I’ve spent six months trying to find the perfect speaker and microphone system for a celebrant. For such a menial task it really should have never required a) effort, or b) a blog post. Alas, here we are.

One of the more exciting documents us celebrants are held to is the Attorney-General’s “Code of Practice For Marriage Celebrants” which states that:

A marriage celebrant must make efforts to ensure that the marriage ceremony is audible to all those present.

Which is something the celebrant that inspired me to become a celebrant never did.

Now being a bit of a nerd, and having a stupidly high expectation of myself and my services was always going to lead me down a rabbit hole of not finding the right audio gear. I don’t think lapel microphones and headset microphones ever sound good outdoors in a portable PA system that hasn’t got a sound guy behind it. I know many of my brothers and sisters use them, and I send all my love to you, I just don’t like them. I like to hold a microphone in my hand. Others can take the microphone and speak and exchange vows and its going to sound good in the wind or in a loud area.

The PA system also has to be battery powered. And has to be an all-in-one unit. If I’m on a beach for a wedding I don’t want cords and things everywhere.

You’ve got to be able to play an iPod or similar through it, and with any luck, play through Bluetooth.

Is it that hard?

Apparently putting a battery operated PA system with a wireless microphone that works really well on the market is the hardest thing an audio company has ever done.

The hardest thing is the “works really well”.

This past six months I have borrowed, bought, tried, trialled, and used every portable PA system on the market. They all were varying levels of terrible. Even my favourite PA, one that I owned, a Roland BA-55, had a limitation: if there was a bridal party and a few meters between you and the PA then it would cut out here and there. Positioning and praying got me through most days and I’m sure no-one else in any wedding I performed heard the drop outs. But I did. And it’s just not good enough for a super awesome wedding ceremony.

What’s the best PA system for a marriage celebrant?

As the market stands in May 2015, the best portable battery operated PA system with a wireless microphone is the Sennheiser LSP 500. It has dual hot-swappable batteries that accurately show you how much battery is left, to the percentile.

The LSP-500 has Bluetooth built-in, so it just works and works beautifully. Walking down the aisle music has never sounded so great in a park.

The sound quality of the LSP-500 is superb and the best thing is that it’s wireless audio components are limited only to the industry standard wireless range sold by it’s maker. Almost any Sennheiser wireless unit slots into one of the three back slots for wireless. You can have a headset and a handheld, a cheap mic or a good one. It’s up to you. And they just sound great and work even better.

The LSP-500 is loud, professional, and is the right size.

Why does this matter to a bride or groom?

  1. Everyone at your ceremony will hear the ceremony clearly and accurately
  2. When people hear the ceremony they’ll get involved in the ceremony
  3. When guests are involved in the ceremony the vibe just increases and it becomes really awesome
  4. And a bonus point is that your videographer can plug right in and get perfect audio out of it for your wedding film!

I think the PA system matters that much that I have a whole page on my website dedicated to it so that musicians and videographers, along with couples, venues, and wedding planners, know what I’m bringing along: marriedbyjosh.com/audio