OK, I'll take a crack at this Your question just begs for a whole bunch in return - first and foremost, what is your budget? What exactly is it that you are recording and what are the console requirements besides 16 to 24 channels to properly run the live show? Number of aux sends needed? Do you need subgroups? Are you also looking for a standalone multi-tracker or plan on running it direct to a computer? Are these recordings going to be used just for archiving or self-critiqueing or a demo or do you want to put together something for sale or distribution?
Being an analog guy, and if you have the cash to spend, I'd take a gander at the Allen & Heath GL4000M-824A and add an Alesis HD24 to record onto. The GL4000 has plenty of auxs (10), 8 subgroups if you need subgroups, 4 matrixes, but the best thing is that AUX 10 has the capability of being switched to either a pre or post direct out level control. Works great for recording lives show - I do it all the time and then mix back down through the GL4000 from the HD24 - or you can pop the drive out of the HD24, dock it into the Fireport and import it Firewire into a computer editing system. Probable cash outlay - around $7,500.
If that is not in the picture for budget, take a look around for a GL2200 since they are being replaced by GL2400 - could probably pick one up for around $1,500?? and pair that with a HD24 - cash outlay probably around $3,000. Or for that matter, any higher quality console with direct outs will let you record onto a multi-tracker. Just some food for thought....
Hmmm It dosnt rreally sound what you are looking for, but I use a Presonus Firepod to both mix and record 10 chanels. It's not the best for mixing, but shines @ recording. For any sizeable show I use another (Borrowed) mixer and run direct outs into the firepod to record. Anything like you are looking for was out of my budget (firepod cost about $600)
The firepod does go directly into the comptuer via firewire and each chanel is recorded seperatly to the harddrive, allowing for complete post mixing. I am not really sure about what desks can do this, b/c i didnt really look @ them b/c the were all way out of my price range.
The name of the game with my stuff is LOW BUDGET as I am only a student. (any donations accepted though! )
From the sound of things you can find a console to fit your needs easy enough (if you want 24 digital channels a Macke TT24 if the first thing that comes to my mind but I'm sure there are other options) but I think you should figure out how you are recording first. Do you want to go straight to the PC or are you going to get some multitrack recorder and dump into the computer later?