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blender/pre vs small mixer?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by tony-moore, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. i owned a raven labs blender for a long time and replaced it with a d-tar solstice recently. i had a gig last night where i played doublebass, bass guitar and mandolin. since the solstice only has 2 channels, i took along my little mackie 1202 vlz mixer (which i usually just use to handle monitoring in my home studio). this gave me enough channels to plug each instrument in and also have a mic on stand that i used for both my doublebass and mandolin. i sent the main mix to the console and used one of the aux sends to make my own monitor mix and sent that to my amp.

    i didn't notice any difference in sound (as compared to the solstice - which sounds great) at all but i loved having all the flexibility. the mackie was just the right size to sit on top of my baby blue too. there are a lot of small mixers available now that are alot cheaper than the preamps/blenders marketed to acoustic instumentalists. aren't these essentially the same thing? am i missing something?

    also, it seems that speaker cabinets are trying harder and harder to be full range pa cabinets. so why not just use a little mixer and a powered pa cabinet?

  2. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I think it depends alot on the type of pickup you have on your bass. I play in a small acoustic group every year that just needs a little amplification and we do the same thing to run 2 vocs, bass, 2 guitars, and sometimes a keyboard through my combo amp. Input impedence preferences for pickups and mic pre quality are the only things to work out.
  3. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes this is a tough decision to make. Right now I have no preamp/mixer. I recently sold all my mixers and preamps and I'm borrowing a Behringer UB802 mixer from a vocalist friend. For me, the weight and the size of the unit are a big issue. And like you, I sometimes need more than 2 inputs - Dyn-B, AMT, and sometimes a vocal mic when I'm the leader.

    One thing to note - the Solstice actually has 4 inputs - you can use the 1/4" and XLRs on each channel simultaneously. Each has its own level control. However you can't EQ each separately.

    I almost bought a Solstice but it was still missing a few fundamental things for me including a low cutoff and mutes on each input - things that you only typically find on mixers and even then, the Mackie 1202 and Behringer 1204 are the smallest with those features.

    Using a mixer for our purposes is overkill in some ways but the flexibility and sound quality is definitely appealing. One thing that is nice is that if you are dealing with a sound guy, you can send the main outs from the mixer to the house and the FX or monitor output to your amp. You can control each separately and have more control over what you send to the house (especially good if you do have a PA but no sound guy). For example, have more mic go to the house. Or if want to give the sound guy full control, give the house the mic on say the left channel and the pickup on say the right channel.

    I've always been anti-Behringer but their mixers are hard to beat for price, good sound and small, light packages.
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas

    Look at the Mackie DFX-6 or DFX-12 if you need more inputs. Great sounding mic preamps, quiet, and built in effects if you need a little reverb for a vocalist.

    Not much more than the Behringer and they are Mackie.

  5. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
  6. you guys are right! i didn't realize the xlr and 1/4" inputs had seperate gain controls. very cool!

    BUT - my mackie 1202 is still much more flexible, not that much bigger, and i can't hear a difference in sound between the two. oh, and there is a plethora of similar mixers priced below the solstice.

    the cool thing about the late raven unit was you could use batteries and it was much more portable than the solstice.

    BUT - if the solstice would have parametric eq it would kill. it would also make it much more useable for a variety of instruments. for me, the ideal box would have the i/o of the solstice, 3 or 4 band parametric with selectable q (wide/shelf or narrow), a headphone output and the ability to run off batteries like the raven.

    all that said i used the solstice all week in a few different situations and it did sound great in all...