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Al Krow

Compact mixer for small band line up

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Guys - recently came across this little mixer, which seems ideal for one of my bands which is just a four piece with one vocals and one BV; particularly as it has FX and allows a bit of reverb to be included, which is a bit of a 'must have' where vocalists are concerned in my experience and it also costs around just £75.

Only (slightly numpty!) Q on this is to do with Line 3/4 which is a "stereo-paired" channel. Not clear in my head what that means in practice i.e. if we use just one acoustic guitar input into the Line 3 i.e. the L channel will that just output through the left speaker only or will it output through both speakers provided I have the pan set half way between left and right?

 

Alesis MultiMix 4 USB FX Mixer

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Its a line input - so you wouldn't want to be putting an acoustic through there anyway. It's usually the reserve for keys and AV equipment.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

Its a line input - so you wouldn't want to be putting an acoustic through there anyway. It's usually the reserve for keys and AV equipment.

Fair point, but I guess we can get around the line input issue by using a simple passive DI box? (I've got one already which avoids any additional cost).

Which still leaves the mono / stereo Q:  my hesitation is that many similar inputs are marked "L (mono)", but this clearly isn't.

Edited by Al Krow

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Yeah I think you're right in this case - that if you plug something into channel 3, it will only come out of the left channel. I looked at the manual and its unclear, but most mixers with a stereo input of that type (ie 2x line level 1/4" mono TS) will sense that nothing is plugged into the right side, and treat the left side as a "mono" ie put it to both channels.

Given that it also only has 2 mic-level inputs, I'd hunt around for something a bit more generous in its inputs for your needs. You could get an adapter to manually split it if you really wanted, though.

There does seem to be a trend of advertising eg "4 inputs" but only 1 or 2 of them are useful enough to be usable.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, paul_c2 said:

Yeah I think you're right in this case - that if you plug something into channel 3, it will only come out of the left channel. I looked at the manual and its unclear, but most mixers with a stereo input of that type (ie 2x line level 1/4" mono TS) will sense that nothing is plugged into the right side, and treat the left side as a "mono" ie put it to both channels.

Given that it also only has 2 mic-level inputs, I'd hunt around for something a bit more generous in its inputs for your needs. You could get an adapter to manually split it if you really wanted, though.

There does seem to be a trend of advertising eg "4 inputs" but only 1 or 2 of them are useful enough to be usable.

Well it seems I have these two adaptors to hand which between them should hopefully mean I can make use of the two stereo inputs to create a single 3rd input.

Alesis stereo input.jpg

We can revert to the larger Allen & Heath Zed 14FX if we find ourselves needing any more. So maybe 3 usable inputs, rather than 4, and no xlr outputs. But hey I can't expect the earth for £75 to £80!!! 

Before I bite the bullet, if anyone has any other recommendations for a compact mixer with FX, then I'd be keen to get your thoughts. The Allen & Heath Zed 6FX did look good, but it's also got the same "stereo" input which effectively means that it's a 4 input not a 6 input mixer and its starting to creep up in price and size at which point we may as well our Zed 14FX

Edited by Al Krow

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Would be a lot easier (and probably cheaper) to get the same kind of thing but with a 3rd or 4th microphone socket, such as the behringer 1202, then you dont need odd leads or extra DI boxes, and it is all a lot simpler.

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10 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Would be a lot easier (and probably cheaper) to get the same kind of thing but with a 3rd or 4th microphone socket, such as the behringer 1202, then you dont need odd leads or extra DI boxes, and it is all a lot simpler.

That's a good shout, but the Behringher 1202FX is almost double the size of the Alesis, at which point I'd probably think "blow it - let's just take the A&H Zed14FX".

I'm kinda hoping there maybe something Alesis sized, with FX, but a touch more capable...

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Just now, Al Krow said:

That's a good shout, but the Behringher 1202FX is almost double the size of the Alesis, at which point I'd probably think "blow it - let's just take the A&H Zed14FX".

Double the size?

The Alesis is 70 x 187 x 217 mm

The Behringer is 47/37 x 220 x 242 mm

So just over half the depth, 0.3cm longer and 2.5cm wider?

You are using what my wife calls 'man measurements' :D

By the time you have remembered your correct lead and your DI and everything else, seems a lot easier and probably a lot smaller.

I do actually have a 1202 (non fx), which lives in a dusty corner of my music room and all my keyboards and computers connect to it, which leads to the monitors. Been there so long I would probably have to dig it out, but it still works!

