by Jason Marsh, Jon Mattson, and Grace Burke
In response to several inquiries, I thought it would be good to post what Auburn church uses for our phone conferencing system.
You can get a good Polycom speakerphone that is usually used by corporate conference rooms for about $150-$200, but it may only pick up voices from about 10 feet away. We have a Polycom 2EX with satellite wired microphones that we pass around. This Polycom is closer to $400. Voice quality is excellent, but it doesn’t pick up music very well, but music over the phone always sound poor anyway. You can also get wireless satellite mics. A good source is Polycom FactoryOutletStores.com.
This system works well for the size of our congregation, but wouldn’t work in a large church building unless everyone sits close together (which has other benefits!). Larger rooms will need to feed the audio from the microphone system into the phone line. We tried to set this up and found that for our size of space, it wasn’t necessary and was fairly difficult.
We keep the base station near the first reader. The two satellite microphones are wired directly into the base station, and works in our auditorium which has only about 4 rows of chairs.
We use a paid conference calling system, so that no one has to incur long distance charges, but there are a variety of free conference calling companies where there is no charges to the church. I would Google “free conference calling” or the name of the paid service we use is PGI – ReadyConference Plus (it comes out to about $3 per hour per caller).
Hope that helps!
Feel free to comment below with further questions.