Distributed by: Technical Audio Group | Expect to pay: $1,759 - $2,639
The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs.
Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks – a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
As we all know, this upcoming holiday period is sure to be remembered as the summer where portable PA reigned supreme in backgrounds around the country, and it’s with this in mind that we are proud to present Mixdown’s Picks: Portable PA’s, showcasing all the best small scale PA, monitoring and portable sound reinforcement solutions on the market today.
QSC Touchmix 8 & Touchmix 16
Key Features: A familiar sight across small stages, rehearsal spaces and pop up venues around the globe, QSC’s highly revered TouchMix series has emerged as one of the one of the defining product lines of the portable PA movement, in many ways providing the blueprint for a lot of what has come since in the world of truly mobile digital mixers (especially in the context of full band performance/live recording).
Packing a truly dizzying amount of I/O, routing flexibility and advanced ‘big console’ style feature sets into a unit small enough to still be considered carry-on luggage, the TouchMix series is the absolute benchmark for anyone looking to for Pro level versatility and processing, in an affordable and endlessly portable package.
The TouchMix 8 offers 14 mixing channels (8 Mic/Line, 4 Line, Stereo USB) and 6 outputs and is perfect for the solo performer or small ensemble, while the TouchMix 16 delivers a total of 16 inputs, 22 total mixing channels and 12 outputs for full scale operability, bussing and monitoring (perfect for drum micing, DI heavy synth performances or any live application requiring extended I/O flexibility).
All of the input channels feature their own individual gate and compression options, perfect for smoothing out dynamics on the way in, while the band parametric EQ and four simultaneous, professional effects engines (allowing for combinations of Reverb, Echo, Delay, Chorus, Pitch Shift) mean much in the way of tonal shaping.
For the headier FOH types, switching from the units convenient ‘Simple Mode’ to ‘Advanced’ opens up a whole world of pro-level features like a Real time analyser, Room Tuning Wizard and Anti-Feedback circuit- features seldom encountered on mixers in this price-point (but which are an absolute god send for anybody looking to cater their setup to each specific room or live context).
It should be noted that the USB wi-fi adapter shipped with the TouchMix is the only network hardware required for controlling remotely.
For those looking to record their live set, Direct-to-USB record/playback means recall and capture doesn’t require an external computer. QSC even offers a free TouchMix DAW Utility to make capturing sounds even easier.
In regards to security, a multi-level, password protected security system lets you give other operators as much or as little control as you wish for them to have.
Mixdown Says: It would be hard to talk about the TouchMix without mentioning its groundbreaking navigation. Delivered via a super intuitive colour touchscreen, the TouchMix series provide some of the easiest navigation out there, displaying a wealth of on-screen fader and mixer options while also providing a level of tactile, hands on functionality that makes working on them an absolute treat.
The simple, straight-forward interface and clear navigation provide an undeniably user friendly experience for easy, astute mix decisions on the fly, while the unrivalled feature set and expansive I/O flexibility result in a mixer that can really be all kinds of things, to all kinds of different users.
For the beginner, you have a simple ‘plug and play’ solution-Something that can get you up and going with a minimum amount of fuss, while taking advantage of the many presets and scenes that ship stock with the unit.
For the more discerning FOH engineer, you have an extremely powerful mixing tool, with a host of individual channel processing options, Aux/monitor routing and DSP based room attenuation capabilities, the likes of which are seldom seen in mixers of this type and price-point.
When you factor in that all this functionality is housed in a chassis as compact and lightweight as what we are dealing with here (1.95 kg and 2.98 kg for the 8 and 16 respectively), it’s hard to ignore the obvious upside of the TouchMix series, especially as a mobile option for the touring band, or for anyone looking to put on guerrilla style shows, with a scalable amount of onstage flexibility.
Overall: You don’t become an industry standard through lack of functionality and the TouchMix series more than delivers on that front.
Featuring a ‘Pro’ level of forethought and sophistication traditionally only found in much larger (and more expensive) consoles, the TouchMix 8 and 16 has the capacity to grow with you, offering up handy new features or workflow options-if and when the situation dictates.
With its peerless navigation and simple, user friendly interface (which allow these more advanced features to be easily explored and applied), the TouchMix casts one of the widest nets of anything out there in terms of application and intended market. Perfect for anyone looking for a Portable PA solution for life.
Find out more over at Technical Audio Group.