There our thousands of Mixing Desks to choose from, but knowing which one is right for you can be quiet daunting.
With reference to live sound, rather than saying ‘how many channels do you need’, you should be saying, ‘how big is the venue you will be using it in’!
Let me explain, if the venue is small say, 20meters by 20meters (30ft by 30ft ish). Then if you are trying to reproduce / amplify a live band or worship band, because the room is small the instruments will all be competing for the same air space.
The best thing to do is reduce the amount of channels by only amplifying instruments that are quieter than the rest. This way you only need a small number of channels, leaving you to be more creative in bring out the quieter sounds.
For example, for a live band or worship band you would be fine only amplifying the vocals, acoustic guitars, keyboards, electric guitar (possibly!) and Hi Hats.
You now need to consider the type of music you are trying to amplify. Also are their many bands playing during the same event, the size of the venue and not to forget budget.
There are several manufactures you could use, however we would recommend the following: –
All of these do a wide range of mixing desk, from budget to top professional mixing desks.
For budget desks you can’t beat Allen & Heath and Mackie, they both have a wide range of low end desks, not that you should be calling them low end, these low end desks have a good selection of features and the sound quality is quiet amazing. They are also hard wearing and don’t mind being on the road, as long as they are in a flight case.
For middle range desks again Allen & Heath and Mackie have some good contenders, but you might want to wonder over to Yamaha and Midas at this point, all depending on the features and number of channels you need. You could also consider a recall desk for theatrical mixing with a mid range digital Yamaha desk, although we wouldn’t recommend them for fast changing music as your main desk!
For top of the range desks, Yamaha and Midas hold there own. You name it they can do it, Yamaha have always been a popular mixing desk and there recent digital desks are extremely powerful.
The same would be for Midas, although Midas in our opinion has a reputation that surpasses all others. We haven’t met an engineer yet who has said one bad thing about Midas, well apart from the price.
One Last Thing: DigiDesign
The only other mixing desk you might want to consider is the DigiDesign Venue and Icon range, although these are mid to high end mixing desks, they are really starting to have an impact on the sound industry, DigiDesign our really well know for there ability to capture and manipulate sound in the studio but over the past 5 years there live mixing desk has really started to make a name for its self.