Yamaha have continued to strive to make music production as seamless as possible for any user and with the introduction of their new AG Series of compact mixers they’ve just taken it one step further. There was a time when we started seeing every brand on the market releasing compact mixers, then they all started adding effects and not too long after that USB connections were included. All these things sort of worked as separate entities within the one board, but now Yamaha have brought them all together to work in harmony so that the compact mixer now behaves more like an audio interface with a control desk and DSP engagement from the deck. This is a whole new level of compact mixer design and a whole new step forward for compact recording.
On the surface, both the AG03 and the AG06 appear to be simple compact mixers offering one and two microphone preamps respectively. But, they are far more than just that. Of course, if you needed to use one as a simple front end to a powered speaker for a small gig, it will do the job. If you are after a microphone preamp for running into a line level input, it will do the job. If you want to integrate your compact mixer into your computer or tablet recording system, it will more than do the job. Powered by USB, there is no heavy external power supply needed for these mixers. If you do need to use them in a situation where a computer cannot supply bus power, a common 5V USB DC adaptor will do the trick. When setting the unit up, you don’t need to be an engineer to _ gure out how it all works. Yamaha have taken the same design principles that they have employed in their Stagepas PA range for many years and have supplied icons to show exactly what should be connected where. You just need to match the pictures with your setup and plug it all in.
The addition of a USB output on a compact mixer is nothing new, but Yamaha have taken it one step further. As I said before, these mixers behave more like recording interfaces than traditional mixers. There are routing options for your signal to go both to and from the computer so you can monitor the mix in both headphones and speakers direct or in playback from the software. Compression, EQ and effects, as well as amp simulation when engaging the guitar input can all be turned on from the mixer and can be edited through the software. This is the sort of thing only previously seen on large format control surfaces for software packages and never before on mixers of this ilk. Yamaha have really given just about all that can be given in these little units. There simply isn’t any room to add more features without turning to the included Cubase AI software to complete the package.
Hits and Misses
USB powered, either via computer or DC transformer
Integrates with both computers and tablets
Plenty of input and output options for both compact designs
Simple layout for a range of peripherals
Although metal, not the sturdiest of chassis
• I/O Phantom power: + 48 V
• System Requirements: Windows 7 or later / Mac OS X 10.7 or later
• Dimensions: AG03 - 129mm (W) x 155mm (L) x 63mm (H), AG06 - 202mm (W) x 202mm (L) x 63mm (H)
• Net weight:0.8 kg (AG03), 1.0kg (AG06)
• High resolution (192kHz / 24bit) playback and recording
• 1-TOUCH DSP offers professional sound with a single touch
• AG DSP Controller allows additional control of DSP settings
• 1-TOUCH DSP AMP SIM delivers a classic, warm tube amp sound (AG06 only)
• Loopback function for internet live streaming
• USB-powered for mobile recordings with Mac and PC, 5V power input for use with iPad
• Durable, compact metal chassis for ultimate durability
• Includes Steinberg’s Cubase AI recording, mixing and production software