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Title: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on April 29, 2017, 07:52:47 pm
I'm looking for a sub-$500 mixer with 6-8 mic channels, effects, and a computer interface.  I mainly do small amateur theater and need something with real faders.

The Presonus AR12 caught my eye, but I couldn't find any discussion on it here.  I like the SD slot, the channel signal lights, and the multi-track capability, although I must admit that I hate the look of Presonus.  But I'm mainly wondering about quality.  I found some user comments on store sites that said the faders were really cheap, but then a found a magazine article that said they really good.  A local store sells it, so I plan to go in and see if they have a demo model.

Here are some of the other ones on my list:
A&H ZED-12FX - best quality of the bunch, 100 mm faders
A&H ZED60-14FX
Mackie ProFX16 - level set light, not sure if that works as a signal light
Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK - multitrack, some negative comments here
Yamaha MG16XU - not sure if these are different, but I've been using an MG124CX and the fader knobs keep coming off in the middle of shows

The Presonus 16.0.2 has more of the features I want, but not sure I can justify it.  And the old Firewire interface ...

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks.

*Edit (basically a summary of comments below):
I need a post-fader aux, so the Presonus, A&H 14FX, and Mackie are out of the running.  So is the Peavey PV 14, which otherwise has a lot of features I'm looking for.  I'm learning towards 8 mic inputs, which puts pressure on the 12FX.  After researching Presonus digital mixers I'm leaning away from them as well.  I like the features of the Soundcraft over the Yamaha, even the basic Sig 12 at $100 less, but am mainly interested in quality at this point.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Brian Charbobs on April 30, 2017, 06:27:17 pm
I'm looking for a sub-$500 mixer with 6-8 mic channels, effects, and a computer interface.  I mainly do small amateur theater and need something with real faders.

The Presonus AR12 caught my eye, but I couldn't find any discussion on it here.  I like the SD slot, the channel signal lights, and the multi-track capability, although I must admit that I hate the look of Presonus.  But I'm mainly wondering about quality.  I found some user comments on store sites that said the faders were really cheap, but then a found a magazine article that said they really good.  A local store sells it, so I plan to go in and see if they have a demo model.

Here are some of the other ones on my list:
A&H ZED-12FX - best quality of the bunch, 100 mm faders
A&H ZED60-14FX
Mackie ProFX16 - level set light, not sure if that works as a signal light
Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK - multitrack, some negative comments here
Yamaha MG16XU - not sure if these are different, but I've been using an MG124CX and the fader knobs keep coming off in the middle of shows

The Presonus 16.0.2 has more of the features I want, but not sure I can justify it.  And the old Firewire interface ...

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks.
I just purchased the SoundCraft 12 MTK and so far seems to do what I need it to do. I was looking for a small format mixer for a DUO i play in and this fits the bill for me. My main issue was getting (2) Auxs on a small format mixer, this was the only one that I found that did it for me. Owned Presonus, but it gave me a lot of repair issues, but lots of good folks use them. Never tried to record yet, but will tackle that next.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Dave Scarlett on April 30, 2017, 10:38:09 pm
I owned a Presonus for a short while and it felt cheap. Every time this question comes up I recommend a Peavey PV mixer and the new PV AT 14 gives you a ton of features and 8 channels for only $399.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PV14AT
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 01, 2017, 01:04:27 am
Thanks.  Yeah, after reading more on here I'm hesitant about Presonus.  I forgot about the Peavey mixers; they used to look kind of cheesy but those look nice.  And some really nice features -- both signal and clip lights, headphone jack and control in a sensible place, XLR on the aux send, media player, and a mono switch!  I've been waiting for someone to offer that for years. 

But unfortunately the aux is hardwired pre-fader, and I need a post-fader aux.  I see that also rules out the Presonus, Mackie, and smaller A&H anyway.  I'm leaning towards the Soundcraft, mainly because of its two extra channels vs the A&H.  A few negative notes but mostly positive.  Leaning away from the Yamaha at this point.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Scott Slater on May 04, 2017, 07:42:06 am
A&H ZED-12FX

It feels cheaper than its bigger brothers (Mix Wiz & GL), but compared to the others, it is very solid.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Steve Garris on May 04, 2017, 12:58:39 pm
A&H ZED-12FX

It feels cheaper than its bigger brothers (Mix Wiz & GL), but compared to the others, it is very solid.

Yes. After looking around I've decided on the 10FX for my talking head, small mixer needs. Note that is has a variable mid control on each channel. Also nice that it has a standard IEC cord - no power brick.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Brian Charbobs on May 04, 2017, 01:35:28 pm
Yes. After looking around I've decided on the 10FX for my talking head, small mixer needs. Note that is has a variable mid control on each channel. Also nice that it has a standard IEC cord - no power brick.

What about the SoundCraft Signature Series?
I just bought the 12MTK and it had 2 Aux sends along with built in effects.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Brian Charbobs on May 04, 2017, 01:36:22 pm
OK
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: kel mcguire on May 04, 2017, 02:10:47 pm
Personally the look of a mixer means very little to me. I've owned the little Peavey, still have a 4 channel PV. It's built like a tank, steel frame, solid knobs, fixed EQ..crappy power supply.  The AH ZED are quite nice too. Better EQ, IEC cable internal PS.

I like the idea of the Presonus SD Capture two track, and the interface. You could sort of do a virtual sound check but without the ability to adjust anything in real time.

I still love my 1602 and use it all the time. Presonus has hinted at a replacement, but when it dies I'll probably go to a QSC Touchmix 16.
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 05, 2017, 01:38:51 am
Thanks everyone.  I had a chance to play with a 10FX and it felt good but of course it was just knobs, not faders.  I'm glad most have an internal power supply.  I would really like 8 channels, so I'm a bit discouraged.  If I didn't worry about USB it would open up some of the better mixers, but it would be nice to have.

Between the Soundcraft and Yamaha which would you recommend?
Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Mike Pyle on May 05, 2017, 09:45:09 am
Thanks everyone.  I had a chance to play with a 10FX and it felt good but of course it was just knobs, not faders.  I'm glad most have an internal power supply.  I would really like 8 channels, so I'm a bit discouraged.  If I didn't worry about USB it would open up some of the better mixers, but it would be nice to have.

How about the ZED60-14FX?

I've sold a few of the Signature mixers also. No complaints yet.

Title: Re: Presonus StudioLive AR Mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 05, 2017, 12:23:48 pm
How about the ZED60-14FX?

I've sold a few of the Signature mixers also. No complaints yet.
The ZED60-14FX was high on my list until I found out that it does not have a post-fader aux.

I'm tempted to look a little higher at options such as the ZED-16FX, but the "boss" is balking and I would rather save the money to put towards another digital mixer someday.  I think.
Title: Re: $500 mixers - Soundcraft, Yamaha, or A&H
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 05, 2017, 12:52:26 pm
I'm looking for a sub-$500 mixer with 6-8 mic channels, effects, and a computer interface.  I mainly do small amateur theater and need something with real faders.

The Presonus AR12 caught my eye, but I couldn't find any discussion on it here.  I like the SD slot, the channel signal lights, and the multi-track capability, although I must admit that I hate the look of Presonus.  But I'm mainly wondering about quality.  I found some user comments on store sites that said the faders were really cheap, but then a found a magazine article that said they really good.  A local store sells it, so I plan to go in and see if they have a demo model.

Here are some of the other ones on my list:
A&H ZED-12FX - best quality of the bunch, 100 mm faders
Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK - multitrack, some negative comments here
Yamaha MG16XU - not sure if these are better quality, but I've been using an MG124CX and the fader knobs keep coming off in the middle of shows

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks.
You may want to investigate the XR16 as well.  For theater, having digital scene recall might be a big deal for you.  In general, having a digital mixer would:


Might be something to look into before going with an analog mixer.
Title: Re: $500 mixers - Soundcraft, Yamaha, or A&H
Post by: Craig Smith on May 06, 2017, 02:58:27 pm
You may want to investigate the XR16 as well.  For theater, having digital scene recall might be a big deal for you.  In general, having a digital mixer would:

  • Give you scene save and recall
  • Give you the ability to mix remotely without a snake (from behind the audience even)
  • Would be small and insignificant on stage
  • Full PEQ, gate, compressor on every channel

Might be something to look into before going with an analog mixer.
I agree 100%.  A number of years ago when I did more of this type of work and wanted to upgrade, I decided that digital was the way to go.  At the time I needed subgroups, delay, parametric EQ, compressors, etc, and really wanted the scenes and better metering.  So I sold all my outboard equipment and bought an 01v96i.  I also wanted remote mixing too but choices were limited back then.

