Church Audio Basics

Teacher – Jay Beech
One-day intensive

This course focuses on an important worship tool that is used by almost all churches – sound systems. Regardless of worship style, church P.A. systems can be a source of enormous frustration. This introductory course is designed for musicians, Sunday morning audio engineers, and anyone else who needs to understand the basics of sound system operations. If you’ve ever felt like your sound system is more of a distraction than an asset, we can help! No previous experience is required. Topics covered will be:

  • mixerCore Values for Church Audio Support
  • System Components & Basic Mixer
  • Microphones & Cables
  • Wireless Microphone Basics
  • Controlling Feedback & Basic

Quotes from Fall Class

“The instructor was great at explaining all that we talked about and used personal examples.”

“The content was great. I learned a lot about the sound board and how to use it.”

“I felt that there was something for everyone from beginners to those with experience.”

“I would highly recommend the class.”

Includes lunch
Cost – $150
Fulfills certification elective requirement for Technology Training
Continuing education contact hours – 6

February 25, 2017 – Register
9:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Grace Lutheran Church (map)
5454 Miller Trunk Hwy
Hermantown, MN 55811

Core Values for Church Audio Support

The introductory session of the course will establish some solid principles to guide both the design of church audio systems and the approach of individual operators. Emphasis will be placed on establishing simple and consistent practices, maximizing the participation of the congregation, and making sure the sound system does its job without being noticed.

System Components & Basic Mixer Operation

What are the individual components of a PA system and what is the function of each?
We will discuss amplifiers, speakers, mixers, and other signal processors like effects units and equalizers.

Basic mixer operation
Will focus on setting input levels, understanding equalization (bass, mid-range, & treble), and signal routing. Attention will also be paid to the art of listening – a careful approach to setting overall levels (loudness) and “mixing” the various inputs in relationship to one another.

Microphones & Cables

What is a microphone and how does it work? Why are there so many different kinds? Students will learn:

  • The difference between dynamic and condenser microphones
  • How different microphone patterns work – unidirectional, omnidirectional, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, piezo, etc
  • When to use a large or small diaphragm mic
  • What is phantom power?

Cables & Connectors

  • Learn the proper names of different kinds of cable connectors – XLR, 1/4″, TRS, Speak-On, RCA, male, female, etc.
  • Be able to recognize the difference between a speaker cable and an instrument cable, and understand why it matters
  • Basic information about balanced and unbalanced lines, impedance, maximum length of cable run, and speaker Ohm ratings
  • Develop good cable management practices

Wireless Microphone Basics

  • How to EQ wireless mic systems
  • Mic sensitivity and setup
  • Placement of receivers
  • Positioning of head-worn mics and lavaliers
  • UHF, VHF, Digital, and FCC-allowed frequencies
  • Battery testing and replacement

Controlling Feedback & Basic Troubleshooting


  • What is a feedback loop?
  • Speaker positioning
  • EQing the system for specific frequencies
  • Microphone technique
  • Automatic feedback eliminators


  • Ground loops, buzz, hum, and power-related issues
  • Intermittent signals, popping, and crackling
  • One or more inputs or outputs is dead
  • Whole system is dead

Jay_5x7_b&w150Jay Beech has been working with professional audio equipment since 1979. As an itinerant performer and church musician, he has worked with hundreds of church sound systems. Jay has designed and installed P.A. systems in churches, and has also designed, built, and operated five different recording studios.

Jay Beech has long been recognized for his creative blending of musical energy and theological substance, and his ability to lift up ancient traditions within a modern context. His published works include hymns, liturgies, camp songs, musicals, and anthems which are sung each week in congregations throughout the United States. Jay is also the owner of, an online company that provides downloadable music resources for worship. He served on the music staff at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN for sixteen years and is a graduate of St. Olaf College. He is the Director of The Center for Worship and Music Studies.