Is your old analog mixer about to give up the ghost? Or are your sound people asking for an upgrade? Maybe you have multiple churches using your building. Whatever the reason, this article will help you decide what is the best digital mixer for your church.
Now before we start, I want you to understand. This website's purpose is to make things as easy and as simple for you as possible. When it comes to the best digital mixers for church, that is a tall order to fulfill.
I have been a musician for over 40 years and sound boards, beyond turning them on and adjusting the volume and the EQ, are beyond my pay grade. So I went to my own sound guy and asked for some recommendations. He gave me 4 options for digital mixers for church that I hope will be of help to you.
I won't be going over every feature, pro, or con about these mixers. Instead I will provide some helpful videos, some basic ways each mixer might be a fit for your church, and provide you with some helpful links to the products.
Each product link goes to Amazon. As a pastor, and honestly as a man, I don't like to spend hours shopping for something. I want to just figure out what I want and get it. Instead of spending time for hours in various music stores, trying to translate musician-speak, and then hauling the equipment to the church, I find it much more beneficial to just take 15 minutes to order what I want and have it show up on my doorstep 2 days later.
I would rather spend that time in study, prayer, and ministering to people. That is what God has called me to do. He didn't call me to shop.
So here are some helpful tips on how to decide what is the best digital mixer for your church.
Things To Consider When Buying A Digital Mixer For Your Church
When you are deciding on what is the best digital mixer for your church there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself. Here are a few to get you thinking about what your needs really are.
- How many musicians do you have?
- How many vocalists do you have?
- Do you plan on adding musicians or singers in the future?
- Do you have or plan to have multiple worship teams?
- Who is going to be operating the digital mixer? Are they professional or are they volunteers?
- Will you want to record your services or produce multi-track recordings?
- Do you want to have in ear monitors?
- Do you want to go 100% wireless?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself. Here is a video by John Soto that will give you more details about what to look for in a digital mixer.
4 Of The Best Digital Mixers For Your Church
I believe one of the biggest questions you need to answer is the experience level and training your people have with mixers. Most of us have volunteers not pro sound people. So I would recommend that you make sure that the mixer you choose is easy to operate and has training videos that go along with the mixer.
Secondly I agree with John that you should get at least a 24 channel mixer unless you are not a church that uses a lot of musicians or vocalists then you can go smaller.
Or possibly if you are a church plant that has to set up and tear down each Sunday, then a smaller digital mixer might do the trick for you like this Behringer 12 channel digital mixer.
Finally, you need to understand that a digital mixer really will be different than your old analog mixer. Many of your people will struggle at first to make the leap to the digital mixer interface after being used to a bunch of knobs as sliders. However your younger people will adapt quicker since they are used to Ipads and video games and they might find it a lot easier to understand.
Whatever you do, make sure there is comprehensive training on how to use the mixer.
4 Of The Best Digital Mixers For You To Consider For Your Church
I have tried to break down these digital mixers into categories that will fit your particular need. If you need an easy to use digital mixer, then I have one for you. The same with sound quality, features, best digital mixer for the money. I have found that depending on your situation, those categories will narrow down your choice.
The Easiest To Use Digital Mixer
As John recommended above, the Soundcraft Si Expression 2 Digital Mixer is the easiest to operate. Everything is laid out in an easy to understand workflow. You can start with adjusting volume, then with the press of a button, switch to equalization, and go from there to effects, compression ect.
Check out this video.
As you can see this is one of the simplest digital mixers to operate that you can find.
For some of you, you might have sticker shock seeing the price of these mixers. However they are actually quite reasonable compared to what we paid for analog mixers 20 years ago. The sound system install in my church 15 years ago when we bought our building was over $30,000 dollars. This is not an inexpensive project. Makes that little 12 channel mixer above a lot more tempting doesn't it?
For More Information On The Soundcraft Si Expression 2 Digital Mixer....
The Digital Mixer With The Most Features
The BEHRINGER X32 is one of the most fully featured digital mixers at a reasonable price range. Yes there are more fully featured digital mixers out there, but for the average church they are priced out of our price range.
However this digital mixer is not for the faint of heart. There is a steep learning curve when using it. So I would not recommend it if you do not have some knowledgeable sound people at your church.
Here is a video showing just a little of what it does.
As you can see, this mixer will handle anything your church can throw at it. From large choirs and worship teams, to the Christmas cantata, you can have it all.
Behringer has a great name in the industry and is used by churches worldwide. I would be hard pressed to find a digital mixer that is as good as the X-32 for you.
It has a lot of training videos out there to help your team learn how to use it like this video from the fine folks at Calvary Baptist Church in Lake Havasu Arizona.
For More Information On The BEHRINGER X32 Digital Mixer....
The Best Sounding Digital Mixer For Church
You might be as surprised at this as I was but most people feel that the Yamaha TF Series Digital Mixer is the best sounding digital mixer out there.
Now I must confess. My ear is not trained well enough to really notice much difference between mixers. Even though I have been a musician all my life, I am not really an audiophile. If it sounds good, I am good.
However most of the people out there say that the Yamaha mixer is as close as you are going to get to the sound of an analog mixer.
Check out this video on all that it has to offer.
As you can see, the Yamaha mixer has a good user interface that tries to bridge the gap between analog mixers and digital mixers, and sounds great as well.
In my opinion, Yamaha has gotten a bum rap over the years because it is a Japanese company. This digital mixer is awesome. When it is time for us to replace our old Mackie analog board, this is the unit we will replace it with or something really similar.
For More Information On The Yamaha TF5 32 Channel Digital Mixer....
The Best Digital Mixer For The Buck
I am a firm believer in being a good steward in the resources that God has given His churches. That is why I did not show you $10,000 dollar digital mixers. I showed you good quality mixers at a great price. The Mackie DL32 is the best bang for your buck in my opinion.
We currently have a Mackie analog mixer in my main sanctuary. It is a great mixer with a lot of features. Too many in my opinion, but what do I know? I am only a bass player. (Musicians will get the joke.)
Mackie has been an industry standard for providing full featured mixers at reasonable prices and it can be said that Mackie made the other manufacturers compete at lower price points.
Take a look at all the Mackie DL32 has to offer.
As you can see, the Mackie is highly versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. And with a price that is lower than most of the other digital mixers.
My sound guy loves Mackie mixers. When starting to talk about our sanctuary renovations, it was hard to convince him that a Yamaha would work better for us. So if you choose the Mackie, you are in good company. They are loved by churches all over the world because they made great sound equipment affordable.
For More Information On The Mackie DL Series DL32R 32-Channel Digital Mixer....
Final Considerations On Buying A Digital Mixer For Your House Of Worship
There you have it. I have tried to give you 4 viable options for a new digital mixer for your church. I have not approached this from a technical standpoint, but from a practical one.
Only you can decide what you need. I hope that you have found this article helpful and that it has made your decision easier. After all, church technology does not have to be complicated and that includes church sound systems and wireless microphone systems and everything else tied to creating a quality worship environment.