Desks on budget

JetfireJetfire Frets: 566
So Ive had a few responses to my ad for a small mixing desk for acoustic gigs. I've been offered different desks including:

Mackie dfx6
Alto zmx
Mackie profx8
Studiomaster diamond 8-2

I'm leaning towards the Mackie one's but no real reason other than the make. They all do what I need to as its only a small set up. Any thoughts or advice?

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Comments

  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3237
    Having input channels to spare is always desirable. So, Mackie ProFX8 before DFX6. Sweepable frequency EQ controls are preferable over fixed.

    If you do not already have a power amp and loudspeakers, it might be worth investigating all-in-one portable P.A. systems. 

    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1391

    Features I would like in a desk for your type of gig, and low cut on each channel, swept mid controls.

    In build reverbs are also a nice feature.

    The low cut is useful for stopping unwanted low frequencies getting into the audio.

    A swept mid control very useful for cutting any unwanted frequencies; having a fixed frequency may work but is quite limiting.

    For example a band I play with have two males singers, one who benefits from a cut at 2.5 kHz, whereas the other's voice benefits from a cut at around 600 Hz. Both use an SM58 by the way, so the difference is not due to the mic.

    Acoustic guitars, in my experience, benefit greatly from judicious cutting of troublesome frequencies. You may of course have a separate pre-amp for the acoustic which should give you more flexibility.

    Features like the 7 channel graphic on the Mackie ProFx8 aren't that useful as the bands are to wide. You may get lucky you might not.

    If you don't mind going used then an Allen & Heath Zed 10fx or a Soundcraft FX8 would be a good choice for you (although the FX8 is not that compact).
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 895
    Avoid the studio master as although it’s a great entry level desk when it’s working, spares for repairs are as rare as hens teeth due to its age. The Mackie pro fx would be my choice from the list but I do find them very fiddly to use. If you can find an Allen and Heath Zed10fx at a good price that would be my choice, the only criticism I have of is no channel mutes the Zed 60 does have them but a bit more pricey. Personally I use the Zed 10 fx on all my acoustic gigs 
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3561
    I repair a lot of mixing desks and every Studiomaster I have ever seen has been built of very generic parts, namely TLO72 or equivalent opamps for just about every gain stage and EQ and 10K linear and log parts for everything else. So in actual fact from a techs point of view you don't need any actual Studiomaster parts as every part is a basic common garden component available from err ... not Maplin anymore :) but Ebay, RS, CPC, Rapid etc

    I would still also recommend the Zed 10fx , ideal for what you want 

    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 895
    @Danny1969 if you have a source for studio master transformers that would be really handy
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3561
    @Danny1969 if you have a source for studio master transformers that would be really handy
    They tend to be standard centre tapped transformers mate feeding linear voltage regulators to give + 0 - 15V or so for all the opamps .... the powered desks do use big toroidal transformers but the again standard centre tapped jobs and the output voltages are typical for the application
    We used to have a lot of old Studiomaster spares, complete desks as well as Soundcraft desks and external power supplies but since everything went digital we sold a lot of it and actually threw away a few Studiomaster desks including a 16:4:2 and the same with an extra 4 channels fitted. I sold by own personal Soundcraft Spirit Studio 32 channel monster as well
    Nowadays we use A&H QU 16 and 24 and rent in anything bigger. 

    Always happy to help with the repair of any desk but the older stuff is time consuming to work on so it's not always an economical  repair 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • JetfireJetfire Frets: 566
    The only thing I would say is that the Zed10fx from what Ive seen is usually out of my budget (£125ish) 
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 895
    @Danny1969 not going to argue with you but in my experience the older studio master parts which are non generic are ver difficult to come by . There is also the balance between time charged for on the bench and actual cost of replacement. The newer stuff which appeared after Studio master went pop is probably a different story.

    On a separate note do you hire out your QU’s? I tend to keep Mix Wiz and Zeds as hire and only hire Qu and ILive to people I trust to be able to use them...... the old analogue v digital debate again!
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3561
    @Danny1969 not going to argue with you but in my experience the older studio master parts which are non generic are ver difficult to come by . There is also the balance between time charged for on the bench and actual cost of replacement. The newer stuff which appeared after Studio master went pop is probably a different story.

    On a separate note do you hire out your QU’s? I tend to keep Mix Wiz and Zeds as hire and only hire Qu and ILive to people I trust to be able to use them...... the old analogue v digital debate again!
    No we don't dry hire the QU's because as you say, most people wouldn't be able to navigate one at short notice. Anyone who can probably already has one. We still have a GL2400 which is a good dry hire desk and a Yamaha 20 channel. Most of the work we do is PA plus myself and another engineer as a package, sharing FOH and monitor mixing between us.

    For larger channel counts we use a company in London that do good hire rates on GLD and iLive .... just a ball ache driving up there and back !
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1391
    Jetfire said:
    The only thing I would say is that the Zed10fx from what Ive seen is usually out of my budget (£125ish) 
    OK looking those desks I would go with the Mackie ProFx8.

    It has fx, HPF (low cut), mute. The mid is fixed at 2.5k which may work out to be useful.


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