Generally speaking, engineers get to hide out in their office or rack room, work on a project or two and be ready for things to go awry. Sometimes however, a project pops up that requires him or her to come up with a quick and easy solution. When small jobs happen, having good tools that are easy to carry around can be an engineer''s best friend. An acoustic set with guitars and vocals, a board room or maybe a fundraiser broadcast with some mics in the call center are prime examples of events that generate a “how do we do this” phone call to the engineer.
Yamaha is one of the biggest players as far as large and micro-format mixing surfaces go. The “MG” series has proven to be a top-quality small-format mixer, providing simple solutions for musicians and engineers. New to the MG family is the Yamaha MG10XU. It has four mic inputs, three stereo inputs and a host of nifty features for grab-and-go-and-sound-great projects.
On The Surface
The MG10XU has layout features found on just about every small mixer. Rotary pots make for an economical use of space. It is just over nine inches wide and weighs less than 5 pounds. The four microphone inputs boast excellent preamp technology providing smooth and accurate response along with a low noise floor, features that have made Yamaha a favorite among audio engineers. Each mic input includes a 26 dB pad and 80 Hz high pass filter. The mic channel input stage provides as much as 64 dB of gain. Channels 1 and 2 have a compressor stage that adds threshold, ratio and output compensation to the channel. The ratio is adjusted up to 4:1 with a 25 msec attack time and a 300 msec release. Low, mid and high EQ adjustments allow for basic tonal crafting of the response on all four mic channels. 48V phantom power is available on each mic channel. The unbalanced stereo inputs each have two-band (high and low) equalization. Channels 5/6 and 7/8 have ¼” TS and RCA jacks. Channel 9/10 comes with ¼” TS jacks, and is switchable to the USB interface. All the channels include effects send, pan and rotary fader.
Nuts and Bolts
Small format mixers all-too-often only include ¼” output jacks. When these small mixers are put into “big boy” environments, adapters are needed to convert to the professional XLR ins and outs. The MG10XU has both XLR and ¼” mains outputs. As simple as it may seem, the is one of the most attractive features on the MG10XU. It also includes a headphone jack with separate level control, master output level control and a seven-segment stereo LED master meter. It also contains “monitor out” jacks for use in the studio. As mentioned before, the MG10XU comes with a USB jack for slick interfacing with a PC or Mac. When the driver is installed, the mixer effectively becomes a soundcard. This is great for minimal cabling, low noise floor and low-latency recording and monitoring. The USB input to the computer is the main output from the mixer.
The MG10XU boasts the SPX Digital Multi Effects Processor. It''s a bank of 24 reverb and acoustic effects with a separate effects return channel that automatically routes to the mains output. These digital effects contain everything from room ambiance, delays, plates, choruses, and flanges, plus several others. This is a great tool for conveniently mixing acoustic sets or very small bands. The built-in effects sound true and convincing and much better than lugging external equipment to small setups. And if that isn''t cool enough, the MG10XU makes room for a microphone stand adapter. It''s light enough to perform atop a mic stand!
As equipment becomes lighter, smaller and in some cases virtual, an all-in-one solution is an added bonus. The MG10XU provides lots of quality and features that are packed in small frame. A console like this is a critical component in the engineering toolbox for whatever project may come in the future!
Wygal is the programmer and engineer for Victory FM at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.