Mixers with built in compression

konaboy

Pioneer Member
I've been going back on forth on a mixer to buy for some time. It's between a Yamaha MG166C (maybe the new MG16XU) and an Alan and Heath zed series. Price wise they are similar, I've found the yamaha 166C for $299, the new version of it is $429 or so, Zed series is in the $400-$500 range. Couldn't find a pic of the Zed that wasn't the FX series. Not really worried about FX. (can't think of why I would need them on my drums)






The biggest thing when comparing them is the yamaha has a "built in compressor" it's a single knob compressor. My question is this, is a single knob compressor really that useful and functional? This may get played out at some point but for now it's just for my home use. Now that I pulled the plug on a set of audix mic's I need to get a board here LOL!!

Would love to hear some feedback.
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
Kona,

Don't you think you need a mixer with a recording interface, so that you can record your drums with one track for each of your microphones? Spend a little bit more and you can have lots of fun.

thx

jorn
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I have the Yamaha MG10C (smaller brother of the one you are describing here) and I like it very well. The sound is great, it's a very good-sounding little mixer. The compression helps a scoche when you're trying to take the sharp edges off. I use mine for in-ear monitoring and it's helpful for that.

The fact that you have compression on 6 channels will be great for miking drums.

I don't think you can go wrong either way, but I think Yamaha makes a quality product.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
I have the Yamaha MG10C (smaller brother of the one you are describing here) and I like it very well. The sound is great, it's a very good-sounding little mixer. The compression helps a scoche when you're trying to take the sharp edges off. I use mine for in-ear monitoring and it's helpful for that.

The fact that you have compression on 6 channels will be great for miking drums.

I don't think you can go wrong either way, but I think Yamaha makes a quality product.
Yeah that's pretty much what I'm going to use it for, in ear monitoring.

Jorntgedrummer. What mixer are you talking about or interface
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Yeah that's pretty much what I'm going to use it for, in ear monitoring.
How many channels will you have coming in? If you're feeding off a main, then you could downsize to a smaller mixer -- although buying large from the start gives you more flexibility later, I suppose.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
How many channels will you have coming in? If you're feeding off a main, then you could downsize to a smaller mixer -- although buying large from the start gives you more flexibility later, I suppose.
7 mics. Got an audix DP7 kit on the way. Should be here tomorrow :) Deal too good to pass up. Right now this is going to be for home use
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
You could get a Mackie onyx 1620 for USD 700, Presonus 16,0,2 for USD 879. Behringer UF1604 for USD 1036. They all have 16 channels.
You need a computer with firewire interface to use the above.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
You could get a Mackie onyx 1620 for USD 700, Presonus 16,0,2 for USD 879. Behringer UF1604 for USD 1036. They all have 16 channels.
You need a computer with firewire interface to use the above.
Yeah that's basically double to triple the cost of what I'm looking at and I don't have firewire on my computer. Really don't want to get into adding firewire or upgrading my computer. Recording isn't a huge concern for me.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Compression in a small format application is much ado about nothing. Varsity folks run it all over everything as they are presenting a fairly loud FOH that is totally from the mains and essentially not much different from a recording mix. In small live use compression will often make things worse. If makes stage mics more sensitive and picks up more extraneous sounds, makes cymbals overwhelm the mix as they sustain and get sucked up in level after the attack of the drum, can aggravate feedback as the gain fluctuates. And worse of all is if it gets on a vocal channel and goes to the monitors compressed. A singer will throw out their voice trying to hear themselves and the louder they try to sing, it makes no difference in what they hear.

People get caught up in thinking they need it cause they see the big boys doing it. Different horses for different courses.
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
Yeah that's basically double to triple the cost of what I'm looking at and I don't have firewire on my computer. Really don't want to get into adding firewire or upgrading my computer. Recording isn't a huge concern for me.

Understood. The A&H you are looking at have a USB interface build in. This means you can record a stereo signal. So connect the 7 mikes, maybe a stereo signal from an mp3 player if you play along with music. Mix it all down to stereo on the mixer and record though the USB.

