It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t like fiddling with hardware mixers.
All of the buttons, LEDs, and sliders can make a beginner feel like a real professional, even if they haven’t the faintest idea about live mixing!
Even if you do understand what all the switches and controls are for, you’ll have a lot of fun experimenting with a mixer.
Owning a mixer that has a lot of features can help improve your recordings to professional standards. But What’s The Best Podcast Mixer?
If you’re in a smaller band, working in a little venue, or are a solo artist, you may need a high-quality, yet affordable solution to your live mixing issues.
Enter the Mackie ProFX8, a hardware mixer that is made with live performances in mind.
We’ll cover more about the Mackie ProFX8 in this post, going over its features and characteristics so that you can decide if it’s the hardware mixer for you.
The Mackie ProFX8 – The Basics
If you’re a smaller music artist, engineer, or entertainer, you likely want to get the best audio that you can during a live session.
In most cases, if you or others are performing in a bigger venue, they’ll have their sound engineer in the back or the center of the standing area.
However, if you’re not currently at this level, you’ll need your mixing equipment to maximize sound.
If you’re a beginner when it comes to mixers, here’s what to look for in a Podcast Mixer.
The Mackie ProFX8 lets you connect different inputs or microphones that you want to record. You can then manage the output levels of every input separately.
As you lower and raise the faders, which are the sliding switches on the front, you can blend each microphone’s level until you have the best mix. This is why the device is called a mixer.
The mixer also lets you add effects, like delay or reverberation, or control different factors, like the equalization of various audio frequencies in the sound recording.
All of the various sound files will be sent to your PC, computer, or laptop, in which they are recorded in a DAW (digital audio workstation) software.
This lets you edit the recording as necessary, letting you take out swear words, add sponsor messages, and add theme music.
The Mackie ProFX8 is a good choice for a mixer, as it is packed with features that you’re sure to find useful. Here are some of its noteworthy characteristics:
Full Of Effects
The Mackie ProFX8 isn’t just a good mixer, it’s full of effects to take advantage of. You can use the RMFX, 32-bit processor to bring your mixes to life.
The unit has 16 high-quality effects, giving you enough to experiment without being overwhelmed with all of the choices.
This is particularly useful on stage when you need to go over the effects quickly.
The effects include large, medium, and small reverbs, several delays, and a few simple choruses to make your mixes sound even better.
If you look at the Mackie ProFX8’s rear, the two Right and Left outputs, and the main power cable connection, you’ll notice an individual USB connection.
If you’re wondering why this is necessary, this lets you record your mixes and performances in real-time, as you are routing the sounds to a connected PC or laptop.
This lets you listen back to your session whenever you want, allowing you to create a library of your performances later on.
Furthermore, if you don’t have a professional recording application, like a DAW, you won’t need to purchase any.
The mixer includes a copy of Music Production Software from Traktion, so you can get started immediately with all of the necessary recording tools.
The USB lead also works in the other direction, so you can stream audio from your PC or laptop to linked speakers during performance breaks.
The hardware mixer also includes an extra USB Thru knob, located on the forward panel.
This lets you stream the output of live performance software into the mixer, merge it with signals from linked instruments or mics, then send it all back to your PC to record it.
This makes it a lot easier to record your live performances.
Switches And Connections
Now you have a good idea of what you may be using the Mackie ProFX8 for, but if you’re interested in all of its characteristics, you’ll find a full breakdown below.
The mixer has eight channels which are divided over five faders on the front panel.
You won’t get a specific fader to manage every separate input, but this isn’t a huge issue for a mixer as affordable and portable as this model.
The first fader on the mixer involves input 1, the second with input 2, while the 3rd, 4th, and 5th faders manage stereo input pairs ¾, ⅚, and ⅞.
All of these channels have separate FX, Pan, Mute, and Auxiliary Monitor controls.
They also have gain dials and a 3-band EQ. All of the fader channels, except the 5th one, have low-cut toggle switches.
When you look at the connections linked with every fader strip, the first has a switchable line/Hi-Z input and a microphone.
It also has a ¼” jack link for clipping insert effects inside the signal path.
The second fader channel is similar, except the line input is not convertible to Hi-Z. Channels ⅚ and 2/4 have microphone inputs, but they also use two-line inputs.
Lastly, channels ⅞ have two line inputs, though this strip includes stereo unbalanced tape RCA inputs instead of mic connections.
Along with the five primary channel faders, the mixer also has four extra fader controls for the Main, Monitor, Stereo Return, and FX REturn channels.
The Stereo Return channel has a specific mute control and two mono ¼” balanced and unbalanced connections.
This is ideal when using external effects, stereo playback instruments, or keyboards.
The FX Return channel involves a ¼” jack FX send outlet and a ¼” jack monitor send connection.
The last connections on the hardware mixer are the ¼” jack connections for an elective footswitch, headphones, and two Main Out jacks.
The Mackie ProFX8 also has a seven-band graphic equalizer which has an EQ bypass and Main Mix/Monitor switches.
It also has the FX area, which has a useful breakdown of every possible effect, as well as a display that shows what effect you have chosen.
There is a scrolling dial that lets you scroll through the effect choices, ‘FX to Mon’ and ‘FX Master’ switches, and a mute button.
The Monitor channel has a USB input level dial, volume control for the headphones, and a USB Thru switch.
The primary output channel has a 48V phantom power control which is useful for connecting condenser mics.
It also has separate 12-piece LED meters for the right and left primary output channels, one Tape Level gauge, and a Break switch that mutes every channel once it’s pressed.
This is a good feature when you want to play audio between sessions, as you won’t want any instrument or mic signals affecting the output!
The Mackie ProFX8 Overall Review
The Mackie ProFX8 has a fun appearance, is made from quality materials, and contains several professional features ideal for live mixes.
It’s also very affordable, which is ideal for beginner musicians, as well as those who want a portable, compact live audio mixer.
If this is the case, the Mackie ProFX8 is a worthwhile purchase. It might be a lower-priced option, but its durable construction will last you a long time.
It’s hard to picture how Mackie has included a large number of features into an affordable unit, and the brand should be recognized for managing this.
If you are thinking about buying a smaller live mixer, you should consider going for the Mackie ProFX8.
However, one thing to be aware of is that if you search for reviews of the mixer online, some users claim that the mixer did emit a high-pitched sound when attempting to record through USB.
We haven’t found this problem with other Mackie mixers in the past, but this issue is possible when using other affordable USB recording machines.
Despite this, from looking at other reviews of the mixer, the sound issue wasn’t common across the board.
Most people stated that their ProFX8 recorded fine when using USB, so it seems that the Mackie brand may have fixed the issue or that the problem is an occasional issue that can be fixed by getting a replacement model.
Overall, if USB connections aren’t your main concern, and you are looking for a portable, compact, live audio mixer, the Mackie ProFX8 is likely to be your new favorite device.
If you do care about USB functionality, we would still recommend the ProFX8, but you should be aware that a few previous online reviews claim that the unit emitted an irritating USB sound.
It’s best to test it soon after you purchase it to be sure your model isn’t affected.