It seems every station has a need for a compact audio mixing setup, whether it's in a newsroom, an audio ingest station (we used to call these dub stations) or small production room. They can also be used for co-host positions in an air studio. Calling these newsroom mixers is somewhat limiting given they often have uses outside the newsroom.
But like every mixer discussion today, there are two approaches: the stand-alone console and the audio network control surface. We include both in our search. Obviously, the raw hardware investment for a stand-alone mixer will be less than a surface designed to interface with an audio engine, but there are advantages to both. The control surface will tie to an expandable audio network, and with that comes the flexibility of tying into that network.
Every console manufacturer makes a small-format console of some flavor, but we looked specifically for models that are rack- or turret-mounted. Arrakis, Harris, Logitek and many others provide small mixers that certainly could be used in the newsroom setting. Some could even be mounted in a rack.
But for the purpose-built rack- or turret-mount options, we gathered specs on five models that offer a wide range of features and functions.
|Model||Alesis iMultiMix 9R||Axia Raq||Dixon M-250 MKII||SAS Rubi-T||Wheatstone SideBoard|
|Channels/faders||7||6||7||3 to 21||4 or 8|
|Audio inputs||5x mic/line, 2x stereo line, tape in, aux return||2x mic, 8x analog line, 1x AES3, 6x Livewire ports 2||2x mic, 1x mono line (balanced), 2x stereo line (unbalanced), 2 stereo line (balanced), 2x talkback, off-air input||32 channel I/O with RioLink||minimum 8 3|
|Input note||Includes iPod dock 1||Livewire ports are bidirectional I/O. One engine can accommodate two Raqs. ||Front-panel 3.5mm input jack||Rack mount accepts up to 10 modules because of rack width. ||Inputs on Blade are RJ-45 and DB9. One Blade can accommodate 2 Sideboards. |
|Channel display||-||yes||-||some modules||yes|
|Phantom Power||48V||48V||48V||-||48V w/ appropriate Blade|
|Channel on/off||-||yes||mics, phone andcomputer inputs||yes||yes|
|EQ||2-band per channel||per channel||-||-||-|
|Audio outputs||stereo main, stereo monitor, 2x aux, Pod video||4x analog line, 1x AES3, 6x Livewire ports 2||stereo program, mix-minus, sound card interface, monitor||four mix busses||stereo program, stereo audition 3|
|Options||.||.||USB audio interface||turret or rack||turret or rack|
|Meters||10-segment LED||OLED bargraph||10-segment LED||24-segment LED||20-segment LED|
|URL|| alesis.com|| axiaaudio.com|| dixonsystems.com|| sasaudio.com|| wheatstone.com|
1. iPod connector fits iPod 5-7, Mini 1-2, Nano 1-5, Touch 1-2
2. Using QOR.16 engine
3. Specific inputs and outputs depend on audio network.