Small-Format Digital Consoles

by Jacob Coakley
in Feature
Allen & Heath Qu-32
Allen & Heath Qu-32

These days, vast power comes in small packages. (Just ask anyone who had to return a Galaxy Note 7…) Much safer, and much better sounding are these small-format digital consoles. Digital is changing a lot of things, but for us small-format means under $10,000 street pricing, and moveable by one person. Don’t worry, though, manufacturers still pack a lot into that footprint—even when a console’s footprint is changing, drastically. Digital engines have given manufacturers tremendous leeway to change the interface. While most offer a traditional fader layout, some are playing with how monitors, tablets and even phones let you manage the mix. But whatever you’re looking at, the sound remains as high-quality as ever on these boards.

Allen & Heath Qu-32
Onboard Mic Preamps: 32 Mono Mic/Line Inputs (TRS + XLR), 3 Stereo Inputs (TRS)
Channel Faders: 33 Motor Faders
Busses: 24 Mix Outputs (XLR), 4 Stereo Groups (switchable to Mix mode), Up to 11 Monitor Mixes (4 mono + 7 stereo)
Digital Connectivity: Yes, dSNAKE Remote Audio Port
Onboard Effects: Yes, 4 FX Engines, 4 dedicated FX Sends / Returns
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: Yes, Qu-Pad iPad App; Qu-You iPhone / Android personal monitoring app; Qu-Control customizable iOS app
Dimensions and Weight: 33.42" x 18.54" x 7.32"  44 lbs.
Extras: Automatic Mic Mixer, Channel Ducker on all inputs, ProFactory Mic Presets, DAW MIDI Control, 4 Mute Groups, 4 DCA Groups, 32x32 USB Audio Interface, Qu-Drive Multitrack Recording / Playback direct to USB device, dSNAKE Remote Audio Port. Also available in Qu-16 and Qu-24 models, with fader backs/inputs matching their names.
www.allen-heath.com

Behringer X32
Behringer X32

Behringer X32
Onboard Mic Preamps: 32
Channel Faders: 25
Busses: 25
Digital Connectivity: AES50
Onboard Effects: Yes
Allows Third Party Plugins: Yes
Tablet Control: iPhone, iPad, Android
Dimensions and Weight: 20.8" x 35.4" 45.4 lbs.
www.behringer.com

DiGiCo S31
DiGiCo S31

DiGiCo S31
Onboard Mic Preamps: 24
Channel Faders: 31
Busses: 46
Digital Connectivity: AES50, plus dual-DMI slots
Onboard Effects: Yes
Allows Third Party Plugins: Yes
Tablet Control: No
Dimensions and Weight: 40.3" x  23.1" x 11.6" 55.1 lbs.
Extras: Three multi-touch screens, 10 x 8 Full Processing Matrix, 4 Assignable DiGiTuBes, 96 kHz sample rate, optional Waves integration
www.digico.biz

Line 6, Inc. StageScape M20d
Line 6, Inc. StageScape M20d

Line 6, Inc. StageScape M20d
Onboard Mic Preamps: 12
Channel Faders: 16
Busses: N/A
Digital Connectivity: 2 digital streaming inputs direct from computer, USB drive or SD card
Onboard Effects: +100 effects
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: iOS
Dimensions and Weight: 4.7” x 16” x 13.3” 12.3 lbs.
Extras: Touchscreen visual mixing. Comprehensive, professional audio processing on every channel including multi-band feedback suppression. Multi-channel recording allows you to easily capture rehearsals or shows, with or without a computer. Multi-band feedback suppression on every mic input. Virtually unlimited I/O Setups, Scenes, and Channel Presets.
www.line6.com

Mackie Axis
Mackie Axis

Mackie Axis
Onboard Mic Preamps: 32
Channel Faders: 17
Busses: 28
Digital Connectivity: AES, Dante
Onboard Effects: 4-band PEQ + HPF/LPF, 31-band GEQ, comp/limiter, alignment delay and RTA/spectrograph
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: Yes. Automatically senses presence of up to three iPad devices and changes Master Fader operation to deliver tight integration and customized functionality
Dimensions and Weight: DL32R: 5.4" x 19.0" x 17.5" 18 lbs. DC16 Control Surface: 3.3" x 36.8" x 17.6" 38 lbs.
www.mackie.com

Midas M32
Midas M32

Midas M32
Onboard Mic Preamps: 32
Channel Faders: 25
Busses: 25
Digital Connectivity: AES50
Onboard Effects: 16
Allows Third Party Plugins: Yes
Tablet Control: iPhone and iPad
Dimensions and Weight: 35.1” x 24.1” x 10.1"  55 lbs.
www.music-group.com

PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. StudioLive 32
PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. StudioLive 32

PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. StudioLive 32
Onboard Mic Preamps: 33
Channel Faders: 33
Busses: 26
Digital Connectivity: AVB, USB, standard Ethernet
Onboard Effects: 4 internal effects buses - combination of reverbs and delays with modern and vintage options
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: Yes, iPad. (Aux control w/Android and iPad)
Dimensions and Weight: 32.37” x 22.97” x 6.51” 37.2 lbs.
Extras: Color touchscreen, onboard 32-track SD recorder, vintage EQs and compressors, multitrack recording via AVB and USB
www.presonus.com

RCF M18
RCF M18

RCF M18
Onboard Mic Preamps: 8
Channel Faders: 18
Busses: 13
Digital Connectivity: WiFi
Onboard Effects: Valve Warmer, Xciter, Maximizer, Amp Modeling
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: iPad, Android
Dimensions and Weight: 17" x 10" x 5"  6 lbs.
Extras: Guitar & bass amp modeling and stompbox effects, record/playback capability with 4x1 USB hub access, MIDI, assignable outputs for in-ear monitoring, dual-band WiFi access
mixer.rcf.it

Roland M-300
Roland M-300

Roland M-300
Onboard Mic Preamps: 4
Channel Faders: 16
Busses: 15
Digital Connectivity: Digital snakes
Onboard Effects: 4-band PEQ, Gates, Compressor + 11 Multi-effects
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: iPad
Dimensions and Weight: 19” x 20” x 8” 21 lbs.
Extras: Digital out, integrated recording, personal mixing options
www.proav.roland.com

Soundcraft Si Expression 3
Soundcraft Si Expression 3

Soundcraft Si Expression 3
Onboard Mic Preamps: 32
Channel Faders: 32
Busses: 20
Digital Connectivity: AES, plus expansion card slot
Onboard Effects:  Lexicon FX processors
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: Yes, iPad
Dimensions and Weight: 36.5" x 20.5" x 6.6" 42 lbs.
www.soundcraft.com

Yamaha TF5
Yamaha TF5

Yamaha TF5
Onboard Mic Preamps: 32
Channel Faders: 33
Busses: 20
Digital Connectivity: Slot for NY64-D card for Dante capability
Onboard Effects: 8 effects and 10 GEQ
Allows Third Party Plugins: No
Tablet Control: iPad
Dimensions and Weight: 34.1" x 23.6" x 8.9" 44 lbs.
www.yamahaproaudio.com