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Powered Mixer Recommendation

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Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby yossar » Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:43 pm

Greetings- We purchased one of those compact JBL EON 210P PAs some years back. The powered mixer conked-out and the repair technician said that the JBL units have a history of problems with unreliability and recommended that we replace the head with something like the one that comes with the Fender Passport. Like the JBL 210, the Passports seem to only come as a package unit (with speakers), plus, my wife would like something that might project subtle nuances with her vocals. We're looking for a powered mixer that will be compatible with the JBL speakers (the old head had an output of 300W, 150w per speaker/stereo). The main purpose it will be used for is my wife's vocal coaching class and rare small/medium cafe performances. The most that we'll ever run through it is 2 vocal mics and a single direct line guitar. Specs we're hoping to achieve: 4-6 channels, basic built-in effects and controls (bass, mid, treble, reverb, etc.), and something with a USB port for running to/from the computer. Any suggestions or recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated :-) Thanks in advance.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby resistorman » Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:37 am

There's a lot of powered mixers around, but none I looked at had USB I/O. The Peaveys seem to have USB input though. This makes sense for the market they are aimed at.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby ef37a » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:43 am

Hi Yossar and welcome.

You know, I have been reading SOS for nearly 16 years now and they have reviewed many bizarre products only loosely connected to audio reproduction and recording but I cannot recall any tests of powered mixers? (I am now waiting to be shot down by mod!) Thinking about it I don't remember reviews of stand alone power amplifiers either?

However, it is true that the 'world of PA' has gone for either a stand alone mixer and powered (active) speakers or PA rigs that contain amps, speakers and a fairly basic mixer all in one unit. Maybe it is time to retire the speakers and move on to one of those systems?

The alternative is to find a suitable mixer and a separate power amplifier? Bit more of a faff to rig but at least you can replace or repair the units separately.

Dave.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:47 am

Welcome from me too! :thumbup:

A good summary from ef37a - Dave.

He's probably right... but Yamaha still do some powered mixers... check out the EMX series. https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/contents/proaudio/musicianspa/products_powered_mixer.html

One of the installs I care-take has one of the 'box' type. Seems very reliable with some good facilities...
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 11:23 am

But like almost all powered mixers, those that have a USB input, rarely have a USB output for recording, which was a requirement of the OP. Though I see that the JBL unit doesn't have this, so this is an add-on to the existing system.

The channel count of even the EMX2 is far above what's required, whilst lacking any USB connectivity at all.

As ef37a says, powered mixers are really falling out of fashion except in the small packaged portable speaker market, and as you've found, getting a new powered mixer module to go with existing speakers isn't easy.

You'll end up with a few more cables to carry around, but I'd go down the powered speaker + mixer route. You'll end up with a better quality of sound with far more power in reserve, and you'll have access to compact mixers that can offer all you want.

I'm happy with the current Alto TS range, and the TS308 or TS310 speakers would be ideal for vocals, with the TS308 obviously being a bit lighter and more compact. But there are numerous other powered speakers available, with the Altos TS3 range being on the sweet spot (IMO) of price Vs performance. Any less and the sound quality can be a lot poorer. Pay more (Yamaha DXR rage for example) and the sound quality is a bit better (flatter response) and you get a lot more volume from the same size speaker. But you don't need a lot more volume, so you'd have to listen at your normal performance levels to determine whether paying around double for DXRs over Altos (for example) is worth it.

There are numerous small footprint mixers around with 3-band EQ, decent mic preamps, built in FX and USB input/output connectivity. You'd be looking at around the same price as one powered speaker, (though you can pay a lot more) . Just be aware that some older designs are still using USB1.1 connections (with basic stereo input and output over USB) , and if you've only got USB3 ports on the computer, then there's every chance that the mixer won't be recognised. So definitely look for a mixer with at least USB2 connectivity, as that is compatible with both USB3 and USB1.1.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby wireman » Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:40 pm

Not that recent but it does show some coverage of these products...

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/powered-mixers
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby Mike Monte » Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:21 pm

I use powered mixers for some of my applications - and I like them!

