I was looking for a mixer like you describe and at various points almost plunked down for the SSL X-Desk.BailyDread wrote: ↑Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:19 pmAny recs for an ultra-small mixer without preamps that prioritizes clarity and punch? I have a Midas Venice f16 and I like it but it has many more channels than I need and it’s kinda cumbersome. Plus I don’t use the preamps much.
Kinda just looking for something that can take 4 DI’ed signals coming from a small Eurorack rig and allow for some panning and maybe eq. Sum them and go through an FMR RNC as a bus comp. I don’t need sends or anything since I mostly work in the box after tracking.
The ssl x desk would check all the boxes and then some but they’re pretty pricy so just wondering if there are other options. Maybe this is too specific, idk.
I can't speak to the sound quality, but at one point I was interested to try out a Roland M-160.
It's not like we can go to some kind of gear library and check out a copy of a mixer to test — it would be a relief if we could. But at the price that these mixers are going for on the used market, I almost took the plunge (but then reconsidered because if it's not up to snuff selling it off again would be a pain).
Another line of thinking I almost explored is matrix mixers. Hinton Instruments has a reputation for quality sound and makes the MatrixMix — 8 mono in, 4 mono out, no mic preamps, and the most flexible routing you can have (any incoming signal can be routed to any outgoing chain). It's not cheap, and you have to buy a suitable enclosure for it as it's 110mm deep, but if the sound is of the quality I am led to believe it is, then it's not an excessive price point.
I decided against the MatrixMix for the same reason that I decided against the X-Desk: no built-in EQ.
In the end, the Speck Xtramix stands out as a great choice, unless you are attached to faders like I am, in which case you would also need the ViaFader that wuff_miggler is suggesting. But all of that easily matches or exceeds the cost of the X-Desk.
By the way, for anyone looking for a deal on a Speck Xtramix, there's an older CX model on Reverb right now on sale for $2125 with free shipping. I don't know if you can attach a ViaFader to it like you can to the current X6 model, though.