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Remember I'm only interested in the FX versions:

Alesis Dimensions: 7 3/4" L x 6" W x 2"H (= 200mm x 150mm x 50mm) (from their website)

Beheringer 1202FX:   220mm x 242mm x 47mm

On a surface area basis (given they are pretty much the same height) the Behringer is actually 77% bigger (i.e. almost double if we are dealing with round numbers).

If that is 'man measurements' then so be it 😂

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7 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Remember I'm only interested in the FX versions:

Alesis Dimensions: 7 3/4" L x 6" W x 2"H (= 200mm x 150mm x 50mm) (from their website)

Beheringer 1202FX:   220mm x 242mm x 47mm

In that case thomman must be wrong with their dimensions as they clearly list that thing you have shown the picture of, the 4usbFX as 187 x 217 x 70 mm

https://www.thomann.de/gb/alesis_multimix_4usb_fx.htm

7 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

On a surface area basis (given they are pretty much the same height) the Behringer is actually 77% bigger (i.e. almost double if we are dealing with round numbers).

So if thommans figures are to believe, it is not the same height and the behringer is only 30% bigger.

In which case I wouldn't get it from thoman as their version of it is huge!

And I wouldn't get it from Alesis as I wouldn't trust anyone measuring it in inches :D

 

but 30% or 70% different size aside, if you are going to need 3 instrument inputs at any time, don't skimp out on a 2 input mixer with a bunch of hacks to get the rest of signal in unless you really have a surfeit of time and patience or a shortage of money or you like taking more time on the setting up part of gigging.

 

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Are the "onboard" effects on these things any good at all?

Regarding size, clearly the Alesis is pretty tiny, its squeezed the inputs and controls you would need into the minimum space available. So, a mixeer with more inputs is inevitably going to be a bit bigger.

I am in a similar situation, personally I can't see the point of buying a 4-input mixer, then maybe in a few months needing 5 inputs, then 6, etc etc so I'm going to wait as long as I can then buy a mixer that can cope with loads of inputs (different size band though!)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, paul_c2 said:

Are the "onboard" effects on these things any good at all?

Regarding size, clearly the Alesis is pretty tiny, its squeezed the inputs and controls you would need into the minimum space available. So, a mixeer with more inputs is inevitably going to be a bit bigger.

I am in a similar situation, personally I can't see the point of buying a 4-input mixer, then maybe in a few months needing 5 inputs, then 6, etc etc so I'm going to wait as long as I can then buy a mixer that can cope with loads of inputs (different size band though!)

Certainly on the Allen and Heath they are pretty good and certainly in terms of reverb are completely fine.

I've just upgraded our A&H Zed 10FX to the A&H Zed60 14FX to take us from 4 + 2 stereo inputs to 8 + 2 stereo inputs for my main function band. But feeling that's going to be overkill for the new project which really just needs 3 (possibly 4) inputs altogether.

I think from what you're saying  I may be hard pressed to get anything much better than the Alesis for the size.

Edited by Al Krow

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40 minutes ago, paul_c2 said:

Are the "onboard" effects on these things any good at all?

Good enough for the job really when it comes to mic reverb etc

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1 hour ago, dave_bass5 said:

What about this one Bas?

https://www.musictribe.com/Categories/Behringer/Mixers/Analog/1002FX/p/P0572

I would be weary of putting an acoustic guitar in to a channel that only had T/B EQ. IME these need more adjustment than most other band instruments (or you could get a Q/Strip:-)

Looks interesting Dave. Maybe be a little more compact than the 1202FX I was discussing with Woody earlier, but still has six "usable" inputs, which will be plenty for my small band line up, rather than the 3 on the Alesis (one of which requires extra leads and DI pedal to use). 

Could be a very good compromise. I'll go look up the dimensions a bit later... 

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IMO its always better to have more than you first need to start with. Might want to mic up thre bass drum or something else at a later stage. 

We use the larger version off that and the sound quality is really nice. The only thing i find with those mixers is  they can be quite complicated with all those routing options. Ive arrived at gigs to find i cant get any sound out of the desk because one of the cryptically labels buttons has been engaged. 

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20 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

IMO its always better to have more than you first need to start with. Might want to mic up thre bass drum or something else at a later stage. 

We use the larger version off that and the sound quality is really nice. The only thing i find with those mixers is  they can be quite complicated with all those routing options. Ive arrived at gigs to find i cant get any sound out of the desk because one of the cryptically labels buttons has been engaged. 

