Small mixer comparison

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Small mixer comparison

Unread postby M4-10 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:21 pm

I'm looking for advice.

I'm in 3 bands that play around town, straddling the coffee shop to small venue (Backstage Lounge, Railway Club) level.

We're looking to play more, and to further that I am interested in buying a mixer that suits our needs. I just bought 2x used Yorkville E160P powered speakers at L&McQ ($325 each, a good deal). The idea with buying a mixer and speakers is to be able to play coffee shop venues that don't have their own equipment (for example, we're playing at RAW Canvas in Yaletown next week). I've recently brainstormed and realized that having this gear could result in live sound opportunities for me.

I've narrowed my search to 2 mixers. The Yamaha MG166CX ($485) and the Soundcraft EFX 8 ($499).

The Yamaha has 10 mic inputs, an SPX Digital Multieffect, 3 band-EQ with a sweepable mid (250 Hz to 5 kHz) and compression in the first 6 channels (1 knob control, attack and release most suitable for vocals). It has a pre-fader aux, a pre or post aux, and an FX aux. It has two stereo sub-groups.

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/products/mixers/mg_cx_models/index.html

The Soundcraft has 8 mic inputs, a Lexicon effects unit with more features than the Yamaha's, 3 band-EQ with sweepable mid (150 Hz to 3.5 kHz), a pre-fader aux and an FX aux.

http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=148

The feature that got me to these mixers was the sweepable mid.

So, the Yamaha has:
1) 2 extra channels (that I probably don't need);
2) built in compressors (I don't own any outboard ones right now);
3) an extra aux send (that I don't have a use for now, but may in the future); and
4) sub-groups (I can probably use these).

The Soundcraft has:
1) a potentially more useful sweepable mid (all the way down to 150 Hz, though I'm unlikely to take that out of the bass guitar considering my speakers); and
2) a better FX unit.

http://www.soundcraft.com/products/product.aspx?pid=148

The unknown is pre-amp quality, though I'm guessing that the Soundcraft has better ones.

Any advice? Is there a 3rd option I am missing? With L&McQ's generous return policy, should I take my 30 days and A/B them?
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby Daniel » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:45 am

i think for that price you get what you pay for in terms of quality. i might base my decision on features alone, and go with what does the most for the least, as both proabably won't sound fantastic anyway. sweepable eqs are handy, but what are you sweeping with? etc....
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby DoctorBoss » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:40 am

I would definitely go with the Yamaha. The extra channels are nothing to scoff at for future opportunities, the comps could come in handy and a second aux for two monitor mixes down the road is also a great bonus. Thats not even counting the sweet illuminated mute buttons.
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby M4-10 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:35 am

Just a follow-up: I bought the Yamaha MG166CX and it's been great. I think I've used 9 of 10 channels, and I bus my vocals to a subgroup, send it to my Really Nice Compressor, and return it to the stereo return. Sweepable mids are key, and the channel compressors are modestly useful on bass, keyboard, and acoustic guitar.

I also use it at home as a monitor station for zero-latency tracking (though a smaller mixer would do fine for this, although the reverb is nice for monitoring).

I can't think of any gripes. I often wish I had direct outs, but for a $500 mixer it's a great deal.
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby M4-10 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:15 pm

Actually, on the topic of direct outs, since posting I realized I could use the channel inserts as pre-fader outs by half-inserting TS cables connected to an ADC. So I guess I can do live recordings!
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby Daniel » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:57 am

glad to see it worked out for you. The half insert should work fine. Hopefully no one blows on them and they drop out! :-) how did the pres end up sounding? better than most, or about the same as most compact ranges? someone's gotta make something really decent one day.....
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby M4-10 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:26 pm

Apparently there are adapters you can buy for seating half-inserted cables.

I haven't done a pre-shootout between my API pres and Yamaha pres, let alone between the Yamaha and a Mackie. What I can say for sure is they generally sound okay live, get noisy when cranked, and have low headroom (supposedly +20 dBu, but when you're used to +28...). I expect they are merely average in class.
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby Daniel » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:06 pm

we should design something compact but with good pres. it would be a first. we'd be rich! imagine a mackie board with api pres and api eqs......or something.
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Re: Small mixer comparison

Unread postby M4-10 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 pm

Daniel wrote:we should design something compact but with good pres. it would be a first. we'd be rich! imagine a mackie board with api pres and api eqs......or something.


The Mackie X-Desk would be awesome. 16 or 24 channels, no pres, no EQs. 4-6 sends with the usual pre-post set up, and 4 to 8 busses. $500 or less. Let me decide what and how many EQs and pres I need.
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