Retired after 40 years in business  

Used Equipment
Articles Written
Speeches Given
Tech Tips
Web Links
Radio History

   Articles for the Radio Broadcast Industry

Terms of Use & Disclaimer

Radio Systems Millenium Console
by Mark Persons 
Radio World Article
October 24, 2001

A few years ago, two of my customers became "hooked" on the Radio Systems line of analog audio consoles.  I enjoyed the same excitement when installing the consoles. 

It all started when I was asked to recommend a console to a broadcaster who still believes in programming live 18 hours a day.  The console had to be rugged, reasonably priced, and the audio had to be clean.  That ruled out all consoles with audio transformers.  Over my 30 years of radio broadcast engineering, I have installed and reinstalled well over 100 audio consoles.  All have their good points and bad points. 

I noticed that Radio Systems was gaining a good name in the industry with the RS-12 series 12 channel audio consoles.  This was not Radio Systems´┐Ż first effort at producing a good audio console.  The RS-12 was built from lessons learned on console designs produced over a number of years.

After installing the first one at WJJY Radio in Brainerd, MN, there was no turning back.  The client was so impressed that he would accept nothing else for his main studios.  To date, he has purchased one for each of his 7 stations and ordered two more for stations scheduled to be built soon.  Three of them are in his new $800,000 studio facility in Brainerd.   

What brought on this attitude?  The Radio Systems RS-12, and later the RS-12A Millenium Audio Consoles, are designed to be rugged and easy to use while keeping audio quality high.  The operators love them.  They just feel good to operate.   Don't know why they spelled Millennium with just one "n."  I suppose they were trying to keep the end user cost down.

I like the red peak lights on each analog VU meter.  Console output commands to start and stop CD players and digital audio storage equipment are easily programmable with computer type plug-in jumpers.  The commands can be continuous or momentary.  Audio stays on the audio cards in the bottom of the console and is adjusted by audio voltage controlled amplifiers, which are clean as a whistle and have left to right stereo gain matched to fractions of a DB.  Front panel buttons turn the VCA's on and off.  Front panel slide pots are DC controls for the VCA's.

The Radio Systems RS-12A 12 channel Millenium console was introduced two years ago.  It was a very nice upgrade to the RS-12.  It kept the wonderfully clean audio boards in the bottom of the console frame and replaced the black colored top with a beige/blue panel of the same size.  The most interesting changes were soft rubber pushbuttons with LED lamps instead of the original hardware switches with incandescent lamps.  The new buttons have a really nice feel as well as being completely silent in their operation.  The factory people tell me the meters have been improved to be more accurate.  Either way, they work just fine. 

For stations with the original RS-12 console, there is an upgrade kit, which will replace the black top with the new beige/blue Millenium top.  They even throw in new wood sides to make it look like a new console.  The kit is $2000.  For $2500, you can send a console to the factory for the complete reworking including bringing it up to factory new specifications.  A new RS-12A 12 channel audio console is just $5,495.00.  6 channel, 18 channel, and 24 channel models are available too.  High quality P&G faders are available as an option.  You can learn more details at the Radio Systems website

Digital may be a current buzz word, but for the client's money and mine, these analog consoles are as good as it gets.  Until we have a real digital standard, I am staying with analog consoles. 
Mark Persons, ham W0MH, is certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers as a Professional Broadcast Engineer with more than 30 years experience. He has written numerous articles for Radio World over the years. His website is

From the Radio World Buyer's Guide October 24, 2001

     Questions?  Email Mark Persons:       

    Return to Home Page    Return to the Articles Page