If you are embarking on a new building project, take some time to really think about how the Audio Visual will work for you. It’s best to get it right now even if it costs a fraction more. Below are some of my thoughts to help get you started.
Firstly, put in a lot of mic lines from the stage to the sound desk. I would always run at least 20 for a small church. Never install the sockets on the steps – they will always get damaged and they will pose a major trip hazard. You can get a stage box and run mic leads out to where you want to use them. You can still install some dedicated sockets for specific places like the Pulpit and prayer desks etc.You will also need speaker cables. Some will need to run the Main speakers and some will need to run to the stage for foldback. It is best to try to allocate a space for an amplifier rack somewhere near the front of the church but out of sight and away from little fingers. A modern band can utilise quite a few amplifiers for foldback, front-of-house speakers and subs.
Make sure the sound desk is in an optimal position (consult an expert like crosstalk) and don’t put them in an enclosed room. You can have some of the PA gear in another room, but the sound desk will need a bit of space for a good quality mixer, CD player, and some processing equipment. Most churches are also recording sermons so room for a PC is worth considering.
Speaker types and placement is not easy for professionals let alone the novice. Consult an expert. If there are a few possibilities, run cables to all of the locations and install wall plates. that way you can change it around later. Don’t forget that you may also want sound to go elsewhere, like the Cry Room, Foyer, Hall, Vestry etc. If you have a few “Other Locations” you may want to put in a 100V line amplifier which is much more efficient at sending sound long distances. You can also put in local volume controls.
Most churches have a projector these days. But if your church is on the large side, and if the layout is quite wide you may want to consider two projectors (One on each side of the stage area). Run cables to all three spots if you can. You will need a VGA cable, Power, Video (RG6Q) and definitely a cable for Infra Red or a serial cable that can be used to remotely turn the projector(s) on and off. The placement of the projector lense is critical in getting a good picture on the screen – near enough is not good enough so make sure you spend the time to calculate the right spot for the ceiling bracket.
Also consider using a VGA splitter to send VGA down to the stage area. If the screens are not easily visible from the stage, you may want to buy some LCD TV’s or old LCD screens and use them for the people on the stage to see the screens.
While you are running cables, I would always run some video cables (RG6Q) from the stage back to the visuals computer. It’s not hard these days to connect a video camera up to the projector for when you have all the young kiddies singing their new sunday school song. I have also used this setup for a women’s cooking demonstration evangelistic outreach event.