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Author Topic: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band  (Read 764 times)

Rob Neidig

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Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« on: September 10, 2019, 05:56:46 pm »

Hi!

I'm a long time lurker, now logging in to ask a question:

I play in a big band jazz band. I have been mostly responsible for setting up and setting levels on our PA system. I have a fair amount of experience in audio, so I know what I would use if it were always me running the system. Unfortunately it's not always me. I have to play in the band, so really we do a mostly "set it and forget it" kind of deal with me maybe occasionally being able to run over to the mixer and tweak a level. If I am not at the gig, the people running it need something really as simple as possible for them to run.

What we currently use:

Soundcraft GigRac1000 "box" mixer (8 xlr inputs with the ability to run stereo line sources into a couple of channels)

Unpowered mains
Unpowered monitors

The Soundcraft is giving up the ghost on us so it's time to look for something else. Ideally we would have a mixer that could accommodate 10 xlr inputs so we could have all the solo mics we need and also be able to mic an acoustic piano when one is used. Ideally in the future we could go to some sort of digital mixer and powered speakers/monitors but that is not in the budget at this time.

What I would love is some suggestions for something that will have enough inputs but also is easy to use. The "box" style mixers do seem to be easier for our folks who don't really know anything about running sound to use, so that's really what I THINK we want to look at. I have seen some powered mixers in the regular table top configuration that look interesting but I am afraid they will overwhelm our audio-challenged folks. I am considering the Yamaha EMX5 and EMX7, as well as the Behringer PMP2000D. I know both the Yamahas only have 8 xlr ins. I am not a Behringer fan, but this mixer has 9 xlr ins and Behringer seem to have improved over the last few years.

Other Suggestions?

Thanks so much for your help!!

Rob
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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019, 08:59:59 pm »

What's your budget number for this mixer?
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duane massey

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 12:33:17 am »

I would not be afraid of the "table top" designs. They are really easy for most people, especially if you mark all the settings that you normally use.
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Duane Massey
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Mark Scrivener

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2019, 03:36:41 am »

The best bang for the buck these days are the small rack mount "stage box" style digital mixers (Ui24R, X32 rack, A&H Q-Pac, etc). Most of these have modes where you can lock out the more advanced features and just have a simple screen for the non technical. Advantages of this approach include ability to mix from anywhere, multiple control surfaces (you could have a 2nd tablet on stage for control if needed), better eqs (including eq on all outputs), automatic feedback rejection (on some units), and the ability to multi track record. They also have great built in effects, which probably aren't needed with your Jazz band.

If you really want to stay with a simple analog small mixer, A&H, Yamaha, and Soundcraft still make low cost workhorse units that will get the job done.

Scott Olewiler

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2019, 07:40:26 am »

The best bang for the buck these days are the small rack mount "stage box" style digital mixers (Ui24R, X32 rack, A&H Q-Pac, etc). Most of these have modes where you can lock out the more advanced features and just have a simple screen for the non technical. Advantages of this approach include ability to mix from anywhere, multiple control surfaces (you could have a 2nd tablet on stage for control if needed), better eqs (including eq on all outputs), automatic feedback rejection (on some units), and the ability to multi track record. They also have great built in effects, which probably aren't needed with your Jazz band.

If you really want to stay with a simple analog small mixer, A&H, Yamaha, and Soundcraft still make low cost workhorse units that will get the job done.

Sounds like the OP is currently powering his speakers with his mixer. Adding the cost of a power amps to any of the mentioned digital options is probably going to far exceed his budget, given what he's currently looking at.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2019, 08:02:24 am »

if you think you're going to move to a digital mixer and powered speakers in the future, you really should try and come up with those funds now. It will save you money in the long run.

If that's really not a possibility, you might find more powered mixer option with 10 Xlr inputs in the used market. Carvin produced a lot of powered mixers with higher channel counts. The Carvin RX1200 series would fit your needs if you can find one used.

Peavey and Yamaha made a lot of powered box mixers that pop up in the used markets frequently. Not sure how many have the channel count you need.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 08:08:02 am by Scott Olewiler »
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Mark Scrivener

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 12:40:04 pm »

^^^^^^^^ I agree with Scott. If you want a powered mixer, the used market is your best bet.

I also agree that the sooner you move away from the powered mixer and transition to a digital mixer and powered speakers (or external power amps) the more cost effective it will be.

Rob Neidig

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2019, 01:37:53 pm »

What's your budget number for this mixer?

Thanks, Eric. We don't have a specific budget, but I know we will want to stay below $1000, preferably lower.
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Rob Neidig

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 01:42:29 pm »

Sounds like the OP is currently powering his speakers with his mixer. Adding the cost of a power amps to any of the mentioned digital options is probably going to far exceed his budget, given what he's currently looking at.

Yes, that's true. I would prefer powered speakers and monitors. I have put together a recommendation for the band for what to buy if we went that route. I think I would have a hard time selling that to the rest of the band at this time, though, since we would probably looking at around $3000. All that comes out of each person's pay for gigs.

So bottom line, I think for now we are probably looking at just replacing a powered mixer. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions so far. It has been really helpful!
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 01:47:38 pm »

Yes, that's true. I would prefer powered speakers and monitors. I have put together a recommendation for the band for what to buy if we went that route. I think I would have a hard time selling that to the rest of the band at this time, though, since we would probably looking at around $3000. All that comes out of each person's pay for gigs.

So bottom line, I think for now we are probably looking at just replacing a powered mixer. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions so far. It has been really helpful!
I used to own a Soundcraft gigrac1000 and it was one of the nicest 'lunchbox' style mixers I ever used.

You see less and less of this style of mixer available these days - that goes for desk top style analog mixers too - especially powered ones.  As other have said, digital has taken over and moving in that direction now wouldn't be a bad idea.
Contrary to popular belief, digital mixers are not that difficult to learn.
My Allen & Heath QU16 for example (may be out of your price range but I use it as an example) is very easy to use and has been referred to many times as a digital version of the A&H Mixwiz analogue mixer.
Of course you would need an amp to power your speakers or purchase powered speakers if you don't get a powered mixer.
However, you would gain SO MUCH if you did go digital. You'd have all the effects and dynamics you'll need, along with so many more aux outs for the players to be able to have their own mixes.

For less than the price of the EMX7 you mentioned, you could get a behringer XR18 and an inexpensive tablet and have MUCH more at your disposal than you could ever get with a box mixer.
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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 01:47:38 pm »


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