Best mixer under $500 for live use - Help!

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Does anyone out there still use powered mixers and unpowered/passive speakers? They seem like a dying breed…
Yeah, I used to use them. The convenience of not having to run power to the speakers is amazing. But, powered speakers seem to push better and sound better, in my opinion, so it’s worth the extra hassle.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
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.

Yup. I'm a big fan of the Yamaha Club series speakers. They are heavy, so I wouldn't go anything bigger than a 12" speaker in those. I have an old Crate powered mixer, but I'd get a matching Yamaha in a second. I actually used my little PA last week, and it sounded pretty darn good. You can get these for cheap now, but once again, they aren't lightweight, but they are tanks.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yeah, I used to use them. The convenience of not having to run power to the speakers is amazing. But, powered speakers seem to push better and sound better, in my opinion, so it’s worth the extra hassle.

I agree with this as well within reason. I wouldn't cheap out on powered speakers (not that you implied this). If you go powered, get something good.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I agree with this as well within reason. I wouldn't cheap out on powered speakers (not that you implied this). If you go powered, get something good.
My favorite powered speakers I’ve found are the old JBL Eon G2 speakers. Low noise, high output, clear sound…they are incredible. After testing out a ton of speakers years back, I decided to go all in on the G2s. I just picked up my 6th one off of Craigslist, and not a moment too soon, as I just got asked to do a sound gig for a wedding where they want/need a sound setup in 3 different locations throughout the venue. 😳
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What's better generally...powered mixers or powered speakers?

My guess is powered speakers but I really dont know.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
What's better generally...powered mixers or powered speakers?

My guess is powered speakers but I really dont know.

Back in the day, powered speakers were super heavy, but nowadays, with Class D electronics, they're much, much lighter. Sonically, the upside is that you get an amp that is specifically matched w.r.t to wattage/voltage/etc. to that speaker. A good, powered speaker is like a very loud studio monitor: very balanced, basically noiseless, and responsive.

Practically speaking, if you were on a small bar gig, and your powered mixer happened to suddenly die, the gig is over. But, if a powered speaker fails, you can still get through the gig with the other speaker. And if your mixer died, you could just connect a vocal mic directly to the powered speaker. Not the best in terms of solutions, but better than stopping a gig.

JBL, EV, and QSC all make very nice powered speakers these days.

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?

Of the mixers you mention, the Yamaha is by far the most feature-rich.

I have the two-channel version of the Yamaha mixer, and it's solid. Noiseless, sturdy inputs/connections, etc. If you got the 12-channel version you'd have enough XLR inputs for 3 or 4 vocal mics plus 4 or 5 mics for drums. Onboard reverb effects have gotten much nicer over the years, so I wouldn't throw money at an outboard reverb unit. With the Yamaha you get three Aux Sends (the rows of blue knobs) so you can give three different monitor mixes to you and your band. (The Mackie has only 1 Aux Send, and the Behringer has two.)
 
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