Sound Equipment Essentials for the Portable Church

Being a portable church can have its challenges, but audio doesn’t have to be one of them.

Sound Equipment Essentials for the Portable Church

House Speaker Management

These units provide all of the processing needed between the mixer and amplifiers to optimize and protect your loudspeakers. Two options to consider are the dbx Driverack or Driverack PA2. They are pretty standard units and easy to use. They feature house EQ functions, delay function, feedback suppressor and more.

In-Ear Monitors

Whether you’re in a school cafeteria, conference center or on a beach somewhere, lecturers and performers want to be able to hear their own voice, the band, and drown out the ambient noise. This leads us to personal monitor options. A few dependable products that won’t break the bank include the PreSonus HP2 and the Behringer HA modules that allow you to adjust audio levels on your individual earpiece. At a higher price point, systems like the Aviom A320 or the Allen & Heath ME1 offer high-quality performance, with more features.

We suggest pairing your personal monitor system with in-ear headphones. A terrific buy for any budget is the Shure SE215. At less than $100, these in-ear headphones offer tremendous sound isolation and great sound quality. If you have a few more dollars to spend, connect well-fitting, isolation-type, high-fidelity earphones to your personal monitor. For that, we recommend you head straight to the Shure SE535-V or level up within the Westone UM-PRO Series.


Microphones are a segment where a church can find a great product at a lower price point. There are two major categories for microphones: wired and wireless.

Among the wired options is the Shure SM58. It’s considered an industry standard, and is among the most reliable microphones out there. However, the Sennheiser e835, AKG P3S and Audix F50 are three great options for any church service, offering high-quality sound and long-lasting performance on a budget.

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If you’re looking to invest, go for the Shure BETA58A. It’s still an exceptional value, but delivers amazing sound. You can also opt for the Sennheiser e845, Audix OM3, AKG C5 or Audio-Technica AE6100. In the wireless category, you’ll want to consider a Shure BLX, AKG WMS or an Audio-Technica ATW wireless bodypack system. All three can offer you wireless set up for a handheld mic, lavalier mic or headset microphone, giving you a lot of flexibility in your portable church setting.

Audio Snakes

If you’re not familiar, audio snakes are used to simplify the setup time and cable clutter involved in bringing multiple microphone signals to a final destination (generally a soundboard). Audio snakes are usually the longest piece of cabling that a church PA system will need. You’ll want to pick up an audio snake from Elite Core Audio or ProCo RM to streamline your set up.

Power Protection

Protecting your investments comes down to how you handle them, and what you plug them into. You’ll want to rely on a rack-mountable Furman M 8Dx or similar power distribution unit because you have a lot of expensive equipment to protect. Speakers and subwoofers should get separate attention, so we recommend plugging them into a Furman on-stage surge protector.

The best advice we can give you is to invest in new equipment.

Finally, a portable church on a tight budget might be tempted by an incredibly low price on a used item. The best advice we can give you is to invest in new equipment. When you buy new gear it almost always comes with a warranty. That makes sense at any budget. In the rare chance your equipment is faulty or damaged your warranty will help cover any repair expenses.

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This list is by no means all-inclusive, but is meant to be a guide to get you thinking about your congregation’s unique needs. Our Full Compass Sales Professionals specialize in working with House of Worship professionals who are dedicated to delivering the very best message every week. Call 800-476-9886 for more information about any of the products discussed in this article and to share more information about your individual needs. Full Compass can help you build a foundation of audio equipment that allows you to create a sacred space anywhere, under any budget.


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