How to record your sermons on the cheap, without expensive equipment or sound technician

Many church planters and missionaries call and email the Ambassador team, asking us how best to record their sermons on the cheap. Many of these small churches don’t have the capital to purchase expensive equipment, or a have a sound technician in their congregation. But, recording a sermon is not difficult. Below, we’re going to discuss several ways to record a crisp, clean sermon, using low-budget methods and free software. Once you read several of these methods, I’m positive you’ll be able to employ one at your church.

Laptop Recording

Recording via  a laptop is probably the easiest method, as most recordings will have a degree of feedback and mic hiss. First, you’ll need to download Audacity. Audacity is a free audio editing software. This is the program you’ll use to record your audio on. Recording with your laptop will require you to plug an audio feed into your laptop’s microphone port (Apple headphone ports double as mic ports). I use this method at my own church. Many churches are outfitted with a sound booth or sound system. This is where the audio feed must come from. This will eradicate echoes and give you the cleanest audio.

Steps for recording:

Open Audacity on your laptop. Plug in audio feed cable. Press record in Audacity.

That’s it! Audacity will record until you hit stop. You’ll then be able to edit the audio, remove feedback and you can even add intro/outro music. You can then share your audio through any sermon sharing program or iTunes channel you wish. We recommend Ambassador, of course.

Here’s a video of removing noise from a sermon via Audacity.

Mobile Recording

One thing you’re almost guaranteed to have on you at all times is a cell phone. Most cell phones these days have fantastic microphones on them. You’re able to use your cellphone to record your sermons two ways, either raw or mic’ed up. Mobile phone recording can be used most successfully in small churches, where a microphone and sound system is not in use. The issue with most mobile microphones is that they’re set to pick up every little noise, so coughing, crying babies and echoes constantly plague these recordings when the phone is set right on the ambo. It also looks rather cheesy if you start pacing the stage with your phone to your mouth. The best way to record from your phone is to employ a lavalier microphone, and jack it into your phone’s headphone port for direct voice recording. A lavalier mic clips on to your lapel or collar and allows you to keep the phone in your pocket. If you’re using the Ambassador App to record, you can share to your email list and social media right from your phone when you’re done recording. If you’re not, you’ll have to email the MP3 file from your phone to your computer and upload it from there.

If you wish to use a digital recorder, the process is essentially the same.  Use a lavalier mic and keep the recorder in your pocket. Do not press record until you’re about to speak. Leaving it on for 10 minutes before you go on will just cause you a headache later as you’ll have to go in and delete the dead recording time. Be careful when purchasing a lavalier microphone for your iPhone as it does not take the same plugin as most headphone ports and requires an  iPhone-compatible 3.5 mm TRRS plug. A converter will be needed to make such a generic microphone work via the iPhone headphone port accept sound.

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