Recording our First Live Worship CD

Last year, the Cornerstone Worship team and several of our friends recorded a live night of worship at Cornerstone. It was an experiment to see if we could record a live Worship CD, and it turned out great. We were able to utilize our Presonus Studiolive digital sound board to record each instrument and microphone separately to our iMac computer using the included Capture software.

We exported the audio files and had one of our members who owns a recording studio mix all the songs. After obtaining licenses and doing the graphic design, we had 500 Discs printed.  We couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. It sounds great and we plan on doing more CDs in the future.

Here are the details for what we used

  • Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 board
  • Presonus Capture software for multi-track recording
  • The recording studio used Pro Tools to mix each song (In the future, we might use Presonus Studio One and do it ourselves at the church to save money)
  • The CD template was purchased for $6 from
  • Because each song on the CD was a previously recorded song, we had to obtain licensing before we could make our CDs. Song licensing was obtained from Easy Song Licensing (It ended up being around $900 for 12 songs on 500 Discs. Several of the songs were more expensive because they were longer than 5 minutes)
  • Disc Duplication was done by WTS Duplication – The total cost for 500 Discs in Jackets was $490 including shipping.  I have used Discmakers in the past for other projects, but WTS was much cheaper.
  • If you want to sell your music online, CDBaby has a great program. Check out their website for pricing and more information. We chose to just sell physical copies of this CD.  Before you sell music online, you must obtain licensing for any cover songs. For digital sales, you must guess how many you will sale for the next year and pre-buy licensees. Easy Song Licensing can handle this for you.

When we add up our costs for mixing, licensing, and duplication, we ended up with each disc costing around $3.78.  We will be selling them for $7 to help finance future projects and to offset any copies that we end up giving away for promotional purposes.

The key to doing a great live worship CD is planning.  Make sure you have good microphones and that you have a proper gain structure on your soundboard. We learned a few things in the process that will help us next time. We need additional drum microphones, and we need to think through allowing babies in the service. We did have one song with a crying baby in the background. While we love kids, it was impossible to remove the crying from the finished CD. For us, it wasn’t a huge deal, but it’s something you may want to think about.




I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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