Ironically I ended up not doing any theater for a long time after that so never used the scene feature, although I did do a number of concerts for the next year.  But then things tapered off and I had a lot of unexpected expenses, so I sold all my good equipment and have just been using the original cheap stuff I bought a long time ago.  But now I'm doing a little more and what I have just doesn't cut it; but I'm not doing anything major.  So I was just thinking of getting something cheap for now.

The problem is I'm usually working with area mics with kids with no experience.  So I'm constantly on the edge of feedback trying to pick them up.  And the soundtrack volumes are all over the place.  So I'm on the faders constantly, and have to be able to make quick (but sometimes small) adjustments based on feel, and can't look down much.  So I don't think any of the iPad-controlled digital mixers will cut it.

I miss not having any means of dialing out feedback, although the Soundcraft asymmetric EQ may help.

One other thing that would really help is input channel meters, or at least a signal light.  When I do have the luxury of working with wireless mics, I need to know quickly if they forgot to switch on their mic or if they got the wrong mic.  And very few analog mixers have anything useful like this.

But scenes, compression, delay, and subgroups aren't as important.

I was actually hoping to get something for a show I did last night, but I decided to just superglue the faders on the old Yamaha and go with it.   So it's not as urgent; I don't have anything planned in the near future.  But I don't want to be up against a deadline again. 

I do believe in "buy once, cry once, buy twice, cry twice" however.  So maybe I should look at digital stuff again.  Or wait a little while and see how it evolves.  I wish someone would make a modular setup: a stage box that you can use either with an iPad or control surface.  It seems stupid to put analog I/O on a digital mixer case.
Title: Re: $500 mixers - Soundcraft, Yamaha, or A&H
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 06, 2017, 03:45:39 pm
I agree 100%.  A number of years ago when I did more of this type of work and wanted to upgrade, I decided that digital was the way to go.  At the time I needed subgroups, delay, parametric EQ, compressors, etc, and really wanted the scenes and better metering.  So I sold all my outboard equipment and bought an 01v96i.  I also wanted remote mixing too but choices were limited back then.

Ironically I ended up not doing any theater for a long time after that so never used the scene feature, although I did do a number of concerts for the next year.  But then things tapered off and I had a lot of unexpected expenses, so I sold all my good equipment and have just been using the original cheap stuff I bought a long time ago.  But now I'm doing a little more and what I have just doesn't cut it; but I'm not doing anything major.  So I was just thinking of getting something cheap for now.

The problem is I'm usually working with area mics with kids with no experience.  So I'm constantly on the edge of feedback trying to pick them up.  And the soundtrack volumes are all over the place.  So I'm on the faders constantly, and have to be able to make quick (but sometimes small) adjustments based on feel, and can't look down much.  So I don't think any of the iPad-controlled digital mixers will cut it.

I miss not having any means of dialing out feedback, although the Soundcraft asymmetric EQ may help.

One other thing that would really help is input channel meters, or at least a signal light.  When I do have the luxury of working with wireless mics, I need to know quickly if they forgot to switch on their mic or if they got the wrong mic.  And very few analog mixers have anything useful like this.

But scenes, compression, delay, and subgroups aren't as important.

I was actually hoping to get something for a show I did last night, but I decided to just superglue the faders on the old Yamaha and go with it.   So it's not as urgent; I don't have anything planned in the near future.  But I don't want to be up against a deadline again. 

I do believe in "buy once, cry once, buy twice, cry twice" however.  So maybe I should look at digital stuff again.  Or wait a little while and see how it evolves.  I wish someone would make a modular setup: a stage box that you can use either with an iPad or control surface.  It seems stupid to put analog I/O on a digital mixer case.

Scott,  I don't know your budget but I just sold a 3 year old fully depreciated x32 Compact and a brand new Gator X-tour case we had never even taken out of the box for 1k.

If you shop well I think you could duplicate that deal.  It hits on every point you made. 

Honestly I loved our compact and the only reason we sold it was to get the M32R's and spent some money to keep the governments hands off of it.

Title: Re: $500 mixers - Soundcraft, Yamaha, or A&H
Post by: Stelios Mac on May 06, 2017, 04:29:25 pm
I do believe in "buy once, cry once, buy twice, cry twice" however.  So maybe I should look at digital stuff again.  Or wait a little while and see how it evolves.  I wish someone would make a modular setup: a stage box that you can use either with an iPad or control surface.  It seems stupid to put analog I/O on a digital mixer case.

You could certainly get an XR16/18 (or X32 Rack?) + an xTouch and do exactly that - Or you could get an x32 producer for around the same money (Which is what I would do). It's out of your $500 budget, but then you'd need way over $2k of outboard to do what it can do on an analog desk.

I personally own an XR16 and absolutely love it. I always prefer using it over any boards I come across - even including a Tascam TMD8000 and a Crest HP8. Those are obviously great desks, but they don't give you the same sort of flexibility you get with a console like the xAir if they're not being accompanied by a rack full of compressors, EQs, DSP & FX processors. You don't get total recall with the press of a button. You can't rearrange the order of the faders on the fly. The list goes on and on... You may or may not benefit from that sort of flexibility, that's up to you to decide.
And if that matters, people are generally more impressed by my ability to control everything from an iPad than "knowing what all those buttons do", LOL  ;D
Hope that helps :)
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 06, 2017, 05:54:47 pm
I didn't know about the xTouch, might be an option.  I was just looking at the Producer, although it doesn't get near the love of the Compact.  I'll have to see what the differences are (besides scribble strips).  In either case I would have to get over my Behringerphobia; I hear nothing but good about the X32 but years ago I swore I would never buy Behringer.  I'm also hesitant to buy used, but might be time to get over that too.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 06, 2017, 08:04:14 pm
This makes me a little sad... I used to be product manager over mixers, and $500 didn't get you that much a few decades ago...  Now you can get a ton....

JR
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Ivan Beaver on May 06, 2017, 08:21:28 pm
This makes me a little sad... I used to be product manager over mixers, and $500 didn't get you that much a few decades ago...  Now you can get a ton....

JR
And amplifiers fall into the same category.

It is amazing how much things have changed-in design and manufacturing-and customer needs/desires.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 06, 2017, 09:53:43 pm
This makes me a little sad... I used to be product manager over mixers, and $500 didn't get you that much a few decades ago...  Now you can get a ton....

JR
Not sure I'm following; did anyone imply otherwise?  It is amazing what you can get now.  Although my Mackie VLZ is the same price today that it was 19 years ago.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Stelios Mac on May 07, 2017, 03:16:43 am
I didn't know about the xTouch, might be an option.  I was just looking at the Producer, although it doesn't get near the love of the Compact.  I'll have to see what the differences are (besides scribble strips).  In either case I would have to get over my Behringerphobia; I hear nothing but good about the X32 but years ago I swore I would never buy Behringer.  I'm also hesitant to buy used, but might be time to get over that too.

There's also the newer Midas mAir consoles if you don't want to go with Behringer. Some slight differences internally (I think it's got upgraded preamps, A/D and D/A conversion, but you'd have to check on that) and a higher price tag. It should still work with the xTouch

As far as I know, the differences are a bigger screen and scribble strips on the Compact. I've had the pleasure of using a Producer once (unfortunately had to mix remotely using a Surface so I didn''t get to really experience what it's like to run the actual desk) - I don't think the lack of scribble scripts would be an issue unless you have to manage 32 inputs and 16 mixes or something. You can spill 16 inputs onto the 16 faders and label them like you would with an analog desk, and switch over to the outputs if you have to make an adjustment. I wish I could have gotten one over my XR16 but I'm not complaining ;D
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Ivan Beaver on May 07, 2017, 07:53:36 am
Not sure I'm following; did anyone imply otherwise?  It is amazing what you can get now.  Although my Mackie VLZ is the same price today that it was 19 years ago.
Which means it is less expensive-once you factor in inflation.

I have catalogs from the 70s that have the SM58 at the same price as today.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Mike Caldwell on May 07, 2017, 08:16:40 am
For compact/small analog mixers I think the ZED series at least the original models in the series would be first ones to look at, not sure what the new ZED series is like. I have a ZED 10, handy when you need something like that.

