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Hi all,

I am looking at setting the sound system for a church. The size of the hall is not big, probably looking at an area (rectangular) of around 450 and can accomodate more than 300 but on average 100-150 people.

Church will have their own choir/band (singers, guitar, keyboard etc).

I do not really have an idea yet of what system to put together but what I had in mind for a few of the equipments are:

1. Mackie VLZ's
2. Peavey or JBL speakers for FOH and Sub
3. SM58 mics

what I need advice on are:

1. Would a Mackie / Peavey / JBL brand be suitable / recommended for a budget setup?
2. Should I purchase a board (other than mackie) that has in-built fx or a seperate module?
3. What kind of amplifier should I be looking at?
4. Sizes of the amps?

Any advice/suggestions are most welcome.



BobRogers Mon, 04/09/2007 - 06:07

I'm a church praise band director. I've helped two churches set up their sound systems for praise and worship. I've paid close attention to the systems set up by several churches in our area. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm worried that you are going about this the wrong way - trying to create a shopping list of gear and then farming everything out to the lowest bidder without considering specs or needs.

You really need to get someone who knows what they are doing to help you design this system. You also need to get the church leaders on board in a significant way. This is going to cost a lot of money and have a big aesthetic impact on the look of the church. Yes, it can be done on a budget, but there is no easier way to waste money than buying budget gear than doesn't do the job. You need to remind people that pianos and pipe organs are expensive items. Churches have a long history of spending money on worship music.

is a good place to start in terms of educating people in the clergy and congregation.

As far as your specific questions -

  1. I have no problems with the brands you are looking at. I tend to think that Peavey sacrifices sound quality for durability in its PA products. That's a bad choice in an installed system, but a good one in things that are going to be set up a torn down by volunteers every week. Again- how this system is going to be used and operated are the important considerations.
  2. Think about effects later. It's way down the list of considerations when choosing a mixer. If effects are included, fine. But these are something that can be added at a later date.
  3. Choice of amps depends on the volume of the hall, the number, kind, placement, and efficiency of the speakers, the desired sound pressure level. There is no way to answer that question without that kind of information.

moonbaby Mon, 04/09/2007 - 07:04

Bob hit the nail on the head. Get that book (it's on the MIX Bookshelf), also go to the Pro Sound Web (PSW) and go to their Church Sound site. Sign up for the free mags they offer quarterly. Read everything you can get your hands on, secular as well as church-based.
Even then, try to build a relationshlip with a local live sound vendor, instead of doing the thing by way of mail-order catalogs. The catalog companies may come in a bit cheaper in the short-run, but the local dealer will give you much better support. Many offer training and seminars, loaners for break-downs, and will take trade-ins when it's time to upgrade.
And as an aside, when choosing a mixer, built-in effects are gimmicky at best. The better live mixer models do not incorporate that type of stuff, they concentrate more on functionality and reliability, as well as audio quality. The cheap models that throw everything into one basket tend to be more problematic down the road. And when something breaks down, the whole package needs to be pulled out and sent in for repairs. Try to keep things as "modular" as possible.

anonymous Sat, 04/14/2007 - 09:00


this is a list that I have come up with (recommended)...

Yamaha MG 16/6FX Mixer
2 x Yamaha S115V
2 x Sub Peavey PV115
Berhinger EQ FBQ-3102
Berhinger Crossover MDX4600

I have also been offered to use:

Mclelland X-2100 Power Amp
Concord S-6000S
would you be able to recommend a decent/budget amps to drive those speakers.

Not sure if the power amps are available where you are but anyway thats the setup I am kind leaning towards

Any comments? feedback...


BobRogers Sat, 04/14/2007 - 10:28

The church I'm at now bought a 16 channel mixer before I got there. 16 channels! How could they ever use that many? Now a large part of my job is trying to figure how to shoehorn everyone into that mixer. It depends on the feedback problems in your sanctuary, but you may want a mic for each member in the choir. Each keyboard (you have to have at least a stage piano, a B3 simulator, and a synth, right) will sound better in stereo. I'd have no problem filling up 24 channels. 32 would be nice.

anonymous Sun, 04/15/2007 - 08:35

Well...the reason I picked a 16ch mixer is:

1. 4 for choir
2. 1 for "main" mic
3. 1 for guitar
4. 1 for bass
5. 4 for drums (though they are still deciding on whether to purchase a drum or not)
6. 2 for keyboard
7. 2 for CD player

Thats a total of 11 without a drum setup or 15 with drums

And because the church will also have or plan to have playgroups/kindergarten school and they may be able to share the church hall for school performances.

But I think even installing a 24ch mixer would be no problem, just grow the choir :)

moonbaby Mon, 04/16/2007 - 07:03

The power amps you named are not popular in the live sound community, they are probably a line of Asian-made el-cheapos. Look at the better-known names like QSC, Yamaha, and even Peavey. In your budget range, these are the ones that tend to be more stable (read: less likely to blow up and take the speakers with them). I have issues with Mr. Peavey, but I'll tell you this: his gear has always been able to take the abuse that mobile sound rigs dish out, and that is a real savior to even an installed rig. There are thousands and thaousands of CS800 power amps out there still chugging away after over 20 years of crankin'. In addition, I believe that the Peaveys still offer plug-in modules that include active crossovers. This will eliminate the need for one of the B$%^%$R boxes you listed.
As far as the mixer, I haven't been real impressed with the Yamaha MG line's headroom, but as a budget mixer, it's better than...
Be%^&%r gear. Lousy components, ripped-off designs, lawsuits out the ying-yang over patent infringements, poor headroom and reliability, these are the trademarks of Mr. B$%^%$r's gear. Try to steer clear of that stuff. If you need to scrimp on the EQ, consider looking on e-Bay for a used Ashley or Rane. Or a new dbx. Remember you get what you pay for.
The Yamaha SV's are OK in their niche, as are the Peaveys. My question is this: Since speaker manufacturers typically design their subs to extend the range of their "top boxes", why mix the brands? Is there THAT much difference in their pricing? Or is the dealer trying to move what stock they have at the best profit margin?
Finally, the mics. Is this a traditional choir, or a contemporary praise team? If it's a traditional one, depending on its' size, I have gotten better results with as few as 2 mics rather than 4. If these are folks that want to use individual handhelds (ie"praise team"), make sure you get a decent mic, not one of these cheapo "mic packs" with 4 mics, cables, and stands for $199.99 ( or even less). They won't hold up as long as it takes for the credit card to go through! Will one "main" mic do? Is this for the pastor or "lead vocals"? Don't you see an instance where you'll need a "podium mic", even if the "podium" is as simple as a boom stand? There are some churches where the members get downright indignant if Mr. Goodmoney's wife, Sarah, can't be heard making the announcements on the Mothers' Day picnic and nobody could hear her. Especially since the Mr. had just donated $1000 to get that system. Sorry abouit the run-on sentence, but you get my drift?
If you get "a drum", chances are they'll be too loud (especially the cymbals) to be mic'ed up anyway. A snare and a kick are probably all you'll need. And where are the monitors? Are you REALLY going to trust amateurs to sing on key without them :lol: ?


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