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New FOH desk for church

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New FOH desk for church

Postby MarkOne » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:55 pm

Hi Guys. Our aging analogue yamaha MG32/14 is starting to creak a bit after 15 years of stirling service, and our needs are evolving too.

So I'm looking at something with the following sort of capabilities:

- digital
- minimum channel count - 24
- flying faders
- dca grouping
- digital stage box
- Scene/Show recall
- personal monitor control with app
- multitrack recording interface
- Capability to provide 8 monitor mixes and separate mixes for the hearing aid loop and stereo recording/stream

I know there are a bunch of products out there that will do all of this (and much more), and looking around, the X32+S16 seems to fit the bill at a price point that none of the other usual suspects (A&H, Yamaha, Presonus, etc) can quite better - but I'm prepared to be convinced something other than that would fit our bill better :)

Physical faders are a must - I'd probably be happy managing things on an iPad, but other volunteer members of the team would I think be unhappy without actual physical faders. And I really want show recall because we have a space that's used by the community throughout the week and we often find some surprises on a Sunday morning - and not all volunteers remember to zero out the whole board during the soundcheck.

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Re: New FOH desk for church

Postby Dave B » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:03 pm

TBH, I think that you've covered it yourself. If price is the ultimate red line, then it would be the Berry X32/S16 combination. And it wouldn't be a bad choice either...

But, when my current mixer needs replacing, I'll be looking at the Allen and Heath offerings. Yes, it would be a little more expensive, but I like the idea of buying from a specialist company who do one thing really well. I know one band who 'invested' in the X32/S16 about a week before the price fell through the floor and cost them a packet in resale value. I don't see that happening with some of the competitors..
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Re: New FOH desk for church

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:16 pm

Pretty sure X32 prices will have bottomed out, they are super cheap at the moment. I'd say the X32 plus a couple of S16s is the best way to go Plenty sold now and reliability seems pretty impressive. If you would benefit from a stageside monitor console you could consider a Compact or Producer in place of one of the S16s to do that duty?
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Re: New FOH desk for church

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:58 pm

You've made passing reference twice to what has to be the principle driver in mixers for church sound systems - ease of use for willing volunteers.

I used to major in church installs and training. The enthusiasts - like you - knew a fair bit and were usually trying to persuade the church purseholders to get the wizziest system that the budget would tolerate. The volunteers, who possibly operated the system once a month, had no deep understanding and in training were often asking me for a 'mixing by numbers' approach. Things were carefully written in notebooks which were then consulted assiduously every time they were 'on duty'. There was no real understanding; it was by rote.

Even if you have a core of people who do know more than the basics, plan for the times that they're not there. A significant part of my training work was to be called in to a church where an enthusiast had installed an all-singing/dancing system and then moved on, leaving those left behind totally bewildered and turning knobs and pressing buttons indiscriminately.

So usability, usability, usability.

I'd be minded to go more for an A&H Qu system as it seems to be somewhat more intuitive than the X32 range. BUT there are other systems out there - eg the Presonus systems - which have a different approach and may be more suited to the willing volunteer.

I'd suggest that you need to be driven by what the volunteers can cope with. Best way to establish that is to arrange with a supplier or two to visit a few reference sites or demo premises where volunteer (not expert) hands-on can be tried. In all probability what you want and what they can cope with will not converge!
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Re: New FOH desk for church

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:24 pm

Good points Mike. :clap: When I was looking to go digital I demoed the X32 and The Qu16 and the Qu was, as you say, much more analogue-like. I'm not sure how much benefit that will be for non-techie 'fader drivers' as the X32 could be set up to behave in a similar manner but a Qu will certainly be easier for a volunteer with just a little tech nouse (or analogue experience) to get to grips with.

Good shout. :thumbup:
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Re: New FOH desk for church

Postby MarkPAman » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:40 pm

What Mike said!

I've used most of the lower priced digital mixers (including the X32 in all its forms), and have owned offerings from Roland, Soundcraft, & PreSonus. I now own and A&H Qu and an SQ.

I've no hesitation in suggesting that the Qu-24 would be the easiest for willing volunteers to use. Can you live with only 7 monitor mixes though, or afford to add ME mixers on stage?

However - do be aware that some users of the Qu have problems getting reliable multitrack recording. Seems to be that Intel didn't make their USB3 system 100% fully backwards compatible, and the Qu series of desks (USB2) use something* that is now missing, so don't work nicely with it. Finding a USB pen drive that works with Qu-drive is not easy either. That said, I've never had a problem.

* I've read some technical suff, but it just went "whoooooosh" :geek:
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Re: New FOH desk for church

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:55 pm

Long-time Soundcraft user here.

In terms of ease of use I like the fact that Soundcraft use the changeable coloured fader strips which give you a clear heads-up on where you are at any point in time. This is one of the key issues for new users (and old fogies like me).

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