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What small mixer.....

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What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Fri May 11, 2012 7:20 pm

Hi all,

We are a guitar duo, at the moment we use a soundcraft gigrag head and passive peavey cabs for our PA but we are thinking about changing to active cabs and using a mixer desk.

I have been looking at the Allen and Heath Zed 10FX, I wondered what your thoughts were on other brands. Is it a case of brand loyalty for other desks around the same price or do some brands really give much more value for money.

I have also been looking at Soundcraft, Mackie, Alto, Peavey..... Or is there something out there that for the same size is much better although more expensive?

We would be using 2 mic's, minidisc, two guitars, and monitors....

As always your thoughts suggestions would be a great help
Dave
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Scramble » Fri May 11, 2012 7:57 pm

A&H are generally considered a bit of a step-up in quality from the other brands you mention. But it does depends on exactly what models you are comparing, because all these brands have better and worse units.
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri May 11, 2012 9:46 pm

Having used offerings from all of these stables except Alto I'd unhesitatingly recommend the A&H ZED. As Scramble has said, the build-quality is definitely a step-up from the other brands' offerings at that price-point. The preamps and EQ are good too!
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Sat May 12, 2012 6:34 am

Scramble... I had sort of narrowed it down to between the Soundcraft EFX8 or EFX12 as it is advertised as being a little cheaper for some reason and the A&H Zed 10.

As I said I then saw the Mackie ProFX12 which then led me to look at others...they all seem alike and that made me wonder which one would be the best bet...A&H seem to get the thumbs up.

These are all around the £250 mark.... would there be something that was say £300 to £400 that would be way better in quality for the same size unit??

Dave
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Sat May 12, 2012 6:39 am

Thanks Mike

Have you just not used Alto or you would not use Alto... I have not really heard of them much but when looking at the Zephyr unit it seemed interesting but I am unsure of the quality of the unit.
http://www.altoproaudio.com/products/zmx124fx-usb

Dave
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Scramble » Sat May 12, 2012 7:34 am

>would there be something that was say £300 to £400 that would be way better in quality for the same size unit??

Not really... the higher-end mixer manufacturers don't make small mixers -- at that end of the market A&H are the best manufacturer.

If going Mackie get one of the newer models -- avoid the older ones like the CFX series. Get VLZ3 (not VLZ without the 3) or Onyx.

Alto are a budget brand that people here are a bit suspicious of.

I suppose you might consider a Yamaha. Some people love Yamaha mixers, some hate them. I've never used one so can't comment.
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby ef37a » Sat May 12, 2012 7:45 am

Check this out for Soundcraft..

http://cpc.farnell.com/jsp/level5/module.jsp?moduleId=cpc/439887.xml

And I have the ZED 10. I just use it for recording but I am sure the high Z inputs would be useful for a band (and they are 10M Ohms and so suitable for peizo acoustics as well as magnetic slabs)
FX of course and inserts on the main outs. Jack in line compressor or feedback destroyer? The usb recording output is about as good as 16bit usb gets to boot.

Dave. Now WHY did that last go all bold on me? Weird place SoS fortum!...Fork! It has switched back now!!!
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby TSH-Tim » Sat May 12, 2012 8:02 am

The Allen and Heath ZED range is by far the best in terms of build and bang for buck when looking for a small mixer....
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Sat May 12, 2012 8:55 am

As always guys... thanks very much, always open to more views or opinions of course ;)

Just about to post a new question about backing tracks, as I said we are thinking about upgrading our set up.....so maybe see some of you in that post too.

Thanks
Dave
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Tue May 15, 2012 8:20 am

Dave.jj wrote:Have you just not used Alto or you would not use Alto...

Dave

I have one of the 12 channel Zephyr's, which I bought to save having to drag the whole rack out with the small acoustic band I play in, and I have to say that it sounds great. It has built-in effects, which are pretty good, and for £100 the build quality is superb. The pre's aren't bad, although they're never going to set the world alight, but at least they don't suffer from the daft gain structure you find on the Mackie CFX's.

I haven't used/heard any of the higher end Alto kit, but if it's in the same range of quality as my Zephyr then I'd say it's probably worth auditioning. Having said that, £300-£400 will get you a very nice desk from a well known manufacturer, so it's up to you whether you'd want to take the risk or not.
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby markjosefmusic » Tue May 15, 2012 1:32 pm

Hiya,
Recently had the same decision to make regarding active cabs and new mixer. I originally went for a Mackie ProFX8 purely because I had a Mackie DFX previously which was OK. The new ProFX8 was awful to say the least which may seem an odd thing to say about Mackie. The general channel EQ was OK but nothing to set the world alight but it was the effects that made me want to kick the "Running Man's" arse all the way down the street. They are horrible. Even a modest medium reverb sounded like I was singing into a tin can !! Very metallic sounding. I then tested a ZED10FX alongside a Soundcraft EFX8 at Digital Village in Cambridge. The A&H was nice and the effects were good, both had good channel EQ with a sweepable mid, but the A&H only had low and high eq on the stereo in channels. The thing that swung it for me was the Lexicon effects on the Soundcraft. They are very, very nice. Plus each preset can then be adjusted in another 3 areas to fine tune it. Both these units are around the £240.00 mark so it wasn't like I would have to pay through the nose for the A&H. On balance though the Soundcraft edged it. I just wish they did an EFX4 or 6 to make it slightly smaller.

