mixer choices

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by rogdastis, Jan 2, 2005.

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  1. rogdastis

    rogdastis Guest

    Hi, i'm looking for some help on picking out a mixer, the mixers i've narrowed it down to are, mackie 1604, soundcraft fx16, A&H mixwizard 3, carvin 1644, anything else?? are they all about the same? it seams that it is mostly brand preference? i'll be buying online and can't listen to them side by side, it will be used for the house PA, thanks, rog
  2. Nemesys

    Nemesys Guest


    If you feel safe with "name brands" then you can't really go wrong with Mackie, save the fact that their prices tend to fall towards the higher end of the budget range much like Soundcrafts products. The Mackie 1604 retails for roughly $920 whereas the Soundcraft FX16 is roughly $950. The Soundcraft may be the better unit in terms of overall quality, but it only has two subgroups.... so it shouldnt even be put in the same comparison list as these other units. The built-in Lexicon 16 stereo effects unit integrated into the Soundcraft FX16 might be a bonus which can make you overlook the lack of subgroups on this unit.... but I don't know how useful this effect unit will really be for your application. It may save you from having to buy an external reverb unit should you decide you need that.

    One bad point about the Mackie is the lack of stereo inputs on this unit.... which seems to be a disturbingly common trend as several other units which you chose also dont have stereo inputs.... something I might think is fairly important, especially for P.A. or club use applications where you want to hook up multiple CD or tape players, etc... It has a 3 band EQ with the midband sweepable (semi-parametric).


    If you are budget conscious, the Carvin might be a nice choice. I cant speak for the sound quality of it, but its it's subgroup arrangement is particularly flexible. I think it has a sweepable (semi-parametric) midband. Plus it's got a built in 9-band graphic EQ's, which is a tad "cheesy" for the pro-audio types among us..... but for P.A. purposes is a really nice touch without having to plop down extra money on outboard EQ's.

    The Carvin much like the Soundcraft Spirit FX16 dissapointingly seems to have no stereo input channels, and the A&H has only two.... but again... you can work around that by just using two channel strips as a stereo input and panning them hard left and right.



    At $1,350 the Allen & Heath Unit 13:4:2 seems to be the most pricey, but also one of the most full featured all-around

    It has 4 subgroups, but 6 AUX sends which is better than the other units listed here. Plus, each of the AUX send groups is fully PRE/POST EQ in every channel.... a very nice feature worthy of a more professional board. ... the only thing more this board needs is a button to cut the filter section in or out like on the really high end consoles to lower noise and distortion.

    The A&H has a 4 band EQ with two fully sweepable midbands. This unit has 2 stereo input channels which is 2 more than either the Mackie or Soundcraft FX16 has.... so thats good. Yet still, 4 stereo channels really should be a minimum... but you can work around that easy enough. Still I find it dissapointing on all mixing boards that they dont include more stero channels inputs.



    The Soundcraft Spirit FX16 has a 3 band semi-parametric ("sweepable") EQ section which is comparable to the Mackie EQ, but better than the Carvin unit which doesnt have any sweeapble bands...

    However, being Soundcraft, it tends to fall a bit on the pricey side at around $990 US dollars, whereas the other units are in the $500 - $600 range.

    The Soundcraft FX16 really only has two subgroups, whereas the others have 4 [this should be a dealbreaker in my opinion because all your other mixers listed have 4 subgroups], but the Soundcraft has some nice hidden touches such as selectable on every channel pre or post ditrect ouputs. The spirit has 4 AUX sends. Again, much like the Carvin, there are no stereo inputs channels.

    The built-in digital effects is nice... but the lack of subgroups (only 2) is not.


    I'd go with the Allen & Heath 14:4:2 if you wanted to plop down the money as it is the most expensive unit here, but in my humble opinion, the most capable and full featured unit by far..... I suspect the higher price of this unit is contrrbuted to by the fact that it has a 4 band EQ with 2 sweepables which is really nice.... The "talkback" section on this, as with most A&H mixers is very full featured as it seems to let you talk to all subgroups or AUX's, whereas with cheaper talkbacks, you can only access a limited number of AUX pairs.

    Next up in terms of overall quality, I'll give to Mackie... its $350 less than the A&H and might be worth it if your looking to save money as I'd say its close to A&H.

    If your really on a budget, go with the Carvin which is fairly comparable but the most reasonably priced out of all the units listed here. You might want to check if this unit has a "talkback" section (I don't think it does). However, if this is strictly for P.A. applications you probably would not need a talkback as thats just an extra bell and whistle.... but I guess a bit of forward-thinking in terms of future expnadability couldn't hurt

    Lastly, I would personally scratch the Soundcraft FX16 from the list unless you were realy, really interested in its built in effects unit. Save your money, just get the Carvin and if you want, bpurchase a seperate Lexicon or TC M-One outboard box and it would still be the same price as the Soundcraft,... only it would still end up being better overall than the FX16.
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    well put, Nemesys. That's one of the sanest, clearest, and objective roundups of mixers (in this price/feature class) I've read to date on here.

    I wish more people would take this approach when talking about mixer specifics (and costs), instead of all the subjective stuff tossed around. If I was starting out fresh, I'd welcome the advice you just gave.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Good answer Nemesys :cool:
  5. rogdastis

    rogdastis Guest

    Hi, Well,,,, thanks for the repleys, Nemesys, that was quite a lot of help, A&H it is, thanks again, i appreciate the time it took to do it, rog

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