The ZED's are a newer take on the Mackie compact VLZ series. I have a couple 1202's and a 1402 all the older US built models that are still going strong, I did have to re-cap the power supply in one of the 1202's a few years ago.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 07, 2017, 11:43:28 am
Which means it is less expensive-once you factor in inflation.

I have catalogs from the 70s that have the SM58 at the same price as today.

Yes, I know, but I was only saying that with some equipment "500" now (not considering the value of money) generally buys the same thing as "500" then if you're comparing apples to apples (although now most of it is made in China).  What you do have are more options, so you can get a lot more features now for the same price, but it's usually not the same quality. 

Speakers are a little harder to compare as things have changed so much; it seems like you get more for your money, I just don't know about quality.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 07, 2017, 11:51:05 am
For compact/small analog mixers I think the ZED series at least the original models in the series would be first ones to look at, not sure what the new ZED series is like. I have a ZED 10, handy when you need something like that.

The ZED's are a newer take on the Mackie compact VLZ series. I have a couple 1202's and a 1402 all the older US built models that are still going strong, I did have to re-cap the power supply in one of the 1202's a few years ago.

My US-built Mackie 1402 is still going strong as well except for one noisy channel that I need to look at.  I had planned to replace it with a ZED60-10FX as it will fit in the same case.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 07, 2017, 11:51:56 am
There's also the newer Midas mAir consoles if you don't want to go with Behringer. Some slight differences internally (I think it's got upgraded preamps, A/D and D/A conversion, but you'd have to check on that) and a higher price tag. It should still work with the xTouch

As far as I know, the differences are a bigger screen and scribble strips on the Compact. I've had the pleasure of using a Producer once (unfortunately had to mix remotely using a Surface so I didn''t get to really experience what it's like to run the actual desk) - I don't think the lack of scribble scripts would be an issue unless you have to manage 32 inputs and 16 mixes or something. You can spill 16 inputs onto the 16 faders and label them like you would with an analog desk, and switch over to the outputs if you have to make an adjustment. I wish I could have gotten one over my XR16 but I'm not complaining ;D

Took a little look at the X-Touch.  I normally don't use more than 8 channels, and it has 8-segment meters, but it seems like it might be more cumbersome to set up and adjust other things.  Not that the X32's have all the controls on the main board either.  But one thing I forgot about is I need an input for a music source, a headphone output, and an input for a talkback mic.  I could use a snake and some direct boxes but that's kind of counter-productive.

Here are the things I found the Compact has vs the Producer:

I like the size and price of the Producer and think it would work for me.  A small analog mixer for talking head stuff might still be handy though.

I still don't understand why they don't separate the control surface from the I/O; that defeats one of the main advantages of a digital mixer.  You can always set the stage box next to the control surface if you wanted to.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 07, 2017, 03:50:14 pm
Not sure I'm following; did anyone imply otherwise?  It is amazing what you can get now.  Although my Mackie VLZ is the same price today that it was 19 years ago.
No I am just whining....  Mackie was bad enough, but when their top sellers got copied and brought in from China the bottom fell out of the mixer market for prices.

Yes Ivan, power amps are even better (or worse depending on your perspective). Not only did they get cheaper dB$ but got smaller and lighter. 

Since the topic is  "analog mixers", the price drivers there are not technology but Chinese manufacturing. Just about every other category has seen significant technology improvements too.

Digital (switching) power amps have eclipsed analog down to modest power points. Digital mixers will probably be cheaper than analog at some modest channel count, if they aren't already. 

I'm just jealous that I didn't have this technology to sell last century***.  "Analog mixers", you can tell your grandchildren what they were and that you actually used them.  8)

JR

*** technically I was selling class D power amps last century, but they weren't as powerful or as cheap as modern amps.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 07, 2017, 05:24:19 pm
No I am just whining....  Mackie was bad enough, but when their top sellers got copied and brought in from China the bottom fell out of the mixer market for prices.

Yes Ivan, power amps are even better (or worse depending on your perspective). Not only did they get cheaper dB$ but got smaller and lighter. 

Since the topic is  "analog mixers", the price drivers there are not technology but Chinese manufacturing. Just about every other category has seen significant technology improvements too.

Digital (switching) power amps have eclipsed analog down to modest power points. Digital mixers will probably be cheaper than analog at some modest channel count, if they aren't already. 

I'm just jealous that I didn't have this technology to sell last century***.  "Analog mixers", you can tell your grandchildren what they were and that you actually used them.  8)

JR

*** technically I was selling class D power amps last century, but they weren't as powerful or as cheap as modern amps.

It seems a lot of things take a long time to change in the audio industry -- but I do see at least 10 digital mixers under $500 now.  Crazy.  But it's taking longer than I thought to fully displace analog mixers.  Amps have just gone crazy.  Of course, sometimes there's a little poetic license taken the with the power ratings though.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 07, 2017, 05:32:16 pm
It seems a lot of things take a long time to change in the audio industry -- but I do see at least 10 digital mixers under $500 now.  Crazy.  But it's taking longer than I thought to fully displace analog mixers.  Amps have just gone crazy.  Of course, sometimes there's a little poetic license taken the with the power ratings though.

For affordable advances in professional and prosumer audio it requires that new technologies be embraced by the consumer products industry because that's where the economies of scale come from.  One reason for a Crown ITech HD to cost much, much more than the entry level Crown (or other brand) amplifiers - there is a significant amount of low-demand (non consumer) parts inside.  Lkewise, one of the reasons the X32 costs so little is the use of well-accepted (common) components and the reason the Midas version costs more is pricier components and some custom parts.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 07, 2017, 05:37:39 pm
Took a little look at the X-Touch.  I normally don't use more than 8 channels, and it has 8-segment meters, but it seems like it might be more cumbersome to set up and adjust other things.  Not that the X32's have all the controls on the main board either.  But one thing I forgot about is I need an input for a music source, a headphone output, and an input for a talkback mic.  I could use a snake and some direct boxes but that's kind of counter-productive.

Here are the things I found the Compact has vs the Producer:
  • Scribble strips
  • Larger, tilted screen (Why don't they just make screens on a hinge so you can tilt it up vertically?)
  • Integrated talkback mic
  • 2nd headphone jack on the left (Why aren't all headphone jacks on the left?)
  • Lamp socket  (on rear though, doesn't seem ideal)
  • Dedicated Mute Group buttons
  • Dedicated Scene buttons
  • AES/EBU stereo digital output
  • USB remote control

I like the size and price of the Producer and think it would work for me.  A small analog mixer for talking head stuff might still be handy though.

I still don't understand why they don't separate the control surface from the I/O; that defeats one of the main advantages of a digital mixer.  You can always set the stage box next to the control surface if you wanted to.

Mostly true.  The Producer still has the ability to use USB remote control.  The "Compact" is not as small as you might think.  You should go look at one in person.  The Producer is the same size as many 19" rack mountable mixers and is specifically designed to fit in those setups.

The X-Touch is an additional $600 which is more than your current budget without getting a mixer ;)  This is the primary reason that most new mixers aren't separated from brain to control surface.  The latest D-Live and i-Live mixers from Allen & Heath do exactly this but are much much more expensive.

Ignoring your current budget constraints, I would likely recommend the M32R which is small, has digital scribble strips, is MIDAS (vs Behringer) and fits in a 19" rack slant top (costs around 2K if you ask around).

The Producer can be had for half that, but no scribble strips and you could see if the tablet app works for you or not without giving up the faders.  At a minimum, I think you would find the tablet and PC applications make for a wonderful monitoring and work space extension to the console (~ $1000).  Although it is a Behringer, I doubt you will find anyone who can fault the quality of the X32 line.... even ardent haters from past horrible experiences ..... like myself ;)

Finally, my last recommendation remains what I believe is the best option for you.  The X-Air XR16.  You can easily find these on-line for $350.00 if you ask when you call.  This is simply a SILLY amount of mixer for that price.  If you don't love it, you can sell it for very little loss on e-bay.  You can use a very inexpensive android tablet with this and have a wonderful control surface.  The A10 can be had for under $150 and has fantastic battery life.

If feedback is your major concern, then I would recommend considering the Soundcraft Ui 16 which can also be had for <$350.  This digital mixer has a feedback suppressor built in.  There have been a few reports of wireless connection stability problems reported, so do your research on this one before you buy to be sure.

