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Author Topic: Console Replacement Ideas?  (Read 850 times)

Tim Hartman

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Console Replacement Ideas?
« on: January 11, 2013, 10:17:17 am »

Greetings and thanks for your time in advance!
So to preface this post let me state a couple of things. 1. I have been doing FOH for my church for about 5 years and most of that time has been an attempt to correct a terrible 'commercial' solution that was installed prior to my taking on Audio/Visual Ministries. This included a 70v distributed solution. (Yikes) So if in my system description you find yourself saying 'What!?' please note that due to budget constraints, reusing existing equipment in 'creative' ways is all part of the gig! 2. Our church is traditional is worship style. Like 9 foot Yamaha Grand, 3 console Veritas organ, choir and orchestra traditional.  3. Our room is a Sanctinasium, Gymnatorium, or in trendy terms, Multiuse Facility.

Our current console is a powered Allen and Heath PA20 CP. Mains and Monitor mix 1 and 2 are fed into a Sabine NAV360 and matrixed to six outputs: Mains Center, Mains L/R, Choir, Organ, Stage/Orchestra, Bleacher Fills. Aux mix is for the piano and skips the NAV360 and is running on the L side of ancient Carvin amp.  The A&H internal amps are used to power two monitor mixes (stage, organ). The Choir monitors are running on one channel of my Crown 70v amp, the bleacher fills are on the other side of the Crown 70v using delays from the NAV360. Bleacher Fills are off unless we have overflow for large events or sports events for the school. Mains are three internally powered QSC K-10's.

The Allen and Heath has been dropping gain pots and thus channels one at a time since 2010. I currently am running a Behringer Xenyx 1204 as a submixer to keep everything going. I was asked by the pastoral staff to recommend three options. 1. Basic Analog replacement for current system. 2. Upgraded Analog replacement. 3. Entry level digital replacement. As you can imagine reliability is paramount for any solution I suggest. After reading tons of reviews, posts, ect. and talking with HOW sound guys I know I have come up with three solutions. Please let me know if you have any experience with these consoles.
1. Yamaha MG24/14 FX or Yamaha MG32/14 FX.
2. Soundcraft GB4 -24
3. Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 or 24.4.2
Also without asking I have tried to come up with a solution under $700.
... Peavey PV 20 USB - however this opinion is based solely on reading online reviews.
I'm afraid to suggest a Behringer solution due to reliability questions and I'm not a big fan of Mackie as my local repair guy says that he sees plenty of them coming in for fixing. I have left out solutions that don't have a least a 3/4 year track record.
Thanks Again!
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Sam Feine

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Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 11:12:40 am »

Commenting only on your list of console candidates, and sticking away from the system in general, stay away from the mg series yamaha consoles. Look more at the vlz3 (Mackie) range for the low end option. For the middle of the road analogue option an Allen and Heath gl 2400 or 2800 fits the bill nicely, as does the soundcraft that you mentioned. Also look at APB dynasonics for very high quality long lasting analogue, I have seen used spectra desks (their high end desk) going for 4k or less used an their smaller ones are just as good. As far as cheap digital, you would be remiss to not give the X32 a good look. I would defiantly wait a week or so though because with namm just around the corner new offerings are almost certainly going to become available and all the older models will get cheaper.
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Bob L. Wilson

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Re: Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 12:11:44 pm »

Greetings and thanks for your time in advance!
So to preface this post let me state a couple of things. 1. I have been doing FOH for my church for about 5 years and most of that time has been an attempt to correct a terrible 'commercial' solution that was installed prior to my taking on Audio/Visual Ministries. This included a 70v distributed solution. (Yikes) So if in my system description you find yourself saying 'What!?' please note that due to budget constraints, reusing existing equipment in 'creative' ways is all part of the gig! 2. Our church is traditional is worship style. Like 9 foot Yamaha Grand, 3 console Veritas organ, choir and orchestra traditional.  3. Our room is a Sanctinasium, Gymnatorium, or in trendy terms, Multiuse Facility.

Our current console is a powered Allen and Heath PA20 CP. Mains and Monitor mix 1 and 2 are fed into a Sabine NAV360 and matrixed to six outputs: Mains Center, Mains L/R, Choir, Organ, Stage/Orchestra, Bleacher Fills. Aux mix is for the piano and skips the NAV360 and is running on the L side of ancient Carvin amp.  The A&H internal amps are used to power two monitor mixes (stage, organ). The Choir monitors are running on one channel of my Crown 70v amp, the bleacher fills are on the other side of the Crown 70v using delays from the NAV360. Bleacher Fills are off unless we have overflow for large events or sports events for the school. Mains are three internally powered QSC K-10's.

The Allen and Heath has been dropping gain pots and thus channels one at a time since 2010. I currently am running a Behringer Xenyx 1204 as a submixer to keep everything going. I was asked by the pastoral staff to recommend three options. 1. Basic Analog replacement for current system. 2. Upgraded Analog replacement. 3. Entry level digital replacement. As you can imagine reliability is paramount for any solution I suggest. After reading tons of reviews, posts, ect. and talking with HOW sound guys I know I have come up with three solutions. Please let me know if you have any experience with these consoles.
1. Yamaha MG24/14 FX or Yamaha MG32/14 FX.
2. Soundcraft GB4 -24
3. Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 or 24.4.2
Also without asking I have tried to come up with a solution under $700.
... Peavey PV 20 USB - however this opinion is based solely on reading online reviews.
I'm afraid to suggest a Behringer solution due to reliability questions and I'm not a big fan of Mackie as my local repair guy says that he sees plenty of them coming in for fixing. I have left out solutions that don't have a least a 3/4 year track record.
Thanks Again!

