Our accompaniments are available on CD or as computer files (MP3s or equivalent). CDs are best if you don't have access to a computer or iPod/tablet/smartphone. However they can be fiddly to use in a service, switching CDs and finding the right tracks. The huge advantage of using the MP3s is that once they are loaded onto your device and the device is connected to a sound system, you can find any track simply by searching for the hymn or tune name (or A&M number for the Ultimate Set). Best of all, you can put all the tracks for a service into a playlist, which means you see just the tracks you need for that service.
If you decide to go with MP3s you can either download tracks from iTunes or Amazon - individual tracks from our library page
or tracks/full albums from each of the album pages - or buy sets
from us. We provide these on CD-ROM/DVD-ROM discs, on memory sticks or preloaded on iPods. In the first two cases you will simply need to copy the files from the discs or memory stick onto your computer. If you wish to use an iPod/tablet/smartphone in the church, you can the transfer the tracks onto that from the computer using the music software on the computer (iTunes or the Windows equivalents). Pre-loaded iPods are ideal if you don't have access to a computer and just want to play the music straight away (you will need a sound system to plug the iPod into). However, if you already have a computer and a tablet or smartphone, you can probably use that instead with no extra hardware cost.
Our MP3s on disc/memory stick/preloaded iPod come in two bit rates - the higher bit rate (256 Kbps) has slightly better quality sound, but takes up twice as much storage space. The lower bit rate (128 Kbps) makes the files half the size; they take up less room on your computer/MP3 player, but the quality isn’t quite as good. In our experience, many sound systems in churches are not good enough to make the distinction apparent, so 128 kbps is fine, but if you have the space, we recommend going for 256 Kbps version. Note that the Master Set at 256 kbps takes up around 13.7 Gb. You can try out the different bit rates on your sound system: download a set of samples at different bit rates by clicking here
To play the music and sing along you will need amplification. Many churches/schools already have sound systems with the option of plugging a device into the auxiliary port (AUX in) - if that's the case you can connect the audio socket of a computer, iPod, tablet or phone loaded with our tracks to that socket using an appropriate cable. If you don't already have a sound system, it's worth borrowing a domestic hi-fi system and try plugging the source (computer, iPod etc.) into that at the venue to see if it's loud enough before spending more on a professional sound system.
Don't be surprised, by the way, if the organ sounds a little distorted when turned up high on a computer or phone's speakers. Small speakers struggle to handle the very wide frequency range of an organ - play the music through a decent sound system and the quality will be much better.
If you still aren't certain which format or bit rate to use, please do drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- we are happy to give advice.