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24 channel mixing desks


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Hi folks,


I play in a 5 piece rock band average age of about 48, and we currently have a temperamental Phonic 12 channel mixing desk. This was "OK" until recently when the internal power amps keep "dying" on us, only an issue on open mic nights but although we have had it looked at, it still fails.


Therefore we are thinking of investing in a new mixing desk, we have grown a bit here and there and currently the drummer needs 10 channels as opposed to his original 7 so the desk is not big enough, so we use an old studio master to mix the drums and the output of that goes to the Phonic.


One thing we really, really struggle with is getting the sound on stage right, with the emphasis being not able to get what everyone wants...... The singer is very keen on getting loud vocals, "up, up" he quote regularly and gets stroppy when it doesn't happen, but he is not worried about the rest of the sound whereas one of our guitarist claims he can't hear the monitor and keeps turning up to which the inevitable happens its too loud and no one can hear anything!!! I think this is because we cannot split the on stage sound as we would all like using this desk.


I should say we have loads of amplification power on stage with 4 Peavey monitors, I think we can do at least 250 watts each...... should be enough eh?


I understand that it ought to be possible to give the singer just what he wants and can mix another "custom" mix but then everything is the same off this desk, though it never seems that way!


So, I clearly need some education but if we went 24 channel I am sure we would have a bit of spare too in terms of inputs but what features and functions should I be looking for on a new desk given the monitor needs and what manufacturers should we look at? Budget would be less than 1k. It need not be new though......





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In answer to your specific question, I would look for something in the Allen & Heath GL2200 / GL2400 or Soundcraft LX7 region. You should be able to find these desks second hand at quite a reasonable price. In fact, a quick look on the web shows one firm selling LX7 - 24 for £1100 new. What you are looking for is four (or more) pre fade auxiliaries - to give you the separate mixes you need.


The more general issue is that monitor mixing is an art, and it can be hard - even with separate mixes - to get the clarity you need and avoid the volume wars on stage. By all means get a better desk with superior control, but you may also benefit from a sound person spending a hour with you to get the monitor mix sorted out...



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Simon's suggestions are fine (as ever!) but I would also recommend the Mackie Onyx 24.4, which we bought a couple of years ago in preference to the A&H GL2400 and Soundcraft LX7. The preamps are very nice, all six aux sends are switchable pre/post fade, there are 4 groups and built in compression for a group or mains. It's quite a bit cheaper than the A&H these days:



You should budget for a decent flight case. Thomann do one of their own for about £185 but if you are going to be out a lot and/or you want to protect your back then do what I did and have a fantastic one made for you (with wheels!) by Packhorse:




On the monitoring situation, you need to start by getting the on-stage sound as low as possible: get the drummer to play quietly and the guitarist to turn his amp(s) down - unless you are playing a massive stage. Then just give people what they need in the monitors, not everything. Also make sure you roll off pretty much everything below 200Hz in the monitors (you will need some EQs for this but if they are powered monitors you may get away with simply turning down a bass control on the monitors themselves.



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not related to the desk but related to onstage sound and FOH, this is usually when I get a call - 'can you work with band x and sort out their sound' - in practice that usually means playing indipendant referee for a time and then ends up the band realising they are at the stage where they find they want/need a FOH engineer to work the desk.
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