Audio Visual Troubleshooting Tips for Houses of Worship
published onSeptember 11, 2013

Courtesy of Yamaha Commercial Audio

It’s God’s Word on the line… it’s Sunday morning, you’re the AV minister at your church, and you can’t get the projector to work. You’re on your knees in front of the rack in the equipment room checking for loose wires and you say a prayer that God will lead you to the solution.

Your church didn’t always have state-of-the-art, high definition video to complement Sunday services. But now that you do, your congregation members are used to it. They love the technology, which enhances the service in a transparent way, never calling attention to itself.

That’s the fact about using technology successfully in a church; no one notices it, until it breaks!

Here are a few things that can go wrong a few hours before a church service, and what a smart church audiovisual minister or minister of technology can do about it.

The band sounds awful during sound check
You’re accustomed to using the presets on your digital mixer for the band, which rarely changes from week to week. But this morning, something sounds off. You heard it right away, and so did the worship leader.

First thing’s first: Has someone messed with the presets? Did someone load a different set of presets? If an outside group played in the sanctuary on Saturday night and loaded their own pre-sets into the board, that could spell trouble if no one returned the mixer to the “Sunday service” settings.

If unauthorized personnel (or merely an untrained volunteer) “played” with the settings and now something is wrong, you can “lock out” anyone but authorized users from accessing certain screens on a digital mixer, which will prevent volunteers from making changes you don’t want.

If you haven’t established “standard” channels, and loaded those into pre-sets that you can recall at any time, you’re not using the digital mixer to its full capabilities. It’s time to start. You can call the audio visual design consultant who installed the system, or the manufacturer, to walk you through it. Even if you received basic training, a good audio visual integrator will want to be available for service after the sale if you need a refresher course in the best features of your new gear.

Your projector is running, but there’s no picture.
There’s a good chance the bulb has burned out, and there’s an easy way to find out. Is there any light coming from your projector? Sounds obvious, of course, but now we have another obvious question: How come you didn’t know?

Today’s newest projectors can connect into your IT network and will send you an email reminder when the lens might need cleaning or your bulb is nearing its end-of-life. This vastly increases times “Between Unscheduled Maintenance,” and makes those Sunday morning emergencies virtually disappear.

There’s no sound coming from one or more speakers.
This could be anything… from someone hitting mute on the sanctuary zone on your Crestron control system to a bad cable, a blown speaker or a blown amp.
Troubleshoot by checking the easiest issues first. Are the volume controls set up as they should be? Are all inputs set up properly? Did an amp blow?

As service time gets closer, if you’re not anywhere near finding the solution to the problem, you can either come up with a work-around, such as moving the service to a fellowship hall or other room in your church, or running services with the speakers you have, or you can call your audio visual integrator for help.

The best audio visual integrators are available for emergency service after the sale. And there’s no greater emergency for a modern church than failed technology on a Sunday morning.

Audio visual systems add excitement, beauty and ambiance to the church experience, making the technology well worth the investment. But things can go wrong sometimes. It’s important to select an audio visual installer who will stand behind their systems and help you out when you need it most.