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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB: The Classic Live Audio Board => Topic started by: Aaron R. Lee on September 07, 2012, 10:01:51 am

Title: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Aaron R. Lee on September 07, 2012, 10:01:51 am
So i've been reading these forums for years first time to post.  I'm looking to take my mid/large sized company to the next level.  I pretty much deal in festivals and a few 1 offs every now and then.  I want to angle more towards hitting bigger riders and doing the larger shows in my area.  Purchasing gear to better the company is what I'm looking at... I don't think 100k on a line array at the moment is the best option as my current system once I add them together is very adequate for the current market i'd be looking into.  I was thinking consoles.  I currently have a Studio Live 24.4.2 and it works for 90% of my jobs also an A&H GL2400-32.  However I'm looking for a more rider friendly digital.  It's one thing to run my current system with say and SC48 it's semi justifiable.  On the other hand running a 100k array with a Studiolive 24.4.2 is not.  What in your opinion is the best entry level and most rider friendly console (these words don't really live together I know)  to purchase for a growing company.  I'm not to the PM5 size yet or the large Midas consoles.  However and SC48 is what i've been eyeballing lately. 

Thanks in advance for your opinions.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: gary makovsky on September 07, 2012, 10:14:45 am
So i've been reading these forums for years first time to post.  I'm looking to take my mid/large sized company to the next level.  I pretty much deal in festivals and a few 1 offs every now and then.  I want to angle more towards hitting bigger riders and doing the larger shows in my area.  Purchasing gear to better the company is what I'm looking at... I don't think 100k on a line array at the moment is the best option as my current system once I add them together is very adequate for the current market i'd be looking into.  I was thinking consoles.  I currently have a Studio Live 24.4.2 and it works for 90% of my jobs also an A&H GL2400-32.  However I'm looking for a more rider friendly digital.  It's one thing to run my current system with say and SC48 it's semi justifiable.  On the other hand running a 100k array with a Studiolive 24.4.2 is not.  What in your opinion is the best entry level and most rider friendly console (these words don't really live together I know)  to purchase for a growing company.  I'm not to the PM5 size yet or the large Midas consoles.  However and SC48 is what i've been eyeballing lately. 

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

The Midas PRO series will get ya closer to rider friendly. If ya want affordable the new PRO 1 looks interesting, will be demoing one soon.  But my guys recently pruchased an SC48. It's starting to show up on every rider, and definately a good investment.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Aaron R. Lee on September 07, 2012, 10:37:07 am
The Midas PRO series will get ya closer to rider friendly. If ya want affordable the new PRO 1 looks interesting, will be demoing one soon.  But my guys recently pruchased an SC48. It's starting to show up on every rider, and definately a good investment.

I've looked at the Pro1 I'm just not sure on it.  I know the M7 is showing up a lot but it's being replaced by the CL series.  Several people has mentioned LS9 to me.  The only issue with that to me is the LS9 is a dated console it's on the low list for riders and personally I've never met a Yammy board that i liked the sound of.  Now this sounds like i've made up my mind no yamaha but I was dead against the Presonus the first time I touched it I wanted to throw it in the dumpster after the gig.  However now I can fly through it and do some amazing things with it.  It's not an easy decision I know spend 9k-30k on a console.  I only see myself going to 32chs max normally but a 48 CH board would be nice for those few times I need more.  Also minimum i've seen on riders is 32 as well.  I'll take a more indepth look at the Pro 1 this week.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Randall Hyde on September 07, 2012, 12:37:17 pm
I currently have a Studio Live 24.4.2 and it works for 90% of my jobs also an A&H GL2400-32.  However I'm looking for a more rider friendly digital. 

