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How to Choose the Best Mic for the Pastor

After spending hours (or even days) preparing their sermon, clergy, including the Pastor, Rabbi, Imam, etc., want to ensure their message is clearly understood and delivers its full impact. In this guide, you will learn key factors to consider when purchasing a mic for clergy.
September, 10 2021 |
Pastor preaching the message with DH5 headset

Few things can ruin a pastor's ability to deliver their message than lousy audio. A low-quality or poorly used microphone can spoil a great sermon due to incessant popping and hissing sounds. The volume can be either too loud or quiet, which creates a poor listening experience for your congregants. Or worse, the mic can stop working entirely, leaving the message completely inaudible for your members.

The pastor's mic is the single most crucial microphone that a House of Worship owns. It's the vital element in the audio chain for getting the message out to the live congregation, anyone listening from another campus, youth streaming from their mobile devices, or parishioners watching the service on-demand later in the week.

For these reasons, it's critical to choose the perfect mic for your pastor that can ensure crystal clear audio and the highest level of intelligibility to your congregants. If you're looking for help picking the best wired or wireless microphones for the pastor, then you're in the right place.


Microphone Type

There are several options to choose from regarding microphones for the pastor. Headworn, Handheld, Lavalier, and Lectern are all commonly used by pastors.

The pastor should be directly involved in choosing the right microphone to deliver their message, for the type of microphone selected will need to fit their unique movement and speaking style.


Wired vs. Wireless Microphones

One of the most common decisions facing pastors and musicians in Houses of Worship is choosing a wired and wireless microphone. While the simplicity of a wired microphone can be an advantage, a wireless microphone can benefit pastors who would prefer to move freely across the stage.

Some church volunteers and sound engineers prefer wired microphones because of the ease of use and simplicity a wired connection provides. Troubleshooting is straightforward if there's a mic problem during a performance because fewer things can go wrong.

A wireless mic provides more freedom onstage as well as the ability to interact uniquely with your congregants. If your pastor is an energetic orator who likes to move around the stage, the feeling of being unbound from a microphone cable can be freeing and exhilarating. On top of that, going wireless eliminates the fear of damaging or disconnecting a cable during a performance.

If you're worried about wireless system systems being too complex, it's important to note that there are systems from Shure designed for non-technical users to run their sound. You don't have to be a sound engineer to use Shure's wireless microphone systems with confidence.

For more information on Shure wireless systems, check out our educational guide on how to pick the perfect wireless mic system for your House of Worship.

Headworn/Earworn Microphones

The headworn microphone is by far the most popular choice for preachers today. Headworn or headset microphones provide excellent audio quality because of the mic's proximity to the pastor's mouth. Several pastors love wireless microphone headsets for church because they're entirely hand-free, allowing them to move around freely around the stage to better engage with their congregants. 

There are several different headworn mounting designs. Most have a headband or wireframe that goes behind the head, while a few are small enough that they merely clip over the ear. In all cases, the microphone element is at the end of a miniature "boom" or flexible arm that allows positioning close to the mouth.

Position headworn microphones so that the capsule is just back from the corner of the mouth to minimize breath noise and pops. 

Best Headworn/Earworn Mics for the Pastor

The DH5 is a rugged wireless microphone headset for church that stands up to the harshest conditions to make every word a clear statement of quality. The thicker frame of the DH5 headset microphone hugs the pastor's head tight and will stay on even the most eccentric orator. If one person solely uses the mic, you can adjust once, always maintaining the same size. Also, the DH5 is dust-and-water-resistant, ensuring you can deliver the message – no matter the circumstances. 


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The Shure TH53 headset microphone produces the best overall sound out of all our Headworn microphones. Its frame is lightweight and easy to adjust, so the TH53 is perfect for situations where several people might have to use the same headset during a service. The TH53's extremely natural sound signature complements speakers of all qualities, with low noise, dynamics, and dependability that far exceed its price. 


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Suppose you have long hair or prefer not to use a headset microphone. In that case, the Shure MX153 earworn microphone will provide you with the same outstanding clarity of headworn microphones in a comfortable over-the-ear design. It features CommShield technology to stop RF interference, three color options, three windscreens, and a protective pouch.


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Handheld Microphones

A handheld microphone offers flexibility for the pastor to control their volume by holding the mic closer to their mouth or further away. Handheld microphones do limit the pastor's gestures since one hand is always tied to the mic. For this reason, some pastors do not prefer the handheld mic for preaching. 

