In this mini review we take a look at the Alto Live 802 mixer…
Price £169 (street)
Contact via website
The Alto 802 Live is clearly aimed at the live circuit, but could actually suit a studio environment as well. It’s compact and sturdy enough to work in most playing and recording situations – from small studio to live venue – and packs a surprising amount of features in for the money.
Alto’s parent company InMusic also distributes Alesis, and the results of that mix are evident here. The 802 packs quite an effects punch, with 100 digital effects care of Alesis, with a good mix of delays, plates, tremolos and choruses plus reverbs aplenty.
The mixer feels very sturdy and the dials and knobs surprisingly ‘pro’ given the price tag. You’d honestly expect this to come in at twice the price given the spec and build.
It does fall down when powered up, with notable hiss at higher levels especially with the gain cranked up per channel – something we would expect, given the budget. The graphic EQ can help here with some nudges reducing it, but it’s not what the EQ was intended for – it being an overall tone control to help with global balance depending on the venue in which you are playing.
The channels are well spec’d with 3-band EQ, and dynamic compression on channels 1 and 2 particularly welcome. This is certainly an effects-packed mixer because there are also two aux sends on each channel, which enable you to branch out to your own effects racks if you tire of the on-board DSP based ones. Dual outputs give it a flexible monitoring edge.
As we conclude, again we have to mention the price because a USB mixer of this spec and for just £169 (street) is pretty good, although the USB side is limited – you can channel two tracks of audio to the computer.
We can see the 802 being picked up not only for small band use but also studio use where a couple of instruments might be paired with a computer. InMusic’s brands are getting quite a reputation for delivering a solid spec for low outlay and this mixer continues that. It’s solid and punchy, and if you can work with the odd niggle and mix at lower levels, it could be a flexible solution to a variety of problems both in the studio and at small to medium-sized live venues