Allen & Heath have just released the Avantis Digital Audio Console – a replacement for the popular GLD-80 & GLD-112 console range. What are the benefits? How much does it cost? How does it compare to other consoles? I’ve been a long-time fan of the GLD console, so in this article we’ll explore its successor.
First, let’s start with the basic bullet-point functionality for this audio console:
- 96kHz mixing
- 64 Channels/Inputs
- 42 Busses/Outputs
- 16 DCAs
- Automatic Mic Mixing
- 8 Mute groups
- 16 FX slots
Console Architecture & I/O
Much like the dLive & GLD before it, Allen & Heath Avantis has a fairly flexible console architecture.
The console itself has just one SLink port, which allows you to connect to the 96kHz stageboxes/expanders also sold by Allen & Heath. As there are only 12 analog inputs and 12 analog outputs on the Avantis Console itself, you will most likely need at least one stage box to get the amount of I/O you need.
With only one SLink port, you need to daisy-chain I/O boxes. The GX4816 contains one port to connect to the Avantis, and two DX ports to connect to additional expanders or ME (personal monitor mixers). This makes it irritating to split your I/O between the local console & on-stage.
There are two card slots, which are compatible with the dLive 96kHz cards (e.g. Dante, Waves, MADI, etc.). As this console runs at 96kHz, care will need to be taken when interfacing with other equipment such as existing 48kHz audio consoles. I don’t expect the Dante cards to do sample rate conversion.
With 24 faders and 6 layers, you can expect to be able to rearrange this console surface the same way as the GLD. Any input or output can appear anywhere on any fader on the surface.
Comparison of the Avantis Console
When compared to the GLD, this surface has much more physical I/O on the console, better touchscreens, and more processing options. Overall, it’s a really solid upgrade. However, the presence of only one SLink port makes I/O connection slightly more irritating (hopefully this is offset by more I/O on the console itself).
When compared to the dLive, you loose the big architectural advantage of having the actual mixing on the stageboxes instead of in a console. You also don’t have anywhere near as much I/O or processing power. However, you do get much of the same processing & effect plugins with the dPack software option.
When compared to the SQ and Qu consoles – well, I don’t think a comparison here is really fair. The Avantis is a much more powerful console based on a and suited to a different segment of the market. The SQ and Qu are much simpler to operate, but you miss out on some of the great operational flexibility of the Avantis.
Compared to other brands, the Avantis has much more power & I/O than consoles such as the Behringer X32, Presonus StudioLive, and Soundcraft Si, and Yamaha TF series. To compare the Avantis against these consoles isn’t really fair.
Should I Upgrade My Existing Console?
There are some circumstances under which you could consider an upgrade to the Avantis console:
- If you need more inputs or outputs
- If you need more advanced audio processing/effects
- If your current console is unreliable, or unrepairable
As with most technology, if you can wait, then it’s probably not a bad idea to wait a little while before purchasing. Allen & Heath have a very good reputation for delivering solid products, however waiting for one or two firmware updates is never bad advice.
Before upgrading, make sure you check:
- Can you afford all the external I/O boxes you need to connect analog audio equipment?
- Do you need to purchase any expansion cards?
- Is networked equipment (e.g. Dante devices) compatible with 96kHz sample rate?
- Do you have time to train any operators on your new console? (especially in a church or school context)
- Will this console integrate with any third-party control systems?
Avantis Console Price Guide
Allen & Heath say the recommend retail price (RRP) of this console is US$9,999.
Remember: if you want to use all the inputs & outputs available on this console, you need to purchase the correct number of I/O interfaces. The RRP of the GX4816 (48 mic inputs, 16 line outputs) I/O expander is US$3,999.
If you want Dante compatibility, you will also need to purchase the dLive Dante 64×64 Card, which has a RRP of US$1,499.
If you want the dPack add-on (extra effects from the dLive), that will set you back RRP US$1,399.
Here are the best prices we’ve found online for this console. As it is only new, not many people are advertising pricing online. We expect this to change over time.
|GX4816 I/O Box||Sweetwater||US$3,599|
w/ dPack Add-on
w/ dPack Add-on
& GX4816 I/O Box
|GX4816 I/O Box||Factory Sound||AU$6,999|
For comparison, the GLD-80 surface could recently be picked up new for about AU$7,999, and 2nd hand for around AU$4,000 (prices found before the Avantis was announced – the GLD is now discontinued, so it will be harder and harder to find in stores).
This information is provided as a guide only. Advertised pricing is current as-of 1st November 2019.
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