There are a few very specific niches for a small 6-channel mixer but if you fall into one of these areas, you will definitely want to check out the Yamaha MG06X. Compact doesn’t even begin to describe how little real estate this unit takes up but with a footprint of only 5.9” wide and 7.9” deep (as well as 2.4” deep) you can well imagine that it isn’t going to annex any valuable space on your desktop. With an additional mounting kit you can also affix the MG06X to a mic stand making it potentially even more versatile to use, especially in a live situation. And while it can function in a home studio or otherwise connected to a Mac or PC, it isn’t even the slightest out of place on a stage. Granted, Metallica isn’t using one of these for obvious reasons but if you are a solo singer/songwriter, in a small 3 or 4 piece band, running a karaoke night, hosting or public speaking then this would be what you need to make that happen, along with some speakers of course. And a microphone/guitar/keyboard/drum machine … but you get what I’m saying.
There are limited inputs of course as Yamaha bills this as a 6-channel mixer that features 2 mono and 2 stereo and while there “technically” are 6 channels, you can see that channels 3/4 and 5/6 can only be controlled as a pair so you can in fact only run 4 distinct channels at one time. Channels 1 and 2 are mono mic/line inputs that feature combo XLR or ¼” TRS inputs to connect microphones (via an XLR cable) or guitars (via a ¼” cable) for example. You can use either a dynamic microphone or your favourite condenser microphone as the unit also has phantom power capabilities which allows you accommodate either type. Channels 1 and 2 are also the only channels that allow you to add the built in reverb and delay special effects as these are not accessible through the other channels. The effects are preset and you can add 3 different versions of each as the reverb settings are hall, room, and plate whereas the delay can be employed in short, long, or echo configurations. There is a dial knob that allows you to control the level of effect used so you certainly have some control over how saturated you want your signal to be.
Channels 1 and 2 also feature some EQ capabilities as there are dials to adjust the high and the low frequencies to let you better dial in the sound or tone that you want. Channels 1 and 2 also feature a high pass filter that helps to clean some of the muddiness that might dirty up your bottom end as well as a pad switch that will limit spikes in the input levels. This would be ideal for something like karaoke as it would ensure that your over exuberant friend that likes to randomly yell or squeal into the microphone isn’t causing any significant level jumps that might damage any of your gear.
The Yamaha MG06X has a built in pre-amp housed inside what seems like an incredibly durable steel chassis that should alleviate any concerns you may have about transporting this unit as it is definitely made to take some abuse. While I wouldn’t suggest hurling it into any brick walls there are no indications that regular travel and use will have any adverse effects on this solid little number. Channels 3/4 and 5/6 are stereo input lines (although you can also run them as mono) with ¼” TRS inputs and would be perfect for inputting keyboards, running an iPad/smartphone, cd player, mp3 player, turntable, karaoke player, or…it’s really up to your needs at this point
The Yamaha MG06X also features a ¼” headphone jack for you to directly monitor your mixes and as such could also function very nicely, and affordably, to practice guitar or keyboards without waking those pesky neighbours. The unit also has stereo outputs allowing for you to connect powered speakers/monitors, connect into an audio interface, or to directly connect to a digital recorder for example. All in all it was super easy to set-up and control as the MG06X is straightforward in its design and implementation of features. And when it comes to sound, it was really impressive how clean and clear this was whether I was talking, screeching (that is what most people call it when I try to sing), or playing a guitar through it as it didn’t clip and the audio didn’t create any unwanted distortions. Again, really impressive how simple and clean sounding this was.
If I had any gripes it would be that there are dials instead of faders and no EQ controls for the mids. If you are using this to give yourself some more control over your audio before you send it into your digital audio workstation (DAW) then you can ultimately control some of this on your computer. There is also no USB connectivity, no RCA inputs, and no mute feature on the channels but I recognize that in order to maintain both the compact size of the Yamaha MG06X and the friendly pricing that sacrifices had to be made and at the end of the day, the appropriate choices were in fact made. You can step up to the other Yamaha mixer options if these missing features are something you absolutely need.
If price, portability, ease of use, and pristine audio are something you want in a new mixer, then I suggest you head on down to your local Best Buy and see if the Yamaha MG06X has what you need.