike (cue squeaky sounds). They will use the first few words you say to set the level. So don't start off like this:
(Long pause)
Can you hear me?
We may or may not be able to hear you. Depending on where the speakers are we may hear you louder than you hear yourself. That's not enough words to get the level right. So be prepared for the first sentence or so to not be heard by everyone and just keep speaking. The sound person can't get the level right if you're not speaking.


Another tip you can learn from concerts is what to do when you want to get louder. If you notice the singer will often sing with their mouth really near to the mike (you don't need to speak like that). When they want to belt out a line they will move their mouth back so that the volume doesn't overload the sound system. If you want to raise your voice or shout just lean back slightly.


Popular posts from this blog

Cardboard seven inch tablet stand

When I got a Playbook I wanted to use it to listen to BBC iPlayer while doing the washing up. So I made a cardboard tablet stand out of the cardboard you get with new shirts.

Recently I came across a video by Jude Pullen showing how to make a right angle joint with card and it inspired me to share what I'd done, via a PDF rather than a video though.

The PDF below is for a Playbook but I would have thought that any seven inch tablet, like the Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus 7 would fit. If in the unlikely event they are more chunky than the Playbook, you can just cut the slot wider. It's probably more sturdy if you make it out of a corrugated cardboard.
Seven inch tablet stand

20 years of blogging: First post

Back in 1999 it mostly cost money to run a blog (from what I can remember). You had to sort out your own hosting. Then Dave Winer made on offer on his blogging platform for a 60 day free trial, so I was away. So what was my very first post? What words did I choose to post for all on the internet to see?
 23 December 1999 I'm stil trying to decide what to do with this. Click on the skull to add your suggestion. Oh, that's not very good is it. A typo in the second word too. The URL was (I think. Everything I say could be unreliable, because it was a while ago.) I also created an FAQ page that day:

Who are the Morriss family? We are just a normal family with a dad who likes exploring the internet.Why don't you have more information? Because I'm not sure want I want to do with this site. I think there are no typos there. The idea was that I would share family news. Come back in January to see what my next post was.

20 years of blogging: fourth post

4/1/2000 Things are moving We've had the letter from Wycliffe about "raising support".  They want us to aim that 25% of our income comes from other people by the end of a year, and 50% by the end of two years.  Other news: I've officially asked for voluntary redundancy Spoiler: after 4 years of trying I didn't even get to 20%, so I was paid a salary after all.