Gear for singers: how investing in good equipment is not just for the band!


As a member of the typical worship team, singers often rely on the gear presented to them by the situation. I have served in church plants in school cafeterias and in new worship houses that seat over 2,000. Either way, the issue of gear for any musician is important. One thing I have learned: If something sounds cheap, it probably is.

I own a fairly decent guitar that cost me about $600. It sounds pretty decent. But, when I played a friend’s $3,000 Taylor I loathed picking up my own guitar again. Most instrumentalists invest in good gear to present their best. A typical electric guitarist might easily spend up to $10,000 for his gear: amp, pedals, guitars. A pro trumpet can cost about $3,000.

How about those of us who sing? Do we invest in gear, too? I think we should. Here is a list of gear I would recommend for each singer on my team. Now, vocal mics can be shared and wireless in-ear receivers and transmitters can as well. You do want to have your own ear buds, however:

  • Shure UR2/KSM9 wireless system. I have demoed this microphone and think it is amazing. I would love four to five of these for our regular Sunday worship. They cost with microphone, and receiver a whopping $1,800 a piece. My audio expert, Jeremy, tells me the double magnets mean it can cancel a lot of feedback and that they sound great.
  • Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G2 is a cost-effective choice for monitoring in-ear. Being able to monitor anywhere on the stage is one plus, and the fact of removing large monitor speakers and their cabling cleans up the stage look, too! This unit, which actually has one earbud with it will cost you about $950. (If you are in a school cafeteria, having this might SAVE the mix.)
  • Shure SCL5 are dual driver earbuds. You can pay a bit more to get custom molds to your ear from your audiologist (maybe about $150 more in cost). Imagine hearing the full range of music, minus very low subs and being able to have the volume be to your liking! You could stand right near the drummer or a guitar amp and have no problem with the volume. This is one way to save your ears, too. The price for this baby is around $400.

The total cost if only four vocalists purchase there own and nothing is shared would be $3,150. That is about what an average instrumentalist would buy on your team no matter what they play. If you have 8 singers share the mics and cost, each person would have to cough up about $1,500. And, perhaps even a bit less.

If I were to prioritize, I would first get the in-ear monitors times four and add the vocal mics later. Also, there are options for earbuds as low as $100 that can work great, too. So, as a plan “B” it would cost about $575 per person on a  vocal team of 8 people to do this.

I am interested to know what other worship leaders, audio guys, vocalists and instrumentalists think about singers and gear. Let’s discuss.