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Do you know what Chris your a superstar! You have answered my question perfectly! I now have lots of viable options.

I could loose some of the Roland vDrums using a non phantom powered DI rack into ext in function into some of the mix buses for a start. Secondly as you point out I will not be using all 50+ channels all the time, other than maybe the walkdown but hey we can wing that with some careful pre recording [:D] so I could quite easily have the input patch changing with the scene changes as the 20+ radios we will be using obviously dont need phantom and neither do the clicked tracks coming from the MDs macbook [:)]

I think you have just made my day by making me realise this desk was worth every penny and then some!!

Last question how capable is the desk buffer wise etc of receiving 8 channels over Dante and also recording 48 to Dante? Separate Macs doing each task of course!

Thanks again!