best church monitor

A Guide to the Best Stage Monitors for Church

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best stage monitor for Church is then I’d recommend the JBL PRX412M Portable 2-way Passive Utility Stage Monitor and Loudspeaker System as the best one.

The significance of onstage monitors can’t be overstated in live music settings. Without a dependable monitoring system, the worship team can’t hear themselves making it difficult to play their best. The biggest gripe for a worship team is not being able to hear as they perform onstage. Pastors and musicians alike will agree to have stage monitors with the best compromise between quality and price. 

The worship team or the minister sometimes need to deal with a lot of distractions on stage. They need to be able to play in time and are essential for a tight performance. They need to be able to hear the music as it is being played. 

Maybe you are wondering why the main PA system isn’t enough. PA speakers are created to provide sound reinforcement directed at the audience. The purpose of stage monitors in principle was to provide sound reinforcement intended for the performers on stage. A good PA system can work in smaller churches or venues. But how about bigger churches?

Here are the Best Stage Monitors for Church we’ll be reviewing:

What is a Stage Monitor?

A Stage Monitor is a musical instrument that enhances your performance and amplifies the output sound for the audience. Known as a monitor speaker, it is a speaker system made to enhance the impact and sound of live performances. Stage monitors are used to amplify the sound on stage so that the audience can hear and enjoy the performance. Stage monitors ensure that your vocals don’t become out of time with the music. Being able to hear the dry mix using stage monitors will guarantee that you keep in tune. 

Choosing a stage monitor is as important, or even more, as your other equipment in the church. The impact that stage monitors have on performance lets you know how important this piece of equipment is to performing music live. A stage monitor is the best choice to use if you want to maintain a reference to your sound during a live performance.

Types of Stage Monitor

Before you start looking for monitors, you will quickly learn that there are two categories of stage monitors. They are unpowered and powered types of monitors. Powered monitors have a power amp, thus the name, while unpowered monitors do not. 

Active Stage Monitors

Active Stage Monitors are commonly called powered monitors because of their built-in amplifiers. Powered stage monitors come with a horn, loudspeaker, and an amplifier all in the same cabinet. Setting up a powered monitor is so simple because you do not need additional equipment to use this. They are very portable especially for musicians who want to bring their monitor on stage. These monitors also can adjust the levels on stage or adjust the equalization.

But, the price of a powered monitor is usually higher than that of the unpowered one. You also need to remember that they need to be plugged into a power outlet. Despite all the disadvantages, musicians still opt for these kinds of monitors due to their ease of use and convenience.

Passive Stage Monitors

Passive Stage Monitors or unpowered monitors require an external power amplifier. In contrast to powered monitors, the structure of passive monitors comprises a cabinet containing a horn and a loudspeaker. The amplification of passive monitors happens apart from the speaker and speaker cabinet.

Passive monitors are the most preferred monitors in churches with a professionally installed sound system. Compared to powered monitors, they are also less costly to replace. There’s no need to replace when a monitor fails as long as your power amp is still working. However, they are not as portable because of a heavy and bulky item you need to carry or set up on the stage.

Designs of Stage Monitors

Stage monitors come in a variety of shapes, styles, and forms. The different designs are suitable for different kinds of situations and musical settings. Some of the designs are:

Wedge Monitors

A Wedge Monitor is a popular and low-profile design for monitoring. Wedge monitors are a cabinet type of monitor placed on the stage floor. They are angled upward toward the performer without blocking the audience’s view. Wedge monitors are well suited for situations where each member of the worship team has a dedicated monitor. This kind of design is most popular with church worship teams because they possess the best sound quality and direction.

Side Fill Monitors

Side Fill Monitors works oppositely than that of the Wedge Monitors. They are aimed at the team in general rather than focused on an individual musician or vocalist. Ideally, this monitor design is used as a complement to individual wedge monitors. They are placed just offstage and deliver a complete mix that the entire group can hear. Side Fills provide a fuller mix that can help musicians deliver more solid performances. However, Side Fill Monitors are losing their functionality due to improvements in technology. 

Stand-mounted Monitors

Stand-mounted Monitors acts as an alternative to the wedge-style monitor that sits on the floor. These monitors can be stand-mounted on a wall or pole, hence the name. They can be positioned on top of a microphone stand or keyboard stands. However, this may be visually more disruptive and may end up blocking the view of some of your audience. Stand-mounted Monitors are ideal for churches in which the worship team shares monitors.

