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Compact Mixer Help

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by philter25, May 11, 2011.


  1. philter25

    philter25

    Mar 26, 2010
    Germantown, MD
    So I play in a 6 piece cover band, stage space is usually at a premium. We currently use a Mackie 1604-VLZ3. Its probably overkill for our needs.

    I do our sound and I usually just do a mono main. Mains get vocals, acoustic guitar, and keyboards. Bass and electric guitar usually dont need to go through the mains, only on larger gigs. We use QSC K12s as our mains and I dont think they have ever been turned up past 2/3rd volume.

    We typically only run 2 monitors, one for the lead singer/acoustic guitar and the other for the backup singer/keys. Bass, guitars, and drums dont need monitors. And for the last few shows the monitor mix has been the same as the main mix, however I like the flexibility of adding at least 2 seperate monitor mixes as needed.

    We've been debating getting an additional mixer, a smaller one for smaller gigs which we can put on a stand or mount on the keyboardist's stand.

    Our basic needs:
    8 mic/line inputs. We have 4 vocals, acoustic guitar can run line in or DI, keyboards dun DI, guitarist mic's his cabinet, and I run DI from my bass head.
    Clear vocal preamps.
    Ability to contol monitor volumes seperate from master volumes.
    Small footprint that doesnt take up space.
    Live shows only, no recording.

    Most gigs we will probably only need 6 mic inputs for 4 vocals, keyboard, and acoustic guitar, but Id like to have the other 2 just incase we do a bigger place with a very small stage and need to run guitar and bass through the PA. Plus I like having the flexibility of a few available channels incase one has a problem. If needed, acoustic guitar can run line direct to the board, keys can run a stereo out line directly to the board, and my DI has either line or mic settings, so I think I could get by with a 6 mic/line input mixer as long as there were 3-4 stereo line inputs I could use for keys, acoustic, and bass.

    Ive been looking at the Soundcraft EPM8, the Peavey PV14, and the Allen and Heath ZED12FX/14. They seem to fit the most criteria.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with any of those? I would like the clarity of vocals to be at least equivalent to our mackie 1604-VLZ3.

    Any other small compact 8 input mixers I should be considering?
     
  2. DRafalske

    DRafalske

    Nov 6, 2008
    Hebron, KY
    Drummer in my band uses a PV14 as a submixer for his kit. Yes, it's overkill for that purpose but he had it laying around. I'm not real familiar with actually operating it, but it's never given us a lick of trouble and sends a clean signal to the main board.

    Although I generally avoid the brand because I dislike their bass amps, I've used a couple Behringer mixers that have been OK.
     
  3. Dude, from the various times I have run sound I can definitely stand on my soapbox and say, "8 inputs equals 12 inputs." IOW, If you have 8 things to plug in you need 12 inputs; 8 for your stuff and four spares for emergencies, new requirements and experimentation with extra effects and such. ALWAYS have four more inputs than you need.

    BTW, the 1604 is NOT overkill in your situation. You can run the bass through the board and let the bass player monitor with a bass combo or through the system.

    Carvin makes the RX1200L, 1600 watts for mains and monitors, or send that power to just the mains, your choice. Unlike some companies Carvin does not count the stereo RCA inputs as part of the 12-channel count, so you could call it 14 channels. It weighs 18 pounds so you can gig and rehearse with it.

    Honesty up front, I don't have any Carvin PA stuff but I am a fanboy of their neck-thru guitars and their bass amps and cabinets. Their 10-day return policy does not start until you sign for the product; they take it back no questions asked.

    Link here: http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=RX1200L&cid=12
     
  4. Marginal Tom

    Marginal Tom

    Apr 28, 2010
    O'Fallon, IL
    +1 to Carvin. My band uses one (for vocals only).
     
  5. philter25

    philter25

    Mar 26, 2010
    Germantown, MD
    My QSC K12s are powered mains, so I dont need a powered mixer.

    And I do plan on keeping the Mackie 1604, this would be a secondary mixer for smaller gigs or for when we know we only need 4 or 6 inputs and we need something really small that we can put on a stand or the keyboard's stand.

    The goal is to get a lightweight and portable second mixer to supplement the big Mackie 1604.

