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Best small format live mixer for under $500
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occamsrazor
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#1
14th March 2010
Old 14th March 2010
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Best small format live mixer for under $500

I'm putting together a small PA for my organ trio (drums, organ, guitar) and I'm looking for some advice on the best sounding (priority#1), durable (priority#2) and feature rich (priority#3) small mixer for under $500. I have about 5 models on the radar - Mackie Onyx 820i, Mackie 1202-VLZ, Soundcraft EFX8, Allen & Heath ZED10fx and the MOTU Traveler mkiii (probably won't go this route - $850 and no faders - but I thought I'd include the possibility of an actual FW interface in the discussion). I'm a studio guy so mic pre quality is important to me but seeing as we're talking small venue live performance it's not super duper critical. Also, the idea of being able to bring a laptop to a gig and doing some recording via USB or FW is appealing. I realize these are mostly new product so any inside info on the build design and manufacturing conditions would be a great help in making my decision. Ultimately I'm looking for the best sounding, best built mixer for $500 or less on the market today. http://www.gearslutz.com/board/image...es/ylsmoke.gif
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14th March 2010
Old 14th March 2010
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Umm, under $500 doesn't really exist to be honest. I guess if you only want a few channels you could find something, but for real live sound applications, the Allen & Heath Mixwizard is where it honestly begins my friend.
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#3
14th March 2010
Old 14th March 2010
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Haven't tried the Soundcraft, but I'd use the Onyx.

The Onyx preamps are better than the VLZ. AH and Onyx series...I think are pretty comparable.

But any of them would work just fine.
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#4
14th March 2010
Old 14th March 2010
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Pickup a clean used Samson MPL 2242 off ebay for around $100 and use the other $400 for other stuff. Nice sounding utility mixer that will fit in 19" rack boxes so it's easy to haul. I'm sure the manual is on the net someplace for you to check it out.
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14th March 2010
Old 14th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
Umm, under $500 doesn't really exist to be honest. I guess if you only want a few channels you could find something, but for real live sound applications, the Allen & Heath Mixwizard is where it honestly begins my friend.
+1 for the mix wizard. You can get one used for 700 or less, sounds good, and fits on the top of a gator rack box thing. I use it for my mobile pt HD rig too with a rack computer on the bottom.
occamsrazor
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
Umm, under $500 doesn't really exist to be honest. I guess if you only want a few channels you could find something, but for real live sound applications, the Allen & Heath Mixwizard is where it honestly begins my friend.
No doubt, I've heard great things about the Mixwizard, but that would be absolute overkill for my small combo gigs. I love sound quality so what would be the best choice for 8 - 12 inputs (4-8 pres) and 2 auxes? Is the cheaper Allen & Heath stuff crap or not? How about the cheap Souncraft stuff? I just can't bring myself to get a Samson or Behringer mixer...
#7
15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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I have a Yamaha MG166CX, and I love it.
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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Yeah.. I was going to suggest a Yamaha MG series too.

They are nice sounding mixers and don't cost a lot of money. If you have the money, I suggest the Allen & Heath, but on a budget, the MG series mixers from Yamaha are clean, quiet and very reliable.
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GZsound View Post
Yeah.. I was going to suggest a Yamaha MG series too.

They are nice sounding mixers and don't cost a lot of money. If you have the money, I suggest the Allen & Heath, but on a budget, the MG series mixers from Yamaha are clean, quiet and very reliable.
I like those too. Built-in channel compression and effects. There's also the MG 124 CX, but it has no parametric mids on the EQ.
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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We have a Yamaha MX 5000 and love it for live, but too noisy to record with.
500w power amp built in, decent onboard reverb and clean, I bet you can get one for 500. they are only 650 or so new.
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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i'd second (or third) the MG166CX

I have it for my vocal group, and it's very quiet, we've never had an issue with it, and it's very flexible in what it can do.

got it for right around 400 at GC.
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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I think I'm going with the Allen & Heath ZED fx12, 6 pres, 4 auxes, USB i/o (granted slooow 1.1 but I don't really need digital i/o anyway so it's just a bonus). From what I gather the pres sound good, the FX sound good and the build quiality is good. Anyone heard otherwise?
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15th March 2010
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I'd call that a good choice, you really can't go wrong with anything allen & heath.


Unless they start making beer. It would probably have that metallic after taste.
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15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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i'm still working with a mackie 1202vlz-PRO for small live. not for studio. it's okay. mackie bring new series: vlz3 if i remember well. +1 is for durability for mackie mixers.
check out 1402vlz3 - faders instead of knobs, and 2 more lines (2 or 4? whatever)
occamsrazor
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16th March 2010
Old 16th March 2010
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I've owned a few Mackie's over the years and while I have no real complaints to speak of, nothing about the overall sound or EQ's excite me. They're definitely durable but a little lifeless sounding. I realize at the $500 or less price point that just about every company is going to look to Asia for manufacturing but I'm hoping the A&H circuits/designs and components sound better. Also, in the real world of lugging your own gear, setting up, then playing the gig and then breaking down, things like built in FX are huge...IF they sound good of course. I guess I can always return it for something else, Soundcraft, Mackie or Yamaha if I hate it (the ZED 12fx). This forum is great, wish I'd signed up sooner...thanks for the input y'all.
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16th March 2010
Old 16th March 2010
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allen and heath is a great choice. i'm upgrading to the 16:2 mixwizard at some point in the future.
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#17
18th March 2010
Old 18th March 2010
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So I went with the Allen&Heath ZED14 which I got new on eBay for $350 including the rack ears (I saved $100 off the stores prices). I was going to get the ZED12 fx but I just found out my daughter needs braces so let the penny pinching begin! I'm going to use one of my old fx processors for a little verb live as well as a Behringer Autocomp Pro. Thanks for everyone's input. Incidentally, I checked out the Mixwizard and was very impressed. I convinced a friend of mine, who I gig with, to sell his mackie 1604 vlz and get the Mixwizard. Thanks for the suggestion.
#18
7th September 2011
Old 7th September 2011
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chawes is offline
zed-10fx vs efx8

I have spend 10-15 hours checking zed-10fx vs efx8.

And they are both very good mixers (and for the price - cheap). I find it SOOOOO hard to choose between them - haven't desided yet.

zed has a warmer sound - and efx8 has a more sort of open sound, perhaps a little to much treble.
efx's sound fx (lexicon) is prob. better than zed's - and has more edit possibilities (zed's fx is not bad).
zed makes noteable less noise than efx8 does!!!


....still haven't desided which one I'm gonna get!


Anyone out there that can add to the above???
#19
8th September 2011
Old 8th September 2011
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Not exactly small but the Soundcraft M series mixers are great. I have owned the 4 and then sold it to get the 12. I sold it a few months back and already want another!
#20
8th September 2011
Old 8th September 2011
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soundcraft is for heavy-duty decent quality and value for money top. PA dog!
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