In-ear Monitors

For some performers, a monitor that is situated on the stage is not the best option. They feel like it doesn’t offer the needed flexibility, clarity, or mobility that they desire. The use of In-ear Monitors for such performers is the best solution providing precisely the mix they want. As its name suggests, each of them has an earbud in their ear listening to themselves instead of a big monitor in front of them. In-ear monitors are created for even and accurate response across frequencies. Because of this, many churches are moving to in-ear and wireless setups. In-ear Monitors can remove the clutter on stage allowing more manageable setup and tear down.

Things to Consider in Buying Stage Monitors

Now you know the different types of monitors and the various designs they come in. But there are also certain things you need to consider to help you differentiate between models. Here are the primary specifications to keep in mind.

  • Power Capacity – It is important to know how much power a monitor’s speakers can handle continuously. The more conservative way of rating the speaker capacity is usually calculated in RMS (Root Mean Square) watts. It simply means that power handling provides a wattage value the speaker can handle continuously without damage or severe distortion. But you must remember that watts could not directly measure how loud a monitor can get.
  • Sound Sensitivity Rating – One sign of maximum speaker volume is its sensitivity rating. It tells how efficiently the speaker converts amp power into audio sound. However, manufacturers measure sensitivity in various ways, making the spec’s reliability unsafe. A 95dBs (decibels) of output or higher is the most reasonable way to start. 
  • Impedance – The speaker’s impedance should be considered if you are connecting a power amp to unpowered speakers. Impedance is the amount of resistance that occurs when sending the signal from an amplifier to a speaker. It is important to note that your amplifier matches in impedance and is measured in Ohms.  
  • Frequency Range – The frequency response range refers to how much audio spectrum that a speaker will reproduce. Typically, music used in churches has a frequency range of 65hz to 20khz. Some monitors handle the complete frequency range in a single speaker while others use a combination of a woofer, horn, and tweeters. In either case, it’s best to make sure that the monitor you buy can balance the frequency range you’ll need to hear.

JBL PRX412M Portable 2-way Passive Utility Stage Monitor and Loudspeaker System

The JBL PRX412M Portable 2-way Passive Utility Stage Monitor and Loudspeaker System is designed for powerful performance in any setting. It is capable of either main sound reinforcement or monitoring applications. This monitor is ideal for speech reinforcement of any type. It is perfect for live performance stage monitoring and as a high-performance satellite speaker for use with subwoofers.

The JBL PRX412M provides a speaker system with multi-purposes and sure to meet your needs. You get an even and smooth sound on or off-axis with 90 degrees by 50 degrees coverage. This monitor is lightweight and includes rubber-coated carrying handles to make carrying a little easier. The speaker is covered with a 16-gauge grill for protection and integrity.

Pros:

  • Built-in dual-angle pole socket to be stand-mounted at different angles
  • Ergonomically engineered handles for added strength and durability
  • Heavy-duty 16-gauge protective screen for sonic accuracy, structural strength, and professional good looks
  • Includes NL-2 and 1/4″ phone combo connection jacks, and a passive network 
  • Survived JBL’s 100-hour power test to perform perfectly for a lifetime of long, loud nights

Cons:

  • It is not Bluetooth enabled

Peavey PV 12M 2-Way Floor Monitor

Peavey is a well-known name as one of the largest manufacturers and providers of professional-grade sound equipment. The PV 12M 2-way floor monitor is among the most affordable options. They provide good structural strength and high functional quality. They are highly durable and have a wonderful sound quality with enhanced clarity.

The PV 12M has 500 watts RMS with a peak power handling capacity of 1000 watts. The structure is designed to withstand the rigors of the road. It can be mounted on a pole and can be angled at either 30 or 45 degrees from the floor. This two-way system comprises a 12″ Sheffield Pro 1200+ premium woofer with powerful sound. It also features a 1.4-inch compression driver of titanium in addition to a fantabulous horn. A very affordable, top-quality performance, low-profile stage monitor. 

