6 of The Best: Small Mixers

Welcome to the MusicTech Buyer’s Guide where we round up some of the best products recently reviewed in both the magazine and online. Here’s a selection of small-to-medium-size mixers we’ve looked at over the past six months – from budget buys to playing live…

Best Live – Soundcraft Ui-16

small mixers

We love the Ui-16, even though it’s not the most attractive of mixers. That’s because the most interesting ‘mix’ stuff is done on-line with only the connections dealt with in hardware. The way this is dealt with is simply brilliant: an easy interface accessible with any internet connection, making the Ui-16 an excellent mix proposition for touring.

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“Small venues have a mixer that anyone can plug into and bands have something they are used to taking anywhere. The best bit is to see new tech being used in such a zero-fuss and useful way,” so said our original reviewer and concluded: “A great concept, superbly realised. Practical, easy, versatile and with a great sound.”

Details
Price £499
Contact Sound Technology 01462 480000
Web www.soundtech.co.uk

Best Mid-Size – Allen & Heath MixWizard

This is A&H’s mid-size mixer range, available in 16:2, 12:2 and 14:4:2 configurations. You get a couple of onboard multi-FX units, four-band EQ per channel, stereo returns and six auxiliary sends (on the 16:2 we tested).

When we reviewed it, we concluded: “This mixer really does hold true to the previous range’s great reputation, and the fully featured 16 channels in such a small footprint will be attractive to many people. USB is worth upgrading to if you want to start capturing live shows; just don’t expect too much from it in terms of its versatility.”

We concluded: “This tried-and-tested range of mixers just got a serious update, with onboard FX and the option to add USB 2.0 connectivity. Multi-track capture of live performances is now a USB connection away for thosewho love the MixWizard form.”

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Details
Price £899
Contact 0113 277 1441
Web www.allen-heath.com

Best Singer-Songwriter – Allen & Heath Zed Series

They might be in the same range, look the same and have the same ‘feel’ – but the ZED-6 and ZEDi-10FX mixers serve very different purposes and work on very different levels.

Andy Jones said: “The 6 is the ideal no-nonsense, small mixer for a single musician with a guitar and mic, and does the job well with no fuss, and for very little outlay. The ZEDi-10FX works well for a very different and larger audience.

It operates in a very straightforward way as a simple but well-featured interface, for both iOS and computer. Low-noise and low-cost mixers for a variety of purposes.”

Details
Price ZED-6: £99; ZEDi-10FX: £249
Contact 0113 277 1441
Web www.allen-heath.com

Best Compact USB – Yamaha AG Series

We looked at two mixers in Yamaha’s AG range which is aimed at podcasters, video bloggers and singer songwriters, but has the added bonus of USB interfacing as well as low noise and reasonably high specs, especially given the prices.

Reviewer Andy Jones said: “While these mixers are clearly not for top-end recording artists, they will find homes in a good variety of places. You’re getting something easy to set up, difficult to break, and fast to mix audio with, for not too much cash, either.

Dead easy to use and even easier to recommend,” and concluded: The series might look simple, but both pack a punch in terms of features, especially the 06. A great route into audio for a variety of tasks and users.”

Details
Price £105 – £130
Contact Yamaha – 0844 811116
Web www.yamahaproaudio.com

Best Compact Budget – Mackie Mix Series

It’s another mixer range and, again, we looked at the smallest and the biggest models within it: the five-channel and 12FX (the other being an eight-channel model identical to the 5). “The Mix range does exactly as it should do across three low price points,” said reviewer Andy Jones.

“They are both rugged, low in noise and compact enough for a variety of small venue live situations and studio recording scenarios. As a simple set of mixers, the Mix series is a solid and elegant solution, and represents great value.”

He concluded: “One of the simplest ranges we’ve looked at, but one that could suit a surprising number of situations in today’s increasingly hardware studio and acoustic setups.”

Details
Price Mix5 £59; Mix12 FX £129
Contact Polar Audio – 01444 258258
Web www.mackie.com

Best Compact Live – Kinsman KM Series

Like the other series above, we’ve looked at two models in this range – the KM8FX and 12FX – this time aimed more at the live market. These two are very solid mixers and the larger one in particular is a great buy.

You get an extra pair of stereo inputs on the 12FX, an extra Aux send to bring in external effects, sub outs, faders rather than rotaries for level, solo buttons and peak LEDs. Otherwise, the mixers share four mono ins (with XLRs), a stereo set of ins and plenty of effects action.

“Both offer a clean and sturdy mix experience and come highly recommended to those on a low budget. Well-featured mixers for live and studio use.”

Details
Price KM8FX: £159; KM12FX £269
Contact JHS 01132 865 381
Web www.jhs.co.uk

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