CTW NAMM Coverage: Allen & Heath GLD Mixer

Following up on their successful iLive line, A&H have introduced the new GLD. Think of the GLD as the SC48 to Avid's Profile. Whereas in the iLive, the DSP is done in the rack and the surface is an expensive keyboard, the GLD surface contains all the DSP and a small bit of I/O. With a simple Cat5 connection, additional I/O can be added. 

Now, I'll say up front that I don't really care for the UI of any of the A&H digital consoles. I'm not saying they're bad, I just don't really like them. They often don't work the way I expect them to, and thus I find them cumbersome to use. But that's me. A lot of people love them. 

The GLD is a little bit of a departure from the iLive, but not much. The "channel strip" is present and accounted for, though with slightly reduced functionality. You still get big, customizable colored scribble strips, and the 8.4" screen is a touch screen.

The surface provides you with 20 freely assignable faders with 4 layers and a total of 80 channel strips. The desk will process 48 channels at any given time and has 30 busses and 20 mix outputs (I'm still trying to figure that spec out...).

There are a boat load of features for such a small footprint, and you can read all about it on their website. But here are a few things of note. First, the main audio rack has an Aviom compliant output on it, so if you want to use the GLD with an Aviom system, buy the distro along with some mixers and you're done. No extra output card needed.

Speaking of cards, there is a card slot that will enable you to spit out Dante, MADI, EtherSound and A&H's own ACE protocols. You can record two tracks to a USB stick right on the desk, and the touch screen lets you drag and drop channels into their fader positions. 

But perhaps the most interesting thing is the price. The surface lists for about $9,000; the 24x12 rack is $2,450 and the 8x4 rack is $1,100. So for under $13K street, you should be in a 48x24 I/O configuration with Aviom output. That's not too bad. 

Like I said, I'm still not sold on their UI or workflow. But at this price/feature set, it has to be part of the discussion if you're looking for a 48 channel digital console in the $10K range. If you like the way it works, it could be a great way to go.