A few months ago I conducted a poll on a church tech Facebook group,
I asked members there which mixing consoles were currently being used in their churches. I got a huge response and in the original poll, over 50 different sound console models were mentioned. However, for this article, I decided just to list the top 20 that were mentioned by the church sound technicians in the group. Most respondents were from the United States, but also quite a few were from other nations around the world. Check out my post about small church sound consoles.
I have assembled the data and published in the table below.
A few things to point out about the survey:
Out in front by a long way was the Behringer X32 with 38% of the votes. I already knew this was a popular desk, but even I was quite surprised at just how widely it is used. And if you combine with the Behringer X32 Compact, the number goes even higher. Check out my post on the X32 vs M32.
A few contributing factors I think are probably price and availability of training resources. When you look at the capabilities of the X32 compared to other consoles, there are not many that give you the same level of functionality for the same price. It also has a reasonably good reputation for reliability and sound quality.
This mixer has 40 inputs which is more than adequate for small/medium size churches. It is also a 25-Bus digital mixing console with 32 programmable Midas preamps. The Midas preamp’s reputation goes before them and helps enhance the overall sound quality offered by this soundboard. It also has 25 motorized faders, channel LCD’s and a 32-Channel audio interface. You can also control it via iPad or iPhone. It has a pretty impressive effects rack and is easy to use for recording to a DAW or other recording software.
There are also tons of resources out there, including tutorial video series on Youtube about how to mix on this desk, as well as Udemy courses which makes it so much easier to train up your tech team. Also Behringer have numerous training videos on their own website – https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Behringer/Mixers/Digital/X32/p/P0ASF/Videos#googtrans(en|en)
The Midas M32, which happens to be owned by Behringer and shares some of the same technology, comes in a close second on 12% of the total. Again, another really great desk, although they have been around for a while now.
Of the Allen & Heath consoles, which are also very popular, the SQ6 comes out tops, with the GLD 112 and QU32 also popular. Allen & Heath have had a long association with producing high quality mixers, and so it’s no surprise to see so many being used in churches.
Yamaha also has quite a number of models in the list, with the CL series among the most common, but also a few TF series desks out there. I think people feel safe with Yamaha, as they have been making good quality sound gear and instruments for many years, and have a growing number of fans in the sound tech community.
I was surprised that there weren’t more Presonus and Soundcraft desks in use, but quite a few churches were using the StudioLive Series 3 mixers and Si series.
I have heard of a number of churches recently switching to Digico, and the poll seems to indicate their rising popularity. I wouldn’t be surprised if I did this survey again in 5 years time, that quite a few more churches will be using Digico.
The other thing that did surprise me was just how many churches had moved over to digital mixers and how few are still using analogue mixers(such as myself – I use Yamaha MG series which I really like)
If you know other folks working in church sound and audio, please share this post around with other churches in your area. It might be of interest to know what everyone else is using. (Watch this space – I’m hoping to produce a similar resource for in-ear monitors)