Korg's SoundLink mixers, first unveiled at NAMM earlier this year, are now starting to ship.
Billed as 'hybrid' mixers, the MW-1608 and MW-2408 were designed with the help of industry veterans Greg Mackie (of Mackie fame) and Peter Watts, who worked as head of R&D at Trident Audio Developments for nearly 20 years. The two new mixers earn their 'hybrid' description thanks to a canny combination of traditional analogue mixing facilities and an expansive digital effects section.
The two new mixers differ only in channel count: both have eight mono inputs (with a three-band, swept-mid EQ), but the MW-1608 has four stereo channels (each equipped with a mono mic pre and with fixed-frequency four-band tone shaping), while the MW-2408 ups that to eight. The mono channels additionally benefit from a Peter Watts-designed one-knob compressor.
In terms of routing, they're pretty traditional mixers — the eight submix buses are configured as stereo groups, and you get four auxes plus a send to the internal effects engine — but there are a fair few additions that you'd normally only expect to find on high-end analogue desks. Comprehensive AFL and PFL functionality and the extensive use of illuminated buttons are two examples, but most striking is its implementation of mute groups. Four buttons in the master section, labelled A/B/C/D, let you assign four combinations of channels to mute and unmute with one simple action, which could be a real time-saver at multi-act gigs.
The digital effects section comprises an aux-fed multi-effects module, which offers a choice of 20 different classic Korg algorithms and lets you chain up to 10 of them in a row, with full recall on all parameters. In addition, there's a 'virtual rack' of bus processors, with dynamic and EQ processing individually assignable to either the main L-R output or auxes 1 and 2. In practice, this means you can apply a compressor to your main mix while notching out feedback on stage wedges with a graphic EQ. A feedback suppressor is also at hand.
Basic audio interfacing is also provided for, with a stereo return being fed to the right-most stereo input channel, and a stereo send tapped from the main mix, post-fader.
Finally, each Korg SoundLink mixer ships with a copy of iZotope's acclaimed RX Elements audio editing suite.
The Korg MW-1608 and MW-2408 are shipping now, for $1299 and $1499 respectively, and we'll be bringing you an SOS review very soon!