Is iLive outside your price range?
I'm currently using SAC and a large(r) iLive system is going to be my upgrade.
I'd suggest SAC over a Studio Live, but rider friendly it is not.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Aaron R. Lee on September 07, 2012, 01:05:20 pm
Is iLive outside your price range?
I'm currently using SAC and a large(r) iLive system is going to be my upgrade.
I'd suggest SAC over a Studio Live, but rider friendly it is not.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde

Not really outside the price range but I do not see it on a lot of riders.  It's a cool console just don't see many people using it.  Same with the SoundCraft Si Compact etc..  The Presonus for the money can't be beat I can make it sound and do exactly what I want.  Is it a PRO TOURING console not really but for the local festivals it's great.  I mean price wise the SC48 is about it roughly 30k with a case anything that and under would be great.  I just looked over the Midas Pro1 interesting but funny looking console thats some huge buttons on it.  I'd like to demo one.  Wonder how rider friendly it would be?  I mean after all it is Midas but it's the low side??  10k IDK still looking.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Doug Fowler on September 07, 2012, 01:18:28 pm
So i've been reading these forums for years first time to post.  I'm looking to take my mid/large sized company to the next level.  I pretty much deal in festivals and a few 1 offs every now and then.  I want to angle more towards hitting bigger riders and doing the larger shows in my area.  Purchasing gear to better the company is what I'm looking at... I don't think 100k on a line array at the moment is the best option as my current system once I add them together is very adequate for the current market i'd be looking into.  I was thinking consoles.  I currently have a Studio Live 24.4.2 and it works for 90% of my jobs also an A&H GL2400-32.  However I'm looking for a more rider friendly digital.  It's one thing to run my current system with say and SC48 it's semi justifiable.  On the other hand running a 100k array with a Studiolive 24.4.2 is not.  What in your opinion is the best entry level and most rider friendly console (these words don't really live together I know)  to purchase for a growing company.  I'm not to the PM5 size yet or the large Midas consoles.  However and SC48 is what i've been eyeballing lately. 

Thanks in advance for your opinions.


What do you have in inventory re: main PA, wedges, mic package, snake, that sort of stuff ?
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Aaron R. Lee on September 07, 2012, 01:25:35 pm

What do you have in inventory re: main PA, wedges, mic package, snake, that sort of stuff ?

Multiple Dynacord XA rigs
Dynacord Amps
Crown XTI 4002 Amps
( 8 ) EV SX250
(4) EV Live X 12's (bought for specific venue we work monthly)
Shure Mic Package(s)
32x12 Snake with 32 Split
LED and Conventional Lighting

Basic Backline:
Mapex Pro M
Eden Bass 4x10
Fender Twin

I am surrounded by several companies so me purchasing thing likes DW drums and Bi-amp'd wedges for those few times I actually need it the rental rate is not high enough for the 3-4 times a year to bode purchasing some myself. 

Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Othmane Alaoui on September 07, 2012, 03:11:16 pm
Multiple Dynacord XA rigs
Dynacord Amps
Crown XTI 4002 Amps
( 8 ) EV SX250
(4) EV Live X 12's (bought for specific venue we work monthly)
Shure Mic Package(s)
32x12 Snake with 32 Split
LED and Conventional Lighting

Basic Backline:
Mapex Pro M
Eden Bass 4x10
Fender Twin

I am surrounded by several companies so me purchasing thing likes DW drums and Bi-amp'd wedges for those few times I actually need it the rental rate is not high enough for the 3-4 times a year to bode purchasing some myself.

I think its better for you to get something like an M7 or LS9. because to be rider freindly and hit big rigs, you need more than that. The XA is nice piece of equipement. What type of large gigs you intend to quotes on, how many peeps, outside, inside ? What about trussing, large lighting packages, Lighting board Console ... Do you plan of adding a monitor desk + split and or SB ...

The studiolive is a console made for small applications. Not suitable for large events ... Look at the SD9 in the used... and BTW, a PM5D is very nice sounding, you can probably get one for 35K$ too and its rider freindly.

you can also get an M7CL 48 for 15-17 K$ and a stage box kit for 2-3000 $. Its maybe not the best board ever but you will be rider accepted, the other solution is to go something analog ( Sienna, Herritage or even an XL4 ) all between 8 to 25K$



Othmane




Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on September 07, 2012, 03:27:39 pm
Multiple Dynacord XA rigs
Dynacord Amps
Crown XTI 4002 Amps
( 8 ) EV SX250
(4) EV Live X 12's (bought for specific venue we work monthly)
Shure Mic Package(s)
32x12 Snake with 32 Split
LED and Conventional Lighting

Basic Backline:
Mapex Pro M
Eden Bass 4x10
Fender Twin

I am surrounded by several companies so me purchasing thing likes DW drums and Bi-amp'd wedges for those few times I actually need it the rental rate is not high enough for the 3-4 times a year to bode purchasing some myself.

