Pastors’ mic check: A Look at Today’s Podium Microphone

While in many contemporary churches pastors are using a wireless headset microphone, many houses of worship still opt for the tried and true podium style. Here's the latest on podium mics.

For many churches, the aspect of sound can be a troubling one for many of their congregants, in that they might be struggling to follow along with the written word, as well as with performed music.

While many contemporary churches often have their pastor using a wireless headset microphone, many churches across the country still continue to opt using a much older alternative.

When that pastor is speaking at a lectern, or a lector speaks to the congregation, aging and ineffective gooseneck podium microphones can often frustrate those grappling with what they are can understand.

Without the ability to follow along, it can cause many in the congregation left feeling uninspired by the Word.

Images/details of Podium Mics at Various Price Points

Oftentimes, the solution might be as simple as looking at the microphones that are within inches of the speaker's mouth. Is the microphone in need of a long awaited replacement?

As with many technologies, there is a vast range of quality and pricepoints to consider. With so many choices, it can be a bit mind-numbing to look at the slew of brands and models that are out there.

In trying to best figure which of these 12 might suit your designated worship space best, we could have looked to test each of them in a designated space. But in so doing, one would have to ignore the vast variables that exist at each church
But when you consider how much further along microphones of today, compared to ones that might be aging in your worship space, it just might be the right time to start fresh.

Now let's look at some of the options that you could consider.

The range in pricepoints is rather wide, as you could start with reviewing a couple of models that can be bought for as little as $99, up to another model selling currently for around $650.

In trying to best figure which podium mic would suit your designated worship space best, we encourage churches to know for sure which model works best for your space, that such testing, best coordinated through your integrator, should first be done in your space.

In addition, knowing the vast difference in pricepoints between some of the models, the question of performance is blurred by such a significant variance.

So where does that leave you?

The best option would be to first narrow down which pricepoint you'd be comfortable with spending when selecting your new microphone or microphones. From there, you might decide to coordinate testing through your integrator the three models that typically price in at less than $200, or maybe the five models that price in at above $300 each.

In coordinating the testing, it would be wise to have at least one male and one female speaker as part of it, reciting a few readings from the lectern using the various gooseneck microphones.

And beyond just models, another variable that should not be ignored is the gooseneck length which you would find the most appropriate. In the case of the Audix, DPA, Earthworks and Sennheiser models, each offers three different lengths for the adjustable gooseneck microphone.

To avoid unnecessary variables within your own space, we would also suggest that all testing be done with the prospective microphones set to a flat EQ. There's no need to add additional variables where there shouldn't be.

To ensure that no favoritism toward one model or brand could possibly occur, it would be best for those involved that are in the A/B listening, or in this case, A/B/C/D, have no idea which models are being tested when.
But to at least get started at what microphones might be a good fit for your worship space, let's take a glimpse at one model in each of the three price ranges.

For instance, within the highest pricepoint tier, the Audix MG12HC is seen as an excellent choice for houses of worship, with a contoured frequency response that offers a natural, accurate sound, making it well suited for speech pickup.

In the middle pricepoint tier, there is the Shure MX418C, which has among its strong points that it provides a balanced, transformerless output that provides an increased immunity to noise, a challenge that often exists over long cable runs.

And for the lower pricepoint tier, there is the AKG CGN99H/S, which features a 95-degree pickup angle, which would be ideal in some houses of worship where noisy or acoustically ambient environments might exist.


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