Honestly, I simply can't recommend any analog mixer these days.  The price on good digital has just gotten too low and they do so much more, so much better than any analog mixer can.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Caleb Dueck on May 07, 2017, 07:12:46 pm
If you want analog for around $500, there's a Soundcraft K3 for sale locally for not much more.  It's a while lot more mixer than you can buy new, analog, for $500. 
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 07, 2017, 07:28:05 pm
For affordable advances in professional and prosumer audio it requires that new technologies be embraced by the consumer products industry because that's where the economies of scale come from.  One reason for a Crown ITech HD to cost much, much more than the entry level Crown (or other brand) amplifiers - there is a significant amount of low-demand (non consumer) parts inside.  Lkewise, one of the reasons the X32 costs so little is the use of well-accepted (common) components and the reason the Midas version costs more is pricier components and some custom parts.
While that is generally true I must begrudgingly give Uli credit for leaning out the window on the X32 price point. In a "price it low and the (big) sales will come", that SKU is historic for value and rapid sales success.

Yes he may have piggybacked on some consumer technology, but he was not the only mixer company in the market with digital chops who had access to the same consumer technology, and were chasing the same holy grail of a mass market digital mixer.

Stop me before I give any more compliments.  ::)

JR   
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 07, 2017, 08:28:01 pm
While that is generally true I must begrudgingly give Uli credit for leaning out the window on the X32 price point. In a "price it low and the (big) sales will come", that SKU is historic for value and rapid sales success.

Yes he may have piggybacked on some consumer technology, but he was not the only mixer company in the market with digital chops who had access to the same consumer technology, and were chasing the same holy grail of a mass market digital mixer.

Stop me before I give any more compliments.  ::)

JR
OT, but to elaborate from one engineer to another ...

While the technical merit of the X32 line is impressive, the QC process seems to be one of the biggest draws for this mixer.  They simply come out of the box and work .... for a long time.

The low price of the unit is also pretty well thought out.  While many condemn the "groups of 8" routing limitations for some routing options, the physical 8 channel modular part that Behringer is using for this has allowed them a quantity of scale that is impressive indeed. They also designed their own custom motorized fader which has allowed them a huge advantage.

I also agree that the use of well known and respected IC chips has brought the mixer huge stability and reliability advantages.  It also  helped that they were able to borrow heavily from the DSP algorithms from Klark Teknik and MIDAS in the development of the mixer.

Even if you don't care to ever own a Behringer mixer, you have to love what they did to the market.  Every major mixer maker has come out with competing products and the prices are light years below what they were prior to the X32 line.  This product definitely was a milestone in the history of live sound.

Sadly, this digital revolution also shot the crap out of the price of any used analog mixers.  Not only do the analog mixers suffer a huge deficit in capabilities compared to their digital counterparts, the sea change movement of bands and sound companies selling off their analog mixers has produced a glut in used analog mixers which has depressed the prices in the used market.

Three years ago I felt very fortunate to have sold my MixWiz for $500.  Today, they are going for under $400 on eBay routinely.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 07, 2017, 09:36:52 pm
OT, but to elaborate from one engineer to another ...

While the technical merit of the X32 line is impressive, the QC process seems to be one of the biggest draws for this mixer.  They simply come out of the box and work .... for a long time.

The low price of the unit is also pretty well thought out.  While many condemn the "groups of 8" routing limitations for some routing options, the physical 8 channel modular part that Behringer is using for this has allowed them a quantity of scale that is impressive indeed. They also designed their own custom motorized fader which has allowed them a huge advantage.

I also agree that the use of well known and respected IC chips has brought the mixer huge stability and reliability advantages.  It also  helped that they were able to borrow heavily from the DSP algorithms from Klark Teknik and MIDAS in the development of the mixer.

Even if you don't care to ever own a Behringer mixer, you have to love what they did to the market.  Every major mixer maker has come out with competing products and the prices are light years below what they were prior to the X32 line.  This product definitely was a milestone in the history of live sound.

Sadly, this digital revolution also shot the crap out of the price of any used analog mixers.  Not only do the analog mixers suffer a huge deficit in capabilities compared to their digital counterparts, the sea change movement of bands and sound companies selling off their analog mixers has produced a glut in used analog mixers which has depressed the prices in the used market.

Three years ago I felt very fortunate to have sold my MixWiz for $500.  Today, they are going for under $400 on eBay routinely.

At $400 they're overpriced.  Hell, at $300 they're overpriced.

The market for small, used analog is never going to improve and the market for medium format analog mixers is non-existant.

For the die hard analog guys, go hear Dierks Bentley.  His show is mixed on a Yammy PM5000 (I'll let you all judge the mix, but I'm not throwing the console under the bus).  Monitor beach is anchored by an AVID S6L....
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 08, 2017, 01:17:34 am
Mostly true.  The Producer still has the ability to use USB remote control.

Good to know.  I just saw that the Compact has both a USB and Ethernet Remote Control port on the back whereas the Producer only has an Ethernet jack.

The "Compact" is not as small as you might think.  You should go look at one in person.  The Producer is the same size as many 19" rack mountable mixers and is specifically designed to fit in those setups.

I have not seen a Compact, and there aren't any to look at near me, but I remember the first time I saw a regular X32 and being surprised by how big it was.  I always prefer smaller and lighter.

The X-Touch is an additional $600 which is more than your current budget without getting a mixer ;)  This is the primary reason that most new mixers aren't separated from brain to control surface.  The latest D-Live and i-Live mixers from Allen & Heath do exactly this but are much much more expensive.

Yes, I've seen the nice ones, but I'm not following.  I'm certainly not expecting to get a complete digital mixer for $500.  Somewhere between the $600 of the X-Touch and the $1200 of the Producer they could make a control surface.  Add an XR16 for $400 and you're still in the same ballpark.  Or they keep the brains in the mixer and just take out the I/O and add a cheaper stage box.

Ignoring your current budget constraints, I would likely recommend the M32R which is small, has digital scribble strips, is MIDAS (vs Behringer) and fits in a 19" rack slant top (costs around 2K if you ask around).

The Producer can be had for half that, but no scribble strips and you could see if the tablet app works for you or not without giving up the faders.  At a minimum, I think you would find the tablet and PC applications make for a wonderful monitoring and work space extension to the console (~ $1000).  Although it is a Behringer, I doubt you will find anyone who can fault the quality of the X32 line.... even ardent haters from past horrible experiences ..... like myself ;)

Finally, my last recommendation remains what I believe is the best option for you.  The X-Air XR16.  You can easily find these on-line for $350.00 if you ask when you call.  This is simply a SILLY amount of mixer for that price.  If you don't love it, you can sell it for very little loss on e-bay.  You can use a very inexpensive android tablet with this and have a wonderful control surface.  The A10 can be had for under $150 and has fantastic battery life.

Thanks.  Unfortunately I can't justify $2k plus, but $1k might be doable.  It's nice that they work with Android now too, and that there are cheap Android tablets.  When I last looked you needed a $500+ iPad.  I always wanted remote mixing as an option.  Or I could try the XR16, and worst case just use it as a stage box if it doesn't work.  I sold my big snake and really don't want to buy another one.

If feedback is your major concern, then I would recommend considering the Soundcraft Ui 16 which can also be had for <$350.  This digital mixer has a feedback suppressor built in.  There have been a few reports of wireless connection stability problems reported, so do your research on this one before you buy to be sure.

Honestly, I simply can't recommend any analog mixer these days.  The price on good digital has just gotten too low and they do so much more, so much better than any analog mixer can.

Yeah, I initially was excited about the Ui16 until I did some research. 

Years ago I bought a Sabine Navigator with feedback suppression for this very reason, but it never worked due to software bugs.  I think they eventually fixed it but I never had a chance to try it and eventually sold it.

Digital mixers certainly do more, but the issue has always been reliability and ease of use.  Those are very important for what I do.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 08, 2017, 01:19:16 am
If you want analog for around $500, there's a Soundcraft K3 for sale locally for not much more.  It's a while lot more mixer than you can buy new, analog, for $500.

Wow, that's quite a mixer, but a bit much for me to haul around.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 08, 2017, 01:31:50 am
Not to try to go up against you veterans, but does Behringer really deserve that much credit?  To me it seems that Presonus is the one who really started the revolution.  Wasn't the X32 $3k when it first came out?

And are analog mixers that bad?  Show me a digital mixer with real faders that is as reliable and easy to use as a MixWiz for $1k.  If you factored in all the outboard equipment it would take to duplicate a digital mixer, sure, but most people in that price range don't need it, and most wouldn't even know how to use it properly.  Sometimes you just need something that works.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 08, 2017, 03:18:47 am
Not to try to go up against you veterans, but does Behringer really deserve that much credit?  To me it seems that Presonus is the one who really started the revolution.  Wasn't the X32 $3k when it first came out?

