Nice and thanks for starting this topic, sharing your ideas, and welcoming discussion. I too am looking into boards, here’s the thing I’ve learned. Rather than have a specific model/piece you watch for, and then get one irrespective of condition etc, I’ve learned it’s better to get the best shape/working/condition piece, even if not the specific model you look for. For instance, I have had the beautiful Yamaha cmx100ⅲs cassette on my want/watch list forever, but pass up the non working ones and instead got a MT100 mark 2 because it was like new in the box found in an older man’s garage. I follow this credo with all sorts of old purchases now, but nothing moreso than boards…
Old boards need work, many don’t have regular parts availability, and the ish will cost you, and they are big so you really don’t want to be shipping them around. I’m lucky here in Baltimore, we have a place that does electronics repair near here, but they are a storefront, and they charge. My friend has a nice ass Allen and Heath and he love the sound of it, he took it in there and they said it was going to be 300, he took it home, sprayed it down, and got most of the scratchiness out, but it still aint right all the way.
I do highly recommend a nice analog board, taking into account the cost of getting it tiptop etc.
As for indispensable gear, I don’t mind sharing among fellow early Isla enthusiasts!
A working tape recorder or digital recorder like zoom or tascam or minidisc etc. I can’t live without. Get a PMD or at least a voice recorder, or if you ball out a working Sony D5 (they’ve gone so high now it’s nuts). With many it’s No bootup. No software. No setup. No cords. Not even a power button. I have an idea, I literally press 1 record button and it’s on there, this is a life changer for me, as I find the key to creative work is capturing an idea as it comes to you, rather than setting up and sitting down and hoping inspiration will come to you then. It’s easy to get lost in the complexities etc.
An analog filter. I sold my MFC42 and wish I didn’t. I know it’s not the wildest, and analog filter fans are a cool bunch, but analog filters are cool as hell and I want more of them ha.
There’s a bunch I’m working out I need to fill in but I’ve been filling things in for a while and made great strides to get a system together after selling and going thru difficulties in past etc.
Things that are indespensible that I don’t have yet that are expensive are nice monitors, compressors, and converters.
All good equipment is an investment, in the gear, in yourself, in your dreams and in your workflow, happiness, creativity, etc. If gear becomes merely an expense, then it’s no dice.
O yea, 1 more thing that is super crucial that I’ve invested in is CABLES and ADAPTERS. Yeesh. So many, still getting some. I recommend designacable in UK and watching for mogami on ebay for good used ones. No need to get sick-level audiophile, but I’ve grabbed a couple here and there on sick deals, but the cable game gets to esoteric weirdo levels and pros use mogami or canare (or gotham, sommer, klotz, and some others) so that’s quality we can trust. I don’t get shite cables and I don’t get cables that are on some billionaire surgeon audiophile levels of madness either. Oyaide makes great cable too but they get pricey. Also Evidence. I use all of these brands.
Cheers and happy hunting!!! Wishing well and hoping for you to get a nice board!!!