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Selecting the Proper Headset For Your Church


The selection of your church's new headset is one of the most important decisions you can make in respect to your sound system.  This selection will have a direct effect on what the congregation hears, and understands.  Everything from design,  to fit, and proper usage can make listening to the Word of God better (or worse) for your congregation.

Here are some of the questions to ask yourself when selecting your new or first headset.

Application
The first question to ask when choosing a new headset microphone is what purpose does the headset need to perform?  Will it be for the Pastor of the church?  Will it be for the Worship or Youth Minister?  Will it be for teens or younger when being used in the youth ministry.  All of these can play a big part in what you need the headset to do, and cost.

Knowing what the main purpose of the mic will be will help you compare different models to one another.  If the headset is for the lead Pastor, it may only be used for speech.  This means that the element of the microphone may not need to have a very high Sound Pressure Level (SPL) threshold.  Other purposes, such as the Worship Minister or Youth Pastor might be singing more, and the microphone will need that higher SPL, otherwise it may distort easily.  If the microphone is to be used with children, you may want to look at a less expensive model. This way, the replacement cost will be less in case it is broken or lost. This doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality.  The application of the headset will have the greatest impact upon your selection.

Style and Color
In the past, there were very few selections in the style, fit, and coloration of headset microphones.  Today there are many different designs, as well as colors to choose from.

Starting with the form of the headset, there are two basic choices, single ear/ear sets and dual ear.  Single ear headsets will hook over or wrap under one ear.  Dual ear headsets hook over or rest on both ears.  Dual ear headsets can provide more security, especially when the person wearing them moves about vigorously.  They're just as easy to put on, and some have extendable mic booms.  This proper mic placement can help with improving sound quality and reducing feedback as well.  Single ear sets are of a fixed length and cannot be adjusted in and out, although you can typically find them in a couple different lengths. 

Other things to consider:  How does the microphone attach to the ear? Will it be comfortable with glasses or long hair? What is its durability and flexibility? 

Dual ear headsets can vary by having an extendable boom versus fixed lengths, rigid or flexible headbands, and many other options.

The available color selection for your headset has become much broader over time as well.  Most manufacturers have variations of beige, black, and a cocoa.  This will allow you to blend the microphone into the person wearing it, or the placement, in case it will be going into a wig or clothing.  Better blending will give the wearer more confidence that the congregation is watching them, and not looking at the microphone. 
Cable
Look at the different styles of cables available on headset microphones, and you will see a wide selection.  You will want to find one that will be strong and durable, yet not stiff, abrasive to the wearer, and concealable.

Also look at whether the cable can be replaced.  Not all headsets have a detachable replaceable cable.  Having a detachable cable means that if the cable develops a problem, you can detach the cable, and replace it with a new one, even in the middle of Sunday's service.  Being able to do this can save you and the church money, and reduce the downtime of your headset. There are also some models with interchangeable connectors, which are very handy if you work with multiple brands. This does, however, introduce another point of connection, which is typically where problems occur.

Warranty
Speaking of replacement cables, be sure to look over the manufacturer's warranty.  Most headsets will have a one year warranty, but some are much shorter.  Be sure to know what is covered and not covered with the manufacturer, and where you purchased the headset.  Ask questions of your sales representative about the different headsets you are considering.  What have they noticed with repair or warranty claims with different manufacturers?  Is this manufacturer willing to work with customers?

Expense
The last question to ask is what is the expense of the headset?  Which ones fit the budget?  What options do we have for those that are outside the budget, and can we sacrifice those for a less expensive brand or model?  Could we purchase more than one if the quality and price is best for us?  What will be the replacement cost if something should happen?

I have always thought that "the money question" should be one of the last that a church asks itself.  Not that expense is unimportant, but by defining the needs you have first, and then finding solutions, you can come to a reasonable answer that will fit most any financial restrictions. 

These are just the starting questions to ask when beginning the search for a new headset.  All are very important, and you may come across some other questions to ask yourself during your research.  Make sure that you find the right headset for your purpose by knowing the application, design, and specifications you need the microphone to perform to. 

This article is courtesy of Galaxy Audio, www.galaxyaudio.com.









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