Hope this helps..........Mark
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Tue May 15, 2012 4:59 pm

TheChorltonWheelie wrote:I have one of the 12 channel Zephyr's, which I bought to save having to drag the whole rack out with the small acoustic band I play in, and I have to say that it sounds great. It has built-in effects, which are pretty good, and for £100 the build quality is superb. The pre's aren't bad, although they're never going to set the world alight, but at least they don't suffer from the daft gain structure you find on the Mackie CFX's.

I haven't used/heard any of the higher end Alto kit, but if it's in the same range of quality as my Zephyr then I'd say it's probably worth auditioning. Having said that, £300-£400 will get you a very nice desk from a well known manufacturer, so it's up to you whether you'd want to take the risk or not.

Yeah I will still be exploring these as my local dealer has them in stock, although I am leaning towards the A&H.
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Tue May 15, 2012 5:01 pm

markjosefmusic wrote:Hiya,
Recently had the same decision to make regarding active cabs and new mixer. I originally went for a Mackie ProFX8 purely because I had a Mackie DFX previously which was OK. The new ProFX8 was awful to say the least which may seem an odd thing to say about Mackie. The general channel EQ was OK but nothing to set the world alight but it was the effects that made me want to kick the "Running Man's" arse all the way down the street. They are horrible. Even a modest medium reverb sounded like I was singing into a tin can !! Very metallic sounding. I then tested a ZED10FX alongside a Soundcraft EFX8 at Digital Village in Cambridge. The A&H was nice and the effects were good, both had good channel EQ with a sweepable mid, but the A&H only had low and high eq on the stereo in channels. The thing that swung it for me was the Lexicon effects on the Soundcraft. They are very, very nice. Plus each preset can then be adjusted in another 3 areas to fine tune it. Both these units are around the £240.00 mark so it wasn't like I would have to pay through the nose for the A&H. On balance though the Soundcraft edged it. I just wish they did an EFX4 or 6 to make it slightly smaller.

Hope this helps..........Mark

Well I was almost sold on the A&H even though my initial thoughts were with the Soundcraft... this has now made me wonder again :) I think we need to go check out both and see where to go...Thanks for your imput.
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Mixedup » Wed May 16, 2012 8:26 am

As others have hinted, it depends what's most important. Just for the desk itself in cluding channel EQ, the A&H would be my first choice. Just for the preamps, probably Mackie VLZ3. Just for the effects probably the Soundcraft. So for me, I'd probably get the A&H and then if I felt the need to upgrade the FX later buy a second hand TC Electronic M300 for under £100 (far better FX than you'll get on any of the desks as standard, and lightwieght and very portable).
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby S2 » Fri May 18, 2012 8:44 am

Hi

I'm in a three piece just doing pub and club gigs and after having been using a Yamaha Promix 01 for a few years(heavy and noisy!), I changed to a Allen and Heath Zed 12Fx which I use with a pair of RCF 312A speakers. I went for the 12Fx over the 10Fx primarily because of the faders instead of the rotary pots which I find difficult to adjust during the gig as we self operate the PA. Though it's more expensive, seems to be about £400+ now. I recall paying £350 about 18 months ago.

However it's a fantastic little mixer. Very quiet, especially with the cabs that we have, easy to use, very flexible though we only use it mainly for vocals, and very good and clean sounding effects.

I looked at the competition in terms of the Mackie, which I discounted because it felt a bit 'cheap' (my opinion only). The Yamaha didn't seem to offer quite what I wanted. I liked the Soundcraft (EFX 8 or something I think) but went for the A and H because it had more Auxes so I could have another effects channel as well as two separate monitor sends and sounded slightly clearer and seemed less noisy. I also preferred the effects, though take note of the poster above who said the reverse! Just shows the subjectivity of it all!

I would give serious consideration to the lack of faders though on the 10Fx, especially if you are self operating. Poor light at most gigs and failing eyesight meant that this was a complete no-no for me. The ability to reach over mid song (I'm a drummer), and adjust them can't be over estimated. With that proviso, unless you wanted to stump up the extra for the Zed 12Fx, you are looking at the Soundcraft.
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Re: What small mixer.....

Postby Dave.jj » Fri May 18, 2012 4:06 pm

Stuart Dawson wrote:Hi

I would give serious consideration to the lack of faders though on the 10Fx, especially if you are self operating. Poor light at most gigs and failing eyesight meant that this was a complete no-no for me. The ability to reach over mid song (I'm a drummer), and adjust them can't be over estimated. With that proviso, unless you wanted to stump up the extra for the Zed 12Fx, you are looking at the Soundcraft.

Hi Stuart

Thanks for your post, it is very helpful.

We are a duo, we do not use amps we run into Vox tonelabs, so all of our sound, guitars, backing track and vocals all come through the PA. When using the Soundcraft gigrac that we use now we never normally have to change the mix very much...all we normally have to do is vary the volume.

If this ends up being the same when using a mixer then we should not really have to adjust much on the fly so the fader issue might not be a problem?? but it is something for us to think about.

We it just being the two of us the 10FX should be all we need, but I will take on board your comments.

Cheers Dave
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