How to Set Up a Church Audio System

Written by rooney buckland
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How to Set Up a Church Audio System
A mixing console is built with multiple inputs and outputs. (music control 2 image by Pavel Losevsky from

Setting up a church sound system can be complex or simple, depending on the equipment that you have. You can get by with a powered mixer, two speakers and a couple of microphones. Or you can have a set-up as extensive as a full band, speakers, subwoofer and monitors. Whatever your needs are, it is always nice to have a sound system so that people who sit in the back can hear what's happening on stage.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Monitors
  • Mixing console
  • Microphones
  • Instruments
  • Power amp
  • Direct boxes
  • Audio snake
  • XLR cables
  • 1/4" Instrument cables
  • Speaker cables

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  1. 1

    Decide where you want to place your microphone, instruments, mixing console, monitors and speakers. The best place for the mixing console is in the back of the church, facing the stage. The monitors go on stage facing the musicians or speaker. The speakers go in front of the stage on the far left and right sides.

  2. 2

    Connect the audio snake to the input tracks on the mixing console. Place the other end of the audio snake on the stage. An audio snake is a piece of equipment that holds several XLR cables together to keep you from having to mess with a lot of loose cabling. Connect the microphones and instruments to the audio snake. The microphones will plug into the snake head; however, for keyboard, guitar, bass and other instruments, you will need to connect those through a direct box.

  3. 3

    Place each direct box near the instrument that will plug into it. Connect the instrument to the direct box through a ¼" cable and the direct box to the snake with an XLR cable. Do this for every instrument. A direct box acts as an adaptor for an instrument and microphone cable.

    How to Set Up a Church Audio System
    Direct boxes are used to connect an instrument cable to the audio snake. (boitier de direct actif image by Sébastien Maurer from
  4. 4

    Connect the speaker cable to the outputs on the back of the mixer. Connect the other end of the cables to the input on each speaker.

  5. 5

    Connect another speaker cable to the "auxiliary out" on the mixing console. Connect the other end of the cable to a monitor. If you only need one monitor signal, you can connect your monitors together on stage. If you want multiple monitor signals, run a cable from another "auxiliary out" to another monitor. Do this for each separate monitor signal you want.

  6. 6

    Connect your speakers to a power amp if you don't have a powered mixer. A power amp gives power to the speakers. Turn everything on and you are ready to sound check.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure everything is connected properly if you are having problems. It is a common mistake.
  • Label each track on the mixing console so that you can remember what instrument the track controls.

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