    What I meant by overkill on the 1604 is we dont need all the inputs, or the 4 sub groups, or the 4 aux sends, or all the inserts and aux returns because we use a pretty simple setup with a mono main mix to 2 powered speakers and just 2 monitors.

    And +1 on the stereo channel count. I hate it when companies list a 12 channel mixer, but it only has 4or 6 mic/line inputs.

    Now this one might work:
    Carvin.com :: RX1200R

    Edit: Nevermind, just realized it would take up almost the same footprint as our current Mackie 1604.
     
  6. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Portland
    you don't need a new mixer

    Your auxes can serve as monitor mixes in this situation. Take the aux out to your monitor amp (or self powered monitor) mix to taste. You have 4 monitor mixes you can make on that board.

    Also, why get a smaller board if you want more channels as a backup? Save the headache and money and stick with the mackie.


    ...or sell it to me. ;)
     
  7. philter25

    philter25

    Mar 26, 2010
    Germantown, MD
    I know I dont need a new mixer, I plan on keeping the Mackie. I can run 4 aux mixes for monitors, or if I wanted to keep the same mix as the mains, I can run 4 monitor mixes off the subgroup outputs. I can essentially have 8 monitor mixes from the mackie using subgroups and aux outputs.

    I dont plan on getting rid of the mackie because for large gigs, it can do everything. The problem is fitting 6 band members and the mixer on a small stage at a small place when we only need to mic up vocals, acoustic guitar, and keys.

    At a minimum for smaller gigs, we need at least 6 inputs. 4 vocals, acoustic guitar, and keyboards. I want a few extra inputs incase an input goes bad, then I can still use the smaller mixer.

    I dont want to get a small mixer that does exactly the minimum of what we would need it to do, cause if one channel goes bad, then I need to fix the channel. I like to have a backup if possible.
     
  8. TimmyP

    TimmyP

    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Unless you want to spend a LOT, anything smaller than the Mackie will be a step down in quality. And won't be that much smaller. Better to sell the Mackie and get a MixWiz, which will make all of your gigs sound better.
     
  9. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Portland
    I guess I have a hard time seeing why you need a smaller board. It seems that you simply can't save enough room to really matter, and it's going to cost you money. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but I'd still say live with the Mackie.

    Is it really taking up that much room?

    Buy Quik-Lok QL-400 Fully Adjustable Mixer Stand with Casters | Monitor & Speaker Stands | Mixer Stands | Musician's Friend

    Buy Musician's Gear Rolling Rack Stand | Monitor & Speaker Stands | Mixer Stands | Musician's Friend

    These are likely to be cheaper than any decent compact mixer, and they can sit right next to your key player's rig.

    Or it could sit on some stacked cases. Drum cases work well for this.
     
  10. philter25

    philter25

    Mar 26, 2010
    Germantown, MD
    Well if I cant seem to find something with similar quality as the Mackie at the size that can easily mount to the keyboardist's stand, we'll just make due with the Mackie.

    Stages are extremely small in the DC bar scene and we play in a 6 piece. So we could use a second mixer for these small places.

    I really need like a 13" x 13" mini mixer for live gigs, but ive looked at everything from MF, GC, and sweetwater and I dont think anyone makes what I need.

    I just dont think anyone makes what Im looking for. So ill make due with what I got.
     
  11. Nagrom

    Nagrom

    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    Sounds to me like you need a stand that will position the mixer vertically
     
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I use one of these for my trio, but it would be a little light on inputs for you. You could put the four vocals and two instruments into the XLRs, and keys and one other thing in the TRS inputs. You can also use the stereo return as an input. If you're used to the Mackie layout, there's no learning curve on this one. My favorite feature is the "break" button, which kills everything but the tape in. The errant drunken hoser will never figure it out as he climbs on stage at the break to holler through the PA. It has pretty decent onboard effects, and I'm very pleased with the sound through my JBL PRX 612Ms.

    That said, lindseyp is right. You need more inputs than you think you do. While you could make the ProFX 12 work for you, it would be a squeeze with little wiggle room. The size format is exactly what you're looking for. I put mine on a little parson's table right next to me in the trio.

    PROFX12-cc7af1af88bf49843bec165980f6f654.
     
  13. I had a powered one of these for years. Nice over all. i use the Peavy mentioned above for our IEM mixer. Covers the whole band.

    CP
     

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