For me the USB port have a much higher value than the single knob compressor. Compression can anyway be added in your DAW after the recording.
Get the A&H.

thx

jorn
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I suppose I'm one of the 'big boys' since every time I get to mix a live band at my work, I always have compression available. I actually think it's quite useful in all applications, as I usually run in that 3:1 to 5:1 range just to keep levels nice and even.

I know you're trying to stay on budget, and you didn't talk about needing USB interface to a computer for recording, so I'll assume you know what you want and you're not interested in that. But I would go searching for a used Yamaha O1v console (the older silver one). You can find those in that $500-700 range used on eBay, and it's a damn good investment. You get effects across all channels, and compression across all channels, and it's all programmable (so it's a "big boy" compressor). It already gives you 4-outs, so you could mic your drums, assign whichever mics to whichever out, and send out a 4-channel mix of yourself to a recording deck. And you can even expand yourself to an 8-channel out mix by adding an additional 4-output card in the extra utility slot in the back. I was originally doing this with my Zoom R16. I would mic up the drums with up to 6 microphones, assign all those microphone channels to my outputs, and each output went to its own channel on my R16 recorder. A very cool set-up.

The plus about this too is now you have a console that can actually be used for a professional show too - the circuitry is extremely good.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
Forget about whether or not a board has built in compression. It sounds like you don't know very much about it anyway. Good pre-amps on the channels is the most important thing, followed by number of busses/subgroups. I have a Behringer Xenyx with compression on six channels, plus effects and compared to my Mackie 1604 it sounds like garbage. The Mackie has no onboard effects or compression but does have very nice pre-amps and six busses for out board gear. I don't even know what the built in compressor on the Behringer does. It has a fixed ratio so it can be good for either vocals or drums, but not both. A real compressor has threshold,ratio,attack,hold,release,gate and gain settings. More important than all other factors is the quality of the pre-amps. You have a high quality mic set, to plug them into a crappy board would defeat the purpose. Like putting a Porsche body on a Volkswagen frame.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Forget about whether or not a board has built in compression. It sounds like you don't know very much about it anyway. Good pre-amps on the channels is the most important thing, followed by number of busses/subgroups. I have a Behringer Xenyx with compression on six channels, plus effects and compared to my Mackie 1604 it sounds like garbage. The Mackie has no onboard effects or compression but does have very nice pre-amps and six busses for out board gear. I don't even know what the built in compressor on the Behringer does. It has a fixed ratio so it can be good for either vocals or drums, but not both. A real compressor has threshold,ratio,attack,hold,release,gate and gain settings. More important than all other factors is the quality of the pre-amps. You have a high quality mic set, to plug them into a crappy board would defeat the purpose. Like putting a Porsche body on a Volkswagen frame.
The 1604 is also a really good mixer that I've owned and wouldn't hesitate to recommend that one. The cooler thing about the 1604 is that it has eight direct outs for the first 8 channels and I plugged all those eight outs into the ins of a 8-track recorder. Instant 8-track recording studio right there!

In fact Mackie even tells you how to set-up an 8-track studio in their manual, and you use the aforementioned eight direct outs, but then the outputs of your recorder will go back into the Mackie's remaining channels (9-16) for your mixdown. They did everyone a service by writing a fun and easy-to-understand audio manual.

You sounded like you really were in need of compressors, so I always recommend the O1v for the folks who want to be more involved. But the Mackie 1604 is also a great choice. They're a little cheaper too (in that 350-450 range on eBay).
 

eric_B

Senior Member
Understood. The A&H you are looking at have a USB interface build in. This means you can record a stereo signal. So connect the 7 mikes, maybe a stereo signal from an mp3 player if you play along with music. Mix it all down to stereo on the mixer and record though the USB.