While I'm a fan of the Dynacord products, the XA does not appear to be a scalable product line.  The 80 x 40 pattern of the coaxial mid/hi cabinets does not bode well for using more than 2/side, maybe 3 if you have to cover a very wide area.  You can increase your coverage, but you're not going to increase your overall sound level very much by combining them into one larger system.

If you want to buy something instead of cross-renting from the larger companies, consider adding a Cobra IV rig.  It won't cost you $100K, will easily ground-stack when you need it and can be flown if you have to.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Tim McCulloch on September 07, 2012, 03:49:19 pm
I love the phrase "... to the next level."  I did some back-of-envelope figuring about 25 years ago when faced with a similar desire for my small PA company to see what it would cost.

What came of that was a determination that "the next level" costs you as much as EVERYTHING YOU'VE SPENT, TO DATE.  That means from the time you bought your first microphone or speaker up to the present day.  If you spent $50,000 so far, to get to that next level will cost you a minimum of $50k ALL AT ONCE.  Faced with that knowledge and the realization that I was stuck with clients that could never pay me more (and that I hadn't charged enough to allow for proper maintenance and eventual expansion), I did some serious soul searching and sold off most of my gear; doubled down on the business & accounting side and took to managing other peoples businesses.

Some of the gems of wisdom that came from the education received and from advice from others in the industry I came to several conclusions.  In no particular order -

1 - A sound system is a tool to make money.  It is not a big ass personal stereo system, so when it comes to making decisions about brands and models my personal preferences need to take a back seat to other considerations.

2 - If myself or my crew are the only people who will operate the equipment, I have more leeway in selection; if the gear is to be operated by others it is important to invest mostly in the stuff they want to use, subject to the ability to recover those costs in a reasonable amount of time.

3-  Excess capacity is infinitely expensive.  Having another 8 speakers or amps in inventory that only go out a couple times a year means those gigs have to pay a great deal more to compensate, or we should look to renting the additional capacity on an as-needed basis.

4 - Certain big ticket items like large frame consoles seldom provide a return on the investment before they are obsolete.  Why?  Because in most music/entertainment situations you can't make them a separate line item on an invoice; a console is expected to be part of the equipment package.  In a previous incarnation of PSW, Chip Self of Logic Systems had a great Study Hall article on ROI and how this happens.

5 - Spending big money on capital equipment needs to be justified by the generation of additional income above and beyond what is brought in from existing equipment, and that investment must recoup its costs in a timely manner.  If purchasing a new console or speaker system means you can get more money from existing clients; if it means you can realistically expect to get gigs you can't get now; if it provides new opportunity; then it *might* make sense.

6 - Beware of false economies.  It's just as easy to spend too little and not buy new opportunity as it is to spend too much and have either excess capacity or gear that isn't popular with clients.

Take a good hard look at the business side of your company.  Ignore the blinking lights and flashy advertising, the gleam of bright shiny objects.  Instead ask yourself how you're going to justify to your significant other the spending (and likely borrowing most of) 6 figures to the left of the decimal point.  Almost any stock index fund will return more than spending that money on audio systems.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc

And a follow up to my post:  It's been about 6 or 7 years ago, but my boss and I had a conversation about this.  We looked out the office window into the warehouse and I asked him how much we had tied up in the inventory we could see from there.  "About $350,000".  "You'll need to spend at least that much, all at once, to get to the next level or even remain competitive in the industry in another 5 years."