Handheld Microphones may not be the preferred option for most pastors, but generally, your vocalists will love them.

Check out Educational Guide on Handheld Microphones for Worship!

Recommended Handheld Microphones for the Pastor

Used by popes, famous pastors, and well-known religious musical artists, the affordable SM58 is known as the world's most popular handheld performance mic. The removable grille and metal construction exude quality and durability.


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Perfect for situations involving a microphone that different presenters might use with varying mic holding techniques or the untrained presenter. The KSM8 is very forgiving and provides a larger "sweet spot" for voice pickup to ensure the congregation hears the message. Meticulously crafted for revolutionary vocal production, the KSM8 delivers unmatched control of the proximity effect.


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Lavalier Microphones

A lavalier microphone is lightweight and easily clips onto the pastor's clothing. Many pastors and public speakers use this type of mic as well as TV personalities on news stations. With these mics, the pastor's hand can be free to gesture while preaching.

A lavalier microphone is usually placed on the lapel of the clothes of the preacher. The placement of the lavalier microphone should be as close to the mouth as is practical. Moving the microphone closer or further away from the preacher's mouth will significantly affect the tonality and quality of the sound. 

Avoid placing a microphone underneath layers of clothing or in a  location where clothing, hair, or other objects may touch or rub against it. Also, it's essential to maintain a consistent placement for the lavalier mic week to week to ensure optimal tonality and volume from your pastor.

As the pastor moves, the placement of the lavalier microphone to the mouth can be inconsistent – resulting in changes to the volume and tone of the pastor's voice. 

Recommended Lavalier Microphone for Pastors

The Shure WL185 lavalier microphone is well-suited for speech applications.  The microphone picks up less background noise and helps to reduce feedback on amplified stages.


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Lectern Microphone/Pulpit Microphone

The lectern microphone was the most classically used microphone by pastors. This microphone is attached to the pastor's podium. The pulpit microphone can be great for situations where multiple people will speak from the stand – such as a funeral. However, it does keep the pastor held to the podium because if he moves at all one way or the other, the sound will fluctuate. 

For churches with a more academic or traditional feel to the sermons, and they preach directly from a manuscript, this mic might be the pastor's preference. 

Pro Tip: When the pastor is wearing a lavalier or headworn microphone and heads to the podium, this can cause issues because both the lectern microphone and the lavalier/headworn microphones will be on. The pastor's words will end up sounding extremely hollow with lots of feedback, so the pastor must turn off their lavalier or headworn microphones when they are in front of the podium.

Recommended Lectern Microphones for Houses

Shure's MX412, MX418, and MX424 are the 12 inches, 18 inches, and 24-inches lectern mics that treat spoken audio with detail and respect.

Ideal Microphone Placement – Proximity Effect

For most houses of worship, the easiest way to improve the intelligibility of their pastor's audio is microphone choice and placement. A fundamental principle to always remember about microphone placement is "the closer, the better."

If the microphone is closer to the presenter's mouth, you will ensure more direct audio from the pastor's words and less reflected background noise that might blur what is picked up by the microphone.

Shure: The Perfect Choice for Your Pastor's Sound Needs

Whether you're mic your pastor or the entire choir, Shure can equip your House of Worship with all your sound needs. Contact us today to get started!

Here are a few other resources you might find helpful:

Shure's Central Hub for Houses of Worship

How to Choose the Right Wireless Microphone System

How to Choose the Best Mics for the Choir at Worship

How to Choose the Best Mics for Brass, Wind, and String Instruments

How to Choose the Best Mics for the Guitar at Worship

How to Choose the Best Mic for the Pianist

How to Choose the Best Handheld Mics for Worship

How to Choose the Best Mics for the Drummer at Worship

John Born
John Born is a Product Manager at Shure Incorporated. In this role, he supervises project teams in the development of new wired microphones for performance and recording as well as headset and lavalier microphones for Shure's wireless products. Additionally, he maintains the current portfolio of microphone products and serves as the resident expert in microphone application and selection.<br><br>John also works as an audio engineer, audio system designer, and sound system consultant in the Chicago area. He has served as a live sound and recording engineer for a number of regional and touring performers, artists, and festivals. <br><br>He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Business and Audio Engineering from Elmhurst College, and an MBA in Marketing from North Park University. John is also a musician, combining an artistic ear with a deep technical understanding to developing new products.