Review: Christopher Holder
Okay, I think my search is over. I’ve been looking for the cheapest, smallest mixer on the market that I could confidently put on stage and cart around with me without fear of knobs falling off or it sounding like crap.
I’ve recently had the Mackie ProFX v2 mixers across my desk — great devices with some of
the cleanest preamps I’ve encountered (maybe at any price), onboard effects, and a USB port for recording. The smallest unit retails for about $250. Great value but a bit steep and over-spec’ed for my purposes. So the search continued.
Then, almost like that picture book ‘Dear Zoo’ where the zoo keeps sending a kid exotic, yet unsuitable, pets in a crate until finally sending the perfect pet – a puppy; I took delivery of Mackie’s Mix series. The baby of the range, the Mix5, is my puppy… perfect. I’ll tell you why in a minute but first it’s probably easiest to describe to you what the Mix series isn’t.
No faders. Mackie’s basic, vanilla preamp. Wall wart power supply. Basic four-LED metering. But the baby Mix5 is less than $150. And it’s built solidly – sturdy steel chassis with plastic end cheeks, with great pots that have the right amount of resistance and a centre detent where required.
Not wanting to get too fixated on the pint-sized Mix5 I used the larger Mix12FX ($349) for a small vocal gig where I plugged in four vocal mics and a keyboard. It was a big enough gig to miss real channel faders but I had no complaints with the sound quality, and even the Hall reverb, used sparingly, did its job (the Mix5 and Mix8 don’t have onboard effects).
But getting back to the Mix5. In my book, every audio person should have a Mix5 in their bag of tricks. Keep it there with your favourite DI, cable sex changers and multi-tool. And for less than $150 there’s no reason not to. I won’t list out all the applications the Mix series is ideal for: anywhere that has sound.
Yes, there have been small, cheap mixers for 20 years or more. But they’ve mostly been small, cheap and rubbish. Not so Mackie’s Mix range.