Official Guide to The Best Digital Mixers for Church

Editor’s Choice

  • 48 Input Channels, 36 Total Busses, PAFL Bus, 12 Stereo Mix
  • With a dedicated Talkback mic input
  • Includes 1/4″ TRS Headphone out with dedicated control

Best Overall

  • 33 motor faders (32 channels + 1 master)
  • 48 input mixing channels (40 mono + 2 stereo + 2 return)
  • 20 AUX (8 mono + 6 stereo) + stereo + sub buses

Budget-Friendly

  • It is powered by the PreSonus quad-core FLEX DSP Engine
  • It features password-protected user profiles for restricting feature access
  • It offers expandable plug-ins with vintage-style EQ and compression options

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best digital mixer for the church is then I’d recommend Yamaha TF5 32 Channel Digital Mixer as the best one.

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 to process 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 TF5 32 Channel Digital Mixer

The Yamaha TF5 32 Channel Digital Mixer is a new revolution that redefines the “state-of-the-art” in digital audio production. 

The Yamaha TF series Digital mixing consoles represent years of continuous development. Yamaha is among the world’s most experienced designers of digital consoles, but for the TF project, engineers started from scratch, rethinking the way people approach mixing sound and were careful not to get caught up in any conventions or presupposed best practices without a thorough reexamination. The team that created this console has more than 70 years of aggregated experience mixing shows of all genres, so they have firsthand experience with the chief concerns musicians have with regard to mixing.

The Yamaha TF5 is the 32-channel version of the TF mixer series, ideal for scenarios that require large numbers of simultaneous inputs. It may be the perfect thing for your stage or studio.

Based on an intuitive multi-touch screen and a simple touch and turn knob, getting around and making adjustments is simple and fast. Simple swipe, pinch and pull gestures and double touches invite the user to make adjustments, and the always available Touch and Turn control makes precise adjustments a breeze.

Pros:

  • 33 motor faders (32 channels + 1 master)
  • 48 input mixing channels (40 mono + 2 stereo + 2 return)
  • 20 AUX (8 mono + 6 stereo) + stereo + sub buses
  • 32 analog XLR/TRS combo mic/line inputs + 2 analog RCA pin stereo line analog inputs
  • 16 analog XLR outputs
  • 34 x 34 digital record/playback channels via USB 2.0 + 2 x 2 via a USB storage device
  • 1 expansion slot for NV64-D audio interface card

Cons:

  • No dedicated surround sound monitor outputs

Allen & Heath SQ-7 48 Input Channels Digital Mixer

The Allen & Heath SQ-7 Compact Digital Mixer is built for live and installed sound as well as studio use. This 48-channel digital mixer and USB audio interface incorporate technologies pioneered on their GLD and iLive FX digital mixing.

The SQ-7 sophisticated natural layout and workflow highlight the sixteen million color, 7″ color touchscreen. Dedicated keys and screen tabs provide super-fast, easy access to all settings. The SQ-7 boasts 24+1 motorized ALPS faders with 6 Layers for 144 assignable channel strips.

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. 

Additional features includes 24 Local Mic Inputs (XLR), 2 1/4″ Stereo Inputs (TRS), (1) 3.5mm Stereo Input, 16 Assignable Local Outputs (14 XLR + 2 1/4″ TRS).

Pros:

  • 48 Input Channels, 36 Total Busses, PAFL Bus, 12 Stereo Mix
  • With a dedicated Talkback mic input
  • Includes 1/4″ TRS Headphone out with dedicated control
  • SLink EtherCON connection for remote audio using dSnake/ME, DX or GigaACE/GX protocol
  • Includes I/O Port for Option Card
  • 8 Mute Groups, DCA Groups, 8 Stereo FX with dedicated FX Returns
  • Deep processing ready, RackFX Effects suite

Cons:

  • No application for PC or Mac to control the QU console

Presonus Studiolive 64S 64-Channel Mixer

PreSonus delivers the most powerful and flexible digital console available for installed sound, touring, and recording and the best value. Powered by the PreSonus quad-core FLEX DSP Engine, no other mixer can match its 128-channel (64×64) USB recording, 76 mixing channels, 43 buses, and an astounding 526 processor. Few designs in high-tech musical equipment manufacture have had as enduring a presence as Presonus StudioLive mixers.

Thanks to built-in AVB networking, the StudioLive 64S integrates with stage boxes, personal monitor mixers, switches, and more. Managing 76 total inputs is easy with 32 FlexMixes and 24 DCA groups. The Fat Channel processing section offers expandable plug-ins with vintage-style EQ and compression options on every channel and output bus.

The 64-channel StudioLive 64S is the most powerful and flexible digital console available for installed sound, touring, and recording. Features such as password-protected user profiles for restricting feature access and mixer scenes organized by project, make the StudioLive 64S ideal for installed sound.

Pros:

  • It is powered by the PreSonus quad-core FLEX DSP Engine
  • It features password-protected user profiles for restricting feature access
  • It offers expandable plug-ins with vintage-style EQ and compression options
  • Fully recallable with touch-sensitive motorized faders
  • 32 mic/line inputs with recallable XMAX preamps

Cons:

  • The interface is clunky

BEHRINGER X32 40-Input 25-Bus Digital Mixing Console

The Behringer X32 Producer 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 Producer boasts individual and dynamic LCD Scribble Strips on all channels and buses. Advanced features include 16 XLR outputs plus 6 additional lines 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 Producer 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

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

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 TF5 32 Channel Digital Mixer as the best one. The all-new Midas Pro2 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 other digital mixers. The added features and functionality of the Pro2 make it the forefront of modern production requirements. 

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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