His wife swears she heard his sphincter pucker from across town. ;)

It took him a couple years to fully digest that brief conversation and weigh the implications of various scenarios, but in the end we're spending more than that to remain the top shop in our market area.  You have to go almost 200 miles to find a firm with greater capability, and we've got a great staff to send with our gear.

In a long, round-about way this brings me to another bullet point:

7 - Any particular amount of capability costs the same.  By that I mean that the costs of entry at a give level (bar, club, theater, arena) remain roughly the same from year to year.  Twenty-five years ago the capital equipment costs of opening a regional sound company was about $300K.  Today it still is, but the difference in output, quality, packaging and deployment is tremendous.  Someone entering the business from scratch, with no purchase legacy or history is spending his money only once (so far), whereas an owner in an upgrade cycle is re-spending.  Guess who has the advantage?  Throw in that promoters really want to see current technology to avoid hassles with artistic crew, and there is a marketing advantage as well.  This leads us to...

7(A) - The wrong piece of gear at the 'right' price is still the wrong piece of gear

7(B) - Buy once, cry once.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Jim McKeveny on September 07, 2012, 04:23:53 pm
IOW: Next Level = +3db in cash.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Tim McCulloch on September 07, 2012, 04:40:09 pm
IOW: Next Level = +3db in cash.

> or = to +3dB.

Hmmm.  You got me to thinking (that's dangerous)... in a system context, is cash voltage or power?
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Mac Kerr on September 07, 2012, 04:42:24 pm
> or = to +3dB.

Hmmm.  You got me to thinking (that's dangerous)... in a system context, is cash voltage or power?

It can be either depending on how you use it.

Mac
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Doug Fowler on September 07, 2012, 11:01:09 pm
Aaron -

You just got advice from Tim that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and many years of experience otherwise.  Read and heed.

-doug
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Dave Rickard on September 08, 2012, 12:15:11 am
5 or 6 years ago, Father Tim gave me this same sermon on the old LAB.  It was, and continues to be, a guiding principle for my little company. We will remain small and excellent, but we'll remain.  Thanks Tim, you've saved me a lot of stress!

ROI. ROI. ROI.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Nathan Salt on September 08, 2012, 01:57:58 am
Regarding consoles if you are looking at the 48ch size and an SC48 price point, seriously consider the Midas Pro2. The Midas pro range has several key benefits being all the consoles sound the same, link together nicely and show files are completely interchangeable.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Othmane Alaoui on September 08, 2012, 09:23:33 am
5 or 6 years ago, Father Tim gave me this same sermon on the old LAB.  It was, and continues to be, a guiding principle for my little company. We will remain small and excellent, but we'll remain.  Thanks Tim, you've saved me a lot of stress!

ROI. ROI. ROI.

Same for me, I remain small but efficient with good gear and especially under the major league radar. this allow me to have fun and make some $$ !
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: W. Mark Hellinger on September 09, 2012, 10:43:20 pm
I love the phrase "... to the next level." 
Great reply Tim... more so to the business side of the business than the gear side of the business.

I'd like to add:  There are some loose rules of thumb I've noticed seem to have commonality in success business'... concerning capital improvements, being:

Generally a capital improvement pencils out if that capital improvement will "pay for it'self" in 100 days of use by either increasing net or decreasing expenses same-same (or a combination of the two) as to off-set the capital purchase.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Ryan C. Davis on September 09, 2012, 11:14:20 pm
Aaron -

You just got advice from Tim that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and many years of experience otherwise.  Read and heed.

-doug

I'm not in the same situation as the OP but I'm still in awe of what Tim Wrote. That is like an epiphany wrapped in a condensed, compact package. I may never have the same question but I do have the answer. Very well done Tim M.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Aaron R. Lee on September 10, 2012, 10:21:30 am
I'm not in the same situation as the OP but I'm still in awe of what Tim Wrote. That is like an epiphany wrapped in a condensed, compact package. I may never have the same question but I do have the answer. Very well done Tim M.