I am not quite sure where you are located (country) but I would recommend a Yorkville M810 (original series or series 2).
There are plenty of them on the used market here in the US.
I have two of them and they are excellent.
It had more than enough channels for your needs, has plenty of power (I'm not a big fan of the Passport system btw) for your needs (I would probably just use one side of the internal power amp and run the cabs in series if I were you..)

To go from a laptop to the mixer get a cable such as:
https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5 ... 7706&psc=1
...and connect from the "headphone out" (green?) jack on the laptop to the "tape in" jacks on the mixer - done.

You may also think about upgrading the speaker cables that came with the Passport system. They fall-apart really easy....

Good luck!
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:04 pm

ef37a wrote:The alternative is to find a suitable mixer and a separate power amplifier? Bit more of a faff to rig but at least you can replace or repair the units separately.

Dave.

This is the best solution.

You can put a 19" amp in a suitably sized rack box with a 4/6 way power strip, power leads, speaker leads and input cables can all be stored inside and mixer (I like Yamaha small mixers) is available for separate use.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby ef37a » Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:55 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
ef37a wrote:The alternative is to find a suitable mixer and a separate power amplifier? Bit more of a faff to rig but at least you can replace or repair the units separately.

Dave.

This is the best solution.

You can put a 19" amp in a suitably sized rack box with a 4/6 way power strip, power leads, speaker leads and input cables can all be stored inside and mixer (I like Yamaha small mixers) is available for separate use.

Can I also add that 'actives' are not all that much less of a job to rig since you have to get both signal and power to them. With regard to feeding a signal from a laptop? The 3.5mm jack is a pretty feeble fellow in my experience I would not want to rely on one, better to use a USB D/A, even the humble Behringer UCA 202 will deliver near CD quality.

However, I have just bought a wee Blue tooth receiver and it delvers very good sound into my hi fi system from a W10 laptop. I have not so far got it to work with my HP W7 lappy and am now about to start a thread about that in "Windows Music".

Dave.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby yossar » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:13 pm

Boy, did I come to the right place.! Thank you all for such great advice. Definitely time to rethink the overall stategy. Happy Holidays!
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:57 pm

ef37a wrote:However, I have just bought a wee Blue tooth receiver and it delvers very good sound into my hi fi system from a W10 laptop. I have not so far got it to work with my HP W7 lappy and am now about to start a thread about that in "Windows Music".

Dave.

Word to the wise - I also bought a wee Blue tooth receiver which sounded really good and took it to a gig where some folks wanted their offspring to give an Irish dancing display. Teacher brought her phone as they usually do but instead of giving her a 3.5mm jack in return for a promise not to walk off with it still plugged in I gave her the wee Blue tooth receiver and a smug smile.

Something I've noticed about Bluetooth is that when it drops the signal it delays slightly but makes up for it by continuing to play whatever is in the system until connection is restored. I'm not a 'leccy bod but I imagine this might account for some of the inherent latency.

However, sometimes when it reconnects there is a slight but seamless loss of a few m/s of music which isn't a major problem unless you're using it as a reference for some high speed dancing, in which case it is.

Thankfully I was apparently the only one who knew the reason why all the dancers were heading off in different directions at the same time so teacher blamed her old phone.
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby MarkPAman » Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:55 pm

ef37a wrote:Hi Yossar and welcome.

You know, I have been reading SOS for nearly 16 years now and they have reviewed many bizarre products only loosely connected to audio reproduction and recording but I cannot recall any tests of powered mixers?

:shh:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/dynacord-pm502

Has USB recording & everything, but may be OTT for this job?
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Re: Powered Mixer Recommendation

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:36 pm

Well found Mark! (and all props to Paul for neatly avoiding the nonsensical "rms watts!")

It IS a bit pricey mind, a 200W pch amp and mixer would not be half the price of that unit these days? (seen on Gear4's site, special order £800ish) . i also don't know the impedance of the OP's speakers? 450W into 4 Ohms could be a bit much.

Dave.
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