If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best soundboard for Church is, then I’d recommend the BEHRINGER X32 Producer Digital Mixing Console as the best one.
In every gathering, whether inside or outside the church, good music, and sound matter. And thanks to our ever-evolving technology, there are already a lot of options available to improve the quality of sound we can produce.
Paul stated in Romans 10:17 that faith comes from hearing the message. Although the word “hearing” here is not just about literally listening to God’s Word, we could still apply this message to all modern churches. Hearing God’s Word should be the priority of all churches. With that being said, a good sound system must be every church’s priority so that the Word of God can be heard clearly by the whole congregation.
As the layout of church services constantly changes, the demand for a good sound soundboard is also evolving. Whether you’re a small or big church, a good soundboard is a must.
Here are the Best Soundboards for Church we’ll be reviewing:
- BEHRINGER X32 Producer Digital Mixing Console
- Allen & Heath SQ-6 Digital Mixer
- Zoom LiveTrak L-20 Digital Mixer
- Tascam Model 16 All-In-One Mixing Studio
- Rockville RPM1870 Powered Mixer
Benefits of Soundboard for Churches
A soundboard is a console used to change the dynamics, equalization, and other properties of multiple audio channels, and mix all audio inputs to have a balanced output. Without a good soundboard, it will be hard to produce balanced audio in church services.
The soundboard is the foundation of a church sound system. While other equipment like speakers, monitors, cables, and microphones are important, a soundboard is an integral part of pulling all these tools together and create quality sound.
Having a quality soundboard is vital to every church service in two aspects: music and the message.
In the church, if you are using high-quality instruments and have a great choir, a good soundboard can help produce the best quality of music. It allows the congregation to have a worship experience without being distracted by other noise. Music is important in the Church as it sets the mood for the members. Singing and listening to worship songs prepares the heart of the congregation as it can set their hearts and mind right before listening to God’s message.
Having a good soundboard in your church can help the congregation to hear the words being spoken by the Pastor clearly. And if the message can be heard properly, it can be understood easily. The clearer the message that is being delivered, the more the congregation can concentrate. It enables the listeners to hear the message without confusion since soundboards can help produce clear audio and volume.
Digital and Analog Soundboard
There are two main categories for soundboards: analog and digital soundboards. Whether a soundboard is digital or analog, its job is the same, which is to take signals from multiple inputs and combine them to produce an output. The difference between analog and digital soundboards, however, is whether audio signals are processed in analog form or converted to digital form.
Analog Soundboards are cheaper than digital soundboards, however, their features are limited. It only has few channels and a basic set of mixing features. It is easier to operate as it usually has one control per function and all these controls are visible and accessible via one control panel. It has dedicated controls for each channel which allows you to easily control the mics, EQ, and other settings.
Its layout is pretty simple and easy to understand. These are the type of soundboards that are commonly used especially in public events or in schools where someone who has no experience in mixing needs to operate a soundboard.
Compared to analog ones, digital soundboards are complicated to operate but are more flexible. Digital soundboards provide channel equalizers, in-line dynamics, and various effects. Unlike analog soundboards with inputs linked to individual channels, digital soundboards have no individual channels and a large number of inputs are controlled by faders.
Several mixing options are available as well as various effects, which means you may no longer need to purchase other external signal processing devices. Some modern digital soundboards also have a Wi-Fi control option where artists onstage can adjust mixes through their mobile devices.
A big advantage of having a digital mixer is it allows you pre-program controls ahead of time. While digital soundboards may seem better due to their advanced options, operating digital soundboards requires familiarity as their layout is different than analog soundboards.
In general, digital soundboards are more expensive than analog ones, however, there are already cheaper and affordable digital soundboards available in the market which you can use depending on your church’s need.
Few Things to Consider in Choosing a Soundboard for Church
Choosing the best soundboard for your church is not just a matter of choosing between digital or analog. Choosing the best soundboard is a hard task as you need to consider things before choosing from limitless options available. Here are a few:
Who will operate the soundboard?
It is important to have few dedicated people to operate your soundboard and buy a soundboard that will suit them. Most churches nowadays make the mistake of buying too complicated soundboards only to find out that their members can’t operate them. Consider training your team as well if you plan to buy a digital soundboard that is more complex.
How many channels are required?
Make sure to count the number of audio channels and microphone inputs that are needed, and make a room for future expansions. How many sound system devices does your church have? How many microphones? Do you need additional outputs for live streaming? Make sure to consider all these when choosing a soundboard.
How big is your church?
