best digital mixers for church

The 5 Best Digital Mixers for Church

Last Updated: July 27, 2021

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best digital mixer for church is then I’d recommend Yamaha 02R96VCM Digital Mixing Console as the best one.

5/5
  • Easy to use, navigate, and understand
  • Advanced tools to get a great mix for less experienced users and less set up time for professional users
  • Powerful processing at a reasonable price

5/5
  • Four advanced multi-effect processors include surrounding effects built-in
  • Four I/O easy expansion slot in a variety of formats
  • Sophisticated Digital Recorder Integration

5/5
  • Flexible routing and I/O with 32 Onyx+ recallable mic press
  • 100% wireless control using the Master Fader app for iPad
  • 32×32 USB 2.0 audio interface for Mac or PC connectivity

The heart of a church’s sound system is a mixer. Most of the instruments revolve around the one you choose. It supplies your audio inputs and outputs, routing, microphone amplification, and so much more. 

Modern houses of worship require a robust speaker system, monitoring, and cabling. However, the mixer plays an important role in pulling all of these tools together and creates an acoustically pleasing experience in worship.

Some musicians are die-hard analog enthusiasts. However, digital consoles have truly transformed the way of mixing sound in the music industry. Most of the digital mixers in the market can perform a lot of remarkable feats. 

So if it’s time for your analog mixer to get an upgrade, let me help you decide what are the best digital mixers for church in the market today. 

Here are the Best Digital Mixers for Church we’ll be reviewing:

Analog vs. Digital Mixers

An analog mixer and a digital mixer vary in ways of thinking about the process and the end result, but they both deliver excellent sound. 

Some musicians swear they will never go digital because they believe that analogs are still the ones superior in sound. Analog enthusiasts are certain that these kinds of mixers give a warmer and richer sound.

However, most musicians today favor digital mixers over analog ones. Let’s see the difference between the two. 

Analog Mixers

In context, analog mixers are very simple and are still the foundation of most audio systems.

Analog mixers are comprised of individual hands-on controls for every function and routing option. Every channel, bus, preamp, EQ, and other component is made up of wires, resistors, and switches commonly known as physical circuitry. 

Essentially, analog mixers have a built-in four-band parametric EQ. The EQ helps balance the tonal sound and provides space for each instrument in the mix. However, the built-in dynamics are rarely available on every channel. In that case, various racks of gear are vital in an all-analog setup. These gears are required to accommodate the additional signal processing for each channel. 

Analog mixers also require to have some sort of wedge monitors or stage monitors. These monitors provide a dedicated mix allowing the worship team to hear themselves while on stage. 

Analog mixers may seem easy to use and sound better, but it’s more costly with all of the signal processing needed. 

Digital Mixers

The digital mixer is the way to go, it is simple and convenient. The quality of sound produced in digital mixers has already escalated in recent years. They are continually evolving and they are getting better and better. 

A digital mixer is an advanced computer with a lot of AD/DA converters connected to a specialized control surface. They offer a lot of advantages compared to analog mixers which can seriously cut down on outboard gear. For instance, digital mixers have a large channel count and they are loaded with advanced EQs, dynamics processing, and effects. One major advantage of a digital mixer is to be able to store and recall the entire setup in an instant. 

Digital mixers also have a higher learning curve compared to analog mixers. Oftentimes, they just have one master control section to configure all of the channels. Another amazing feature of a digital mixer is the availability of wireless control options. Some of the latest series offer control apps for iOS and Android. 

The setup and operation using a digital mixer are much simpler compared to analog mixers. Musicians and singers could easily adjust to their monitor mix. The sound engineer could conveniently tweak the monitors from the stage and make proper adjustments. 

Benefits of Digital Mixers in the Church

The possibilities are endless if you choose to use a digital mixer for your church. You will not just cut down on your gear clutter but you will be able to have more space compared to using the analog mixer. Here are some benefits of a digital mixer.

It’s Digital

Going digital is proven to have a lot of benefits. You don’t have to worry about effects and signal processing as they are already built into the board. All EQ, compression, noise gates, delay, reverb, and other effects can be applied to any instrument directly to your mixer. 

