Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#70 Wireless headset mics

posted by Stephanie Drury

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They were once only worn by McDonald’s drive-thru workers, infomercial hosts and Britney Spears, but now microphone headsets are becoming a standard fixture during sermons at non-denominational churches.

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The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear. The headset could be a logical progression from the pulpit of yore which had a microphone attached to it, after which came the microphone that the pastor clipped to his shirt so he could walk around while talking.

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But maybe even that restricted movement. The pastor of a bible, community, or otherwise non-denominational church does not want to be confined to one spot on the stage. He wants to gallivant about and engage his audience. Maybe he hopes this will help them pay attention better. But we don’t really know. We can only be sure that microphone headsets are popping up like mold spores on a dirty keg.

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When you listen to a sermon that is amplified by a headset, it can mean only one thing: that pastor intends to roam. He will use his hands a lot and gesture for emphasis. He will dart about then abruptly pause for effect when he wants to let something sink in. He will even at this point probably say, “Let that sink in. Just let that sink in for a minute.” If the church is Acts 29 he will say, “You checkin’ with me? We trackin’?” (These are not phrases you are likely to hear at a Presbyterian, Methodist, or Episcopal service. Only the non-denominationals utter them. Well, and the Baptists.)

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The headset also renders the pastor’s hands free for grand gesticulation when he makes a big emphatic statement. “Jesus DIED for you!” “Are you ready for THIS?” “You can TITHE your way out of debt!” etc.

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But the big mystery lurking behind the headset is “What is the earpiece for?” Is he receiving direction from his producer? Is he getting orders from the drive-thru? Is Steve Martin feeding him lines to say to Roxanne? This mystery is unsolved and the case remains open.

(All right, except for this guy. This guy actually needs a headset.)

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avocadogirl

posted March 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm


YES! Stephanie – YOU ARE AWESOME!and it seems that, at least once within a sermon, the hands-free pastor looks out beyond the congregation to the sound guys and let’s them know – WITHOUT BREAKING HIS SPOT IN THE SERMON (yet, drastically changing his tone of voice) – that he’s getting some sort of feedback or needs something louder. i am so fascinated my these pastors – such pros, really!



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Anonymous

posted March 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm


I think they like them because not unlike bad 90′s ‘dos or outdated fonts, they THINK they are relevant. Janet Jackson?! McDonald’s? Old school. I also love the Roxanne comment. If only Steve Martin was talking in their ear.Becca



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Anonymous

posted March 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm


Heh, you hit the nail on the head yet again! Growing up in Inland Southern California – The Bible Belt of the West! – I can attest to many a megachurch super dome performance, bible retreat, Christian concert and continual pressure to be “saved” again and again… This is becoming one of my favorite blogs!Onto the headsets! My intuition tells me this is yet again all in the vain of being “relevant”. Granted headsets have been around for a while now, but we all know that Christian Culture is on a slightly different time-line in terms of what’s current. Either that or it’s another way to step away from those darn Catholics and their non-saved priests with those anti-truth microphones!



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Anonymous

posted March 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm


Isn’t it your beloved Britney Spears who began this trend? Maybe she’s a Christian too I guess.



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Hugh

posted March 20, 2009 at 1:44 am


My guess is that it enables them to hear their own voice and so block out any others – particularly those which disagree with them.



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Mark (under construction)

posted March 20, 2009 at 3:51 am


they are only wear these things because they saw them being used on Homeshopping demonstrations on TV -



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Marie

posted March 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm


Oh gosh. We are just sooo behind in the UK. We’re still expecting it to work like chinese whispers – the people in the front section tell the people behind and so on. Doesn’t half improve the sermon.And another thing. Why do all the people with hearing aides always sit at the back?



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Jeff Whitfield

posted March 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm


What’s wrong with a lavelier? What’s wrong with a lavelier? I repeat, what’s wrong with a lavelier? Seems to me that these guys like the look of the headset mic more than they do the intended use of one. Headset mics are great if you’re a performer and need a better dynamic range than what a lavelier is capable of. Some pastors sing so I could see using a headset mike. Other than that, there’s absolutely no reason not to use a lavelier unless you’re one of those pastors who runs around too much or beats on his/her chest.



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Steve

posted March 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm


It’s not just non-denoms wearing them. My RCA pastor uses one as well. Looks just as “relevant” on a pastor wearing a black robe as on one wearing a t-shirt.



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shelly

posted March 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm


What if it’s the worship leader using a hands-free? ;)



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The Powell Family

posted March 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm


Ok. Ok…I try not to say much…but feel the need to say my husband is not a “performer”. He uses a headset mic. We are a church plant, and have no pulpit. It is also very portable and easy to store all week in our trailer. Steph makes funny jokes, but sometimes I get a little frustrated by the comments. Ok.



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Laura Toepfer

posted March 21, 2009 at 10:52 am


Oh, I hate those things! I’m Episcopalian, and some of our churches are infected with them as well. I’m with Jeff: what’s wrong with a lavalier? Somewhere, some audio people are selling dated systems and laughing their fool heads off. “No, no, it doesn’t look stupid. It’s completely invisible to the congregation!” snickering up sleeves ensues.



