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Worship Technology Strategies for Spaces Old and New

From Grade 1 listed Cathedrals to the modern, custom-built ‘Mega Church’, here’s what to consider when looking to invest in a future-proof scalable system
Worship Technology Strategies for Spaces Old and New

The term House of Worship (HoW) is a broad term that often covers many different types of architecture: it could be a 700-year-old cathedral, a traditional church, or a purpose-built modern auditorium. Yet, each environment has its own set of challenges that need to be identified and considered.    

 Understanding what the client wants to ultimately achieve is the most important thing, and this translates into how we can then provide a service to them that offers a cost-effective solution that meets their requirements in the long term and delivers the best experience for their congregation.  

Before any in-depth planning or design, I would try and ascertain what the space is predominately going to be used for. Sometimes, the solution required isn’t what is initially asked for. Often small changes in how they approach their services can dramatically improve the quality of delivery. For example, switching from stage wedges to IEMs and removing excess stage noise in highly reverberant spaces can often lead to huge improvements to the quality of sound possible in the space, at times even more so than updating the console or the PA system. Finding the limiting factor in the current setup and fixing it builds client trust and allows the Church to get the most out of its system in the long term.

Prioritise the project ​

Quite often, a client will approach us with a brief containing many different elements, which can make it difficult to identify the main system requirements. In this instance, we would work with them to identify the priorities and the key investments required to achieve the ultimate goal.   

My personal advice: it’s better to wait for what you want and make several investments over time in high quality products, rather than squeezing lots of different elements into a budget for a lower quality offering. This phased approach to upgrades and new builds will provide greater long-term satisfaction and return on investment, ultimately delivering a better, more future-proof system.  

Live music within worship has always played its part in congregational worship, and it continues to be an integral part of the modern Church. Large Churches often have high levels of production value and complex requirements.  

An example of this would be the work we’ve carried out for Hillsong Church UK, which requires multiple systems that can be set up and operated by their team of volunteers across all their UK locations. These systems needed to be scalable to allow them to be used as part of the AV solution for some of their larger events, which historically have been held in venues such as Wembley Arena, the O2 Arena, and various West End theatres.  


There’s no doubt that Solotech’s experience and knowledge of the live and touring industry have helped us to realize the production values needed to deliver all types of HoW events.   

The diverse nature of HoW requires a team with varied skillsets. From Cathedrals to small Church halls, from the O2 Arena to large outdoor festivals and everything in between, we have a highly talented and experienced team of experts that we can draw from. This breadth of knowledge and expertise across Solotech is what gives us our credibility.   

Networked systems and the future of HoW

We are seeing more and more how technology can be utilized to solve specific problems within the HoW sector. A common problem is the multi-purpose nature of their buildings, which can be used throughout the week by various groups and people, each with their own requirements. In this instance, a networked system such as the QSC audio, video, and control platform, Q-SYS can be used to help manage the building-wide AV system, simplifying what can be a time-consuming and challenging job. With the use of timed snapshots, Q-SYS can recall specific system configurations at specific times. This allows us to reset a whole building back to a known Sunday state, for example, with no additional human interaction. This saves time and improves the consistency of services and events throughout the week.

Systems such as these can be customized specifically for the client and help in providing a solution to the problem of the multi-purpose nature of a cathedral or Church that might require services across various rooms and spaces, including breakout and meeting rooms and coffee shops. 

A perfect example of how this technology can be implemented effectively is the York Minster project that we completed.

This was a complex brief, which included audio for spoken word and music easy to use and flexible enough to serve across the Minster’s many spaces for a variety of uses. d&b audiotechnik column speakers were installed throughout the Minster, with the entire system running through a QSC Q-SYS platform. The ease of use of the system means that both technical and non-technical staff can operate it via touch screen interfaces, selecting the various zones throughout the Minster.

Any faults or issues, such as a blown speaker or faulty amp, are detected via the Q-SYS system and reported directly back to us so that we can access the Q-SYS Core and identify and rectify the problem immediately, or with an engineer being sent to the site.

York Minster now benefits from a cutting-edge system that is sympathetic to the building, easy to operate, and delivers superb audio clarity at all times.   

Training to stay on top

To get the most out of any new system the client must be trained to master every element. At Solotech, we recommend and provide training and guidance throughout the entire project. There are also excellent manufacturer online training videos, which are a great resource for upskilling volunteer teams.

Our relationships with our HoW clients are a testament to our skills in providing service, advice, and support in this sector as they continue to invest in cutting-edge technology to bring their message of worship to a congregation.

Rich Harris is a Senior Project Development Manager for the Solotech UK Group Systems Integration Team, specializing in live events and installations within the House of Worship sector.    



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