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Audio Technology Update:What advice can you give engineers who will be shopping for audio consoles at NAB2005?

John Machecha:Quality, flexibility, dependability and adaptability. Quality: How does the console sound? Do the EQ filters and dynamics all work without adding any unwanted artifacts? What is the quality of construction? Do the faders, switches and buttons have a positive feel? Broadcast consoles will see a lot of use so they must be built to stand up to that 24-hour operation.

Flexibility: Will the console meet the demands of your operation? Are there enough inputs and outputs? Can it handle your demands for IFB and mix-minus feeds? Can the console be reconfigured quickly to change from a production to an on-air mode? You never know when breaking news is going to happen.

Dependability: This is a key feature as there is no time in a live broadcast to fix things. If something needs to be changed out it better be able to happen fast. The support the manufacturer gives his products is also a major concern. Are spare parts and maintenance help readily available or will you be waiting for a spare card to be sent overnight from overseas?

Adaptability: You are going to have to adapt any console into your existing operation. Will it handle all the digital signals (AES, ADAT, TDIF) and different sample rates? Can the console grow as your needs expand?

Cost: After you have purchased your wonderful new console it sure would be nice to have some money left over to buy some new microphones and maybe new monitor speakers.

ATU:What does your team like most about the audio consoles that you work with?

Machecha:We have been working with our Euphonix System 5 for a little over a year now. That's 20 hours a day, seven days a week and the staff all seem to like different features of the console. What it comes down to is ease of operation, EQ, dynamics, routing and input control. We have 12 IFB mix-minus feeds leaving the console which can be easily changed if needed. That is something our old analog console could have never done.

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