Best in its class
This was by far one of my best mixer purchases for many reasons. I run sound for a lot of medium sized outdoor festivals, most of which involve multiple bands.
The offline editor for this mixer is one of the biggest advantages for my line of work. I get calls from bands during the week, and once I get their channel requirements, I can easily configure a show file right on my computer and later upload it to the mixer. The software saves the show file to a USB stick, then all that is needed is to plug that stick into the console to recall it later.
Another great feature is the digital snake. After years of working with heavy multi-core snakes, along with the extra time (and space) required in order to use them, the digital snake with the GLD is another strong point of this setup. This is a huge time saver, and now I can carry several lengths of Ethercon cables to give me more options when I arrive.
With 8 powerful effects processors on-board, no more outboard racks need to be carried, or setup, again shrinking my setup times considerably. GLD offers many additional effects that aren't part of the "standard effects" suites found on many consoles.
The routing capabilities of the GLD are endless. You can digitally patch effects in-line or buss fed, tap from a variety of points in the input stream for aux sends, and map any of these things to a whole bunch of places on the console, snake, expansion card, or internally.
With any number of varying configurations on Matrices, Groups, Aux’s, all with stereo or mono options, along with LCR, LR, or LRM, or LR into summed mono you get an incredible amount of flexibility with this console.
The GLD80 is extremely flexible and can quickly be configured for any situation, using both the offline editing software, or right on the console itself, even on-the fly. I love being able to move individual faders to any position, and any layer as needed. With the use of Groups, DCAs, and putting faders anywhere I want to, I can usually mix an entire show while remaining on a single layer most of the time.
The iPad app can also use a custom layer allowing you to mix very complex arrangements mostly from one layer remotely anywhere in the venue. I recently mixed a 12-piece band (vocals, piano, keys, guitars, bass, drums, 6 horns) using mostly the iPad after setting up the DCAs for drums, horns, and guitars, and then bringing vocal channels directly to the same layer. This allowed me to move around the venue, and listen to the sound at many different points while easily managing my mix.
I currently own and have owned many analog and digital mixers over the years. The GLD80 has great sounding pre amps, amazing effects, and is overall a very clean sounding console. The EQs compressors, and gates, give you complete control over your sources, and you don't to fight them to get a great sound. All of the EQ and dynamics processing is very musical and very easy to find the sweet spot with quickly. You can do this with both the physical knobs on the console, or by dragging points around on the touch screen.
The workflow on this mixer is extraordinarily flexible and easy. You can easily configure the mixer to your own personal needs and tastes without a degree in rocket science. You can do all kinds of things that you wouldn't think possible on other consoles, and all on a nicely lit, and very responsive touch screen with an intuitive interface. Drag faders to any position on the work surface that you want. This helps you logically group faders together for ease of use. This is especially nice when doing multi-band shows, and someone plugs something into the wrong input on the stage box. You can either remap the input, or simply drag the fader to a new location giving you several quick fixes on the fly.
Once your mixer is configured to taste, managing the mixes, EQ, and dynamics are simple. One thing that I really like about this mixer, is the ability to select the mix button on any input or output and see the mix from that point of view. I can select the mix button for the Aux 2 master, and all of the input faders all become the Aux 2 sends showing what is going into that mix, just like most other digital mixers. But if I select the mix button on the lead guitar (or other input) channel, then all of the output mix master faders (Aux’s) change to show which Aux’s are being fed with that channel's signal, much like on an analog mixer. This gives you 2 ways to do the same thing, both of which come in handy at different times.
I have yet to find anything that I dislike about this console. I would buy it again without even thinking about it. It sounds great, it is easy to configure, and use, and a real time saver. If you are in the market for a console at this price point, look no further, the GLD80 will fit the bill.
If you plan on mixing more than 32 channels on a regular basis, you may want to look at the GLD112 instead as it gives you additional faders to work with, so you don't have to jump around as much. They are both the same other than the additional controls on the 112.
I did a lot of research on this mixer and others at a similar price point, but managed to wait until the last minute (2 days before a big show), to purchase it. This is not the first time that I have done this, and Sweetwater has always bailed me out and turned my order around quickly and got it to me the very next day in these situations. This gave me time to get familiar with the console, and feel comfortable enough to use it the day after I received it.