Thanks and generally agreed but fortunately we don't need this mini mixer to be too large - we have an Allen & Heath ZED60-14FX up our sleeve for when we out grow this compact model. 

Behringer mixers are amazing value though. 

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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

Thanks and generally agreed but fortunately we don't need this mini mixer to be too large - we have an Allen & Heath ZED60-14FX up our sleeve for when we out grow this compact model. 

Behringer mixers are amazing value though. 

Point taken, but as the scouting movement have preached to us for decades, all ways be prepared. I still think you should use a proper channel for an acoustic guitar though. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Alesis Mix4:  200mm x 150mm - 3 usable inputs (including 2 mic) - around £75, but requires a DI and adaptor lead / jack to use the 3rd input.

Behringer 1002FX: 189mm x 220 mm - 6 usable inputs (including 2 mic)  - around £57 posted (Bax)

This Behringer is only 40% bigger (surface), but 30% cheaper and much more 'usable' / expandable.

=> the Behringer wins.

Image result for behringer xenyx 1002fx mixer

And at £65 for the mixer and a couple of xlr to 1/4" jack leads (as no XLR outs) i.e. less than the cost of an average bass pedal - that works for me! Good shout, thanks Dave (and Woody).

(The ideal for what we need would probably be a Behringer 8002FX, but the FX version doesn't exist, as far I'm aware).

Edited by Al Krow

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One point worth considering is that most guitars operate at about -20dB or -10dB, and most line inputs are intended for inputs at 0dB, so your guitar input could be x3 to x10 times too low. The cheaper the mixer, the less likely it is too have extra gain on the line-in channel to accomodate lower level inputs.

David

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Mottlefeeder said:

One point worth considering is that most guitars operate at about -20dB or -10dB, and most line inputs are intended for inputs at 0dB, so your guitar input could be x3 to x10 times too low. The cheaper the mixer, the less likely it is too have extra gain on the line-in channel to accomodate lower level inputs.

David

Fair point. Fortunately the Behringer Xenyx 1002FX has up to +15 dB gain ability on each of the four line inputs. Not too shabby for a £55 piece of kit :)

Edited by Al Krow

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45 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Fair point. Fortunately the Behringer Xenyx 1002FX has up to +15 dB gain ability on each of the four line inputs. Not too shabby for a £55 piece of kit :)

Note also that a line input has a very low impedance, which will heavily load any non preamped circuit, and many preamped ones, which is why a microphone input is very important for those things. 

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4 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Note also that a line input has a very low impedance, which will heavily load any non preamped circuit, and many preamped ones, which is why a microphone input is very important for those things. 

Hence 'high impedence' line inputs for guitars on mixers.

Hmmm...so what's the correct take away from this earlier post Woody?

1 hour ago, Mottlefeeder said:

One point worth considering is that most guitars operate at about -20dB or -10dB, and most line inputs are intended for inputs at 0dB, so your guitar input could be x3 to x10 times too low. The cheaper the mixer, the less likely it is too have extra gain on the line-in channel to accommodate lower level inputs.

 

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9 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Hence 'high impedence' line inputs for guitars on mixers.

Hmmm...so what's the correct take away from this earlier post Woody?

OK, I looked at the spec and it seems they are reasonably high impedance, so ignore me.  Yes it would work, although not as well as the proper XLR inputs, and if it was too quiet you could turn the rest down and that channel up at the risk of a little bit more noise, which I doubt would notice live. They are fairly quiet things anyway (mine never really gets round to showing LEDS, not that it matters as you can barely see it for the leads). 

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Mixer microphone inputs are designed for microphones of 200 ohms to 600 ohms impedance, so connecting an instrument to that (XLR) input will not work without a DI box. However, if that channel also has a line input, that is likely to have an input impedance of 10-30 thousand ohms, and a guitar or bass with a built-in preamp will feed into that without loss of tone. A passive bass or solid bodied guitar may work well, or may lose some treble feeding into that impedance - hence the 'Hi-Z' guitar input option on some mixer channels. A passive piezo pickup on an acoustic guitar will probably sound better feeding into an input impedance of about 1 million ohms (and using a short cable).

In my experience, line inputs on mixers tend to be in the 10-30 thousand ohms impedance range, so if they have enough gain, they should work with any pre-amped instrument, but possibly not with passive ones.

David

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