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Author Topic: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band  (Read 765 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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duane massey

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 01:57:05 pm »

I'm gonna run against the crowd here. Digital mixers, especially ones that don't have knobs, faders, etc, can be VERY intimidating to a non-sound person. Based on what he has posted the EMX7 would be a great choice, and well within budget.
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Duane Massey
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Luke Geis

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 02:03:45 pm »

Given your budget, you can go digital and acquire a power amp and still be under on that budget.

The added benefit to going digital is that ( depending on how crazy you want to go ) each musician can control their own mix. It takes a lot off your hands when you don't have to stop what you're doing to change someone else's mix.

A Behringer X-Air series can be had used for around $200 and new for less than $500. You can go with the box type version or you can go with the one that looks more like a mixer designed to hold a tablet. The box version ( XR18 for instance ) is a killer little thing that can make what you had look like a toy. The more conventional X-Air ( the X18 for reference ) is just as powerful but just looks different is all. Both versions need a phone, tablet or computer to make it function and if you desire a more robust WiFi connection, an external router is desirable, but not required. You can save your settings and recall them as desired. The biggest beauty of it is that if you want you can walk around the room and mix the show in real-time. None of that walk out and then walk back to the stage to make an adjustment and then walk back out to confirm stuff anymore.

As for amplifiers, depending upon needs you can go with a simple 2 channel model or if you want more you can get a 4 channel amp. Again, Behringer makes some decent amps these days if you go with the inuke series, you can get a 4 channel NX4-6000 for less than $500 new and around $300 used. You can spend more, but the inuke series has shown to be quite reliable and is very affordable considering its power.

Not necessarily trying to push Behringer, there are other options available, but the value to cost they have with their newer lines is REALLY good. If you want to step up your game, going digital is the fastest way to do it and Behringer just happens to make a few good, yet cheap products that allow you to jump in head first.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 04:10:09 pm »

This is a Big Band, with a 5-5-4 horn section, pianist, rhythm section and singer?

Only the singer needs a monitor.

"If you can't hear Freddie Green, you're playing too loud."  - Duke Ellington
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Luke Geis

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 10:12:18 pm »

He mentions initially he only really needs about 10-12 channels of input
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Mike Monte

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2019, 07:54:59 am »

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

My brother & I led a big band in the 80's - early 90's.  (They seemed to go out of vogue in the 90's but over the past five years or so many new ones have popped up in my area.  It's great to see them come back.)

It's great to go "audiophile" with all of the bells'n whistles but your application screams KISS.

I'd get one of these: http://yorkville.com/mixers/micromix/product/m1610-2/  as it is within your budget.

My take: big bands that have popped up in my area do many "concert in the park" gigs.  If it's the same for you, a digital board with touch screen / layers may not be the best option as it's tough to see in direct sunlight....then add the fact that YOU may not be the one running it at times... so: KISS.

The above unit will give you plenty of power for your mains/monitors (or you could go with the m810-2...which I think would be a better choice).
1 mic for the singer, one (on a switch) for trumpet soloist, the same for a trombone soloist, two mics for 2 sax soloists (I am a sax player - we all want to solo on every tune -lol), one for keys (these units have stereo channels in 7/8).

For outdoor gigs you can use vocalist/trpt/tbn/keys mics and use the remaining 4 for the saxes as area mics (leave them on) spread among the saxes (or get an xlr Y https://www.computercablestore.com/xlr-y-one-male-to-two-female-025-ft?gclid=Cj0KCQjw2efrBRD3ARIsAEnt0ehtAMSpxD7fBT8Hz7n9s-r2c2OdU86dG79WFAA2ltv6-BLRRqd8cxIaAstUEALw_wcB and split one channel for the two saxes that do not solo [good luck finding two sax players that won't want to solo - lol]).

When a sax has a solo, he/she can stand up and "eat" the mic - eazy peazy.

To conclude: I would keep it simple....no need to complicate things.

You don't need much...   
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Rob Neidig

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2019, 03:47:57 pm »

Thanks for all the input everyone, it really helps!

Fortunately for the next couple of gigs we have coming up, sound systems are being provided by the venues. After that we have the luxury that I can use my own system if needed. That would be a Yamaha MG166CX mixer with Yamaha DXR12 mains and EON 10 G2s for monitors. We will at some point need to address the dying mixer issue, though.

I will come back and leave an update when the band makes its final choice.

THANKS!!
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Mike Monte

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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2019, 04:43:34 pm »

Thanks for all the input everyone, it really helps!

Fortunately for the next couple of gigs we have coming up, sound systems are being provided by the venues. After that we have the luxury that I can use my own system if needed. That would be a Yamaha MG166CX mixer with Yamaha DXR12 mains and EON 10 G2s for monitors. We will at some point need to address the dying mixer issue, though.

I will come back and leave an update when the band makes its final choice.

THANKS!!
To add: When using two monitors I have always found it best to use one for the vocalist plus one "placed on the other side of the band" and put some bass/keys in it.  It's tough to hear the rhythm section (especially bass/keys) when you're one of the horns on the other side of the section.
The soloists will thank you.
 
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Re: Need Replacement Mixer for Big Band Jazz band
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2019, 04:43:34 pm »


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