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The Ultimate DIY Guide To Mobile Church Equipment

Portable Sound System For Church

Although I recommend going wireless with your sound system, I get the fact that you may be on a budget and cannot afford going wireless yet. If that is the case, I do want to recommend some all in one portable sound systems.

I am not recommending the cheapest ones. I am recommending reliable ones at a decent price by manufacturers that I have come to trust over the years. Don’t expect top-notch professional sound like you would find at a mega-church. You will get good sound at a decent price out of these systems.

Mobile PA System Packages

The Fender Passport

Fender Passport Conference Portable PA SystemFender Passport Conference Portable PA System

  • All-in-one PA system with five-channel powered mixer and full-range speaker
  • 175 watts
  • Nine inputs (three XLR, five 1/4″, one 1/8″ stereo)
  • International voltage operation (100- 120-volt/220- 240-volt)
  • 1/8″ stereo line output with level control
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The Fender Passport is a small all in one PA system. It has five channels which are good for a couple of vocals, a guitar and a keyboard. That is not a lot, but when you are first starting out, that is all you need. It comes with the speakers, mixer, speaker stands and a couple of cables.

Fender is a great brand name with a good reputation. There will come a time, Lord willing, that you will grow out of this system but if you have to start with a small budget, you should be well served by this portable sound system.

The Peavey Escort 5000 Portable PA System

Peavey Escort 5000 Portable PA SystemPeavey Escort 5000 Portable PA System

  • 500 Watts (250 x2)
  • Two-way speaker system with 10 woofer
  • 8 channels
  • Custom rubberized knobs
  • 7 combination XLR 1/4 inputs

For just a little bit more you can upgrade to 8 channels with the Peavey portable PA system. It has seven mic/instrument inputs and 1 line input. It has a rugged wheeled carrying case, speaker stands, speakers, and mixer.

I have been using Peavey products for over 40 years including some Peavey pro sound equipment. You will get good use out of this system.

The Yamaha STAGEPAS 600I Portable PA System

Yamaha STAGEPAS 600I Portable PA SystemYamaha STAGEPAS 600I Portable PA System

  • 680W (340W + 340W) power output
  • Detachable 10-channel mixer
  • iPod/ iPhone USB connection
  • One-knob master EQ with virtual bass boost
  • High-quality effects built in

If you need a portable sound system that will handle a few more instruments or vocalists, then the Yamaha portable sound system is the one you want. It has a ten detachable channel mixer, along with two speakers, stands, and all the quality that you have come to know from Yamaha. It also has a feedback suppressor and a quality EQ.

Over the years I have come to love Yamaha products. They are some of the most reasonable products on the market yet you still get excellent sound quality.

Analog Or Digital Mixer?

There is some debate as to which type of mixer, analog or digital, sounds the best. However, when it comes to portable church systems, the question is not what seems the best but what is the easiest to operate and set up.

Because of that, if you can afford it at all, I recommend you go with a digital mixer. Your entire setup is almost wholly done once you turn on the power. There is no need for the lengthy sound check. You can program all of your sound settings once, and they will be stored in the mixer.

This can shave off as much as 30 to 45 minutes every Sunday of your setup time.

I have done a complete article on digital mixers that you can read here.

Wireless Microphones

Image of a boy screaming into a microphone

Again I am going to recommend that you go wireless with your mics. If you feel you need to have corded mics or decided to use one of the portable PA systems I recommended above, then I suggest you go with the industry standard workhorse, the Shure SM-58.

The SM-58 has been the industry standard for years for overall use and reliability. It works great as a speaking microphone and a vocal microphone. You won’t go wrong with this mic.

However, there are many options when it comes to wireless microphones. I have done a complete article on wireless vocal mics, lapel mics, and headset mics. I suggest you read that article and decide which mic system or systems would be the best for your situation.

In-Ear Monitors

Again I am going to recommend a wireless monitoring system. However, if you do not want to use wireless in-ear monitors, then I suggest the Kustom KPC4P Powered Monitor Speaker. They are a pretty standard powered floor monitor. You can use 1 or more to give sound to your musicians.

However, if you want to go light and wireless, I suggest you look into wireless in-ear monitors like the ones I have recommended in this article. This system is not only compact, which is essential for a mobile church, but give the most control to your musicians, once again shortening your set up time.

Powered Speakers

In a traditional sound system, you have a power amp that gives the power to make the speakers work. In a portable system, I recommend that you use powered speakers and have one less component to set up. Remember, fewer cables and fewer parts mean less work for your volunteers.

Once again I am going to suggest a couple of powered speakers for you to consider. They are not the cheapest, but they are from reputable brands in the pro-sound market.

The Peavey PV215D 800w Powered Speaker

Peavey PV215D 800w Powered SpeakerPeavey PV215D 800w Powered Speaker

  • Peavey DUAL 15″ POWERED 2 WAY LOUDSPEA
  • Pro SPEAKERS designed for DJ
  • On board Feedback locating system,Digital multi-effects,Seven-band graphic equalizer
  • Everything you need to rock the house
  • Poratble and powerful PA
  • Legendary Peavey reliability
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Peavey makes a great powered speaker system. These powered speakers deliver 400 watts of power which is louder than you will ever want your church sound system to be. The setup is effortless with 1/4 inch input jacks.

Founded in 1965, Peavey is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of musical instruments and professional sound equipment.

The Mackie Thump15 1000W 15″ Powered Loudspeakers

Mackie THUMP15 Thump Series 15-Inch Powered LoudspeakerMackie THUMP15 Thump Series 15-Inch Powered Loudspeaker

  • Brand: Mackie
  • Product Code: THUMP15
  • 1,000 watts of high-output power in a portable package
  • 15″ low-frequency driver and 1.4″ titanium dome compression driver
  • Integrated precision crossover and transducer time-alignment deliver outstanding sound quality
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Mackie is well known for making quality sound products at a reasonable price. We have a Mackie mixer at my church. It is a great mixer with lots of features. The Mackie speakers will give you 1,000 watts of power for your portable church. You could fill a small arena with sound with that much power.

This system not only includes the powered speakers but comes with speaker stands as well.

Digital Snake

If you want to go mostly wireless but still want to have some instruments plugged in, then you might consider a digital snake like the Behringer S16. What a digital mixer does is eliminate all the cables going to and from the stage to the soundboard and replaces them with 1 Cat 5 cable. You plug in your instruments and mics into the digital snake, and it sends all the signals to the soundboard and all the signals from the soundboard back to the digital snake.

This primarily works well if you are using a digital mixer, but will work with an analog soundboard as well.

Other Wireless Options

To complete your wireless portable church set up, you may also want to invest in some wireless instrument transmitters. These can be used to send signals from your guitars and keyboards to the soundboard and used to carry the mixed signal from the mixer to your powered speakers.

You might also consider these options.

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Duke Taber has been a Senior Pastor of various churches since 1988. Prior to that, he was involved in the Christian rock scene opening for such notables as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Rez Band, and once played briefly with Darrel Mansfield. Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world. Currently he is serving as a Technology Consultant for Living Waters Fellowship In Mesquite NV.