For general live performance, a compact mixing console is probably the simplest option for getting your band all plugged into the same PA and ready to roll. There is, however, stiff competition – almost every recognizable brand you can think of offers very similar competitive models.
If you are a 4-6 piece band, and you want to mic up drums, you will probably want to look at a ten channel option that allows for a little wiggle room. The Yamaha MG10XU is precisely that, making for a good-quality, affordable option. It’s lightweight, with sensible dimensions for traveling to gigs with.
It takes its inspiration from Yamaha’s sought-after, high-end touring consoles, with great components in one convenient, compact package. It has a range of input options, making it pretty versatile, and harbors a decent range of built-in effects to help tailor your sound the way you want it.
The MG10XU has a rugged build perfect for the road, and a layout that’s easy to navigate, even though it packs a lot into a small space. Notably, the power supply connection is of professional quality, relieving a hook-up that screws into the chassis. Everything is color-coded and well-labeled to keep things simple.
In terms of inputs, you have four microphone and instrument channels. These D-Pre preamps offer a whopping amount of gain with low impedance. They have combo-style XLR/ ¼-inch jack connectors and are transparent, giving a purer sound.
Each channel has 3-band EQ on hand and signal matching (25db pad) and a high-pass filter (80Hz). Channels 1 and 2 also have compression dials, and there is optional phantom power for channels 1-4, available for condensers.
Some similarly priced compact mixers typically only provide two phantom capable channels, but the MG10XU gives you double. You could have a couple of singers and still hook-up a couple of overheads for your drummer, or even mic up a guitar cab if you fancied it.
The other channels are stereo inputs for line-level stereo output instruments, such as keyboards. They can also be used for iPods to play music between your sets without faffing around unprofessionally.
Channels 5/6 and 7/8 have both ¼ -inch and RCA connections so you could even use a turntable. They have low and high EQ controls of their own. Inputs at 9/10 can be used as a stereo line-level, or with a USB 2.0 cable by engaging the USB button. The Sampling rate is 192kHz with a 24-bit depth.
The input section is marked to help with navigation for those who are less familiar with live mixing. You can pan all ten channels left and right, and each can have effects applied to them.
There are 24 built-in Yamaha SPX effects to choose from. There are some lovely hall and room reverbs chorus effects and even an auto-wah. A phaser, flanger, delays, and distortion are all onboard for you to send to the channel of your choosing.
The Yamaha MG10XU also has an FX send so you can add external effects if you want to. There’s also a foot pedal connection for easy live FX switching as well.
There are balanced XLR outputs for your PA and ¼ -inch jacks for monitoring, in addition to a headphone output. Outputs are, once again, clearly marked to simplify live use. It comes with mounting attachments that let you screw it to a standard mic stand.