first: a confession
I spend too much time on the current events forum arguing about nonsense that really doesn't matter much of the time, and really isn't much help to anybody other than myself. So I am going to try to post some more useful information on subjects I am actually a professional at.
I'm going to start out with a bold statement: if you are considering a major sound system overhaul I believe it would be shortsighted to not install a digital mixer.
This is not a statement I would have made two years ago, because there were no good options that were not 400% more than their analog counterparts.
Then came the presonus studio live. Today the studiolive comes in three arrangements a 24, 16, and 12 Channel arrangement. They cost street price of about $3100, $2000, and $1300 respectively. A quality 16 channel analog board would cost about $1500. It is still fair to say that a digital mixer is still more than an analog mixer, however the gap has dramatically shrunk to the point where in an overall system overhaul the difference is minor. I am going to spend more time comparing benefits of the presonus because it falls in a price point that most Nazarene churches can handle. There are better systems that my company uses, but they start at around the $7000 mark. And as a sidebar Yamaha is not among them.
So I've made the statement that churches doing a system overhaul should get a digital mixer, but why?
probably the most compelling feature on a digital console is the ability to recall a setting. One of the most chronic problems that churches have with their sound systems is that some time between practice and service settings get moved and changed, resulting in a disruption of the worship service. The ability to save all the settings on the board into a scene that can be recalled is a super powerful tool to make more consistent sound nor in worship. this advantage is worth the price of admission.
2. easier to operate-
Many churches have very limited volunteer staff, with very limited skills to operate the sound system. Although the digital board on some levels has a steeper learning curve it is actually easier for the novice sound person to run. The reason goes back to my first point. It is much easier to teach someone how to recall a setting, then it is to teach them the ends and outs of setting up the entire soundboard with monitor mixes, EQ settings, maybe affects processing, how to set up a compressor/gate, and so on and so forth. A digital board allows me as the system designer to set up their system while I'm on site and then they can reference it when I am gone.
So the point is the digital board is more difficult to initially set up and tweak, however the average operator does not need to know how to do that, and consequently can get into less trouble that way.
Depending on the digital system you choose there are varying levels of security that you can apply to the soundboard. With more sophisticated systems you can set up numerous users and provide them with varying levels of access to the mixer settings. At minimum you could password protect the soundboard just like you do a computer.
4. better value-
Besides the benefits that I've mentioned there are a host of other benefits that digital mixers bring to the table. Let's take the Presonus because it is the most affordable. All 16 channels have a four band parametric EQ, compressor, and Gate.if I were to buy 16 channels worth of presunus compressor/gate that would cost about $1800 alone. now some might say I don't even know what that does why do I need it, and why does it matter? The truth is almost every church needs compression, and/or gates on some of their channels. The reality is most churches don't use them, and the ones that do don't know how to properly set them up. Also in the case of the Presonus there are two effects processor engines, on an analog board that would be another $400-$800in outboard equipment. The presonus depending on the model has up to eight graphic EQ's on its outputs. That again is worth minimally $800.
I realize not every church needs every one of these things, but all churches would need some of these things. even using just a few begins to make the digital mixer a better value than its analog counterpart.