One good thing about going digital is it can save different scenes in your mixer without worrying about adjusting the knobs and faders. It is as powerful as your smartphones as it can bring the same transformation to your sound system. 

Compatibility of the Ecosystem

Who says you can’t have it all? With your digital mixer, you’ll be having the whole ecosystem of compatible consoles, in-ear monitoring, and digital snakes. This is one of the many advantages of choosing a digital mixer – if you can run one then you can run them all!

One of the best features of all the products mentioned here is their compatibility. Some digital mixers like the Behringer X32 are compatible with analog consoles. The analog inputs of the X32 are built into the back of the board. 

One good thing about these digital mixers is that they also have the same user experience. You don’t have to worry about the mixers being different because once the sound techs learned how to run them, they could easily run both. 

Easy Setup

It is important in a church setting to have a mixer that is easy to use and understand. It should also be easy for the volunteer sound technicians to learn. 

The best digital mixers for church mentioned here are easy to navigate. The volunteers of your tech team could easily figure it out even without an instruction manual. The layout of their boards is easy to set up and gets the work done. 

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Digital Mixer for Church

Is it time to upgrade your analog mixers? The transition from analog to digital is not an easy task. You have to consider countless options available. Here are the top questions you need to answer before choosing the best digital mixers for church.

  1. How many musicians and singers do you have?
  2. Are you planning to add more musicians and vocalists in the future?
  3. How many channels are needed?
  4. Does your church have or planning to have multiple worship teams?
  5. Who are you going to task to operate? Are they volunteers or professional sound technicians?
  6. Do you plan to record your services and create multi-track recordings?
  7. Are you going to use In-Ear monitors?

Yamaha 02R96VCM Digital Mixing Console

The original Yamaha 02R sparked the greatest success stories of the digital revolution way back in 1995. The release of the 02R96 in 2002 and now the second version 02R96 remained the professional digital mixer standard. The Yamaha 02R96VCM is a new revolution that redefines the “state-of-the-art” in digital audio production. 

The key features of the Yamaha 02R96VCM are acquired from Yamaha’s flagship DM2000 Digital Production Console. Like the DM2000, it offers the same array of robust channel functions on its inputs and outputs. The analog input stages of this version have head amps inherited from the DM2000 for transparent sound perfect for the professional domain.

The 02R96VCM prides its 56 input channels and 18 mixing busses backed by the superb processing power of a custom Yamaha DSP7 LSI. What’s more? The 5 new plug-in packages offer both space and creativity in the production workplace. It also boasts an outstanding REV-X reverb algorithm equipped with iSSP technology. It features a selected channel system that combines the feel of an analog desk with the controllability of a digital mixer for fast, intuitive operation. For me, this is one of the best digital mixers for churches in the market today.

Pros:

  • Four advanced multi-effect processors include surrounding effects built-in
  • Four I/O easy expansion slot in a variety of formats
  • Sophisticated Digital Recorder Integration
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac versions of Studio Manager Version 2
  • Includes a high degree of integration with Digital Audio Workstations

Cons:

  • No dedicated surround sound monitor outputs

Allen & Heath QU-32C Compact Digital Mixer

The Allen & Heath QU-32C Compact Digital Mixer is built for live and installed sound as well as studio use. This 32-channel digital mixer and USB audio interface incorporate technologies pioneered on their GLD and iLive digital mixing.

The Qu-32 sophisticated natural layout and workflow highlights the sixteen million color, 800 x 480 touchscreen. Dedicated keys and screen tabs provide super-fast, easy access to all settings. The QU-32 boasts 33 motorized ALPS faders with 16 arranged over 2 layers for instant access to all channels. 

It features 4 stereo iLive FX engines, an integrated multitrack USB recorder, and can store up to 100 full Scenes for recall. Recall Filters or a Global Recall Filter can be used to block single parameter updates. The high contrast metallic finish controls offer excellent low light visibility and enhanced tactile control. 