That was great advice.  The Dynacord as it sits is pretty powerful it has a lot of throw.  I have looked at the Cobra 4 as an upgrade in the near future.  Currently flying 3/6 XA per side and supplementing front fills works very well.  "Large Show"  Not the big National Touring acts there is a company down here who handles those well over my head right now.  I'm looking to get the 1 off gigs where regional/ semi national (1 hit wonders) stroll through town play a gig and head on.  Those are a tad bit easier to meet.  I do plan to cross rent for a while on these but at some point I need to make a decision on a purchase to lessen rental rates.  Currently that has looked like a console.  This is definitely not a Hey I'm gonna buy one next week deal it will take me a good time to decided.  I want to make the right decision, I may end up purchasing something completely different. 
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Anthony Forchielli on September 10, 2012, 05:42:38 pm
If rider friendly is your goal then i think it's pretty much Yamahaa or Avid desks you should be looking for.  And again with the Yamaha you arent buying what you think is best, you're buying for what is generally accepted everywhere.  We recently purchased a digital desk as well, and went through a lot of the same thoughts.  For us though, it was not a purchase for meeting riders.  We wanted something that was going to improve our capability and set up time, a desk for our engineers.  Went with a Soundcraft Vi1 and 64/24 stage box and couldnt be happier.  It's a breeze to mix on and I have no reservations about sending it out with any of our engineers for work ranging from theatre to festivals.  It just works.  That said, again if this is a desk for you to try and land clients than i'm telling you to buy a yamaha or Avid. You should look into a CL5 and stage box.  As many have mentioned you could look at the Midas Pro series, I seem to be in the minority in thinking that population groups are unnecessary. 

happy shopping!
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Doug Fowler on September 10, 2012, 06:48:48 pm
If rider friendly is your goal then i think it's pretty much Yamahaa or Avid desks you should be looking for.  And again with the Yamaha you arent buying what you think is best, you're buying for what is generally accepted everywhere.  We recently purchased a digital desk as well, and went through a lot of the same thoughts.  For us though, it was not a purchase for meeting riders.  We wanted something that was going to improve our capability and set up time, a desk for our engineers.  Went with a Soundcraft Vi1 and 64/24 stage box and couldnt be happier.  It's a breeze to mix on and I have no reservations about sending it out with any of our engineers for work ranging from theatre to festivals.  It just works.  That said, again if this is a desk for you to try and land clients than i'm telling you to buy a yamaha or Avid. You should look into a CL5 and stage box.  As many have mentioned you could look at the Midas Pro series, I seem to be in the minority in thinking that population groups are unnecessary. 

happy shopping!


In his situation, I would for prices to go down on M7CL-48.

I'm not a huge fan of the sound of the thing, but it's a good fit for the type of acts he anticipates.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Nathan Salt on September 10, 2012, 09:37:30 pm
I seem to be in the minority in thinking that population groups are unnecessary.

Yes but vca spill is amazing
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Stu McDoniel on September 10, 2012, 10:15:24 pm
I love the phrase "... to the next level."  I did some back-of-envelope figuring about 25 years ago when faced with a similar desire for my small PA company to see what it would cost.

What came of that was a determination that "the next level" costs you as much as EVERYTHING YOU'VE SPENT, TO DATE.  That means from the time you bought your first microphone or speaker up to the present day.  If you spent $50,000 so far, to get to that next level will cost you a minimum of $50k ALL AT ONCE.  Faced with that knowledge and the realization that I was stuck with clients that could never pay me more (and that I hadn't charged enough to allow for proper maintenance and eventual expansion), I did some serious soul searching and sold off most of my gear; doubled down on the business & accounting side and took to managing other peoples businesses.

Some of the gems of wisdom that came from the education received and from advice from others in the industry I came to several conclusions.  In no particular order -

1 - A sound system is a tool to make money.  It is not a big ass personal stereo system, so when it comes to making decisions about brands and models my personal preferences need to take a back seat to other considerations.

2 - If myself or my crew are the only people who will operate the equipment, I have more leeway in selection; if the gear is to be operated by others it is important to invest mostly in the stuff they want to use, subject to the ability to recover those costs in a reasonable amount of time.

