Every couple of years, the major mixer makers will decide that all-in-one compact mixers are in and will produce a new line. This year is one of those times, in part because the addition of higher end pre-amps and USB I/O have made small foot print mixers a serviceable entry level I/O interface for home studios. Subsequently, both Mackie and Yamaha have recently come out with new editions in the compact mixer department, and today we’re going to specifically look at the Yamaha MG10XU.
In the past, Yamaha’s entries in this category have been plagued by problems caused by low-end pre-amps, and the MG10XU takes this on right off the bat, as it uses Yamaha’s high-end D-PRE preamps which are Steinberg audio interface pre-amps (Steinberg is a Yamaha company). They’ve also used low-distortion electronics which give you a big block power cord, but a nice clean quiet sounding mixer. The MG10XU features four of these. Each of those four channels also features phantom power, pad/bass roll off switches, one-knob compression, a 3 band eq, an FX send, and nice clean Yamaha DSP effects. The other six inputs are 3 line (1/4″ and RCA/USB) stereo pairs.
One missing item is an additional AUX send, though you can bypass the FX send and return it via a line channel, you can’t simultaneously use the onboard effects and send the signal out for rack processing.
The high-end pre-amps really shine when you do an A/B listen compared to comparable products. In my case I compared to to a Behringer XENYX X1832USB in my home studio with M-Audio BX5s and an AT2035 condenser mic, and found that the Yamaha sounded warmer and cleaner than the Behringer, and that’s not knocking the Behringer, just that the pre-amps on the Yamaha sound great.
We also used the Yamaha 10MGXU in a live setting for a singer songwriter playing an Acoustic/Electric and singing into an EV 767a mic, and Yamaha BR15Ms powered by a Crown X2000 and found it more than suitable. The limited array of effects would be more usable if there were a couple of multi-effects (e.g., chorus+reverb), but they sound clean and provide some added depth and character to a live mix, though, it’s in that setting that the lack of an additional send becomes limiting pretty quickly. The MG12XU adds that additional send at a $279 price point.
Overall, at a $199 the MGXU is a terrific little mixer that will really shine in your home studio as an audio I/O interface, or as a small format live mixer for a singer-songwriter. It’s one of the top entries in a class of mixer that really are starting to reach a level of audio fidelity that allows every musician to afford to have a great mixer/audio interface in their home studio.