Sometimes you want to use a mic; other times you just want to be heard.
For the last two decades, I have been mixing at churches and installing house of worship sound systems (among other audio adventures). During this time I have seen (and heard) a continuous evolution in the microphones that preachers prefer and use. For years I would typically be asked to set up a stationary wired microphone at a podium—or if the pastor/preacher went wireless, they would use a lav mic. The lav mic would allow the preacher the freedom to move about the platform and use both hands, but generally the sound of a lav mic is less desirable compared to a handheld. As a result many of the pastors I worked with started using wireless hand held mics (some still use them today). Shortly after hand helds began gaining popularity, wireless headset mics showed up on the preaching scene.
This introduction brings us to the AKG WMS 470 wireless systems. I am checking out the handheld, the headset and lavalier mics. All microphones use the SR470 receiver. Let me start by saying that AKG designed a very handsome piece of gear with features like auto frequency set up and the ability to use 16 systems simultaneously. All transmitter microphones have very long 14hrs of battery life (with a lithium battery). And all the mics and belt pack have very cool styling. I think appearance is very important in any piece of gear. Of course the sexier the look the better chance the equipment will sell but it has to perform. So let’s see how the WMS 470 series performed.
I took the wireless units to my own church in Pasadena. On a Wednesday night I set up the HT 470 handheld mic on a stand and wired up the visiting pastor with the C 555 L headset mic. I choose a Wednesday service because I couldn’t video a Sunday service. By the way, I used the CK 99 L lav mic at that Sunday service (with great success) but there is no video to show. The handheld mic sounded excellent right out of the box. This mic sports a supercardioid pattern and reproduces the voices that enter it in a natural authentic way. I needed little EQ to bring the speakers tonality to my liking. The headset mic took a little more equalization but it gave the pastors voice a very real resonance. To me this is the most important quality in a headset mic. The AKG is not boomy or boxy. It is more rich and resonant. Also the visiting pastor told me it is very comfortable to wear.
The following Wednesday my regular pastor was back and I set him up with the headset mic. He let me know before the service began that he was not comfortable with this type of mic but he would give it try anyway. By the end of the service Pastor David asked me if I could get him one of these AKG mics. I think the quality of sound and the comfort of the headset simply changed his mind.