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Author Topic: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company  (Read 4191 times)

Josh Rawls

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Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« on: April 30, 2019, 04:37:48 pm »

I am freelancing for a local DJ company that is trying to break into the low- to mid-grade production. I'm trying to convince them they need to upgrade their Mackie VLZ-1642 to a digital mixer.

Here's my requirements, in no particular order:
  • Motorized faders
  • Similar in size to the Mackie mixer. In other words, not a full-size console, but a compact one.
  • Built-in analog inputs/outputs.
  • Stage box available
  • Around $2000 w/ case.

My short list includes, again in no particular order.
  • Midas M32R
  • A&H Qu-16C
  • Used Yamaha LS9-16

Are there any other mixers I should consider? I'd like to hear unbiased opinions before saying where my bias lies.

Thanks everyone in advance!
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Josh Rawls

Scott Holtzman

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2019, 04:39:04 pm »

I am freelancing for a local DJ company that is trying to break into the low- to mid-grade production. I'm trying to convince them they need to upgrade their Mackie VLZ-1642 to a digital mixer.

Here's my requirements, in no particular order:
  • Motorized faders
  • Similar in size to the Mackie mixer. In other words, not a full-size console, but a compact one.
  • Built-in analog inputs/outputs.
  • Stage box available
  • Around $2000 w/ case.

My short list includes, again in no particular order.
  • Midas M32R
  • A&H Qu-16C
  • Used Yamaha LS9-16

Are there any other mixers I should consider? I'd like to hear unbiased opinions before saying where my bias lies.

Thanks everyone in advance!

Define, low and mid grade?  Mixer does not a production company make.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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www.ghostav.rocks

Josh Rawls

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2019, 04:57:20 pm »

Define, low and mid grade?  Mixer does not a production company make.

Sorry, I was just coming back to give more details once I realized how vague I was.

Most of their events are a podium mic and a few wireless along with pre-recorded music and audio for video. These events are mostly fundraisers and auctions in small banquet centers and school gyms.

Currently they using DJ grade speakers like EV ZLX and EKX. Mics are also DJ grade Shure BLX with SM58 capsules. I feel like I can work with the speakers and mics that they use, even if they are not from ideal.

The Mackie has some issues like intermittent inputs and output connections. I could possibly fix them, but I don't think the mixer is worth repairing or putting much time into.

Does that help?
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Josh Rawls

Steven Eudaly

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2019, 04:59:31 pm »

You can likely get an X32 Compact tour pack (includes flight case) with an S16 for close to your budget if you contact any of the friendly Music Group dealers here on PSW.

We've sold a few to clients that are very happy and also have a couple in production stock that go out more than any other desk.

*disclaimer: we are Music Group dealers

Jeff Lelko

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2019, 06:54:59 pm »

Hi Josh.  Why in your opinion does this company need a digital mixer?  As Scott already mentioned, a mixer doesn't make the company.  Of the requirements you've listed, none of them really will make a difference where it matters.  For what it's worth the company I own plays similar types of gigs and I used an analog Mackie for over a decade before finally having moved to digital last year.  My reasons for going digital were higher I/O, more complex I/O (matrix, etc.), and added processing such as delay, gates, and compression.  My choice was the A&H dLive S Class.  Not cheap, but very worthwhile. 

I think the company in question will be much better served by investing in better wireless, possibly better speakers, and everything else that's needed for corporate work versus dumping the cash into a mixer upgrade that probably isn't needed yet.  Added bonuses like stanchions and pipe/drape kits are easy money since they're an extra line item on an invoice.  A digital mixer isn't, especially if the client isn't demanding it for some reason.  Just my two cents of course.  Hope this helps!
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Steven Eudaly

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2019, 07:17:29 pm »

Hi Josh.  Why in your opinion does this company need a digital mixer?  As Scott already mentioned, a mixer doesn't make the company.  Of the requirements you've listed, none of them really will make a difference where it matters. 

I would argue that the fully parametric EQs, comps and other processing will benefit even simple talking head events over the VLZ. We've still got lots of VLZ series mixers that go out on dry rentals for the amatuer users, but if we're running production, it's getting a desk with a little more power.

Perhaps a the options presented by OP are overkill. Maybe look at something like a used Yamaha O1V. It's compact, reliable and pretty available for very little money, including one currently in the Marketplace.

Keep the VLZ for rentals, a second system, novice users, etc, but I do think a small digital mixer would be a nice addition for the higher profile gigs that may lead to more business growth.

That all being said, I definitely agree with the recommendation for better wireless. The Mackie will likely continue to work, even when it falls off the back of a truck. When the cheap wireless fails you, and it will, it will be at the worst possible moment and it will not be a good feeling for you or the client.

Mike Caldwell

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 07:19:55 pm »


Most of their events are a podium mic and a few wireless along with pre-recorded music and audio for video. These events are mostly fundraisers and auctions in small banquet centers and school gyms.


Scott said it best, I may quote that later!

I have done plenty of those kind of events with a Mackie 1402vlz, , a small processing rack....and got paid nicely.

For some events I will still use my 1202 or 1402.

That all said a digital mixer with it's extra processing, routing and an iPad does make it handy for those events.

A little advice here.......do not ever go into an event like you mentioned thinking this is going to be easy, it's only a couple of mics and some music!!!!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 07:22:07 pm by Mike Caldwell »
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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2019, 08:11:59 pm »

I agree with the other posters who recommend you upgrade your wireless mics.  I'm not a fan of the low-end Shure wireless products (BLX and PG stuff) because I think they don't sound very good - they tend to have a grainy, almost overmodulated sound when given a loud-ish signal while not overloading the mic.  As a cost-effective wireless solution I like the Sennheiser ew100 G4 line much better. 
Sounds to me like the Mackie needs a cleaning of the faders and pots.  That typically takes care of the intermittent signal problems. 
As for a small format digital mixer I recommend the A&H Qu16 along with an AB168 stage box and a reel of tour-grade Cat5e.  Nice console with an easy-to-understand layout for anyone coming from analog consoles.  Having a parametric EQ and compressor on each channel is a big upgrade from the limited processing of the Mackie.
I think the speakers you mentioned are okay for what you described they do.  I have found the EVs have a good bang-for-the-buck.  You didn't mention how they have their inventory split between the ZLX and EKX speakers (any subs?). 
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2019, 08:20:00 pm »

Based upon what I've read so far... In my opinion.

Upgrade the mixer first and get the x/m32 class mixer that meets your size requirements. Get a cheapo wireless router to wirelessly mix from.

Learn to mix.

Upgrade everything else as you can with wireless first.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2019, 08:26:36 pm »

I would argue that the fully parametric EQs, comps and other processing will benefit even simple talking head events over the VLZ.

Oh absolutely, there's no question about that.  I'd use a basic dbx 2231 EQ along with my Mackie 1402vlz3, but in a pinch I can get by without any of that - and did for many successful years.  Short of problem frequencies causing feedback that an EQ can curb, things like wireless mics cutting out, speakers sounding full of static, equipment looking like it was thrown down the stairs, and overall unreliable service are far more concerning to an entry level company looking to build reputation. 

As an aside, going from DJ to production may force more than just a few bits of new equipment.  Oftentimes many of us here express the need for a business plan - especially when considering large shifts or upgrades in types of equipment owned or jobs played. 
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Re: Opinions for Digital Mixer for small AV Company
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2019, 08:26:36 pm »


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