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New FOH console


Hello everyone,
We here at TASCAM are thinking about designing a FOH console based on our popular DM-24. Although the DM-24 can certainly be used for FOH, it is really laid out as a recording console. This new FOH console would use the DM-24 engine under the hood, but it would look completely different. In fact, it would look very much like an analog console. So I just wanted to share the idea with you and get some feedback.
This product would be aiming to replace analog boards like the Mackie 32-8.
The idea:
Same price as the DM-24 $2999.
32 mic pres and 32 faders.
Each channel has a compressor and a 4 band parametric EQ. The first 16 channels also have gates.
There are 2 built in effect processors including a TC Works reverb.
Each channel has a trim control, a meter, mute key, solo key, select key, ring encoder knob and a fader.
The ring encoder knob per channel would function as PAN settin or AUX send level. If the AUX button is lit, which ever AUX key you press (aux 1-8) the level per channel will show on the encoders.
There is a master section in the middle of the board. Channels 1-16 would be on one side, while channels 17-32 would be on the other.
In the master section you have 4 encoder knobs with scrible strips. There are function keys in a row next to the encoders. EQ (on/off) HI, HI MID, LOW MID, LOW, COMP, GATE, FX1, FX2, Word Clock and RET to AUX LEVEL. Choosing one of these functions allows you to edit the currently selected channel settings for that function.
If you press EQ-HI MID the srible strips might say GAIN +4 dB, FREQ 5 kHz, Q 8.65. The Q could even be simplifed to something like wide, med, narrow or notch.
If instead you press the COMP key, the scrible strip would say THRES -10dB, RATIO 4:1, etc.
There would even be a PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN key for functions that have more then 4 editable parameters.
But the idea is you only have the 4 knobs and scribble strips for all channel parameter editing. The way I see it, you don't edit more then one parameter per channel at a time. Having all of these settings available in the master section is actually faster to use then having multiple knobs per channel. It also makes the board smaller and lighter. This board would be about the size of a 61 note keyboard.
There would only be 2 fader layers. Channels 1-32 and the master layer showing buss masters and aux masters.
Snapshots would be just like the controls on the DM-24 now, but you would have an LED showing the snapshot #. These could also be triggered from the footswitch.
The meterbridge would be built in. The 8 meters in the master section can switch between aux masters and buss masters. Channel meters and stereo meters are always on.
The are 8 analog buss outputs on the back.
There are 4 S/PDIF I/O for use with digital effect units. There are also 8 analog aux send outputs and 8 return inputs. 4 ADAT digital outputs are provided for 32 tracks of live recording. The direct outputs are send just after the A/D converter per channel. They are always on.
Each channel has an XLR/TRS input with an insert.
Phantom power in groups of 4.
The stereo outputs are on XLR jacks.
There is no LCD screen or recording functions like transports to get in your way. This is a very simple board to use. The manual will be about one page long!
Is this design something that would work for you as a FOH engineer? And remember, we're only talking about a $2999 board here.
Any feed back would be great!
Thanks for your time,
Jace Nuzback
October 31, 2002 @10:45pm

Sounds good so far. Here's what I'd look for as I handle both FOH and monitoring from the same board and handle up to 32 channels per engagement.
Here's what I do with my Mackie 32X8 for the Gospel Barn (www.gospelbarn.com)
First 26 channels are for mics/inst/trx.
27 & 28 are for EFX return. I just run a simple plate for vocals.
29-32 are for monitor outs. I run the aux out to an EQ, then back to the line in on the board, out the direct out. I hate running most anything from a POT.
Forgive me for thinking analog here.
With routing, are you going to allow compressors on the busses (probably a redundancy since there're compressors on each channel, but can the compressor on the channel be placed post aux send as I don't want compressed vocals being sent to the monitors, just the mains)
Will busses have real faders or virtual faders? I HATE the virtual faders on the Yamaha O2R. Well, OK, I just don't like the board for live gigs period.
I think that's about it. Everything else looks pretty cool, especially for a $3k board.
October 31, 2002 @11:27pm

I run sound at a large club in SLC, and fro a pro audio company and even some touring. The concept sounds good to me, however, for me to consider using it in a one off live situation, I would need to have a physical knob for all bands of EQ per channel. I don't really care how hard it is to access comps, gates, verbs etc...., but EQ, and sends to monitors must be able to be achieved very quickly. This does however sound like the kind of console that may do OK with certain touring acts and/or certain Broadway road shows. I would love to see a rackmountable preamp thing happening for a touring board. :)
November 7, 2002 @12:40am

I lived in SLC for many years.
What club are you working for
and who are you?!?
The spec has actually changed to implement
the changes you mentioned. There are now
12 knobs with scrible strips allowing you
access to all 4 bands of EQ for the selected
channel. 8 ring encoders have also been
added so you always have access to all
8 aux sends per channel in the master section.
Which ever aux send you turn in the master
section (say aux 3), aux 3 send levels will
be shown for each channel on the ring encoder
per channel too. Unless you have these encoders
set to display PAN settings.
Thanks for your input.
November 7, 2002 @12:58am

My name is Rob, I work at club Xscape (formerly DV8). With those changes I can actually see myself using that console. Now the biggest questions would be, 1) preamp quality 2) EQ quality and 3) waht happens to my show if the console crashes? I would love to see outboard rackmountable preamps arranged in groups of 8 that are assignable to the console in blocks. That way I could have say a rack with 8 rows of 8 preamps, and just assign the individual banks of 8 to the console. Even if only 32 pres were usable at a time. I currently have a 48 channel desk in the club and constantly fill all the holes. :)
November 7, 2002 @01:42am

Emil me and I will get you my cell # if you wanna talk about the desk:)
November 7, 2002 @01:46am