And are analog mixers that bad?  Show me a digital mixer with real faders that is as reliable and easy to use as a MixWiz for $1k.  If you factored in all the outboard equipment it would take to duplicate a digital mixer, sure, but most people in that price range don't need it, and most wouldn't even know how to use it properly.  Sometimes you just need something that works.

Show me *any* digital mixer that does as little as a MixWiz and your comparison will be valid.

Presonus was 15 years behind Yamaha.  They're hardly a trail-blazer and I found the Studio/Live to do neither particularly well.  Why it got a reputation as the "digital training wheels mixer" I'll never know as I found it confusing in the heat of battle with a front panel color choices that made it hard to read.

For the record I'm an old analog guy.  I remember when a 12 channel mixer was big deal and having 3 Aux sends was a luxury.

Brief story - several years ago (uh hummmm) I realized that I was woefully behind the digital 8 ball so I found an original Yammy 01v on eBay for around $400, shipped.  I bought it, downloaded & read the manual while I waited for UPS to drop kick it halfway across the country.  I plugged a mic in, a CD player, and a couple of little Anchor powered speakers and kind of figured out how it worked, even getting reverb!  Congratulating myself on my ability to read a manual I powered it down and put it on a shelf.  It sat there, patiently waiting for a gig.  I ended up taking it to a youth conference we've done for years.  I had an analog FOH setup in the truck but I was determined to use the 01v.  It took some head scratching to remember where to find things in the menus but when the weekend was over I'd decided that I was soon to be an ex-analog mixerperson.  What I was able to accomplish with the 01v delivered a better product for our client.

How you use any mixer - mixing while performing, band mixerperson, small system provider - determines the form factor.  If you need a physical surface, fine, and if you have existing analog infrastructure (inserted dynamics, outboard EFX, EQ, etc) it can make financial sense to reuse those items with an analog mixer.  If you're starting over or starting from scratch there's almost zero reason to go analog unless you need a feature or form factor you can't get in the digital market at the price point you need.

And since the Kentucky Derby just ran I'll say mixer choice is "horses for courses".  :)
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Stelios Mac on May 08, 2017, 08:23:27 am
Yeah, I initially was excited about the Ui16 until I did some research. 

Personally I'd stay away from the UI mixers. I originally was looking into a UI12 before I got my xAir but I came across a facebook users' group for the UI. They seem to be having TONS of issues. From bad WiFi connection to mid-show freezes, noise, and so on. Never really seen any complaint for the XR other than the user interface (Which IMO is great - Doesn't look as fancy as the UI's but it's got a LOT more flexibility in terms of FX, routing and stuff). The new UI24R might be better, but I think it's almost X32 price range.

And are analog mixers that bad?  Show me a digital mixer with real faders that is as reliable and easy to use as a MixWiz for $1k.  If you factored in all the outboard equipment it would take to duplicate a digital mixer, sure, but most people in that price range don't need it, and most wouldn't even know how to use it properly.  Sometimes you just need something that works.

StudioLive 16.0.2, $899 on sweetwater.

Analog mixers are awesome but they really aren't cost-effective, easily transportable and generally flexible in comparison.
Two X32s and a single reel of Cat5 cable in a festival situation can replace two MH3s, a heavy multicore snake & splitter, three huge racks full of outboard & a multritrack recorder. You can reduce soundcheck and loud in/load out times to a bare minimum, you can ring out & mix monitors on stage by yourself using an iPad. You can store presets for monitor EQ for specific speakers & venues. And so on, and so on...

It would be like comparing a Lamborghini to a Toyota Corolla. Everyone wants to drive a Lambo (great sound, great looks & very quick), but in the end the Toyota is cheaper, it's got 4 seats, 4 doors, a large boot, low fuel consumption, it's got more gadgets & features, and probably won't depreciate as much in the short term.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 08, 2017, 08:47:40 am
Not to try to go up against you veterans, but does Behringer really deserve that much credit?  To me it seems that Presonus is the one who really started the revolution.  Wasn't the X32 $3k when it first came out?

And are analog mixers that bad?  Show me a digital mixer with real faders that is as reliable and easy to use as a MixWiz for $1k.  If you factored in all the outboard equipment it would take to duplicate a digital mixer, sure, but most people in that price range don't need it, and most wouldn't even know how to use it properly.  Sometimes you just need something that works.
Loved my MixWiz for over 10 years.  I got rid of it for the following reasons:


Presonus did indeed have the lead on affordable digital mixing.  I nearly bought one before I heard about the X32.  Presonus boards have a less than wonderful reliability history (check around and you will see this for yourself).

As Tim pointed out, you are comparing JUST a mixer to an entire instrument rack.  Once I factor my entire rack into the picture, my failures are as follows:


My X32 Rack has been in use for over 3 years now and has had Zero failures.  Furthermore, my setup time has decreased substantially and the number of setup problems I have has decreased dramatically.

As to "what is really needed"...  A place to sit and mix.  That is really needed.  I just love sitting at a table in the bar and mixing on my tablet while sipping a cold one.  Can't do that with a MixWiz.  In fact, many venues I have worked at will not let you run a snake across the room at all.

The verbs and delays on the MixWiz are really not that good to my ears.  The latest MixWiz has fixed this I understand, but at 1K I think any 16 channel analog mixer is going to find it a very tough market.  FYI, the portion of the mixer that does the efx has always been digital, so the pure analog board has been gone for quite some time.

I am one who really feels that drum mics (toms and kick) should be gated and that bass is better compressed (jazz being the exception perhaps).  To that end, more rack gear was needed.

I do take issue with the "easy to use" portion though.  There were days on the MixWiz rig where I found myself following wires around in the back of the instrument panel to figure out what channel of gate was hooked up to which channel on the mixer.  Trying to keep track of this kind of routing while bent over in front of the rack is really a PITA.  A well setup X32/X-Air rig is much easier to run on IMO than any analog rig.  Now .... getting a good setup takes some experience I will agree ;)

What kind of acts do you propose to use this rig on?
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 08, 2017, 10:24:18 am
OT, but to elaborate from one engineer to another ...

While the technical merit of the X32 line is impressive, the QC process seems to be one of the biggest draws for this mixer.  They simply come out of the box and work .... for a long time.
As one engineer to another I think you mean reliability engineering. QC can give you a perfectly assembled crappy design.
Quote
The low price of the unit is also pretty well thought out.  While many condemn the "groups of 8" routing limitations for some routing options, the physical 8 channel modular part that Behringer is using for this has allowed them a quantity of scale that is impressive indeed.
group of 8 is logical if not archaic 3bit digital address limitation (modern digital paths have little need to conserve control bits)... remapping/repurposing controls is a powerful feature of digital control surfaces.
Quote
They also designed their own custom motorized fader which has allowed them a huge advantage.
yes... not trivial IMO and discussed before.
Quote
I also agree that the use of well known and respected IC chips has brought the mixer huge stability and reliability advantages.
except most (all) of those chips were pretty much available to all comers.
Quote
It also  helped that they were able to borrow heavily from the DSP algorithms from Klark Teknik and MIDAS in the development of the mixer.
Being able to capitalize upon the Midas IP didn't hurt the program.
Quote
Even if you don't care to ever own a Behringer mixer, you have to love what they did to the market. 
unless you were one of the numerous competitors.
Quote
Every major mixer maker has come out with competing products and the prices are light years below what they were prior to the X32 line.  This product definitely was a milestone in the history of live sound.

Sadly, this digital revolution also shot the crap out of the price of any used analog mixers.  Not only do the analog mixers suffer a huge deficit in capabilities compared to their digital counterparts, the sea change movement of bands and sound companies selling off their analog mixers has produced a glut in used analog mixers which has depressed the prices in the used market.
just ask an analog mixer company..
Quote
Three years ago I felt very fortunate to have sold my MixWiz for $500.  Today, they are going for under $400 on eBay routinely.
Back on topic... there will surely be lots of opportunities to buy used analog mixers on the cheap... but even then the tide has turned to digital technology. If not at this price point yet, closer every day.

