Minimal mixers


My Focusrite Scarlett has been giving me problems (or is it the Mac’s USB subsystem? Wish I could tell), and it doesn’t have enough outs. So now I’m thinking about k-mix or MOTU Ultralite AVB (which has a browser-based mixing UI). I wish it were easier to “trial” such things.


Swapped a Scarlett for a Ultralite 4, very happy.


Yeah, I’m using a Scarlett also, but it’s an 18i20, so I’m pretty good for ins/outs. Haven’t had any issues with it. knock on wood

I think the trial version involves buying it from someplace with a good return policy like Guitar Center or Amazon. :slight_smile:


Not really a mixer as such, but I just picked up one of these

from JDS Labs, a hifi company I hadn’t heard of before that has a nice minimal aesthetic to their products and seemingly a good “reality-based” ethic. (I’m not affiliated.) I’m using it to switch between a turntable and the phones at home. It could just as easily switch / attenuate a couple of things in a live setup.


That Zoom mixer is actually quite intriguing as it has enough channels to be used in my little studio. The lack of AUX sends was a bit offputting at first, but I reached out to Zoom to check if the 5 headphone outs could be used as sends, and their answer was:

[…] Each headphone output has an individually adjustable mix, so you could use them as aux sends. […]

This could work really well with my incoming 5x5 matrix mixer.


Though headphone outputs often have a different impedance and in my experience sometimes more problems with noise floor.


fair point. i’ll probably wait and see what the feedback is once this mixer is actually out and people start using it.


Yeah, that would me my worry too. If there is a way to bypass the headphone amp circuit it could be great mixer though.


battery operated, 4 x 2 with direct outs as well, lundahl transformers, built like a tank, can be interfaced to other sd 442s or other models, loud / good sounding 1/4 headphone out and dozens of other excellent features … i’ll probably pass on this one, but looks new for $750 shipped … i have links for power leads and minixlr to trs 1/4 for direct prefader outs and for xlr to 1/4 ts (wired to be balanced still) … i use it for live performance with modular and tabletops and for recording. i love the rotary faders and the led meters … pretty much unbeatable, quiet operation anywhere:

Sound Design 442 Ebay $750


What’s the general opinion on the Mackie vlz mixers here? I would really like to offload some of the mixing work I’m wasting vca’s on at the moment and simplify sending to Octatrack. I’m curious about the EQ’s too, I feel like it would just make me angry looking at all the space taken up by the EQ section in those mixers if they’re garbage.


A couple months ago I took a chance on a makie 1202-vlz that was missing the power cord and filthy. It was $20 so worth the risk. After a good disassembly and cleaning I am really happy I did. It is not small but I don’t mind it’s footprint. I probably won’t take it to gigs if I can avoid it though. I have smaller mixers I like to use when going out.

I don’t mind the EQ but I know I don’t have the best ears. Others may feel more strongly about that.

It’s built sturdy and sounds good and gives me more options than I need. Nice stuff.


i picked up a used (mint) 802-vlz4 a couple years ago. though it’s secondhand, i have no complaints, aside from wishing it had a stereo send, not just a stereo return. had i known i would run out of channels so quickly once everything in my studio was plugged in, i’d have gone for the 1202 or 1402. its EQs are musically useful; no issues. i split my time between using the mackie’s EQs and ableton’s more flexible EQs. i’d pick up a second 802-vlz4 if i ever get a modular live set together, as it has 3 pairs of stereo input channels in a very compact size, and it’s built super-sturdy.


Awesome, thanks! These comments are really helpful.


8 channels, 2 aux send/returns, panning and level (and mute!) per channel, all with the same dimensions as a Volca. That’s the in-the-works KVger Vixen, and I have a feeling it will be replacing my Mackie 1202VLZ4. If you’re at Knobcon, please take some pictures and ask some questions. Thanks!

PS: For reference, the Volca is apparently 7.61 x 4.54 x 1.81 inches (193 × 115 ×46 mm).


Will be interesting to see the economics of doing a reasonably complicated Volca accessory without Korg’s scale & experience


Short video from Knobcon here:

Blurry screenshot of rendering of final product here:


Any compact, affordable mixers with direct outs per channel, a playback channel, and mains? I’m aware of the A&H but haven’t found much in the way of such. Don’t need a huge channel count - 8 will do - mainly just want to use this with my modular and synths. The goal is to remove my computer from spontaneous creativity or jamming but have everything ready to go if I feel like doing something more formal. Anyone doing this or have advice?

Ideal signal path would be: [Synth Output] > MIXER CH INPUT > (AUX) > MAIN OUTPUT > MONITORS


EDIT: So I was searching a little more and reminded that the SSL X-Desk is actually a good fit for this though hardly affordable. With its awesome switching/routing capabilities and lack of EQ, its kinda minimal as well.


I think this is pretty much the mixer I keep imagining every time I see this thread’s subject line bubble up on lines.


that actually seems to be pretty cool! Not sure about blue plexy with white (no fills I guess) laser-etched labels will be neither good looking nor very readable but it sure seems to have quite a bit of features and the form factor seems good.


Me, too. Only thing top of my list it’s missing is solo, and only thing it has I don’t really need is panning.