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Friday, January 08, 2010

Audio Considerations

With your presentation set-up you need to consider a few things about audio: are you going to play video clips or audio clips in your sermon? do you want to podcast your sermon?

Odds are pretty good that you have a sound system going to amplify your preaching (or you're just really good at yelling). So you want to make sure that you can plug the computer into the sound board and get good results. A few things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to be able to set up your computer, sound board, and projector within the cable's length of each other.
  • You will need some sort of adapter (usually) to translate the connection from the computer (usually a 3.5mm headphone connection) to the sound board (usually a 7mm headphone connection - like what goes into an electric guitar amp).
  • Be aware of interference that can generate sound - the cables you use can act as antennae for random radio signals (like your wireless mic, your wireless presenter, and any cell phones in the crowd). Get a shielded cable to prevent any audio ghosts (thick cables are shielded).
  • Test the audio levels and turn off your computer's system sounds when presenting - you don't want a new mail notification making noise in the middle of a prayer. You also don't want to have to fiddle with the sound during the service - do a sound check ahead of time.
For podcasting there are a few options. I'll outline them here, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Find a reliable, easy solution for you. Podcasting isn't difficult, but it adds one more thing to think about. It might be easier to have someone else take care of the details.
  • You can either run your mic signal back through the computer (ok if you have a very powerful system), or you can get a separate mp3 recorder.
    • I use the computer because I don't have anyone to run sound for me. Download a program like Audacity (free open source software) and press record on it before you start your sermon. Then at the end of the sermon you can stop and save it. I would usually clean it up and convert it to an mp3 (using the Lame mp3 plugin) on Monday and then load it up to for podcasting.
    • If you are going to use a separate mp3 recorder, just make sure that it automatically converts to mp3 (saving that extra step is one of the best things about using a separate device).

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