House of Worship Mixing Board Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by BobRogers, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Our church is in need of a new mixing board. We are currently using a 16 channel Soundcraft Sprit Live 4-2. We regularly use all 16 mono channels, two stereo channels and the cassette/cd channel. We need either a 24 channel board with a similar number of additional stereo channels or a 32 channel board. (This probably means we need new furniture, but that's another story.)

    Ease of use is a priority. We don't have paid sound people, and our volunteers are often students. (Damned kids graduate and go away.) Since our the membership of our band varies from week to week, and digital board that can save presets is good in concept, but a lot of them seem to have a significant learning curve.

    Durability is an issue. It will be a fixed installation, but it is likely to be messed with by children, college students, and retired engineering professors (worse than kids).

    Features are not that big a deal. We're running one effects unit and two monitor mixes. Too many toys are dangerous in the hands of some of the people we have had mixing. KISS.

    Sound quality, well let's just say that the Soundcraft board is not a big limitation on our system.

    Budget: Well, the expectations of the budget committee have been set by equipment like the Soundcraft. I need to really do a good job making a case for something more expensive than the $5K range. Cheaper is always better of course.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff



    I have been raving about the PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 since it arrived at the studio here. It is so awesome I cannot believe it is only $3300.00. 18 years on the road X 6 days a week. trust me... it would be where I would be going. And for a worship system... spot on.

    24 pre's, that go into a slick and great sounding modern console that has an interface that firewires to a recording DAW if you want even more from it.
    The FAT Channel is unreal. This thing is so logical , PreSonus is really thinking like a sound man. The only thing missing is moto faders and I couldn't care less.

    Read this full article and look at the video's included in the drop down menu.
    Seriously, take a look at it.

  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Pretty certain kids cannot mess with it to a point of disaster. I haven't used it for this but I believe it is all programmable/recall at an instant patch . The faders won't auto move but all the settings are in scene. Its nothing to reset faders.

    Everything can be stored on a laptop.
  4. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Allen & Heath GL2400 32 channel is about 2.5k. Easy to use and sounds pretty good. A Midas Venice 24 channel is about 5k and 32 channel is about 6k. Those would probably be my first choices in that range without going used or with the Presonus StudioLive mentioned above.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've used a Midas Venice but cannot compare the pre's as yet, but as far as comapring the two from my hands on, the StudioLive 24.4.2 eats the Midas Venice .
  6. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    I've only used a venice a few times, and didn't think it sounded much better than the A&H, honestly. For the price difference I'd stick with the A&H. The StudioLives have me very tempted to go digital - I'm pretty surethat I'd get the 24 channel if I had the option. I've not used one, though I have heard them. Didn't blow me away, but it's really hard to say without actually working the unit. Most guys coming in to the places I work don't really have the chops I have running live sound (as I know for sure at least a few of the guys running the SLs didn't).
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Could be because its a lower price point, affordable, so you will get more / wider range of experienced/less experienced people buying it.
    I'm an analog guy all the way but this is kind of like a hybrid system that flows right in to a DAW (StudioOne).

    class A pre's (30V) that go straight to the FAT Channel. I wish I was on the road with this desk, it would have been fun back in my day.

    Doing sound checks are a breeze because you can record the night before, or past gigs and run that performance into the SL and do the check without the band. Makes sound checks so easy at your leisure.

    I'm going to be using it for Worship as well.

    I'm not a technical guy by any stretch, I just go by common sense and how things work and sound so that's about all I can add. Sheet says it good in the comment to me a while back, just as I was getting into it.

  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    FWIW, I have learned from 2 friends with the StudioLive (one of them has 2, and they have all suffered the same issue), and they are upset that there was a software glitch that shut the board down and wouldn't let it reset. One mixer had to be replaced....
    Bob had posted a similar question anout 2 years ago, and I mentioned that I just replaced my trusty old Yamaha M2500 with a mackie Onyx 32-ch 4-bus. THIS BOARD HAS BEEN HORRIBLE! ! ! Entire 8-channel sections have crapped out while the board sits in a sound booth (covered with a slip cover when not in use...). This board has been a BIG disappointment...

    My money is on an A&H just because you can get a new one, mine have been very solid. BTW, having used a Midas Venice several times on remotes, I can say that they sound GREAT, and are , err, WERE built very well (by Dynacord). Too bad they have gone the way of the do-do........
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Moon, I think this is old news but now you've got me wondering. I heard this was a firewire issue with laptops not within specs on both of them. They unplugged them while tracking and the software didn't like that.

    I'm going to contact PreSonus.

    To clarify, The Mackie has been horrible?
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    If you stick with analog the A&H would be a great choice, or perhaps a GB series Soundcraft. (lots to choose from 24 to 32 channels well under $5k) I'm using a Live8-32 on Sunday mornings, a little step down from the GB - but still another solid choice.

    Here are a couple things that come up pretty often as food for thought:

    Since it's a significant purchase, you might as well make sure it can handle anything you might throw at it 5 - 10 years from now.
    These are some often overlooked areas where separate mixes via subgroup outs, extra Auxes, or better yet - a couple Matrix Mixes can be extremely useful.

    Assistive Listening Systems
    Cry Room / Nursery
    Narthex/Gathering area/Lobby
    CD Recorder / SD Recorder
    DVD Recorder
    Computer Podcast Capture

    I've got some church clients with speakers everywhere: hallways, restrooms, parking lots, kitchens, dining/social halls, youth wings, over-flow areas.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mackie's 1640 and 1604 have always been their best mixer IMO. The Onyx 800R has been their best product overall, again IMO. That said, I am very surprised there was such an issue with their "large" format board. I do think A&H probably has the best product in that range of boards but I'm truly not on top of mixers these days.

