The most important microphone at church is the pastor’s. So, let’s go through a few simple steps to making your pastor’s mic sound amazing.
Use the right microphone.
When budgeting for a sound system, the pastor’s mic is usually an afterthought. So you end up with a budget-friendly lavalier or headset mic. Trust me, I have been in this situation more than once and budget microphones never produce great results.
When it comes to the pastor’s mic, you need one that rejects feedback, has a low-profile design and stays in place the entire service. You also need a quality wireless system so you don’t lose sound quality and struggle with drop outs.
The solution? The DPA 4088 microphone. At around $730, this mic is an investment but your pastor is worth it. It has a cardioid pickup pattern instead of omnidirectional, which will pretty much solve any feedback problems. It goes around both ears, so it stays in place. It is low profile as long as you don’t use the massive windscreen that is included.
Here is a full equipment list (including smaller windscreens) for the DPA 4088.
- DPA 4088 microphone
- Mini Windscreen
- Microdot to 3.5mm adapter (if your wireless pack uses a 3.5mm locking connection)
When it comes to a quality wireless system, I recommend the Sennheiser EW 112 G3 system. Keep in mind, you will need the microdot to 3.5mm adapter mentioned above to use the DPA microphone with this system.
Use EQ to take it to the next level.
The DPA microphone is going to sound pretty good out of the box, but you can make it sound even better with EQ. The first thing you want to do is activate a low cut filter (aka high pass filter) at around 100Hz. This will help eliminate low-frequency pops and unwanted noise.
Other than the low cut filter, EQ will be different for every situation. Check out this post for essential EQ guidelines: The Most Important EQ Techniques for Church Sound.
Use compression to keep the pastor’s mic under control.
If your pastor is anything like mine, he can go from a subdued talk to shouting within a matter of seconds. Now, you could ride the fader up and down, but a better solution is to use compression.
Here is a good starting point for compression settings:
- Ratio: 4
- Attack/Hold/Release: Auto
- Threshold: Set to where loudest moments are compressed around 9dB
- Gain: 6dB
If there is still too much dynamic range between the loud and soft moments, increase the ratio to 5 or 6. Keep in mind, I do not recommend compressing more than 9-12dB. This is the point where it can start sounding ‘smashed’.
Bonus: Get the Vocal EQ Cheat Sheet
Does the pastor’s mic sound too muddy, harsh or thin? The Vocal EQ Cheat Sheet will help you determine what frequency range is causing the problem.
You might also enjoy: How to Make Lead Vocals Sound Amazing