Reaching out to the community beyond the walls of the church is now easier than ever. Finding ways to incorporate what you’re already doing into new formats can help save time and can keep a continuous dialogue going with the congregation. CD duplication, USB thumb drive duplication, podcasting, and “the cloud” are all mediums that can be utilized.

It’s important to consider the intended audience and the medium that is best suited for engaging them. Will the audience be listening through their home or car stereo, their personal mp3 player (iPod, etc.), an iPad or other tablet device, or on their home computer? Is the church interested in providing new information or making existing information more readily available? Knowing the answers to these two questions will help to determine how to proceed.

One of the easiest ways to keep the dialogue with the congregation going is to burn CDs of the weekly sermons and/or services. This is a perfect format for an audience that will be listening through a home stereo, car stereo, or mp3 player. This is also the best format to use when the goal is to make existing information more readily available.

CDs allow everyone to take the message home with them, and also helps spread the word to others who may have been unable to attend. CDs can also be a source of revenue for the church. It is important to be aware of the expense of the initial set-up along with the costs of the CDs and any packaging that may be used.

To record onto CD you will need a CD burner (we’ve found the CD-RW900SL from Tascam to be reliable and easy to use) and a designated AUX send or TAPE OUTPUT on the FOH (front of house) mixer (you can even use the main outputs if your mixer has multiple outs).  Be aware of what type of processing the output you use has.  If you use the AUX send, determine in advance which sections/channels will be recorded and assign them to the appropriate AUX send. If only the sermon will be recorded you may want to solely assign the microphone of the pastor to this AUX send. If the goal is to make a CD of the praise/worship team, make sure to assign all vocal microphones and instruments to the designated AUX send.

Through the headphone output on the CD burner you should be able to preview the audio that is going into the recorder. You’ll want to make sure that the signal being received isn’t clipping. If there are issues with clarity or intelligibility it may be necessary to install an EQ or compressor (or both) in line between the AUX send and the inputs on the CD recorder.

Then just make sure to press record during the sections that you want to burn onto the CD. Afterwards you will need to remember to finalize the disk on the recording.

Once the disk is finalized you can duplicate it using a CD duplication tower. Companies like EZ Dupe make CD towers in multiple output formats. Depending on the number of CDs that need to be made, the manpower available for loading the burners, and how quick the CDs need to be turned around will help determine what size tower will be the right investment. If a small quantity is needed, time isn’t an issue, and there’s someone available to continuously burn the disks you can use something like a 1 x 3 tower. This will have four CD drives in the tower; one to read the initial disk, and 3 burners to burn 3 duplicate disks at a time. If a large quantity is needed quickly, a 1 x 7 tower might be a better investment.

Once the CDs have been recorded, labeling should be taken into consideration. A simple solution is to write on each disk with a permanent marker. This won’t have the most professional look, but it is a quick and cost-effective way to have CDs readily available. A label maker can be used instead of a marker, but be advised that if the labels start to peel off they can get stuck in the CD player. There are also printers available that can print directly onto CDs using ink or a thermal imprint (Tascam has one such device). These printers usually require a special type of CD, so make sure to be aware of these requirements ahead of time.

After the CDs are labeled packaging must also be considered. Paper sleeves and CD jewel cases are usually readily available locally.

If the CDs do not need to be immediately available and a more professional look is desired, you can also look into a duplication service. These services will work with you to create professional packaging for your CD. From there you send them a copy of the original recording along with your original artwork and they will delivery the finished copy to you. These types of services are excellent for distributing high-quality copies of holiday services/performances.

Stay tuned for a follow-up to this article where we’ll cover digital recording and distribution.

2 comments so far

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  1. Recording direct to CD has several problems, especially an inability to edit. A much more useful technique is to use a computer with a recording program such as Audacity. By the way, most sound mixers have direct pre-fader outputs from each channel that can be used to drive a separate recording mixer for a full stereo recording mix.

  2. Good points Jim. Recording to CD has many limitations. Our next post will cover digital recording (both computer and hard disk recording) and will highlight the benefits of both. You’re also right, I did forget to mention the ability to use direct outs for a separate recording mix. Using direct outs to another mixer allows for more control over the levels of each channel before they reach the recorder.