Achieving great sound in a small church is impossible, right? I mean, you have practically no budget and no one around with preexisting sound tech skills.

I might have agreed with this common belief at one time…but I have proved it to be wrong. The truth is, you can achieve great sound at a small church – and it may not be as hard as you think.

The 3 “First Steps” to Great Church Sound

Don’t use what you don’t understand.

Thanks to affordable digital mixing, you now have tons of tech at your fingertips. The things you can do with the Behringer X32 were just a fantasy a few years ago. You’d need racks and racks of analog equipment to have these same capabilities!

However, in most cases, this new tech has not improved our sound. In fact, it might be worse. Church sound techs all over the world feel an obligation to use all of the features without fully understanding what they do.

Some of the best advice I can give you is to stop using the things you don’t understand. Instead, turn it off if possible or set it back to its default state. Even if you do understand it, don’t use it just because it’s available. Only use it to solve a problem.

Become a master of the basics.

As humans, we tend to want everyone to think we have it all together. So, we fail to spend time really learning the basics because it’s something “we already know”. But more times than not, we are missing the most important piece of the puzzle.

First, let me offer some relief. I don’t have it all together (and nobody does for that matter). When you don’t know something, there is no reason to pretend that you do. We are all in the same predicament.

With that said, the biggest cause of bad church sound is a misunderstanding of the basics. To fix this, make sure you have a good understanding of the following:

  1. Get the sound right at the source (tuned drums, microphone placement, great cables, etc).
  2. Set the gain properly. Learn all about gain in this post.
  3. Employ a few simple EQ techniques. The most important EQ techniques can be found in this post.

Step up to the plate.

Simply put, bad church sound boils down to one thing: no one is stepping up to the plate. Maybe the sound tech is set in their ways and not willing to learn new things. Or, the worship leader is frustrated with it all and therefore ignores what is going on.

Regardless of what is going on, it can be fixed. Dedicate yourself to improving things one at a time. I did not achieve great church sound in one week, but over years of learning and trying new things.

I’d love to speed up this process for you. To keep up with new content as it is released, be sure to subscribe to the email list using the form below (we won’t send you spam).

Podcast Interview with Pro Church Tools

For more on the subject of great sound in a small church, check out my podcast interview with Brady Schearer over at Pro Church Tools. You’ll love it!

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About the Author

Kade Young

Kade Young brought Collaborate Worship into existence with a dream of helping worship leaders around the world fulfill their calling with excellence. He has been leading worship since 2005, is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, and currently the worship leader at NoLimits Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.