JR

PS: Lecturing the teacher?
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Chris Hindle on May 08, 2017, 12:26:21 pm
..Back on topic... there will surely be lots of opportunities to buy used analog mixers on the cheap... but even then the tide has turned to digital technology. If not at this price point yet, closer every day.
JR
a couple or three years ago Solotech offered me a PM-3K56 tour pack for $3,000 CDN, delivered. I asked if the roadies were included. He got my point.
Chris.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 08, 2017, 07:56:27 pm
As one engineer to another I think you mean reliability engineering. QC can give you a perfectly assembled crappy design.

Both actually.  I am in automotive.  Making 1 of something really well is easy.  Making 1,000,000 ..... significantly more difficult.  I also think that the reliability engineering was done quite well.  The original batch had some issues with the buttons sticking, but that was resolved fairly quickly (I believe the issue was a process problem of the cleaning solvent used IIRC?).

Quote
except most (all) of those chips were pretty much available to all comers.
I believe the term is "Recombinant engineering".  You don't have to develop the A/D converter, you just have to pick a really good one and implement it well.  As with all smaller engineering companies, you have to determine what your "value add" is and focus on that part.  Within a digital mixer, the DSP and work-flow would be where I would spend my time.  I doubt there is a hill of beans difference between one preamp and the next these days.  It seems like Behringer has done a good job of adding value with their assets while using very good recombinant engineering for many things that are "commodity engineering".

Quote
Back on topic... there will surely be lots of opportunities to buy used analog mixers on the cheap... but even then the tide has turned to digital technology. If not at this price point yet, closer every day.
Yes, but sadly, more and more of the "good" used mixers have reached the point where you can't purchase parts for them.  With my old MixWiz, the boards were quite simple, and I had the schematic.  I suppose I could have maintained the board nearly indefinitely .... or until a proprietary part failed.

I am still not sure I am of the opinion that an analog RIG is more reliable than a digital rig.

Quote
JR

PS: Lecturing the teacher?
Possibly so.  Habits of an old engineer that has taught a sea other engineers and has been promoted into relative uselessness ;)

Have to keep the grey matter stimulated somehow John.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 08, 2017, 09:53:32 pm
Show me *any* digital mixer that does as little as a MixWiz and your comparison will be valid.

What I'm trying to say is it's not about what it *can* do but rather what a person needs and will use; all the other features are irrelevant.  In other hobbies of mine we say that the best product for a person is the one that will get used the most.

Presonus was 15 years behind Yamaha.  They're hardly a trail-blazer and I found the Studio/Live to do neither particularly well.  Why it got a reputation as the "digital training wheels mixer" I'll never know as I found it confusing in the heat of battle with a front panel color choices that made it hard to read.

I'm not saying they were a trailblazer in capability at all, but they were the first to bring digital mixing to the masses.  It was cheaper and supposedly easier to use than the Yamaha.  Given how popular they quickly became and how long it took for anyone else to come out with a competitor, it seems they sparked the industry.  (I only used one once and was disappointed that it wasn't as intuitive as I thought, since I only had a few minutes to figure it out.  I ending up buying a Yamaha; I didn't actually find the Yamaha that hard to use.)

How you use any mixer - mixing while performing, band mixerperson, small system provider - determines the form factor.  If you need a physical surface, fine, and if you have existing analog infrastructure (inserted dynamics, outboard EFX, EQ, etc) it can make financial sense to reuse those items with an analog mixer.  If you're starting over or starting from scratch there's almost zero reason to go analog unless you need a feature or form factor you can't get in the digital market at the price point you need.

Agreed.  I sold all my outboard gear when I bought the Yamaha, so I would prefer to go digital.  But for most things I don't need much -- the people just need to be heard, and sometimes maybe a little reverb is nice; the $350 Soundcraft Sig 12 would do fine.  Sometimes the extra features would be really nice though, but the cheapest options are the Presonus 16.0.2 or a new old stock 16.4.2 that Mike Pyle has.  But after researching I'm hesitant to go with Presonus; that leaves the Producer at $1200 MAP as the cheapest.  Assuming it's reliable.

At any rate, for digital to fully take over I think they need to make something else with real faders well under $1k.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 08, 2017, 10:06:15 pm
Personally I'd stay away from the UI mixers. I originally was looking into a UI12 before I got my xAir but I came across a facebook users' group for the UI. They seem to be having TONS of issues. From bad WiFi connection to mid-show freezes, noise, and so on. Never really seen any complaint for the XR other than the user interface (Which IMO is great - Doesn't look as fancy as the UI's but it's got a LOT more flexibility in terms of FX, routing and stuff). The new UI24R might be better, but I think it's almost X32 price range.

Thanks!

StudioLive 16.0.2, $899 on sweetwater.

Yes, after I posted it I thought about that, but I don't think it meets the criteria of reliable from what I read.

Analog mixers are awesome but they really aren't cost-effective, easily transportable and generally flexible in comparison.
Two X32s and a single reel of Cat5 cable in a festival situation can replace two MH3s, a heavy multicore snake & splitter, three huge racks full of outboard & a multritrack recorder. You can reduce soundcheck and loud in/load out times to a bare minimum, you can ring out & mix monitors on stage by yourself using an iPad. You can store presets for monitor EQ for specific speakers & venues. And so on, and so on...

It would be like comparing a Lamborghini to a Toyota Corolla. Everyone wants to drive a Lambo (great sound, great looks & very quick), but in the end the Toyota is cheaper, it's got 4 seats, 4 doors, a large boot, low fuel consumption, it's got more gadgets & features, and probably won't depreciate as much in the short term.

I'm talking about the sub-$500 little guy market -- what's a better buy for "real" events is indeed a totally different story.

I actually see the car analogy the other way -- people are buying Lambos when they only need a Corolla and will never use the speed or handling of the Lambo.  And I'm not sure about depreciation -- historically digital gear has depreciated like crazy as it's constantly changing, much more so than analog.  We're in a transition period right now where analog is being phased out, and audio gear doesn't change as often as some things, but I have a hard time believing any of it will hold its value very long.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 08, 2017, 10:23:52 pm
Loved my MixWiz for over 10 years.  I got rid of it for the following reasons:

  • The Instrument rack was HEAVY with the mixer and all outboard gear in it (no amps)
  • It was HEAVY
  • It had a big footprint on stage
  • Changing the efx chain around for different venues required rewiring.... which always seemed to cause problems
  • Operating the outboard gear hunched over is a PITA
  • No recording capability
  • Limited PEQ
  • Only 6 aux mixes.  2 had to be used for external efx since the internal ones are substandard
  • Required a snake to mix out front
  • Can't mix from stage unless you happen to be the person in the corner
  • Faders moved quite easily, no scene recall, always needed setup at every venue
  • No subgroups
  • Running back and fourth from the stage to mixer to ring out monitors is a PITA

Presonus did indeed have the lead on affordable digital mixing.  I nearly bought one before I heard about the X32.  Presonus boards have a less than wonderful reliability history (check around and you will see this for yourself).

As Tim pointed out, you are comparing JUST a mixer to an entire instrument rack.  Once I factor my entire rack into the picture, my failures are as follows:

  • MixWiz channel 1 failure due to bad insert contact sticking
  • TC Electronics M-One XL ribbon failure resulting in several intermittent failures util I figured it out
  • Presonus ACP88 channel failure (x2)
  • Numerous routing problems/patch cable issues

My X32 Rack has been in use for over 3 years now and has had Zero failures.  Furthermore, my setup time has decreased substantially and the number of setup problems I have has decreased dramatically.

For those who use a lot of outboard gear then digital is definitely the way to go.  The whole point is I'm talking about little guys that don't use that much other stuff.

Arguably the most important factor in all this is the X32's reliability; if it hadn't been the world might be a different place.

As to "what is really needed"...  A place to sit and mix.  That is really needed.  I just love sitting at a table in the bar and mixing on my tablet while sipping a cold one.  Can't do that with a MixWiz.  In fact, many venues I have worked at will not let you run a snake across the room at all.

I do take issue with the "easy to use" portion though.  There were days on the MixWiz rig where I found myself following wires around in the back of the instrument panel to figure out what channel of gate was hooked up to which channel on the mixer.  Trying to keep track of this kind of routing while bent over in front of the rack is really a PITA.  A well setup X32/X-Air rig is much easier to run on IMO than any analog rig.  Now .... getting a good setup takes some experience I will agree ;)

What kind of acts do you propose to use this rig on?

I actually thought routing cables was kind of fun ....

I would be more excited about digital if I could use a digital snake without buying a separate stage box.