Pros:

  • It is a two-way floor monitor
  • Include two 1/4-inch, full-range parallel inputs for easy daisy-chaining
  • High-frequency Sound Guard IV driver protection
  • It has a solid and heavyweight body
  • Features a frequency response range of 68 Hz-17 kHz

Cons:

  • They are not powered monitors as advertised
  • It cannot stand upright

Samson RSXM10A – 800W 2-Way Active Stage Monitor

Samson is one brand known for providing quality musical equipment at very affordable prices. Like in the case of the Samson RSXM10A where you can get a stage monitor with an all-wood cabinet at an affordable price. 

The Samson RSXM10A core is a lightweight, 800-Watt Class D amplifier with a 10″ low-frequency driver. Featuring a compact, coaxial design where the tweeter sits right in front of the woofer. This two-way active stage monitor allows a more focused sound especially when listening right in front of the speaker’s spot. It is also described as a warm sounding monitor speaker preferred by most churches and musicians. 

Pros:

  • All-wood cabinet structure for durability
  • With a power output rating of 800W
  • It can be used as a FOH speaker complete with a FOH switch
  • Class D 2-way active stage monitor
  • Lightweight, compact design

Cons:

  • The sound is not as full compared to bigger monitors
  • No built-in covers for the speaker

Behringer Eurolive B112D Active 2-Way 12″ PA Speaker System with Wireless Option and Integrated Mixer

Behringer is a trusted name when it comes to credible manufacturers of loudspeakers and stage monitors. They are known to balance price and quality, to the detriment of the competition. One perfect example is the Behringer Eurolive B112D Active 2-Way Speaker System. It gives you a 12″ woofer, 1.35″ tweeter, and a 1000-Watt amplifier with built-in DSP for speaker protection at a very affordable price. 

The Behringer B112D is one of the highest-rated powered stage monitors under $300. It has Revolutionary Class-D amplifier technology for enormous power. Features include an additional line output for extra speaker systems. The versatile trapezoidal enclosure design allows various positioning. You could have it stand mounted with a 35-mm pole socket or tilt on its side as a floor monitor. 

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • High-Power 1000-Watt Rating for live and playback applications
  • 2-channel mixer with Clip LEDs, dedicated Mic/Line inputs, and volume controls
  • 2-band EQ with integrated sound processor for ultimate system control 
  • Ultra-wide dispersion with large-format exponential horn

Cons:

  • Sound is not that clear for larger venues
  • Lots of static noise in the background if used with wireless

Behringer Eurolive F1320D Active 300-Watt 2-Way Monitor Speaker System

Since the successful introduction of the Behringer Eurolive F-series, the legacy continues with the Eurolive F1320D. This 300-Watt 2-way monitor speaker system has its 3-band EQ. The dedicated volume knob lets you control and tweak the output for a clear, true sense performance. It also has a built-in adjustable feedback filter that helps remove annoying sounds in the background. The best part is the worship team could be able to hear themselves above the raging noise in the audience. 

The Behringer Eurolive F1320D weighs less than 40 lbs (18 kg) making them easy to transport and set up. It can also be mounted on a standard speaker pole as a PA system using the built-in 35-mm socket. You could also chain together as many F1320Ds via the 1/4″ TRS LINK OUTPUT connector for more coverage.   

Pros:

  • Revolutionary Class-D technology for fast and easy set-up
  • Instant PA system with just one F1320D and a microphone or MP3 player
  • Built-in preamp where you can connect a dynamic mic directly and control the volume
  • Versatile can be used as an instrument amplifier for keyboards, acoustic guitar, etc. 
  • Exceptional sound quality, dynamic range, and wide frequency bandwidth

Cons:

  • Distorts very easily even at moderate volume/bass
  • The sound volume is not as powerful as advertised

Conclusion

Stage monitoring is a task that performers and anyone working in this field should take very seriously. They are often referred to as the backbone of all good live performances. Every worship team wants to hear the correct sound on their monitor. They need to feel that the sounds they create are excellent. This will enable them to play better and enhance the whole worship experience.

When we talk about the “best”, we mean the best quality, and that is JBL. They are by far one of the recognized leaders in sound system speakers. From all the JBL speakers in the market, I’d recommend the JBL PRX412M Portable 2-way Passive Utility Stage Monitor and Loudspeaker System. It’s a true 2-way passive speaker, with a tough DuraFlex enclosure finish. It handles 300 watts of continuous power and 1200 watts peak. It has a custom-designed JBL 12-inch woofer holding down the low end with a 126 dB maximum SPL. At this price point, the JBL PRX412M is an excellent choice for on-stage monitors or utility speakers.

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