Recently an article was posted about why church sound operators should consider a Behringer X32 rather than plunking their money down on a PreSonus StudioLive mixer. Although the article gave great points on the Behringer, this article will offer a differing opinion on why PreSonus mixers are indeed a great choice and will discuss very important points on what a church actually needs in a mixer. It’s in these areas that you’ll see the PreSonus StudioLive line pulls ahead of the competition.


1. Easy to use

Digital mixers for the most part are intimidating to a majority of volunteer sound operators. Typically, their assignable inputs, outputs, and controls and layers of functions and processing add dimensions of difficulty and confusion, especially for those who have never done this for a living (which is often the situation for most church volunteers).

The average sound volunteer is running sound approximately two hours a week. That’s about 100 hours a year. There’s a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to be really good at something. At a rate of 100 hours a year, you’ll be an actual expert in 100 years! That’s why most worship teams need a mixer that’s truly easy to use, like the StudioLive.

Whatever you buy, know who will use it. Technology that helps us solve our problems and makes life easier is worth considering. If it doesn’t do both, forget it. Don’t buy something just because you’ve heard it’s cool.


2. Intuitive console

PreSonus StudioLive consoles solve many of the small to medium churches’ common problems, without confusion. In five minutes, a volunteer operator who has been using a standard analog desk can learn where all the functions are! There are no steps, layers, or hidden menus. There is a dedicated fader for every input and output, dedicated outputs for every monitor and effects send, and a channel strip that has dedicated control for every part. You never wonder what’s where. Easy!


3. Straightforward presets 

PreSonus includes a library of presets that has starting points for just about every instrument and voice you would see on the platform. In minutes you can load up every channel with an appropriate preset, and if the levels are close, you’re very close to a decent mix. This is huge benefit for volunteers who have no concept of how to equalize elements in a mix, let alone dial in a compressor. Furthermore, PreSonus’ free VSL control software lets you name presets, put them in any order, and load them by drag-and-drop. That’s about as easy as it can get.


4. Seamless interface

Another thing that makes PreSonus consoles so helpful to volunteers is the way in which they record with included Capture software for Mac OS X and Windows. When the console is linked to the computer via FireWire, and the software is launched, the software knows which mixer is online and is ready to record. It’s automatic and auto-configured. Channel 1 always records to Track 1, and so on. When you hit Play and hit the digital return on your mixer’s channel input, that track plays back through the same channel that was originally recorded through it, making it unnecessary to repatch or reassign tracks to channels.


5. Automated virtual soundcheck

Only two consoles in the world can do a true automated virtual soundcheck where the software controls the mixer at the right times: StudioLive with Capture recording software and a competitor that costs five times as much. With virtual soundcheck, you can quickly and easily get the system ready before the worship band arrives, using recordings from a previous service. You can record the service on Sunday, come back in on Tuesday night, and play the worship service through the sanctuary sound system and practice mixing, setting levels for the monitors, learning EQ and dynamics processing, and on and on. It’s much easier to hone your craft, get better, and develop your skills.


6. Complete wireless mixing solution 

Add to the automated virtual soundcheck feature, this system also has the most comprehensive and complete wireless mixing solutions of just about any console at any price. It doesn’t matter where you put the mixer; You can take an iPad and sit with your family and mix the service. You can give another iPad to an audio assistant who can sit on the stage and mix monitors.

In addition, every musician can use their own iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to mix their own monitors through their headphone amp, stage monitor, or wireless in-ear system. The mixer supports up to 14 iOS devices running simultaneously while recording the service.

This saves the church a bundle because you don’t have to purchase personal monitor mixers or digital snakes. In fact, portable churches don’t even need a snake. Place the mixer on stage, connect your inputs and outputs, and mix the service with your iPad. It’s efficient and cost effective.


7. Integrated Smaart

Smaart audio analysis is integrated into easy-to-use control software and includes friendly wizards that help you tune the speakers for your room, make sure all outputs are working correctly, and for larger rooms, adjust delay times for rear and sidefill speakers. Only PreSonus has integrated Smaart.


8. Superior mic preamps 

Last but not least the PreSonus XMAX Class A mic preamps are the best in class. They give you tons of headroom, with no noise, and are very musical. The same mic preamps are used on countless records by artists such as Lincoln Brewster and Israel Hougton. In fact, the latest recording from The Digital Age (David Crowder’s old bandmates) was recorded with a StudioLive 24.4.2. If it’s sonically good enough for theses geeky guys, it’s going to rock your church.

About The Author

Doug Gould is a veteran of the Pro Audio and Music Technology Industry for almost 30 years, serving in management roles at Shure, Tascam and E-Mu Systems and has been a worship leader, musician and tech at various churches for almost as long. He is CEO and Founder of Worship MD (Market Development) a consulting firm that helps professional audio and music technology manufacturers build relationships with the church through education.

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