Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yamaha MG124C 12-Channel Mixer Review

Como estas?

I have used my trusty Yamaha MG102C mixer for a few years and have never really had any problems with it. But I started to run into situations where I just needed more versatility, such as more inputs and better control of buses and monitor mixes. So I did my research and decided to take one step up to in Yamaha’s MG line, which would be the MG124C. The MG124C has a number of advantages over my old mixer, including 6 XLR inputs, 3 buses, faders instead of knobs, as well as better switching of each channel.

For starters, I should mention that Yamaha calls this a 12-channel mixer, but it only has 6 XLR inputs, which is two more than my old mixer, but still not enough for a bigger show. Two of those XLR inputs are also stereo line inputs, so Yamaha counts those as 4 inputs, and there are also two other pairs of stereo line inputs without XLRs. So, if you add these all up, that equals 12 channels in their world, even if 6 of them are paired up so that you cannot adjust levels separately. In my world that equals a 8-channel mixer. But, enough of my math lesson/rant. As far as other inputs, there are also RCA jacks on channels 9/10 and 11/12 and 2TR so an iPod or CD player can be run through the board.

The six microphone inputs each have their own preamplifiers, and each can have phantom power turned on if needed. There are compression knobs each of the four mono input channels, and gain controls for all six of the microphone inputs. Channels 1 through 8 each get 3-band equalizers, while channels 9 and 10 get 2-band equalizers.

Thoughtful touches for the input channels are the inclusion of illuminated channel ON/OFF switches chat let me add or drop channels from the mix without having to move the channel faders. There are also dual AUX send controls for each channel, one switchable for pre- or post-fader operation, and one fixed for prefader send. Lastly there are separate assign switches to add or remove channels from the stereo out or group 1-2 out.

There are a few options for outputs too. For the main stereo out there are XLR and ¼-inch outputs. There are also two ¼-inch monitor outs, as well as separate outputs for group 1 and group 2. This really improves my ability to give everybody what they think they need through the monitors. Oh yes, and RCA outputs in case you would like to record whatever you are doing, and even a headphone jack. By the way, having all of these inputs and outputs on the top of the unit really make setting things up easier and allow much faster midstream changes.

And lastly, this is not a huge mixing board. It weighs around 6 ½ pounds, and at 17 by 13 inches it does not take up very much desk space.

In the real world the Yamaha MG124C works very well. It sounds good with no added noise and it is versatile enough that I can use it for most live sound situations, unless I need to start patching in lots of drum and guitar cabinet microphones. I chose not to get the model with effects for simplicity’s sake and I have not missed them. Plus, after using this board a few times and seeing how useless the provided compression controls are, I do not have much confidence that their other effects would be terribly good anyway.

As I said earlier the Channel ON/OFF switches are a godsend, as well as the assign switches for stereo and groups 1 and 2. I do not know how I got along without these features before. The fader sprovide a better visual cue for me than the knobs on my previous mixer ever did. I still kind of wish I had more XLR inputs, though…

All-in-all, I have to say that going to this mixer was a great move for me, and it is quite a bargain too. The MG124C has a list price of $299, and a street price of $240. You are not going to find a better non-powered mixer for the money.


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