Buyer's Guides

Mid-Market Digital Consoles

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides

For a PDF of the Feb. 2009 FOH Buyers Guide. CLICK HERE . 

Mid-line live production digital audio consoles. Remember just a few years ago when such a thing just didn’t exist? You either had $100K+ to spend or you could get toy from an MI mfg and pretend. (Hey, I actually did GIGS with one of those. OK I did ONE gig. One.) 

As prices fell and consoles got smaller and more powerful, about a year ago we did one of our Buyers Guides and put in a price limit of, I think, $60K and set off a firestorm of protest from the folks who didn’t make anything for less than $60K. So this time around we have raised the limit a bit to be a bit more inclusive.

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Personal Monitor Earpieces

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides
When people ask me what part of the live event audio world has changed the most in the past three to five years, they probably expect an answer like digital consoles or line arrays. Most would probably be surprised that my answer would be — hands down — personal monitors. They have come a long way since Marty Garcia used some Sony earbuds and denture cream for Todd Rundgren.



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USB and FireWire Mixers

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides

To download a PDF of the Jan. 2009 FOH Buyers Guide chart, CLICK HERE

OK, you’re not going to do a Madonna show with one of these. In fact, you will be hard pressed—given the channel count on most of them—to do anything bigger than a five piece. But that is not the point. The point is that these small boards allow you to easily mix the show and record it without any extra gear. Some of them actually will work well in a small studio, which means you can use it to record during the week and pack it up on the weekend for gigs—and record the gigs as well with just the console and a laptop. 

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Intercoms

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides

I was out on a local gig a few weeks ago and things were going south fast. You know the kind of gig — about 1,000 bands with little to zero changeover time and production managers showing up with stage plots and input lists that have no resemblance at all to the one you were sent when the show was advanced a month ago.

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Digital Snakes

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides
Whirlwind E Snake
It's either ironic or just plain dumb, but as the live event audio industry gets more and more digital, the one piece of the signal chain that most lends itself to bits and bytes — the transport of signal between stage, console and speakers — is the part that is having the hardest time really catching on.

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Digital Consoles for the Rest of Us

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides
We have been trying to do this Buyers Guide for three years. With the growing adoption and acceptance of digital consoles in the live event audio workplace, a real “have-vs.-have-not” environment had developed for quite a while. Digital consoles are a great tool and increasingly demanded on show riders, but their cost puts them simply out of reach of many — if not most — smaller companies. These local and regional soundcos were stuck either not getting gigs they once did or renting the demanded digital desk.

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Large-Format Line Arrays

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides
Outline Butterfly
OK, you have been reading these things for a while, so you know the drill. Chart comparing a bunch of line array boxes is on the following two pages. A couple of notes… First, remember that manufacturers provide this info. We do our level best to make sure that everyone provides info in a consistent manner, so it is an apples-to-apples comparison. We do not always succeed, but it should at least be fruit to fruit and not apples to doughnuts, if you know what I mean.

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DSP Amps: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides

It has become the standard thing, but it was only about a decade ago that the case that held crossovers, EQ, system level compressors and delay and was known as a drive rack got combined into one digital beast and shrunk into a couple of rack spaces.

 

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Headset and Lavalier Mics

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides

Shure Incorporated Beta 54
I still consider it the day I went from "band guy who owns a PA" to "fledgling anklebiter sound guy." It was an outdoor festival. Two days. Probably a dozen acts total with canned music in between. I had my small collection of typical rock ‘n’ roll mics and — with the addition of a few more lent by friends — I thought I was set. Things went well until the second day when I discovered that my next act was a magician hired to entertain the kids, and he was pretty pissed that I didn’t have a headset or lav for him.



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Power Distros

Bill Evans
Buyer's Guides

Stop and think about it — given all of the nightmares that can happen on a typical audio gig, it is astounding that so many revolve around insufficient, inconsistent or just plain crappy power. And as the Digital Revolution marches on, it becomes even more crucial when you remember that an old analog console will handle inconsistent power levels a lot better than that shiny new digital board.

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