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Soundcraft Spirit E Series

By Hugh Robjohns

Soundcraft Spirit E SeriesPhoto: Mark Ewing

The newest Spirit mixers offer a straightforward feature set and long-throw faders at a seriously affordable UK price.

Ever since Soundcraft launched their Spirit brand, the name has become synonymous with well-designed general-purpose mixers at reasonable prices. The Spirit E-series mixers continue that trend and are about us uncomplicated as you could wish for. As with most modern analogue equipment, surfacemount technology is used to keep the manufacturing cost down and to improve reliability — something that's further augmented by the use of automated computer testing as well as the necessary human listening tests.

There are four mixers in the E series. The E6, E8 and E12 are identical apart from the number of mono mic channels each offers (six, eight and twelve respectively). The ES, on the other hand, offers four mono channels and 10 stereo channels — that's 24 channel inputs in total. All the mixers share the same styling, with curved moulded end cheeks, but behind the hi-tech manufacturing techniques lie very conventional mixers stripped of all unnecessary frills. I had the E12 for review, which has 12 mono mic/line channels and two stereo line-only channels. Insert points are fitted to the mono channels and to the main stereo outputs, but not to the stereo input channels. Similarly, there are no direct channel outputs and, though there are two aux send controls and two aux send outputs, there are no dedicated aux returns — you have to use a spare stereo input channel (or a pair of mono channels) for returning a stereo effects unit to the mix.

Soundcraft Spirit E Series
pros
  • Good overall sound quality.
  • Clear panel layout with long faders.
  • No external PSU.
cons
  • Short on features for some studio applications.
summary
The Spirit E series are simple-to-use mixers with good sound quality and all the basic features needed for live sound applications. They may however lack some of the features needed for studio use, specifically direct outputs.

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The chassis is fabricated from sheet steel, with a recessed underside that accommodates the mains...

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Published April 2003