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Church audio systems (looking for Behringer X32 experiences) 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:53 pm
Posts: 539
Location: The land of fries, waffles, chocolate and beer
I'm just wondering if there are other church techs here (or if people well-acquainted with their techs can ask them); I've been working on a replacement for our recording/projection PC and especially our audio mixer, which is now really starting to fail in multiple places.

After looking around a lot, I've mostly ended up with a Behringer X32 Compact with SD16 stagebox, but I'm still wondering about long-term reliability. (Behringer as a brand has a *really* bad reputation in audio circles -- maybe this thread belongs in Serious Discussion just for that -- but from all that I've read about it so far, their X32 series have been a new direction for them, that's why I'm not immediately prepared to toss them out in favor of other solutions that cost at least 50% more or have to be second hand to be affordable. It also doesn't seem like a very Christian reasoning to pass permanent judgement, even with bad experiences.)

As for our requirements:
- Altogether (if the PC has a digital interface), the absolute minimum is 16 channels, but that leaves no room at all for broken channels, guest musicians or the fact that our drummer would like to eventually get a set of microphones so that we can record that better. I'd put the minimum we need at 24 channels, the same as what we have now.
- Setup save and recall is very near to a requirement. Usually nobody touches the board, but on the rare occasion that there is an event during the week that's not handled by the normal techs, we tend to come back to a mixer that has to be completely re-setup in about 5 minutes (the duration of the warm-up song.)

Nice to haves:
- I'd really like to do multitrack recording to the PC. Currently we have one live mix and one recording mix. If the recording mix is not set up right (and not everyone monitors it during the service), the recording is toast and we have to throw it away completely. With a multitrack recording, we should still be able to save most of the sound or fix up misbehaving inputs.
- Saving individual channel settings so that we can just say 'singer X is on microphone Y' and we don't have to redo the channel setup when the choir changes (which tends to be every week, we have more singers than microphones.)

What we don't need:
- Absolutely perfect sound quality. It's a worship service, not a classical recording. The recordings are just for people that would like to listen to the service later or that can't make it to church. As our current mixer is also a Behringer (an old analog Eurodesk with recording going through the PC sound card), I don't really expect any modern mixer to be worse.
- Analog workflow. Nobody using the mixer will bring along significant analog experience. The two main techs (one of them is me) are computer guys, the 'trainees' currently only operate the mute buttons and a few faders and emergency operators mostly get told "This button is to enable sound from the podium mike, that button is for when the pastor talks. Don't touch anything else."

I really want to make a good choice, because this is a pretty big investment for such a small church.

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"If I could look beyond your face / and photograph your hidden place, / would I find you smiling in the picture?" K's Choice -- Almost Happy


Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:51 pm
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