    Edit: I forgot the SDR. Now that vies for best Mackie product even though they bought it from another company.
  12. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    I should also throw out the Allen & Heath GL2800 and the Allen & Heath Zed. The 2800 is going to be about the 5k, but has a ton of features: 8 subs, 10 Auxs. Has that nice A&H sound, I think it has mute groups too(could be wrong on that one). The Zeds are pretty decent as well, and cost even less than the 2400s. I've used the Zed(not the 16r, but the 24 channel one I think) and it sounded good. A&H makes some great boards for live sound.
  13. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Mute Groups are really handy for making the transition from music to message and back again.
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the pointers everyone. Believe me Chris, the Presonus board was the first one I thought of, but I don't think it's big enough. The good thing about consumer boards like the Soundcraft Ghost is all of the inputs for consumer sources, and we are running CD, tape return, DVD, computer inputs. Even if we run all of these mono (which I'm considering in any case - we have a fairly weird configuration) we are running the equivalent of 20 channels through the Soundcraft. I really like the configuration of the Presonus board. The work flow is much better than any of the other digital boards I've seen in close to that price range. By the time the church comes to a decision on this they may be making a 32 channel board.

    Thanks for the info on the analog boards. I had given the specs on an A&H GL2800-32. (This is one of those situations where I get an email saying, "there is a budget meeting tonight, give me some numbers." ) It's very disconcerting that there are situations like Mackie's where there are great reviews a 16 channel board are terrible reviews on a 32. (I've heard this from other sources.) At least at this price range it's unreliable to choose by brand.

    I doubt I'll get the board into this year's budget. The new board means new furniture, new snake channels, new wireless mics - so the board is a fraction of the cost of the expansion. But this will be a wake-up call that the issue is coming down the line. And you never know, they might just decide to go for it. If not, I'll be scrambling around in a year or two trying to find out who has kept up their QC.
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    It's interesting. Instead of doing this our church has two simultaneous services. A lot has to do with the physical layout. The "campus" has an old church built in 1905 - seats 200. This is connected to a "main sanctuary" - seats 500 - built in 1950. They do a "traditional" service in the main sanctuary and a "non-traditional" in the "little church." The traditional service uses a lot of outputs. They do the radio broadcast and the recordings for shutins. The service I'm music director for is in the smaller room. We use all the inputs - rock band, multimedia presentations.

    As a side note, the equipment I was asking about a couple of years ago was for a youth center that is in yet another building. I've actually never mixed in there, and I can't remember if they took my advice. They ended up with a pretty good system.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    well, assuming the StudioLive 24.4.2 is stable, I would find it hard to believe any console could touch this clever build at its price point, at twice the price right now. The A&H looks more impressive but IMHO, you are paying for dated strips that can and should be replaced in software (Euro dollars and labour to boot).
    All of a sudden the DAW is not making sense in our recording world and we are suddenly migrating back to a console with parts that can be replaced with software. Too confusing and very backwards to me.

    This is for Worship in a Church.

    I put my bet on the StudioLive for best all round console in all aspects if it does indeed not have a stability issue.
  17. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    "To clarify, The Mackie has been horrible? "

    Yes, a big disappointment. Aux sends (in bunches of 8's) have just shut off. Panning assignments have gone whacked,
    ditto with the Bus Assign buttons. And even the phantom power on 2 channels has developed some issues. I hate it.

    I am seriously considering a Yamaha 0196V2 despite the fact that it's not the cheapest mixer in its' class. I just feel that Yamaha has kept their line up to date and minimized any downtime issues. One of my "competitors" in this market has 2 of these and has never had a problem with either one of them. Plus, my years with Yamaha boards goes way back to 1976...
    I just trust them, I've never been disappointed with their performance.
  18. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I serve 100+ churches covering a wide variety of denominations in my business, and based on what I've seen over the last few years, it seems inevitable you will eventually switch rooms.

    The layout of your building sounds very similar to ours, where you're met by pre-recorded music in the parking lot, portico, welcome area, hallways and restrooms. Then we do two 'mostly contemporary' services back to back in the main sanctuary. While the early service is going on in the main sanctuary for mostly adults; kids K-6 are rockin' Kidz Church in the old sanctuary, teens are doing small group study, and the other half of the adults are in their respective classrooms. For the second service the adults switch places, the kids go from Kidz Church to their classrooms, and the teens join the service in the main sanctuary. The teens also have their own Sunday night service in the old sanctuary with an all teen rock-band of their own. For the morning services in the main sanctuary we're producing CDs, 3-camera video for DVDs, projection screen, webcast, and sending CCTV throughout the building. And of course if the tech-team goes completely unnoticed that means we've done a good job.
  19. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    We will see. A lot of people think things will go the way you say. We have another part of the dynamic: the college students. Five to ten years ago most of them still went to the traditional service. I think a lot of them want something familiar that reminds them of home. Now it's more evenly split. Maybe the dynamic has changed or maybe more of them are growing up with contemporary services.

    At any rate, I think you are right. In the long run we are going to be using the multimedia capabilities in all of the sanctuaries. I'll try to keep that in mind when setting specs.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm with moon on the Yamaha's. Actually most of my previous mixers I've owned, that I never had problems with were Yamaha. But they do sound a bit tight. I have owned Tascam, A&H, StudioMaster (pretty looking garbage), Soundcraft that can't go wrong there... and a few others that I can't recall at the moment.

    Today however, the reason I am jacked up on the PreSonus (24.4.2) is they put money into the pre's and then made software that routes a whack of logic very smartly into a box that isn't charging you for unnecessary metal, weight and freight.
    I'll be silent now and wait for PreSonus to respond to the concerns on this technical issue.

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