New Sound Board

FM does it with frequency!
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New Sound Board

Post by dustin » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:38 pm

Help! I need a new sound board for my live FM station and I don't want to get the wrong thing. Is there a reason to get a $4000 sound board over the $1000 boards?

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Re: New Sound Board

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:50 pm

It all comes down to features and quality. You can get decent audio through a $200.00 Mackie but things like remote starts and on-air lighting circuits take a more broadcast oriented console to make those connections easy and reliable. For multiple studios the AOIP (Audio Over IP) digital consoles make things really easy, scalable, and usually easy to configure.

It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish and to an extent market size comes into play. A six station group in a major market will make very different decisions than a standalone FM in a small market will usually make.


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Re: New Sound Board

Post by NECRAT » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:53 pm

Just remember that any non-broadcast board won't have a studio monitor mute, so you'll be constantly manually killing the studio speakers everytime you talk, versus having them mute when you pot up mic 1.

Also the cheaper boards (such as the Behringer products) tend to have cheap power supplies in them, that can either be very noisy out of the box, or develop noise over short periods of time.

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Re: New Sound Board

Post by TPT » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:39 am

I have installed 8 channel R-55E consoles at a number of stations. A high school 900 watt FM; a community college LPFM, and a 9000 watt college non-com. I have one in my production studio at one station. Cost is around $4,800 depending on modules chosen.

The board comes with a 4 channel mike preamp, which can be wired into anyone of the channels. I usually get the 6X1 switch modules, which is good where you have a number of lightly uses sources. Another module is the telephone module, which adds a ninth channel & makes it easier to use a hybrid if you have programming with lots of phone callers. Of course, you have studio muting as well as a second muting for an announce booth. The channels can be turned on and off remotely, which is handy for automated stations instead of using an outboard switcher.

The weakness with this console is the method of wiring to the channel modules--D-connectors. They supply a crimp tool and connectors, but I solder pig tails onto these connectors, running inputs and outputs out to barrier strips, mounted out of sight under the console. Tedious, but once it's done, I can add or re-arrange sources at the barrier strips without having to open up the console.

One other factor--especially with live stations. These consoles appear fairly rugged, the lights are all LED. I've had one on-air at our live FM since '09 without any problems. When looking at a console, you need to consider the cost of down-time & program interruption as well as the initial cost.

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Re: New Sound Board

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:36 am

Adding to the excellent advice already "live" is your live station? There is a huge difference in use and abuse with a station running truly live 24/7 with one which runs live a couple hours per day. In that regard, you truly get what you pay for as the more pricey boards are the product of decades of experience with what is basically a 24 hour industrial usage. The cheaper ones will literally fall apart in a couple years in heavy use.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL •

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Re: New Sound Board

Post by Shane » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:25 pm

So, yes, there are reasons to get a $4000 console over a $1000 console. BUT, if $4000 is more than you can spend: 1) I hope you are not a commercial station because then you really don't want a $1000 console except as a temporary measure or a standby and if you have to ask you must not be doing that well in the revenue dept., and 2) call Arrakis Systems.

I am not familiar with their newest line but their older stuff wasn't bad (some with bitter experience will beg to differ) and the newer stuff has many nice features. I just don't have a feel for their reliability. But they will have all the broadcast doodads you need like muting, etc. Their prices range from around $1000 to above $4000.

What happened to your current console, if you don't mind my asking? Are you down or are you running from temporary facilities (production room or the like)?
Mike Shane, CBRE

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Re: New Sound Board

Post by dustin » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:17 pm

The current console just doesn't output through the headphone jack anymore. It's believed to be older than I am, so it had a good run. Trying to pull information to explain it to my boss.

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Re: New Sound Board

Post by Kelly » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:06 pm

Why not just fix the headphone amp? I'm sure there is someone around with basic electronic troubleshooting skills and a good soldering iron that can repair it. $100 vs. even $1,000? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

What is the make and model of the console?
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Re: New Sound Board

Post by Dale H. Cook » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:26 pm

What make and model is your current console? Where are you? One of us might be close enough to come fix it. If it is an older quality console you might be better off fixing it than buying a cheap replacement.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA

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