I do small theater on occasion.  The iPad thing just won't work for me -- I am usually adjusting several faders at once and can't take my eyes off the stage much.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Brian Jojade on May 08, 2017, 10:39:06 pm

I would be more excited about digital if I could use a digital snake without buying a separate stage box.

And how do you propose that working? Unless every input in itself is digital and connects to a network switch, which is essentially a stage box.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 09, 2017, 12:37:08 am
And how do you propose that working? Unless every input in itself is digital and connects to a network switch, which is essentially a stage box.

Sorry, I talked about this in previous posts but didn't make it clear here.  I wish these mixers already had the I/O split out into a separate stage box.  It seems really stupid to me to put the I/O with the control surface in a digital mixer.  Who wouldn't want to get rid of their analog snake?  And who wants to pay twice for the I/O and not use half of it?  It could be so much more flexible (and cheaper overall) if they just had a modular system.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 09, 2017, 12:42:07 am
So my wife has given tentative approval to get the X32 Producer.  Or should I wait for something better or cheaper?
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 09, 2017, 02:20:45 am
So my wife has given tentative approval to get the X32 Producer.  Or should I wait for something better or cheaper?

InfoComm is next month, Musik Messe just ended, and the next NAMM show is in Jan 2018; those are the typical events at which new products are introduced.  Two down, one to go...
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 09, 2017, 02:22:09 am
Sorry, I talked about this in previous posts but didn't make it clear here.  I wish these mixers already had the I/O split out into a separate stage box.  It seems really stupid to me to put the I/O with the control surface in a digital mixer.  Who wouldn't want to get rid of their analog snake?  And who wants to pay twice for the I/O and not use half of it?  It could be so much more flexible (and cheaper overall) if they just had a modular system.

There are many boards with low local I/O count.  Mackie has one that is approaching the low end of the market.

I do agree the CPU should be in the stage box.

The price points you are talking about are more in the toy range than a component of a competent reliable sound reinforcement system.

When you get to this price point what does the rest of the system look like?  $1000 doesn't even get you mic stands, cables and a case to transport them in that will last more than a few gigs.  $1000/ea is about the right price point for reasonably accurate speakers. 

What is the goal of the artists?  That should really dictate the PA system.  Are they playing with quality instruments? 

Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Stelios Mac on May 09, 2017, 04:13:06 am
I actually see the car analogy the other way -- people are buying Lambos when they only need a Corolla and will never use the speed or handling of the Lambo
That depends. I'd get a Lambo just for the looks of it, lol.

And I'm not sure about depreciation -- historically digital gear has depreciated like crazy as it's constantly changing, much more so than analog.  We're in a transition period right now where analog is being phased out, and audio gear doesn't change as often as some things, but I have a hard time believing any of it will hold its value very long.
That's why I said short term.
In the long term digital would depreciate as much as analog if not more (A very good friend of mine got a mint condition TMD8000 for something like $2k (They can be found for less than that but it really was like-new).
And I think in the long run a Corolla would depreciate much more (percentage wise) than a rare exotic (Sometimes rare exotics will even appreciate, but that's another thing).
You can't really accurately predict what will happen in the long run like you said.
However:
A Soundcraft GB4-16-2 that can be had on thomann for 2 thousand euros, can be bought second hand (The ad I'm actually looking at is for a single-use demo unit, so brand-new condition) for 600 euros (inc. VAT). 70% depreciation in just one use.
Meanwhile a brand new X32 will set you back 2.300 euros on thomann. Or you can have a really beat up (armrest completely stripped of paint, a broken scribble script LCD) early (2014) model for 1800 euros (inc. VAT). 22% depreciation in 3 years. Admittedly the X32's prices did fluctuate somewhat since it was first released but that doesn't change the fact that you can have either desk at a 22% price difference.

Anyway, if you're still considering an analog desk, I'd seriously suggest you take a look at used ones, but I'd go for an X32 or x/mAir.
Cheers!
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on May 09, 2017, 10:03:27 am
Both actually.  I am in automotive.  Making 1 of something really well is easy.  Making 1,000,000 ..... significantly more difficult.  I also think that the reliability engineering was done quite well.  The original batch had some issues with the buttons sticking, but that was resolved fairly quickly (I believe the issue was a process problem of the cleaning solvent used IIRC?).
we will have to agree to disagree... QC IMO is mainly a factory floor process execution issue, reliability engineering a completely different discipline.  (While I didn't make millions of one SKU which would have been a little easier than my mix, I appreciate and encountered plenty of mass production issues too.)
Quote

I believe the term is "Recombinant engineering".  You don't have to develop the A/D converter, you just have to pick a really good one and implement it well.  As with all smaller engineering companies, you have to determine what your "value add" is and focus on that part.  Within a digital mixer, the DSP and work-flow would be where I would spend my time.  I doubt there is a hill of beans difference between one preamp and the next these days.  It seems like Behringer has done a good job of adding value with their assets while using very good recombinant engineering for many things that are "commodity engineering".
I believe you made that term up... Google suggests something to do with DNA  ;D. Not sure what commodity engineering means either (perhaps "Value" engineering which is sharp pencil cost management (which Behringer did in the X32). Selecting appropriate components and properly applying them is old school design engineering 101.

Marketers have pretended that there were audible differences between preamps for years, long before digital became dominant. Midas actually has a soft clipping feature in their mic preamp that does sound different (for better or worse).

The biggest nut to crack in modern digital mixer design is the paradigm shift to a vastly different workflow. Behringer rode the coat tails of Yamaha's pioneering effort to introduce the different way to early adopters years ago. The pioneers often end up with arrows in their backs. It doesn't hurt that adequate processing power and transparent digital audio paths became cost effective in the meantime. For a low enough entry level price the great unwashed masses were willing to try digital, and they liked it.
Quote
Yes, but sadly, more and more of the "good" used mixers have reached the point where you can't purchase parts for them.  With my old MixWiz, the boards were quite simple, and I had the schematic.  I suppose I could have maintained the board nearly indefinitely .... or until a proprietary part failed.
Yes, lots of semi-custom pots and switches, maybe jacks in analog mixers that can't be supported indefinitely, a few proprietary meter chips, but the analog audio path can be supported with jelly bean parts for some time longer.
Quote
I am still not sure I am of the opinion that an analog RIG is more reliable than a digital rig.
Possibly so.  Habits of an old engineer that has taught a sea other engineers and has been promoted into relative uselessness ;)
Different failure modes, while some professional old school analog boards were designed to isolate single channel failures so the other 90% of the desk was still functional, many digital platforms can experience complete shut down. That said they appear to be pretty reliable.

I recall a similar debate when digital snakes were first proposed. Nobody denied the economy but most were afraid to risk the single point of failure.
Quote
Have to keep the grey matter stimulated somehow John.
Glad I could help...  8)

JR
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 09, 2017, 10:16:17 am
That depends. I'd get a Lambo just for the looks of it, lol.
That's why I said short term.
In the long term digital would depreciate as much as analog if not more (A very good friend of mine got a mint condition TMD8000 for something like $2k (They can be found for less than that but it really was like-new).
And I think in the long run a Corolla would depreciate much more (percentage wise) than a rare exotic (Sometimes rare exotics will even appreciate, but that's another thing).
You can't really accurately predict what will happen in the long run like you said.
However:
A Soundcraft GB4-16-2 that can be had on thomann for 2 thousand euros, can be bought second hand (The ad I'm actually looking at is for a single-use demo unit, so brand-new condition) for 600 euros (inc. VAT). 70% depreciation in just one use.
Meanwhile a brand new X32 will set you back 2.300 euros on thomann. Or you can have a really beat up (armrest completely stripped of paint, a broken scribble script LCD) early (2014) model for 1800 euros (inc. VAT). 22% depreciation in 3 years. Admittedly the X32's prices did fluctuate somewhat since it was first released but that doesn't change the fact that you can have either desk at a 22% price difference.

Anyway, if you're still considering an analog desk, I'd seriously suggest you take a look at used ones, but I'd go for an X32 or x/mAir.
Cheers!

For the average person both cars and consoles are best bought because you like them, not because you plan to sell them.  If they happen to hold their value you get lucky.  I'm a car guy so am with you on the Lambo; likewise I *want* a digital mixer.  Maybe I should go the rack mount/tablet route and see how it works first, and hope that Behringer comes out with a cheaper control surface someday.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 09, 2017, 10:20:48 am
InfoComm is next month, Musik Messe just ended, and the next NAMM show is in Jan 2018; those are the typical events at which new products are introduced.  Two down, one to go...