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Geoff

posted March 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm


The actually use them at the catholic church I play at, too! Evangelicals aren’t the only ones infected by the flesh-colored musical theater mics…



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Kevin Markley

posted March 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm


Hi, I just stumbled across your blog and read this one. i am sound guy and have worked in the AV field for a few years (in churches and out.) I think the main reason that pastors use them is for better sound quality (especially for recording purposes.) With a head set mic, the mic will ALWAYS be the same distance away from the mouth no matter what the person is doing. With a handheld of a lav mic, if the speaker turns there head or moves there hand, the volume and tone will change.



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Anonymous

posted March 24, 2009 at 5:55 am


No way KevinThere can’t possibly be a reasonable explanation for using it. It is just because Christians love stupid stuff.



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The Klentzmans

posted March 24, 2009 at 10:32 am


Oh Anonymous… you are so silly.



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gtrglenn

posted April 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm


I think the flesh colored ones are fine. You can’t really see them unless you are pretty close and that’s the idea. Good technology should not draw attention to itself. The ones with the comically large black foam windscreen . . . that’s counter productive.



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Anonymous

posted May 26, 2009 at 10:08 pm


It’s simple…off-axis rejection. A mic closer to the mouth delivers more clarity, punch and feedback rejection than one that’s mounted 6″ under a speakers chin.The fashionistas may think otherwise but sonically these are always a much better choice. Whether or not you like it is a totally different case altogether.



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Anonymous

posted June 7, 2009 at 4:37 am


Stephy:This was rare.I busted a gut reading this!I could say more – but I won't.Hope to meet you sometime.



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Billy

posted June 10, 2009 at 7:28 am


Wasn't Jesus a very animated speaker, using analogies and parables, using children for his props? I tend to think that Jesus would have used a head set. OK, I realize that I set myself up for ridicule there, but you get my point.



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a.barefoot

posted June 18, 2009 at 10:27 am


You have such a good point…I've never even thought of this before. HahaaOh and I actually saw that guy in the last photo at a church a few years ago…it was nuts.



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Christina

posted August 31, 2009 at 8:53 pm


I work the sound at my church and here's what I think are the pros and cons of the Countrymen mics:Pros:1. consistant distance to speaker2. ability to need no barrier when speaking (added intimacy, potentially)3. good for those mega churches who do "skits" personally, I hate those type of churchesCons:1. Really really expensive, about $500 each2. Rediculously Fragile, you bend them up too much and you've got to replace another exensive item3. The Shure 58 mic (the standard one that looks to me like a drum stick ice cream cone) is cheap, sounds good and tough as nails.4. you gotta burn through 9v batteries all the time, and God knows Christians aren't hip to earth friendly things like rechargables.Overall, I say save at least $400 and give it to someone in need, get yourself a Shure 58 and teach your pastor/leads to talk about an inch away from the mic. Cause it really can look douchey.



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i am

posted August 31, 2009 at 10:46 pm


hahahahaha INSANE. what sort of observation is that? it's probably just one of the way Americans are. splurging unnecessarily buying things just because "thats how we roll".well said Christina.



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Ryan

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:40 pm


I really do appreciate all of your observations in your blog but this one is just practical. As Kevin and others have said, The Headset mic is superior in quality and feedback rejection to the standard clip on Lav microphone. It makes the sound guys job a lot easier. You can blame this one on all the sound techs more than a pastor trying to be trendy. O and what looks like a earpiece opposite the microphone is usually nothing more than an anchor point to help the microphone stay securely in place. Either that or the Pats/Colts game update is being transmitted to him.



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Steven Kippel

posted September 4, 2009 at 11:04 am


There is no ear piece. It hangs over the ear.But the worship team loves in ear monitors. That way they don't have to stand behind 10" tall floor monitors.



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Anonymous

posted September 5, 2009 at 8:20 am


There are plenty of good reasons to wear a head-set mic, but the main reason these guys wear them is because they think it makes them look pop-star-hip. SECULAR pop-star-hip.BTW- there is generally not an earpiece paired with these mics.



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Greg

posted September 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm


Ive seen the no arm no leg guy before. Did he come to your church or did you find that pic? If its the same dude he's a pro bass fisherman. Drives the boat 60 mph with his chin. Ties his own knots for the lures with his tongue. (When he said that at our church 2 or three girls whistled)Or maybe its some other guy with no arms or legs traveling around to various churches.



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Soap

posted September 8, 2009 at 10:03 pm


First, there's no earpiece. Second, the sound quality is much better – not just for technical reasons, but also all those times the lav bumps into something, or he clamps in front of the podium.Finally, at my church, the pastors hated using the headsets. We first had one with the big black ball on it, but no one used it, because it looked so bad. We replaced that with the thin nude coloured one, which they reluctantly started using.



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stephy

posted September 9, 2009 at 6:08 am


Everyone is very insistent that there is no earpiece. I hope this means it is true. haha



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Anonymous

posted September 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm


I have to wear one of these as an associate pastor and can 1. confirm there no ear piece – it just loops around your ear to stay and place and 2. point that there you only had photos of men!The mic pack is the bane of my Sunday morning wardrobe choices! I don't have pockets in my dresses, and end up clipping it on the tiebacks…which just weights it down and accentuates my curves! Or, I clip it on somewhere that I can't reach to turn it on or off and have to rely on the audio board tech to actually pay attention…



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hearing impaired older woman

posted August 20, 2010 at 6:40 pm


I like the headsets! I can actually hear! It works through the sound system and the sound people actually turn them on. With the hand mics, I heard only half the first sentence because no one was paying attention to which mic should be on until that person started speaking. Now, I hear all the sermon clearly even when the pastor decides to look at the other side of the congregation.



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