Monday, August 18, 2014

Yamaha MG06X Mixing Console Review

Howdy!

I have tried out more than enough mixing boards over the years, and eventually settled into the Yamaha MG series of boards as they are reliable, easy to use, and relatively cheap. So I was understandably excited when Yamaha introduced new MG models with upmarket modern features. Today we are going to look at an all-new model, the analog MG06X. It is a nice piece of gear!

I have a few different mixing boards, depending on what job I am doing, and the MG06X is the smallest of the bunch. How small is it? It measures 6 x 8 x 2 1/2 inches, and it weighs only 2 pounds. It feels solid though, thanks to its metal chassis (the old series was plastic), and it seems like it will hold up well in the long run. One godsend is that they got rid of the terrible dedicated power cable with the huge transformer (that weighed as much as a mixer) and went to an onboard power supply. The new-style power cord has a small wall wart and can be replaced at an electronics store if you get in a jam.

This board is useful in situations where I need just a few microphones and/or want to run an iPad or CD player through my powered speakers. In my world it ends up being used for awards shows, picnics, school dances and karaoke parties -- it even makes for a nice headphone practice amp for my guitars and keyboards.

Most of the basics are there, such as EQ functions, a headphone out, switchable phantom power for two of the inputs (channel 1 and two are combination XLR/TRS), and balanced XLR and 1/4-inch stereo outs. Unfortunately a few things disappeared from the previous entry-level MG-series mixers, including the effects loop, compression, the monitor outs, and the mids for the EQ.

Like all Yamaha mixers, they play a little trickery with their specs. They call this a 6-channel unit, but is you look at it 4 of the channels are the 2 stereo inputs that are only controlled in pairs. Sounds like 4 channels to me, but since I have owned other Yamaha mixers, I knew this before I bought it. Also, these extra inputs are all unbalanced ¼-inch and there are no RCA jacks, but there are plenty of adapters out there (or it is time to buy new cables). Some dealers are advertising USB connectivity, but there is none. Always check with the manufacturer…

What sets the MG06X apart from the competition is its nice array of SPX effects. There are a total of six reverb and delay effects, and they all work pretty well. These are just the ticket for churching up coffee house or karaoke gigs. It almost makes it seem like untalented people can sing!

I have used it for a few parties and small gigs and have been happy with the sound. The two microphone channels have D-PRE class A microphone preamps, and they also have pad switches in case you need them. The op-amp has a very clear tone and does not color the sound at all. Also, if you do not go overboard with the effects they can be a nice supplement to your mix.

Extra bonus features for channels 1 and 2 include high pass filters to help tame muddiness from unwanted low frequencies, and pad switches to tone down loud inputs. This is handy for the drunk people that shriek into the microphones at karaoke parties.

It is a bummer to not have any options for monitor output, no compression, and no mid EQ controls, but if you need that much flexibility you are probably going to buy a bigger mixer anyway. Sliding faders and mutes switches also would have been nice, but at this price point I am happy enough with the knobs that they provided.

By the way, this mixers can be mounted to a microphone stand if you purchase the optional BMS-10A adapter kit. With its metal chassis you might be able to bang this around, and if you do not need a powered mixer, monitors, computer connectivity or a bazillion input channels, this would be a great mixer for the money.

The Yamaha MG06X has a list price of $159 and a street price of $119. This is a bit more than the slightly larger old-style MG102C that I still have, but having the effects and a sturdier chassis make it worth the price differential, especially for karaoke. If you are doing small shows, it is definitely the pick of the litter.

Mahalo!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post, rex! Am looking forward to buying one of these in a couple of months.

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