Best mixer under $500 for live use - Help!

Jml

Senior Member
I am researching some mixers to purchase for live use (not really for recording purposes). It’s a 4-5 piece band. Going to be used for bars and some outdoor gigs. Nothing too fancy needed.

I have heard that unpowered mixers are better (?) and preferred over powered mixers, and that a separate amp or powered speakers are the way to go. So I am looking at the Mackie ProFX12v3 12-Channel Professional Effects Mixer, the Yamaha MG12 12XU Channel Mixer with Effects and the Behringer XENYX X2222USB USB Mixer. Any of these better or more reliable and versatile than the others?
 

Jml

Senior Member
Noob question - mixers like the Yamaha indicate 16 channels but only have 10 xlr inputs. Are the xlrs for vocal mics and instrument mics, whereas other inputs are for instruments themselves, like guitars? If I’m only micing my bass drum, do I need 16 xlr channels?
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
Noob question - mixers like the Yamaha indicate 16 channels but only have 10 xlr inputs. Are the xlrs for vocal mics and instrument mics, whereas other inputs are for instruments themselves, like guitars? If I’m only micing my bass drum, do I need 16 xlr channels?
If you're like most people, pretty soon you'll be adding some overheads and a snare mic and tom mics and whatnot. If you have the scratch it's better to have room to grow. I bought a Zoom LiveTrak L-12 (8 xlrs) last year and I already wish I'd bought the next size up.

By the way, +1 on the Allen and Heath mixers. I have a four channel I use for practice (OHs, BD, snare) and I love the sound of it.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
The Yamaha mixer is solid. I used to have one. I love the old Mackie mixers, but I've not messed with the new ones.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Just to be clear, any vocal mics or instrument mics need to go into xlr inputs?
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
In that range I'd go for Soundcraft, Allen&Heath or Yamaha.
Just to be clear, any vocal mics or instrument mics need to go into xlr inputs?
Yes, also things using DI like keyboards or bass.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Noob question - mixers like the Yamaha indicate 16 channels but only have 10 xlr inputs. Are the xlrs for vocal mics and instrument mics, whereas other inputs are for instruments themselves, like guitars? If I’m only micing my bass drum, do I need 16 xlr channels?

Some channels are mono, others are stereo. Keyboards can have stereo outputs. Mics are almost always mono. Guitars are usually mono but there are some stereo models.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Noob question - mixers like the Yamaha indicate 16 channels but only have 10 xlr inputs. Are the xlrs for vocal mics and instrument mics, whereas other inputs are for instruments themselves, like guitars? If I’m only micing my bass drum, do I need 16 xlr channels?
Get yourself a true 16 channel board. Dealing with anything more complicated (doubling up inputs or faders) isn’t worth the hassle/effort.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Just to be clear, any vocal mics or instrument mics need to go into xlr inputs?
Yes. The Mackie CR1604-vlz is a true 16-channel board and sounds good and built like a tank. Get that, and add a small effects unit so you have reverb at least.

the cool thing with those Mackie boards is they include a book on how to set up for various situations. That book gives you audio engineering basics that musicians can understand. It’s almost worth it just to get that book!
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
I bought a little 5 channel Behringer Xenyx Q502USB years ago and it's been bullet proof for over 100 gigs.

$60.

BTW, I only use two channels, one for my band mix and one for my click so I don't need anything larger.

 

Jml

Senior Member
All of the 16 channel and up mixers are huge! Do you all have a rack or table you put those on during a gig? That’s a lot of extra stuff to bring.
 

ToneT

Well-known member
All of the 16 channel and up mixers are huge! Do you all have a rack or table you put those on during a gig? That’s a lot of extra stuff to bring.
Mine is for home recording. For gigging, I would invest in a sturdy mixer rack mount.
 

Jml

Senior Member
Yeah. I’ve done some serious research on those.

Does anyone out there still use powered mixers and unpowered/passive speakers? They seem like a dying breed, but that’s what I’ve used with other bands around here at bar gigs, and some have recommended that setup to me for the types of events we’re playing.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I still use powered mixers and passive speakers, but we do not mic instruments too often. So we usually only need a few channels. Peace and goodwill.
 

calan

Silver Member
Yeah. I’ve done some serious research on those.

Does anyone out there still use powered mixers and unpowered/passive speakers? They seem like a dying breed, but that’s what I’ve used with other bands around here at bar gigs, and some have recommended that setup to me for the types of events we’re playing.
In general, I try to keep things as discrete as possible just for troubleshooting and being able to swap/upgrade components easier.

Separate mixer, power amp, and speakers. Makes it a lot easier to hot swap in the field if a component takes a shit and you want to minimize dead air. I am really coming around to powered speakers though.
 
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