Choosing a Church Lighting Console

by | Gear, Lighting, Production

Choosing a church lighting console involves considering several factors to ensure it meets the needs of your worship services. There are a lot of consoles that vary in capabilities and price. Your house of worship, no matter how big or small, can benefit from a lighting console that suits their needs or that can even grow with them as they expand. Just follow these tips to help determine what you need.

Assess Your Needs

What type of worship service are you hosting? Traditional services may require simple lighting setups, while contemporary services with concerts or theatrical productions may need advanced features. The size and layout of your church will influence the type of lighting console you need. Larger venues with complex lighting setups will require more sophisticated consoles.

Your lighting fixtures inventory will also determine the type of console, (e.g., LED, moving heads, PAR cans) as different consoles support different fixtures.

Always Consider the Console’s Features

Number of Channels: Ensure the console can handle the number of lighting channels you need. Each fixture typically requires multiple channels.

Programming Capabilities: Look for consoles with easy programming and scene creation capabilities. Consider features like scene recall, effects generation, and timeline programming.

User Interface: A user-friendly interface with a clear layout, touch screens, and intuitive controls can significantly ease operation.

Connectivity: Check for DMX outputs, Ethernet connectivity for networked systems, and compatibility with your existing infrastructure.

Determine Your Budget: Consoles range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Define your budget and balance cost with the required features.

Future-Proofing: Consider future expansion plans. Investing in a slightly more advanced console may save costs in the long run if you plan to upgrade your lighting system.

Manufacturer and Support Reputation: Choose consoles from reputable manufacturers known for quality and reliability. Support and training are very important. Always check the availability of customer support, training resources, and community forums. Good support is crucial for troubleshooting and maximizing the console’s potential.

Make sure it works within your volunteers’ skill set. If volunteers operate your lighting, opt for consoles that are easy to learn and use. Look for consoles with customizable user interfaces and simple controls.

Check for software integration and updates, ensuring the console receives regular software updates to support new features and fixtures. 

Check if the console can integrate with audio, video, and other control systems in your church.

The size and portability of the console needs to fit in your designated space and be portable if you need to move it between locations. Choose a console built to withstand regular use and transportation if necessary.

Get hands-on experience by visiting a church tech demo like CFX.  If possible, demo different consoles. This hands-on experience can help determine ease of use and suitability for your specific needs.  Consult with other churches or professionals in the industry to get feedback on different consoles.

Popular Church Lighting Consoles to Consider

ETC EOS Family: Known for its powerful programming capabilities and user-friendly interface.

Avolites Titan: Offers robust features and a highly flexible interface, ideal for complex lighting setups.

Chauvet DJ Obey Series: Budget-friendly and suitable for small to medium-sized venues.

MA Lighting grandMA3: High-end option with extensive features for large and complex lighting designs.

ChamSys MagicQ: Affordable with advanced features, popular for both small and large venues.

Ensure the console comes with comprehensive documentation and access to tutorials or training videos.  If possible, take advantage of trial periods or rental options to test the console in your actual worship environment.  By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a lighting console that enhances your church’s worship experience and meets your specific needs.

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