Chris Huff offers practical church sound solutions:
In the middle of a severe episode of writer’s block, a tech on Facebook suggested I write on pastor microphone problems. The block was destroyed and the ideas started following. Microphone problems? Oh, I’ve a list of those.
The problems aren’t just with pastor microphones, they can happen when anyone with a speaking role takes the stage. There are seven key areas where you can pro-actively prevent microphone problems.
1. Lock wireless microphones.
Wireless microphones, handheld and lapel packs, can have an option for locking the On/Off switch. For example, in our Shure handhelds, if I hold down the SET and MODE buttons at the same time, for a few seconds, it locks the switch. This means that if the switch is moved to the Off position, it stays on. This is great for preventing people from accidentally turning off a microphone.
2. Tape the switch.
In the case of wireless microphones without the locking option, consider a small piece of black electrical tape to secure the switch. You don’t want a person to get flustered because the microphone won’t come on and they don’t realize the problem is on their end.
3. Keep the channel on with the fader down when not in use.
Mixing consoles can be different in that some have a button that lights up if the channel is muted while others have a lit On button. My point here is that it’s easy to assume when the fader is up that the channel is on. I like to see my pastor’s microphone channel lit with the fader down when it’s not needed. This way, when he walks on the stage, I see that I need to bring up the fader. Just make sure you have their channel set to post-fader so when they aren’t “on” that their voice isn’t heard in secondary rooms or recordings or wherever else you might send their signal. Hey, you got your tricks and I’ve got mine.
Oh, a big tip here, never mute the pastor’s microphone until that have left the stage. In some cases, you might even wait until they sit down. I’ve seen pastors stay something at the last minute, after I had muted their microphone but before they sat down.