There are many different thoughts, preferences, and considerations that fuel the sorts of equipment that organizations purchase for their sound system. One common consideration is the brand name. One brand may be known for a high-quality microphone but fall lower on the list of effects processors. Chances are that the name you see on your mixer will also appear on some microphones, speakers, or even cables — but make sure that you do your homework when selecting the different pieces of equipment.

Reviews are a good way of finding out the quality of your potential purchase. If you are purchasing through Sweetwater, make sure that you spend some time speaking with your sales representative to decide on your best option. Too many people make uninformed choices when selecting items in their sound systems and then deal with the problems down the line. Some common problems resulting from poorly informed purchases are ground loops (hum), buzzing, loss of signal quality, and even feedback in some cases. Call your friends at other churches, talk to your sales rep, read reviews, and if the item in question is large enough and your church can afford it, bring in a professional to assess your space before committing your precious funds. Trust me when I say that it will be worth the time spent on larger purchases. You don’t want to be replacing your power amps in six months because you underspent on durability or power.

In a church, probably the most common consideration is cost. Should you get the Nady paired condenser mics or the more costly AKG mic with a switchable pickup pattern? Should you buy the Behringer personal monitor mixer system or the pricy one from Aviom? Ask the senior pastor, a board member, and the worship leader and you will probably get three different opinions on how much to spend on one item or several. There is no blanket rule I can give you, but there are many ways to find out what is an appropriate price range for your unique situation. Find a church about your size and a few steps ahead of you in their sound system and ask them what they spent on theirs, and that’s a decent way to get a general idea. Ask your church’s sales rep from your favored audio sales company. See what the most expensive and least expensive options there are and look at the size of the overall spectrum. Some things may turn out to be cheaper than you thought while most things will turn out a bit more pricy than you would like.

Finally, make sure that you actually need what you want to buy. Are you looking at purchasing a set of three mics because you find yourself short several mics every week, or will you use them for one event and never use them again? Is the church looking to make a serious upgrade, or is this item just your own preference? Is any other key equipment on the verge of failure? Do you have someone who knows or is willing to learn how to install and utilize the device? Make sure that your purchase is financially sound, will be appreciated by those in your ministry, and just plain makes sense. Remember that you will have to make an account before God about how well you handled his blessings, not overspending or sitting scared on a wad of cash.