With so many products available on the market today, It can be a mine field to determine the best console for your needs.
Be sure to remember that despite all the bells & whistles the primary question needs to be - does it sound great?
Make a list of your needs, so you can track what's important to you.
Be open to learn about new features that could rationalise your needs.
A great sounding console is comprised of many factors, but some of the main things to keep in mind for your checklist are:
- Quality mic pre-amps with plenty of warmth and headroom
- Great sounding dynamics - gates, compressors, de-essers & on board effects
- Responsive and smooth sounding equalisers
- Plenty of internal / buss headroom & processing power
CHANNEL COUNT & i/o
Be sure to consider both your current and future needs. Can you expand with an additional stage rack later on?
- How many inputs do you need?
- How many outputs do you need?
- How many mono or stereo auxillary sends do you need for monitor wedges or in-ear monitors
- How many group busses, DCA's or control groups do you need?
- Do you need a comprehensive matrix section?
BELLS & WHISTLES
There are many concepts that have been made possible by digital consoles. Ways to tailor your work space to particular style and requirments that can help you work more efficiently.
- Multi channel folding
- Set spill / pop groups
- Dynamic EQ
- Plug-in effects
- Built-in effects
- Macros & user keys
- Presets & selective recall
These are all just some of the things to consider in a new purchase.
Be sure to ask people who have been using the consoles you are considering for some length of time. Ask them questions about how it sounds, how easy it is to use and how they utilise many of it's key features.