Looking for the absolute easiest method of recording church sermon audio without a mixer? Check out my latest post, The Simplest Method for Recording Church Sermon Audio. There are still plenty of great options here.

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If your church has a mixer or soundboard as part of your sound system, it is usually best to record a signal out of the board. You can read more about these options on the page, “Recording Church Sermon Audio.” If your church doesn’t have a mixer or soundboard, or if it is not practical to connect it to your recording device, I am going to show some options to get the audio recorded.

Without a signal from a board, you will need to either find a recording device with a built-in microphone or attach a microphone to the device.

Recording Devices for Recording Church Services

To learn about connecting recording devices to soundboards and mixers, check out my page, “Audio Cables and Adapters.”

Using a Computer for Recording Sermons

If you have a computer available, you have access to a great device for recording church sermon audio. Using a computer can also save you time since you won’t need to transfer the audio files when you are done recording. How powerful a computer you need will depend on the software you choose. Check out the vendor websites for recommended specs. Since the software can also be used to edit and prepare the audio for upload, it will be discussed on another page in the toolbox: “Church Sermon Audio Software.”

Since you don’t have a signal available from a soundboard, you will need a microphone. The issue here is, you can just plug any old microphone into a computer.  Plugging a microphone directly into a computer sound card will not likely get the results you are looking for (if it works at all).

At this point, you have two options: a USB audio interface or a USB microphone. I will cover the USB interfaces here and the USB microphones in the microphone selection below.

A USB audio interface converts the analog signal from a microphone into a digital signal your computer can understand. They come in many shapes, sizes and prices. For what you are doing, you don’t need to spend a ton of money but don’t cheap out. Cheap, off-brand interfaces can introduce buzzes and other noises into your audio. They also don’t last as long. Among decent interfaces, price is often related to the number of possible inputs.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a compact and versatile audio interface with a single XLR input and phantom power. It’s known for its high-quality preamps and robust build, making it a reliable choice for sermon recordings. If you are only going to have one microphone and don’t plan on expanding, this will do it.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $119
Connection: XLR, 1/4″

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 for recording sermons on a computer

The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 offers dual XLR inputs with preamps and phantom power. Two XLRs means you can easily add a second microphone. It’s a sturdy unit that provides clean, low-noise signals, ideal for capturing clear sermon audio.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $99
Connection: XLR, 1/4″

Stand-alone Recorders for Church Sermon Audio

If you don’t have access to a computer for recording or that is not a practical option, you can use a standalone recorder. These have the advantage of being more portable and less expensive than computers. These units also have inputs for external microphones and built-in microphones, making them great for a number of other applications.

You are still going to need access to a computer at some point to edit and upload the audio but these will do a great job capturing the audio and saving it to a data card. You can then either import to your computer from the card or plug the device directly into your computer via a USB cable.

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder for sermon recording

I really want to get my hands on one of these for a full review. The feature set makes this a perfect recorder for church use, and it would come in handy for more than sermons. The Zoom H2n features multiple recording modes and built-in microphones, allowing for versatile recording setups. It’s portable and easy to use. You could keep this in a drawer during the week and bring it out on Sunday. It could sit right on a pulpit or lectern. Or, you could get a cheap tripod and set it somewhere near where the pastor speaks. You can connect an external microphone, but, with the built-in mics, you may not need it.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $169
Connection: 1/8″

Tascam DR-100mkIII

Tascam DR-100mkIII recorder for church sermon recording

The Tascam DR-100mkIII is a professional-grade recorder with dual XLR inputs and phantom power. It offers high-resolution audio and is built for durability, making it a long-term investment for quality audio capture.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $399
Connection: XLR, 1/8″

Microphones For Stand-alone Recorders and USB Interfaces for Church Sermon Audio

Rode Lavalier GO

The Rode Lavalier GO is a professional-grade wearable microphone designed for a wide range of applications. It offers broadcast-quality audio and can be easily concealed, making it ideal for capturing sermon audio. The 1/8″ TRS plug will plug into a variety of recorders

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $79
Connection: 1/8″

Shure MX412D/C

The Shure MX412D/C is a gooseneck microphone designed for podium use. It is extremely popular for recording church sermons, especially when the preacher speaks from a pulpit. I’ve spoken into quite a few of these. It offers excellent frequency response and requires phantom power, making it a high-quality option for stationary speakers.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $309
Connection: XLR

If none of these microphone options seem right to you, I highly recommend you talk to someone who specializes in microphones and audio. If you don’t know anyone, Sweetwater Music (Sweetwater.com) is a great place to start. You can talk to a real, live expert who can hear what you are trying to do and make a recommendation. They also have highly competitive prices and

Microphones for Recording Services on Computers

If you want to plug your microphone directly into a computer without purchasing a USB audio interface, your options are somewhat limited. USB microphones are basically regular microphones with built-in USB interfaces. They have grown in popularity over the past few years, and companies like RODE are releasing some high-end microphones with built-in USB interfaces, there are still some obstacles to deal with.

There are two obstacles to deal with in this case:

One is that you are going to need your computer to be close to where your speaker is standing. USB cable runs can’t be overly long. You can’t get more than about 6 feet from the computer with USB. You can run extenders or convert it to run over ethernet or optical connection, but it takes some money and effort and may not be reliable.

Two is that your speaker is going to need to stand right in front of the microphone (at the pulpit or podium) and speak directly toward the mic. That will work great for some situations and not so great for others. There may be some situations where, with the right acoustics, you could place the microphone further away and get decent sound. The Blue Yeti X has multiple pickup patterns that might assist in that. Results may vary. Many church meeting spaces have a lot of echo, and congregations can be quite noisy.

Blue Yeti X

Using the Blue Yeti X for church sermon audio recording

The Blue Yeti X is a versatile USB microphone loved by podcasters, YouTubers, and independent music creators. It has quite a bit of possibility in recording church sermon audio. It offers multiple recording patterns so you can control whether it “listens” in one direction, two directions, or a full 360 degrees. I am surprised that I don’t see these sitting on more church lecterns or on a stand in front of the preacher.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $169
Connection: USB

Audio-Technica ATR2500x-USB

The Audio-Technica ATR2500x-USB is a cardioid condenser microphone that offers a high sample rate and a built-in headphone jack for real-time monitoring. It’s ideal for capturing clear, focused audio.

Buy on Amazon
Cost: $149
Connection: USB

You will find some cheaper options out there but you get what you pay for. At this budget level, I wouldn’t likely waste my money on something cheaper. I bought a $20 USB microphone for my son. Even the most untrained ear can hear the difference in sound quality between that and the Blue Snowball.

Once you have decided on equipment, you will need to hook it all up. For help, read “Audio Cables and Adapters for Recording Church Sermon Audio.”

Once you have your audio captured, you will need to edit and prepare for upload. To get started with that, check out “Church Sermon Audio Software.

Check out my Church Technology Store for all the latest equipment.

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