By: David Jordan

Have you found yourself asking this question or one like it: “How can I record our worship service and not spend a lot of money doing it?” There are ways to accomplish this without breaking the bank. In this article I will go over some of the ways people have done this without spending a ton of money & some ways to get a better recording.

Capturing the Recording

First we will go over ways to capture the recording. There are several ways this can be done. You can use a computer, a CD recorder, a portable handheld digital recorder, you can even use an iPad/tablet. All of these have pro and cons, but they all will record. So on a limited budget the first pick would be what you already have on hand to use, the next choice would be what cost the least out of the capture devices you are choosing from, and so on.

Using a Computer

If you use a computer you can use the microphone input on the computer, or you can get a USB audio interface to hook into — either way works. Using the microphone input you have to closely monitor the input level so you do not damage the input on the computer by overpowering it.

If you use a computer you will need a recording program on your computer to record and also so you can edit the files if needed. There is a free program that a lot of people use. It is called Audacity; it runs on PC and Mac. There are also other programs out there that are free that could be used. Some Mac’s come with Garage Band, this can be used also.

Using a CD Recorder

Using a CD recorder is pretty straight forward and for the most part easy. You just hook up your audio source to the CD recorder and hit record, or whatever steps are needed to start the recording process, with the CD recorder you have. Then you monitor the input levels.

If you use a computer or CD recorder to capture your audio, there is several ways to hook them up to your mixer. The way I like doing it is to use an aux send, if available. Using an aux send gives you control over the mix that is sent to your recording device. Do this pre fader. Pre fader gives you control over the mix without the faders changing things, if they are moved when mixing the FOH sound. If it were post fader, every time you change the FOH mix the recording would change. The reason this is not good is the FOH mix can be totally different then what is needed for a good recording.

How to Hook it Up and Other Things

You can also hook to sub or group outs. This gives you some control over what is being sent to the recording device. Taking the feed from the main output of the soundboard will not produce the best mix possible is some cases. Using the main out you only get what goes through the board that is sent to the main/house speakers. For example, if you have an acoustic piano, drums or guitar, running into your board you may not need to run them as loud on the mixer due to the sound they produce, without being sent through the soundboard. If you are only recording the pastor’s sermon, then this could work. If you are recording music, it’s not you best choice.

Also some people use an ambient microphone, to add congregation sound to the mix, so it sounds more like you are there.

Using a portable handheld digital recorded you just hook up your audio source to the device and hit record, or whatever steps are needed to start the recording process, with the digital recorded you have.

For the iPad or tablet you will need an app to capture the audio. Then you can use the same process as recording to a computer, through the microphone/headphone connection of the iPad or tablet. The 3.5mm connection is a (TRRS) Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve connection.

I would recommend starting off just recording the pastor sermon, then ease into recording the music. The best thing to do is to choose the way that works best, and is easy for you and your tech team to achieve a good recording. Achieving a good recording of a band while setting in the same room that they are playing in is very difficult to achieve, it takes a lot of practice even with a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.

David Jordan

Author: David Jordan

David Jordan is a father of two and full time firefighter & part time fireworks technician. David was the tech/media director at Calvary Assembly of God in Kissimmee, Fl. for 26 years. He is currently a volunteer tech at Faith Assembly, Orlando. David Jordan is founder of (CSMT) Church Sound & Media Tech’s Facebook group (link above), which he created as solicitation free learning tool advice column for church techs from around the world. He has been involved in church sound/media for over 36 years. He enjoys teaching & helping others to better their tech ministry.