3-  Excess capacity is infinitely expensive.  Having another 8 speakers or amps in inventory that only go out a couple times a year means those gigs have to pay a great deal more to compensate, or we should look to renting the additional capacity on an as-needed basis.

4 - Certain big ticket items like large frame consoles seldom provide a return on the investment before they are obsolete.  Why?  Because in most music/entertainment situations you can't make them a separate line item on an invoice; a console is expected to be part of the equipment package.  In a previous incarnation of PSW, Chip Self of Logic Systems had a great Study Hall article on ROI and how this happens.

5 - Spending big money on capital equipment needs to be justified by the generation of additional income above and beyond what is brought in from existing equipment, and that investment must recoup its costs in a timely manner.  If purchasing a new console or speaker system means you can get more money from existing clients; if it means you can realistically expect to get gigs you can't get now; if it provides new opportunity; then it *might* make sense.

6 - Beware of false economies.  It's just as easy to spend too little and not buy new opportunity as it is to spend too much and have either excess capacity or gear that isn't popular with clients.

Take a good hard look at the business side of your company.  Ignore the blinking lights and flashy advertising, the gleam of bright shiny objects.  Instead ask yourself how you're going to justify to your significant other the spending (and likely borrowing most of) 6 figures to the left of the decimal point.  Almost any stock index fund will return more than spending that money on audio systems.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc

And a follow up to my post:  It's been about 6 or 7 years ago, but my boss and I had a conversation about this.  We looked out the office window into the warehouse and I asked him how much we had tied up in the inventory we could see from there.  "About $350,000".  "You'll need to spend at least that much, all at once, to get to the next level or even remain competitive in the industry in another 5 years."

His wife swears she heard his sphincter pucker from across town. ;)

It took him a couple years to fully digest that brief conversation and weigh the implications of various scenarios, but in the end we're spending more than that to remain the top shop in our market area.  You have to go almost 200 miles to find a firm with greater capability, and we've got a great staff to send with our gear.

In a long, round-about way this brings me to another bullet point:

7 - Any particular amount of capability costs the same.  By that I mean that the costs of entry at a give level (bar, club, theater, arena) remain roughly the same from year to year.  Twenty-five years ago the capital equipment costs of opening a regional sound company was about $300K.  Today it still is, but the difference in output, quality, packaging and deployment is tremendous.  Someone entering the business from scratch, with no purchase legacy or history is spending his money only once (so far), whereas an owner in an upgrade cycle is re-spending.  Guess who has the advantage?  Throw in that promoters really want to see current technology to avoid hassles with artistic crew, and there is a marketing advantage as well.  This leads us to...

7(A) - The wrong piece of gear at the 'right' price is still the wrong piece of gear

7(B) - Buy once, cry once.
GREAT post Tim...thanks! :)
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Roland Clarke on September 10, 2012, 10:18:30 pm
Regarding consoles if you are looking at the 48ch size and an SC48 price point, seriously consider the Midas Pro2. The Midas pro range has several key benefits being all the consoles sound the same, link together nicely and show files are completely interchangeable.

I think that Avid would argue that is true of their range.  They also offer vca and group spill, have a larger range of effects, access to all four bands of eq at once and are rider friendly.

The new CL yamaha's are going to also reckon in this price range.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Jim McKeveny on September 12, 2012, 07:49:48 am
From an historical perspective: For a given price point, winning consoles have the highest channel & aux count.

BTW- "Best ROI" - like all accounting - is a rearward looking metric. "Best Forecast" gives a truer perspective.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Keith Broughton on September 14, 2012, 07:42:16 am
I think an M7CL would be a good overall console solution.
Not the best one out there but priced well and is usually acceptable for most applications.
Title: Re: Business decision and best ROI
Post by: Jim McKeveny on September 14, 2012, 08:31:40 am
I have seen many riders where "Acceptable Consoles" listed both PM5D and M7CL. For ROI, this is a no-brainer.

The M7CL-48 is likely to be this generations Soundcraft 500M: generally unloved but a fantastic trainer.