We are updating our church audio-visual systems as part of a development project. Should we have an analogue, or a digital mixing desk? Digital seems to be the latest thing, and has lots of additional features, but analogue appears more straightforward to operate. Our current thinking is to stay analogue, but to put in cat cabling while we refit, to allow for future development.
LIKE all technical specialists, audio-visual (AV) engineers easily get carried away by the potential additional features. But you need to consider how many times these features are likely to be used.
It would be good to be as “scientific” as possible when making your choice. List the people who run groups and programmes in church, and ask each of them about their skills in using the AV system. If the digital AV system were to have a hiccup while in use, would they have the skills to sort out the issue?
It seems that many of those running our church systems are older people, some of whom love being “techie”. But some of us would like to switch off our computers and never put them on again, and although we cannot do that, because we have to do our tax returns and register our cars, we would like to minimise technical things.
So the suggestion of staying analogue while installing “cat cabling” (ethernet cables are grouped into numbered categories, based on different specifications) to serve your present less-digital people seems a good way to go.
Wi-Fi, broadband, and other systems are changing so rapidly at present that it is advisable for churches to adapt their facilities for present use — but to do so in a way that does not restrict, or can even facilitate, future uses.
When the young parents at the present all-age service become middle-aged members, or approach retirement, they will be re-examining all the systems currently being installed. So it is wise to have electrical ducting that can take different cabling in the future, and to have simple switching for the lighting system that all members can understand, and that has the potential for change.
Send issues and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org