A church with 5000 people may require more complex soundboards compared to churches with 50 people. It is also important to consider your worship style. If you are buying a soundboard just to amplify the message from the Pastor, an analog soundboard may be good. But if you want to reinforce a large choir or worship team with more instruments, a complex digital soundboard may be required.
How much is your budget?
Having a great sound at your church doesn’t have to be luxurious or too expensive. What matters is buying a soundboard that your church can afford.
Buy a soundboard that will commit to meet your needs but will save you more money in the long run. Here are the best soundboards for a church that you can choose from:
The BEHRINGER X32 Producer Digital Mixing Console is a digital soundboard and is considered the flagship model for all Behringer X32 soundboards. Its modern innovative design and technology, and affordability, make it a go-to soundboard for all churches whether small or large churches. While it is cheaper than other brands, its quality is at par with them.
It has a feature where you can easily set up in-ear monitors which are useful for worship leaders and singers. It has an upgradable unit firmware. It is also very flexible as you can assign buttons to do other functions. It features 8 assignable DCA channels that can control several channels simultaneously. It also has built-in effects, all are of good quality. Overall, this soundboard has it all.
- Has fully programmable mic with 16 MIDAS designed preamps
- Has 17 fully automated 100mm faders for instant overview and management
- Features 40-input channel in a 25-bus rack-mountable
- It has a 32 x 32 channel USB 2.0 audio interface, with DAW remote control emulating HUI* and Mackie Control
- It has 8 XLR outputs with 6 additional line in/outputs, a connector for phones, and XLR mic input with a talkback section
- It can be controlled remotely via an Ipad or iPhone app
- Need to learn to operate especially if coming from an analog soundboard
- An external router is needed if you want to use the wireless function
The SQ-6 from Allen & Health is easier to operate compared to other digital soundboards. It has multiple layers which allow you to switch between your view. It has a PAFL (Pre/After Fader Level) that allows you to listen to other particular channels and adjust what you want to hear.
It has various controls that allow you to adjust a particular channel. It also has other soft buttons and dials that can be used to program to fulfill different functions.
- EQs are smooth sounding
- With concise user manual
- 48 Input Channels
- 7″ Colour Touchscreen
- 25 Faders (24 channels plus a master)
- 24 Onboard Preamps
- 16 SoftKeys AES Digital Output
- Lack of PFL cancel
- No external inserts
The Zoom LiveTrak L-20 is an easy-to-use digital soundboard that lets you record up to 22 individual channels. It also has a feature where you can create custom headphone mixes for up to six members and craft a live mix complete with effects.
The Zoom LiveTrak L-20 is also equipped with several operation modes like audio interface mode and USB Host mode.
- Has built-In 22-Track SD Recorder
- Has 16 Channels for compression
- 20-22 Channel SD Card Recorder
- 22-in/4-out USB Audio Interface
- 6 Customizable Outputs
- Wireless iOS Control
- You need to download the manual online
- The unit is noisy
The Tascam Model 16 is a 16-Track recorder with a punch in/out capability for up to 8 simultaneous tracks. It has powerful recording and mixing features. It is also compact and it combines the simplicity of analog with the flexibility of digital soundboards. It has an incredible sound quality which perfectly fits small churches.
Features include a 16-track multi-track recorder, 14 inputs (10 Monaural XLR and 2 Stereo-paired), 10 mic pre-amps, and 1-knob compressor.
- Has 16 TASCAM effects like reverb, delay, chorus, and flange
- Comprehensive simplified menu tree
- Not fit for large churches
The Rockville RPM1870 is a versatile soundboard that has one of the clearest sound quality with good quality mic preamps. Though a little compact, it doesn’t overheat even when using it for hours. Even with volumes up, the sound can fill a room with good quality.
It features channels with independent EQ, gain, and reverb. It also has a graphic EQ, USB, and SD playback, all housed in a wooden enclosure.
- Powerful for small churches
- Clear and precise sound quality without distortion
- 18 Channels
- Built-in USB
- 24-bit digital effects processor
- 16 preset effects
- Fans are loud
- Lack of a dedicated monitor
Whether your church is small or big, having a quality soundboard that can meet your church’s needs is a must. In choosing the best soundboard for your church, always consider the price, the complexity of the soundboard, the expertise of the user, and can cater to all your input and output needs.
For all these factors, the best I can recommend is the BEHRINGER X32 Producer Digital Mixing Console since the possibilities with this soundboard are endless. While the interface may seem complicated especially to users who are new to digital soundboards, there are already a lot of available tutorials which can help familiarize them with this console.
Its MIDAS mic preamps are among the best preamps available, and with 32 preamps, it is more than enough to handle a full-size choir. For its price, it matches all features needed by all churches whatever the size.