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View Full Version : What should I look at for a mixer?



Eric
September 27th, 2010, 12:31 PM
Hello good people,

So I've pretty much given up on ever using the PA in the garage where some guys and I practice on Fridays, and am now looking to run vocals through my 100w powered floor monitor. Problem is that when the mic is plugged right into the monitor XLR input, the output isn't loud enough.

From talking to some people, they say I would be best off with a mixer of some sort, where I can use the onboard mic preamps to bring the mic-level signal up to an acceptable level and then put it through the power amp in the monitor, so that it should be loud enough to keep up with the band.

Any recommendations on what I should use? As of right now, we will have a maximum of 2 people singing at one time, and it's only going into a 100w floor wedge, so I could get away with a 2-channel mixer like this:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/402VLZ3/

but I wonder if I'd outgrow this quickly and wish I had either bought something cheaper for the interim or gone to a larger mixer immediately.

What do you say? Am I on the right path? Should I just use an outboard mic preamp instead? If I go used, how big should it be? What brands are good (other than Mackie)? Which should be avoided?

Help would be appreciated!

Commodore 64
September 27th, 2010, 01:30 PM
There's a mixer/amp/PA on cleveland's CL: http://cleveland.craigslist.org/msg/1974267657.html

I don't know a thing about this stuff, but $125 seems like a good price.

Eric
September 27th, 2010, 01:39 PM
Huh. That looks like it includes a power amp in it. Weird. I've never seen something like that before. To anyone who would know, is that thing worth looking into?

markb
September 27th, 2010, 05:02 PM
That's what I'd call a PA head. In the good old days bands had one of those with 4 or 6 channels and a pair of speakers and we used them for vocals only. Everything else went out via its backline. Drums were not miced except maybe dropping a mic in the kick drum for a bit of thump. I was using a Phonic brand one until quite recently.

And yes, it's a variant of the powered mixer genus. You can also get desktop types which are often more fully featured.

If you have powered speakers, you don't need a powered mixer. Look for as many mono mic inputs as you can get if you want to use it live. I'd look for a mixer with a swept midrange if you're micing acoustic instruments but it's not essential for vocal use. I've no specific recommendations. There are loads of brands which are all more or less the same. Mackies are good but their cheaper Tapco range could be all you need for a few mics. By and large I'd avoid the smaller Behringers.

Spudman
September 27th, 2010, 09:04 PM
There's a mixer/amp/PA on cleveland's CL: http://cleveland.craigslist.org/msg/1974267657.html

I don't know a thing about this stuff, but $125 seems like a good price.

BETTER JUMP ON THAT! That's a KILLER deal. I have an XR600B which is the predecessor to the 600C and they are rugged and work very well. That unit has continued to work when all my other gear crapped out. It makes a great bass amph too.

Eric
September 27th, 2010, 09:13 PM
I've got a line on this one:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MDR624/

for $40, which seems OK to me. Thoughts?

Eric
September 27th, 2010, 09:19 PM
BETTER JUMP ON THAT! That's a KILLER deal. I have an XR600B which is the predecessor to the 600C and they are rugged and work very well. That unit has continued to work when all my other gear crapped out. It makes a great bass amph too.
Huh. Dude says he's willing to ship it, so we'll see. Maybe I'll wind up with both of the units I'm chasing...

markb
September 28th, 2010, 12:09 AM
This has about the absolute minimum for me. I once mixed a night of 6 singer/songwriters (and backing musicians) with a similar Soundcraft unit. One thing I'd look for is an internal power supply. Say "NO" to wall warts. They break and get lost.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PV6/

Monkus
September 28th, 2010, 07:54 AM
Say "NO" to wall warts. They break and get lost.

I third that emphatically ! Remember, you always need one more input than you have. Better to get something you can grow into.

Eric
September 28th, 2010, 07:58 AM
So...bear in mind what I'm using this for: basically a preamp for a powered monitor. Are you saying it's a bad idea to buy something small right now, and that I'll end up regretting it later on?

wingsdad
September 28th, 2010, 08:52 AM
If you find you outgrow the number of inputs, you can get something with the same or a few more and 'daisy chain'...use the little one as a submixer and plug it into 2 of the other.

In my home studio, I have a Peavey8 (a little bigger than the one markb linked to) and a Yamaha MG10/2 that I use independently or chain, depending, that go into powered monitor speakers and/or into my DAW.

I prefer having that many inputs so I can leave things hooked up and preset, ready to go, instead of reconnecting and resetting levels.

EDIT: added this photo to show you the default hookup scheme..under each mixer is a Samson C-Valve Tube Pre I use in a variety of ways:

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b81/wingsdad/Studio%20Shots/Mixers_1104.jpg
BTW: They both use external power supplies.Either of those mixers can be had used, in good shape, for around $75.