Pros:

  • 32 Mono Inputs and Busses, 3 Stereo Inputs, 4 Stereo FX Returns, and 12 Mix Outputs
  • 19″ Rack-mountable with moving faders and recallable 32 AnaLOGIQ preamps
  • Qu-Drive direct multitrack recording/playback on USB drives and USB Audio Streaming
  • It has a  built-in interface compliant with Mac OS X and will be recognized by any DAW
  • Qu-Pad iPad App to control the Qu console

Cons:

  • Not advisable for home recording
  • No application for PC or Mac to control the QU console

Soundcraft Si Expression 3 Digital Mixer Console

Among the digital mixers mentioned here, the Soundcraft Si Expression 3 is the simplest and easiest to operate. The workflow is easy to understand as everything is already laid out. This powerful 32-channel console is also one of the most cost-effective digital consoles there is. This console offers the newest DSP, component technology, and manufacturing techniques.

The Soundcraft Si Expression 3 is designed preferably for Installed-Sound and Audio-Visual applications. It has 30+2 faders that you can customize and 32 mics/line inputs to meet your needs. The 1 control 1 function allows it to be labeled on the surface just like that of an analog mixer. All this power combined with reliability, flexibility, and usability puts the Si Expression 3 in high regard.

Pros:

  • 66 massive mix capacity inputs
  • 4 assignable fader layers to accommodate additional mic not included in the patch list
  • 1 ViSi Connect expansion card slot for 64 x 64 input/output expansion
  • Ability to manage the security and lock the whole console using the profile settings
  • One-Touch Easy Mix where you can mix AUX, FX, or Matrix bus with just one single key

Cons:

  • Noisy power supply fan
  • Absence of any RCA connection

BEHRINGER X32 40-Input 25-Bus Digital Mixing Console

The Behringer X32 is a very powerful but highly compact digital mixer. Features include a 40-input channel, 25-bus digital mixing console great for studio and live application. It also has 32 MIDAS-designed, fully programmable mic preamps for audiophile sound quality.  

The Behringer X32 boasts individual and dynamic LCD Scribble Strips on all channels and buses. Advanced features include 16 XLR outputs plus 6 additional line in/outputs. It also has 25 fully automated motorized 100 mm faders for instant overview, powerful scene management, and DAW. 

What’s more interesting with the Behringer X32 is its 2 phones connectors and talkback section. The tactile control of this mixer allows you to control the fader and mixer parameters while giving a hardware connection to the mixer. 

Pros:

  • Easy to use, navigate, and understand
  • Advanced tools to get a great mix for less experienced users and less set up time for professional users
  • Powerful processing at a reasonable price
  • Pristine audio quality
  • With LCD Scribble Strips on all channels and buses to create easy assignment

Cons:

  • Not compatible with Ipad app
  • No built in router

Mackie DL Series 32-channel Digital Wireless Live Sound Mixer

Mackie is loved by most churches because of its excellent sound quality and affordability. The Mackie DL32S is a 32-channel wireless digital mixer that can be used for a variety of purposes. This superb digital mixing console has the power of a robust mixer that can be controlled wirelessly from your iPad. 

The Mackie DL32S prides its Master Fader control app that offers over-the-top control over everything. The Master Fader also can recall every setting for faster set up digitally. The DL32S is loaded with a powerful DSP processing needed for professional applications. 

The DL32S has the flexibility of 32 Onyx+ mic pres and 10 fully assignable XLR outputs. The DL32S also has the recording capability in full multi-track format.

Pros:

  • Flexible routing and I/O with 32 Onyx+ recallable mic press
  • 100% wireless control using the Master Fader app for iPad
  • 32×32 USB 2.0 audio interface for Mac or PC connectivity
  • Fully loaded DSP with 36 input channels with 4-band PEQ + HPF
  • 28 output busses with 4-band PEQ

Cons:

  • The interface is clunky
  • Works best using an iPad

Conclusion

Many churches started using analog soundboards for their worship team. In recent years, many are transitioning because of the many features digital mixers offer. One advantage of using a digital mixer is its maximum power and flexibility packed in a limited space. What’s more, digital mixers are now affordable and portable. 

If you are in the market for a new digital mixer, I’d recommend the Yamaha 02R96VCM Digital Mixing Console as the best one. The all-new 02R96VCM is vastly improved redefining the “state-of-the-art” for digital audio production. The processing power of this model has more than five times compared to the original 02R. The added features and functionality of the 02R96VCM make it the forefront of modern production requirements. 

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