Audio recording and sound systems for churches have become increasingly important and sophisticated in recent years. With the explosion of new audiovisual technology, churches now have the ability to record and broadcast their message, music, and services to the entire world via the internet with ease. Interested people can tune in wherever they are and at any time to enjoy this content and join in worship. Today, the recording process is quick, easy, and convenient. Of course, it was not always so.

The tech boom that now gives the world unlimited access to on-demand audio and video content and recording capabilities was preceded by messages, stories, and speeches being recorded via handwritten transcriptions. Various types of shorthand were later developed that allowed this content to be more easily captured, documented, and shared. Interestingly enough, this was actually the first method of audio recording. This is how the Bible was written. People listened and wrote down what they heard.

Then, during the 19th century, things changed dramatically. Audio recording devices ushered in the Acoustic Era with Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph and Emile Berliner’s gramophone. Surprisingly the gramophone remained the dominant method of recording until the 1980s.

Followed by the Electrical Era, Magnetic Era, and on to the present-day Digital Era, the demand for audio recording continues to grow in its complexity, necessity, and popularity. The innovations of these modern eras has also had positive effects on people living with hearing impairments. This infographic takes a fascinating walk through the history of audio recording from Roman times to today’s smartphone revolution and includes interesting statistics and trends that show our insatiable desire to capture and listen to the sounds, ideas, and stories of our time.

Looking back makes it easy to see how far technology has come and is a great reminder that today’s church audiovisual tech is truly breaking new ground.