Not too many years ago, if a school or a church wanted to start a small radio station, and their budget wouldn’t allow them to buy a brand new on-air console, they would take whatever was available on the “used” market… usually an ancient broadcast board with some of the parts missing or not working. Or they would use a compact mixer (think Mackie, Yamaha, and the like) and try to make do without the logic, remote starts, and control room muting functions that a broadcast board would have. And of course, everyone would have their own ideas about setting all those pretty EQ controls. Time for a better solution…
Now, many of the mainstream radio console manufacturers have some very attractive models made specifically for the station with limited funds. AudioArts, Arrakis, Broadcast Tools, Henry Engineering, (I know I’ve left someone out… I’ll hear from them soon, I just know it) all have economical on-air boards with easy connections (TRS and/or RCA) so that a startup station can get all the features needed to do real radio.
There are several models under $2000. Even for larger stations, these are great for use in a secondary studio or in the remote truck. Here are a few of the models under $2K:
AudioArts Air1, Arrakis ARC-10U, Broadcast Tools Promix12, Henry Engineering SixMix.