I hate to admit this but I would have to recommend you strongly consider the X32. We bought one a couple months ago for a mobile youth ministry and it really does appear to be a quality piece. Ulli has been selling them by the ship load so there are already like 20000 units deployed worldwide and the web seems to reflect just a few issues from the field, long term reliability can only be known in the long term obviously. Board has the sound quality and feature set of units costing three to ten times as much, it is a market disrupting product.
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Tim Hartman

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Re: Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 03:35:19 pm »

Sam - Thanks, for not commenting on my mess of a system! I'll look into the ABP gear and the Mackie you mentioned. Do you know what issues the Yamaha MG series has? I liked the look and I/O count of the X32 but I don't think that I can keep the system working long enough to consider it. I also considered the A&H GL series but I think that the staff is a little gun-shy about A&H for now - especially the level of support we got when the unit began to fail.  Really like the look of the Soundcraft GB4 and have local guy here uses it for his youth area and likes it. Thanks.
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Tim Hartman

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Re: Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 03:40:51 pm »

Thanks Bob - You are the third person to recommend for the X32 actually - Have a local guy who likes it as well. I actually own a Xenyx 1204 and have another friend who loves his Eurodesk - 4 years and not a single issue. I just am not sure I want to recommend a Behringer yet, although I gave it a lot of thought but erred on the side of caution.
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Bob L. Wilson

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Re: Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 05:03:53 pm »

Thanks Bob - You are the third person to recommend for the X32 actually - Have a local guy who likes it as well. I actually own a Xenyx 1204 and have another friend who loves his Eurodesk - 4 years and not a single issue. I just am not sure I want to recommend a Behringer yet, although I gave it a lot of thought but erred on the side of caution.

Music Group's new manufacturing facility means one thing very clearly: the failure rates and modes of previous Behringer equipment are irrelevant. Given what is known about the facility if the X32 proves itself to be unreliable over the long term it will almost certainly be due to sourcing of components. I had to replace a couple capacitors in the powersupply on 16 month old monitor last weekend, I figure Samsung saved about $.19 by using cheap Chinese caps over quality caps. If the X32 flames out it will be because of something similar.
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 03:44:02 pm »


 As you can imagine reliability is paramount for any solution I suggest.

Thanks Again!

The great console search. I have been there I spent a few years searching.  I watched new digital consoles appear, and wished our church could get one only to learn a year or two later that they had problems and most were being replaced.  During this time out main amp and our CD player died.  In both cases I did a few hrs research asked my favorite supplier a couple of questions, bought a unit installed it and moved on.  Why the big difference in approach.  Well, there was less at stake.  Turn over a few hundred dollars, solve problem.  If I make a bad decision, the church and I can live with it.  A few hundred dollars hurts but a tank of gas cost $60 so it isn't the end of the world.  Back to the console.  That thing costs between 3K and 10K that is real money and if I blow it, to bad, I am stuck with it and there is no money to dig my self out.

Dunning this painful process I discovered SAC  Software Audio Console.  It was less expensive, It had lots of features, but most of all it had two great features that so far no other console has
1.  It is modular.  It is made up of a bunch of boxes that I buy from the music stores or on line ans each box is between $150 and $300.  That means that if I make a mistake and chose a bad box, or get a bad box by luck then I am down $150 to $300. That is bad, but it is a lot better then being down 3,000
2.  It is expandable.  When we got it we didn't know we would need 40 channels.  WE thought 32 would be enough.  wrong.  Ok, spend $250 and it is now 40 ch.   We didn't know that our old obsolete IEM system would fail and we would need a new one.  Spend about $150 per person and SAC expanded to be our IEM system.  These are just two examples. 

I did make a mistake building the system.  I chose Behringer ADA8000 preamps.  Over a two year period they all became intermittently noisy.  As each one failed, I pulled it, put it on Ebay with it's problem clearly stated and sold it for $50 less then I paid.  I then bought a good preamp and moved on.  I never had to go to the church board and say "I blew it, our console is no good, I need to spend 5K or so on another one.  Instead I went to them and said I spent $300 on equipment replacement and upgrade this year.

SAC isn't perfect and I look forward to the time when it has competitors in component based mixers.  It is a very good fit for us and allowed me to say to our board "I will never again need to come to you and say "I need 10K for a new mixer."

(When the competitors do come out I may need to go to them and say "I need $500 for new mixer software")
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John Rutirasiri

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Re: Console Replacement Ideas?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 11:18:05 pm »

Yamaha has recently discontinued their IM8 live medium format 8 bus consoles, and in usual fashion the dealers are blowing them out at crazy prices.  (I'm seeing $1800 for the 24ch, $2500 for the 40ch -- these are new, free ship.  Unreal.)

I own an IM8-40 and it is a fantastic board for the price.  It has a very pristine, clear sound to the mix with lots of headroom.  I graduated from a Mackie Onyx 4080 and the difference is not subtle.  The preamps are not warm sounding (I do like the Onyx preamps better), but by no means bad.  The board only weighs 112lbs and at under 6ft, very manageable by 2 people.  Made in Japan if that matters to you.

At these prices, forget about the Yamaha MG series.  The IM8 is leaps ahead.

I also have a Roland M-400 digital and it is also a good board to mix on.  Sound quality is excellent thanks to preamps in the Roland digital snakes.  IMO this board outruns the LS9.  Not sure if Roland discontinued it in favor of the newer M-480.

And if you can afford it, the APB Dynasonics as others have said are the last word in analog boards. To die for.

Good luck with your research and purchase.

JR
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