Microphones at church

An announcement prior to Mass at many parishes these days politely reminds members of the congregation to turn off their cell phones or pagers.

But often no one seems to remind lectors or priests to turn on the lowly microphone or have it at the right setting. A story in the Catholic Register, a Toronto-based Canadian weekly, examines this very issue.

Photo by Michael Swan, Catholic Register

Photo by Michael Swan, Catholic Register

“If every modern church has a box full of microphones and a covey of speakers perched around the sanctuary, why do so many people complain they can’t hear the readings, the prayers or the homily?” it asks.

The story highlights a day-long workshop called “What is a microphone doing at church?” The seminar is meant to get people thinking about how they use modern technology in liturgies and to give people some basic skills so that microphones and the equipment that goes with them don’t become maladjusted distractions at Mass.

Something to think about next time the microphone lets out a high pitched squeak during a homily.

One Response

  1. I am an architect, and I have dealt with the problem of hearing speech in many, many churches. In most cases the problem lies not with the PA system . . . . . but with the acoustic properties of the room. If the reverberation time of sound waves in the room is too great, it won’t make any difference how good the PA system is . . . . . . speech will not be intelligible.

    I have know of great wastes of money trying to fix an acoustic problem by tinkering with PA systems. It breaks my heart. It’s thought to be the least expensive way to fix an acoustic problem. It may be costly to fix an acoustical problem, but spend the money and do it right.

    I have been on the soapbox about this problem for many years. Few pay attention to me.

    Robert M Kraus
    Architect
    Akron Ohio
    330 836 5258

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