For me the USB port have a much higher value than the single knob compressor. Compression can anyway be added in your DAW after the recording.
Get the A&H.

thx

jorn
Sorry, I don't agree with this. With the Yamaha 166C you can add compression to 6 individual channels, before output/monitoring/recording.
After recording a stereo (or l+r, sub 1+2 or whatever) mix, you can only add compression to the entire mix, not individual channels.
And apparently the TS is just using it for in ear monitoring, not DAW editing.

BTW: I own a Yamaha 166CX and it's a great mixer, as long as the mic input is sufficient for your needs.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
For me the USB port have a much higher value than the single knob compressor. Compression can anyway be added in your DAW after the recording.
Get the A&H.

thx

jorn
Well, you can add compression after the fact in the computer, but you'll be applying compression to everything because you didn't record it on separate tracks. You really want to apply compression to separate channels for it to really be effective.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Forget about whether or not a board has built in compression. It sounds like you don't know very much about it anyway. Good pre-amps on the channels is the most important thing, followed by number of busses/subgroups. I have a Behringer Xenyx with compression on six channels, plus effects and compared to my Mackie 1604 it sounds like garbage. The Mackie has no onboard effects or compression but does have very nice pre-amps and six busses for out board gear. I don't even know what the built in compressor on the Behringer does. It has a fixed ratio so it can be good for either vocals or drums, but not both. A real compressor has threshold,ratio,attack,hold,release,gate and gain settings. More important than all other factors is the quality of the pre-amps. You have a high quality mic set, to plug them into a crappy board would defeat the purpose. Like putting a Porsche body on a Volkswagen frame.
While I don't have a complete in depth knowledge of compression I do have an understanding of the basics of it. I know on a true compression unit that you have compression, release, threshold,ratio and depending on the unit other options on it which is why I was wondering if the "compression" that's build into the 166CX was any good for basic in ear monitoring and to round out the sharp edges. While I know it can't truly replace a full compression unit I was trying to find out if it would fit that bill.

I was looking at those two mixers because I've read many good things about how clean their pre-amps are ;-)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
While I don't have a complete in depth knowledge of compression I do have an understanding of the basics of it. I know on a true compression unit that you have compression, release, threshold,ratio and depending on the unit other options on it which is why I was wondering if the "compression" that's build into the 166CX was any good for basic in ear monitoring and to round out the sharp edges. While I know it can't truly replace a full compression unit I was trying to find out if it would fit that bill.

I was looking at those two mixers because I've read many good things about how clean their pre-amps are ;-)
Ah. For basic in-ear monitoring, you don't need a compressor. You need a limiter. You want to keep any transients from coming through the console and blowing out your own ear drums. Peter Erskine (and many classic rock artists who've suffered hearing loss) talk about this alot. In-ear monitors do no good for you if something can sneak through your system and them damage your hearing. A limiter has a threshold setting (much like a compressor), but it's function is to keep the levels from going into dangerous levels, so it's a little less sophisticated. Compressors try to be more "musical" about level control.

And this situation would be if you are not mixing your own sound. If it's just you listening to things you're controlling through the mixer, the headphone output is fine because you're controlling that level too. And you can be trusted to keep your own levels down to prevent hearing loss, right?
 

dtrushr30dw

Senior Member
Just get a focusrite Saffire Pro 40. You'll get excellent mic pres and you can do all of the mixing and eq/comp/gating/reverb/etc inside the DAW of your choice.
 

Derek Roddy

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
But I would go searching for a used Yamaha O1v console (the older silver one). You can find those in that $500-700 range used on eBay, and it's a damn good investment. You get effects across all channels, and compression across all channels, and it's all programmable (so it's a "big boy" compressor). It already gives you 4-outs, so you could mic your drums, assign whichever mics to whichever out, and send out a 4-channel mix of yourself to a recording deck. And you can even expand yourself to an 8-channel out mix by adding an additional 4-output card in the extra utility slot in the back.
The plus about this too is now you have a console that can actually be used for a professional show too - the circuitry is extremely good.

What Bo said. I've used one for my touring rig for many, many years and it (and me) did the job better than most sound guys. haha.

D
 
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