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When first introduced to digital mixing, one of my first thoughts was, “What the heck is a matrix?”. Coming from a simple analog setup, the only Matrix I knew of was a movie released in 1999.

Christmas gifts for sound guy audio engineer

I would venture to say that matrix mixes are misused in most churches. But, once you know when to use them, matrix mixes are easy to understand.

What is an audio matrix?

The fact that they named it a matrix makes it seem complicated, but they actually have a very simple and basic function.

A matrix mix allows you to create a slight variation of your main mix.

In other words, it creates a copy of your main mix and then allows you to make slight variations to the overall mix. I say “slight” because there is not a whole lot you can change.

To be more specific, there are three modifications you can make to your main mix with a matrix:

  1. EQ the matrix mix (You can’t EQ specific channels for that matrix, but you can take the main mix, make a copy of it, and then apply EQ to the overall mix.)
  2. Add compression to a matrix mix
  3. Insert  FX on the matrix mix (For example, you could apply a limiter, or reverb, or graphic EQ, or any of the other effects your mixer has to offer.)

When to Use a Matrix Mix

At this point, you may be wondering, “If you can’t change much, what’s the point of a matrix?” Well, a matrix mix actually comes in handy for certain situations.

When it comes to church sound, the primary way you will use a matrix is to send the main mix to another room in the church, like the lobby, hallways or nursery.

You probably don’t want all the low frequencies that are in the auditorium going to the small speakers in the ceiling, so you can apply a low cut to your matrix mix. You could also apply a compressor so there is not as much dynamic range in the lobby as there is in the auditorium.

And that’s pretty much the only use for a matrix mix in church.

Don’t use a matrix for your live stream.

In the past, I’ve tried to use a matrix for my live stream mix, but there’s just not enough flexibility with a matrix to use it for that purpose. Instead, I use a pair of bus mixes with most of the channels set to post fader.

I have a video that walks you through my simple live stream mixing strategy using bus mixes. Watch it here:

Simple Live Stream Sound Setup

Guide for Setting Up a Matrix

If you need help setting up a matrix on the Behringer X32, I put together a simple guide to help you out. Download it here:

Download X32 Matrix Setup Guide

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About the Author

Kade Young

Kade Young brought Collaborate Worship into existence with a dream of helping worship leaders around the world fulfill their calling with excellence. He has been leading worship since 2005, is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, and currently the worship leader at NoLimits Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.