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Allen & Heath GL2800 Review
Did some searching through the forum history and didn't really find what I was looking for.
So here's my question: Anyone out there using the Allen & Heath GL2800 right now? We're doing some research for a possible console purchase and would love to hear your input on this unit or another analog board that you'd suggest.
At this point we're not interested in digital, here's why:
#1 - all of our sound guys are volunteers who serve about once a month. we feel that a digital board would be a very daunting thing to try to learn for them. (we had the A&H guys come out and show us an iLive a few years ago. great board, but way too much for about 95% of our volunteers).
#2 - price. i know digital brings some perks, but the price for a well-reviewed & flexible digital is just way above what we're willing to spend in this economy. while the scenes and output flexibility would be helpful, i'm confident a 40 channel analog board would provide the same convenience for much, much less money out of pocket.
a few years ago we had been interested in the soundcraft mh2 and the allen and heath ml3000, but both of those seem to be discontinued. as i'm starting up research again the GL2800 looks promising, but want to get as much input as i can.
so let me know what model you'd point me toward. we're looking for 40 channels, 8 sub groups and as many AUXs as we can get.
Here's a starter question, do you really need a 40-frame, or will 32 do? More options, new and used, in a 32-frame. My church recently scaled down and upgraded from a GL3300/840 to a GL4/832, no problem with the smaller channel count.
I presume FOH and monitors from the same console, hence the need for many auxes? Do you need stereo auxes, or are mono auxes fine?
How many auxes do you have in mind when you say "as many as you can get"? 8, 10, 16, ... ?
You could probably find an ML-series console on the used market if you wanted to.
Also, what console do you have now?
hey there wayne. thanks for getting back.
we've used a 32 channel frame for many years, but we're constantly sharing channels between instruments and vocalists week to week.
right now we have 3 separate teams. sometimes with a full drum kit, sometimes with a percussion set up. 12 different vocalists. 5 different guitarists. 3 bass players. it can get a bit confusing for some of our volunteers to have to completely re-dial in EQ, input gain and everything else every single week. i'm not pretending a 'turn-it-on-and-you're-done' board exists, but it would be more efficient, i think, if channel 4 didn't have to be a cajon one week and a hanging tom the next.
with 40 channels we'd be able to give each of our current sends their own channel and still have some headroom to work with.
i've seen the MLs out there on a few sites, not out of the question, but definitely don't want to buy a used mixer. if we purchase a board it's to be an upgrade and, for me, buying a used mixer has a lot of risk attached to it. it's important for us to know what we're dealing with before we make a purchase.
our current board is the Allen and Heath GL2400. 32 channels, 4 sub groups. a great board, just a little constraining on channels and outputs.
8 AUXs could work. 10 would be better. mono AUXs are fine.
that is what we do. we have 3 rotating teams for sunday mornings. different leaders, different members. each team has a unique make up of vocalists and instrumentalists. which means that, on a particular channel, a soprano might be EQed one week and the next a male bass.
not the end of the world, but hard to get a consistent sound for our musicians on their respective rotations. 32 works (we never use more than 32 on a given week, obviously), but 40 would afford us the luxury of assigning specific channels on the board to each individual musician (and, thereby, each unique EQ & gain structure).
I'm a big fan of A&H consoles but I think you should also take a look at the Yamaha IM8 series as well.
They are closely comparable, but each has a few advantages/disadvantages against the other.
Based on your requirements I think either would work great for you though.
Here are a few of the differences:
Aux sends: GL - 10, IM - 8 (Winner: GL)
Aux Out Control: GL - On knobs; IM - On Faders (Winner: Depends, in my opinion IM)
Channel Count: GL - 38 mono, 2 stereo; IM - 40 mono, 4 stereo (Winner: IM)
EQ: Both similar/same (No Winner)
Hi Pass: GL - Fixed 100Hz; IM - Fixed 80Hz (Winner: GL in my opinion, others would say IM)
Stereo Returns: GL - 2; IM - 4 (Winner: IM)
IM8 has one knob compression on each channel. Not as good as having a full featured compression, but handy for those extra channels where you just don't have enough compressors. Still, I would typically want at least 24ch of separate compression but it's nice to have.
So, pretty comparable consoles overall. I don't think you'll go wrong with either one.
However, if it were me and I were in your shoes with your requirements I would look very closely at the IM8 series. And this is coming from a long time A&H fan and user.
and your thoughts on a digital solution that would have saveable presets for each musician/instrument/vocal?
The ML's I had a lead on sell quickly. None are available at the moment.
Cory Champion - Fortress Productions
Technical Director - Cambria Baptist Church
BTW: I forgot to mention the IM8 is discontinued, however, I know that there are still quite a few in the stock at several dealers and they may be willing to deal if they are sitting in their warehouses.
Most of the time I don't recommend or look at discontinued models when I want a new console, however, since it's Yamaha I know they will continue to service and have parts on hand for what I would expect the life of the console would be.
For example this might be in your log:
Danny B. Vocal Gain 6, high 5, mid 7, low 4
Jenny F. Vocal Gain 9, high 8, mid 9, low 9.
A & H GL2800
We have been using the GL2800 40 channel for just over a year and I really love it. We were previously using a Mackie SR24/4 and were constantly running out of channels and aux sends.
With the new board, we have never ran out of channels and using the 8 mono sends for 8 monitor channels has really helped to dial in the monitor mix for the band. We use the stereo aux for effects.
We just finished doing a week long event I can't imagine having done it without this unit. If asked about any changes I would love to see on it, it would only be the addition of mutes for the aux sends as sometimes I do not need a monitor channel to be on but I don't want to turn the rotary dial down.
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