Ok, So let's start with a few questions...
1. What equipment will you be running on these consoles? Mostly conventionals and a few LEDunits and movers, or a bunch of multi channel units and a few movers, or are you looking for a jack of all consoles?
2. Budget...times are lean, what are you looking for? New, used, any particular pricepoint?
3. Who do you know? Who is your local rep, and how much attention will they give you? This will determine how much support you'll get. If you have an established relationship with a vendor who you call once or twice a week with Gel orders, and gobo orders, and cable oreders (etc. etc.) this is the person who you want to be your console dealer. They know you, they know what kind of performance you're doing, and they can steer you in the right direction. They care about their relationship with you more than a single purchase order.
4. What kind of shows do you do? This is going to be a major indicator of what you can expect of your light rig. If you're in a touring house, you need to have something that the touring LD is used to. If you do a lot of live music, you may want to consider a Ma, or Maxxys (even Maxxys PC with a couple of touch screens). If you do a lot of Theatre, you might want to lean more towards an ETC or Strand console (I prefer ETC, but that is really a matter of taste). If you do a lot of Dance, you may want a console that lends itself to movers well, but can still handle conventionals easily...
5. Finally (and to me near the top of the list), What are you comfortable with? What sort of syntax, what consoles have you used in the past. For theatre I've been a big fan of ETC consoles. I recommended the Element to one of our local venues, and they have been estatic. The Eos and Ion are quite powerful. For the major ML rigs my console of choice is the recently "red-headed stepchild" Hog II. You may be able to get one cheap since they've said they're not supporting them anymore...and if Carl Wake is listening this is a great opportunity for LightParts.
I hope that helps... A console is a very subjuective choice, and really depends on a lot of variables. Personal taste is one, and an important one. What you are going to be comfortable with matters...especially if you're making a long term commitment to this facility.
How Many Dimmers ?