Good point.  I don't see anything interesting so far this year; I didn't know that InfoComm was another option.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 10, 2017, 10:53:50 am
Maybe I should go the rack mount/tablet route and see how it works first, and hope that Behringer comes out with a cheaper control surface someday.

Is it OK to quote oneself?

As I think about it, this won't work for me as I need at least one stereo input at FOH for the soundtrack.  Plus I'd like a talkback mic, and really like to have the wireless receivers at the desk so I can see what's happening.  But a DI and my small analog snake would do the trick.

I normally like to solo channels as well, but maybe with good meters I wouldn't need to.

Unfortunately to get rid of an analog snake it doesn't look like the XR16 will work; I don't see an AES50 connection.  Bummer, it would nice if it functioned as both for times when my requirements are different.  And since it's a lot cheaper than the S16/SD16 stage boxes.  Even the XR18 is cheaper and it has just as many inputs/outputs.  Lame.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 10, 2017, 09:55:49 pm
Is it OK to quote oneself?

As I think about it, this won't work for me as I need at least one stereo input at FOH for the soundtrack.  Plus I'd like a talkback mic, and really like to have the wireless receivers at the desk so I can see what's happening.  But a DI and my small analog snake would do the trick.

I normally like to solo channels as well, but maybe with good meters I wouldn't need to.

Unfortunately to get rid of an analog snake it doesn't look like the XR16 will work; I don't see an AES50 connection.  Bummer, it would nice if it functioned as both for times when my requirements are different.  And since it's a lot cheaper than the S16/SD16 stage boxes.  Even the XR18 is cheaper and it has just as many inputs/outputs.  Lame.
Yep.  Only the X32 line has the ability to expand channel count or use a stage box.

If you can put your sound track on the USB stick in the front of the mixer (you have to convert them to .wav files first), you can remotely run the different tracks remotely using the same tablet interface that controls the rest of the mixer.  I believe this would work on the X-Air mixers.  I know it works on the X32 mixers as I do this myself.

If you buy the X32 Producer, you can try out running from a tablet, and still have faders.  It is an awful lot of mixer for only 1K.

Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: David Winners on May 10, 2017, 10:09:40 pm
I run an XR18 and use a wireless headset for talkback (and occasional backing vocals) a wireless in ear system for cans and a Raspberry Pi running Kodi controlled by my cell phone for break music. I have all this stuff on hand for when I play in bands so I didn't need to lay out a bunch of cash to get it set up. It works well for the shows I mix.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 11, 2017, 01:43:34 am
Yep.  Only the X32 line has the ability to expand channel count or use a stage box.

If you can put your sound track on the USB stick in the front of the mixer (you have to convert them to .wav files first), you can remotely run the different tracks remotely using the same tablet interface that controls the rest of the mixer.  I believe this would work on the X-Air mixers.  I know it works on the X32 mixers as I do this myself.

If you buy the X32 Producer, you can try out running from a tablet, and still have faders.  It is an awful lot of mixer for only 1K.

What I meant was I was hoping to use an XR16 as a stage box for the X32, but it doesn't look like you can.  Unless you can use Ultranet to do that.  I sent an inquiry to Behringer but haven't heard back.  (I've already heard back from Soundcraft twice on their products.)

Good to know about being able to play music remotely.  Interestingly it looks like you can only do that on the XR16, not the XR18.  And I guess you can either play music or record but not both since it only has one port. 

All these mixers have an amazing amount of features.  I think the Producer is still the way to go but we'll see.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 11, 2017, 01:44:06 am
I run an XR18 and use a wireless headset for talkback (and occasional backing vocals) a wireless in ear system for cans and a Raspberry Pi running Kodi controlled by my cell phone for break music. I have all this stuff on hand for when I play in bands so I didn't need to lay out a bunch of cash to get it set up. It works well for the shows I mix.

Cool, thanks for the ideas.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 11, 2017, 08:44:35 am
What I meant was I was hoping to use an XR16 as a stage box for the X32, but it doesn't look like you can.  Unless you can use Ultranet to do that.  I sent an inquiry to Behringer but haven't heard back.  (I've already heard back from Soundcraft twice on their products.)

Good to know about being able to play music remotely.  Interestingly it looks like you can only do that on the XR16, not the XR18.  And I guess you can either play music or record but not both since it only has one port. 

All these mixers have an amazing amount of features.  I think the Producer is still the way to go but we'll see.
I am pretty sure that the XR18 also supports this feature (music playback from USB)

The X-Air mixers do not have the AES controller in them, so they can't use or be used as a stage box.  Had to cut costs somewhere or it would have simply been an X32 Rack ;)

FWIW, the Behringer stage boxes are much less expensive than either Soundcraft or Allen & Heath.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 11, 2017, 11:59:53 pm
I am pretty sure that the XR18 also supports this feature (music playback from USB)

The XR18 doesn't have a USB-A port at all; it uses the USB-B computer connection for playback and recording.

The X-Air mixers do not have the AES controller in them, so they can't use or be used as a stage box.  Had to cut costs somewhere or it would have simply been an X32 Rack ;)

Yeah, that makes sense.  I've been researching their features and see a few other things they cut to keep them cheap.  I wish Behringer had a way to compare products.  I've had to pour over a lot of info to compare things, and even then their specs are difficult to find.

FWIW, the Behringer stage boxes are much less expensive than either Soundcraft or Allen & Heath.

True.  It's still weird though that you can get a full mixer for less than a stage box.

One thing I noticed with the X32 is that you apparently can't assign the right-side faders to input channels, only buses?  That seems really dumb if true; possible deal-breaker for me.

Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 12, 2017, 12:35:53 am

One thing I noticed with the X32 is that you apparently can't assign the right-side faders to input channels, only buses?  That seems really dumb if true; possible deal-breaker for me.

On which X32?  On the Compact & Producer and the M32 Rack (you cannot do this on the full size consoles), push the buttons for whatever 2 banks of 8 faders you want access to simultaneously. They can be inputs, bus outputs, Matrix/L-R outputs, DCA groups:  you can have inputs 17-24 on the left and Bus masters 9-16 on the right; or inputs 1-16 across the top, etc.  The lowest number input bank is automatically on the left, so you can't have FX Returns on the left and inputs 1-8 on the right, for example; the inputs would be left and the FX returns to the right.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 12, 2017, 12:57:11 am
On which X32?  On the Compact & Producer and the M32 Rack (you cannot do this on the full size consoles), push the buttons for whatever 2 banks of 8 faders you want access to simultaneously. They can be inputs, bus outputs, Matrix/L-R outputs, DCA groups:  you can have inputs 17-24 on the left and Bus masters 9-16 on the right; or inputs 1-16 across the top, etc.  The lowest number input bank is automatically on the left, so you can't have FX Returns on the left and inputs 1-8 on the right, for example; the inputs would be left and the FX returns to the right.

Thanks, that would be great.  The manual makes it sound like the left bank is controlled by the left buttons and the right bank is controlled by the right (middle) buttons.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 12, 2017, 01:26:03 am
Thanks, that would be great.  The manual makes it sound like the left bank is controlled by the left buttons and the right bank is controlled by the right (middle) buttons.

As far as they go in the explanation, yes. ;)

My crew guy that has a very active FX mix likes being able to have his sends and returns on the same layer and then switch back to inputs.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 12, 2017, 07:56:36 am
The XR18 doesn't have a USB-A port at all; it uses the USB-B computer connection for playback and recording.

Yeah, that makes sense.  I've been researching their features and see a few other things they cut to keep them cheap.  I wish Behringer had a way to compare products.  I've had to pour over a lot of info to compare things, and even then their specs are difficult to find.

True.  It's still weird though that you can get a full mixer for less than a stage box.

One thing I noticed with the X32 is that you apparently can't assign the right-side faders to input channels, only buses?  That seems really dumb if true; possible deal-breaker for me.
I stand corrected!  That seems really silly (no L/R recording to USB A) on the XR18.  The X32 has both

As Tim pointed out, the X32 does support something they call "fader spill".  This allows the left side faders to show the first set of 8 selected, and the right 8 faders to show the 2nd set of 8 selected.
Title: Re: $500 analog mixers
Post by: Craig Smith on May 12, 2017, 01:18:51 pm
Thanks guys, good news.  In answer to your first question Tim, I'm looking at the Producer and Compact.