Portable Mixers Offer Flexibility, Easy Transport

When it comes to portable setups, there is a tendency to think small, but there are examples that show that groups can work successfully with such setups.

Portable Mixers Offer Flexibility, Easy Transport
Working with a Behringer X32 is a feasible option for many setups, and beyond just those requiring small, portable setups.

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Portable Mixers Offer Flexibility, Easy Transport

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Worship Facilities Magazine, January-February 2018
The January-February 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about the many steps a church had to take in the aftermath of a fire, and another involving a church making the jump to 4K.

Portable mixers often get a bad rap.  They tend to be thought of as a quick setup system, to just get by with poor sound quality, but hey, it “gets the job done.”  Even in my own mind, they tend to never occur to be a permanent or long-term solution. 

As loose as the installation was, it allowed them to be extremely self contained, more consistent, and did not require them to need a full sound check every time they performed.

What happens, though, when they are?  What happens when a touring band needs a low cost, easily portable system that they could use on fly dates, church shows, or festivals?

Talking with Mark Anderson of Nashville, Tennessee, he almost had the same sentiment about setting up a portable system for the nationally touring Christian group, Sanctus Real.  Anderson began working for Sanctus in 2010, and was the production manager and FOH engineer for Sanctus Real from 2013-2015. 

During his tenure, Anderson was tasked with setting up a new system for the band to take out on dates that would fill a variety of needs for the group.  To my surprise, he landed on a Behringer X32 Producer for Front of House (FOH) and the X32 Rack for monitors, combined with a Behringer digital snake S16 for IO.

In my own history, I have used a very similar combination of gear for some smaller festivals and church gigs.  I have also always heard of groups using a setup like this regularly on tour, but I didn’t expect Sanctus Real to be using this setup.  In my mind, Sanctus is this huge group that I always heard on the radio, performing songs such as “Lead Me” or “Forgiven,” well before I ever thought about moving to Nashville. 

I think myself and others often see these groups using nothing less than top of the line production gear, but especially in the Christian music industry, that might not always be the case. 

In our conversation, I found his choice of the X32 family to be fascinating for many reasons, but there were many factors from his perspective that went into his decision.  The biggest concern was cost.  When looking at available options, Anderson spoke about the product pretty favorably, when he said, “You are pretty limited on inputs and outputs, but it’s pretty powerful for the price.”  For between $3,000 to $4,000, the band could procure the Producer, Rack, and S16.

As for functionality, the Rack was designed to serve as the master control and head amp for the system.  The audio was digitally spit to the Producer for FOH.  For monitors, the band was using a wireless in ear system, and used the iPhone app to control their mixes. 

More About Tom Noble
Tom Noble received his Bachelor of Science in Acoustics from Columbia College in Chicago. During college, he served as a researcher for the Army Corps of Engineers with a specific focus on Low-Frequency Propagation. After college, he owned his own company working with churches and other AV clients. One of his favorite jobs during that time was being able to design and build a recording studio in downtown Nashville. Shortly after, he worked for an integrator, doing work all over the country, specializing in DSP programming and tuning of rooms for many churches and large corporate clients. He is now the head AV design engineer for Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville. He is married to his beautiful wife with an amazing son and beautiful little daughter.
Get in Touch: tom.noble@lifeway.com    More by Tom Noble

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, January-February 2018
The January-February 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about the many steps a church had to take in the aftermath of a fire, and another involving a church making the jump to 4K.

Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Team Management · Budgeting · Team Development · Volunteers · Acoustic Show · Behringer · Christian · Church · Inputs · Installation · All Topics

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