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Who uses the Mini XLR Mixer?
Chris Rust of "Break a Leg!" submitted this review about using the Mini XLR Mixer with his portable pa.

"Break a Leg! is a Vocal/Clarinet/Guitar duo so we have two instrument pickups from the clarinet and acoustic guitar and one vocal mic (SM58). The guitar pickup is a LR Baggs under-saddle pickup with a preamp and the clarinet pickup is from Musevibe in Australia (highly recommended small maker of brilliant and affordable pickups), both have plenty of gain available. My guitar is a Lukas Brunner compact acoustic guitar which is great for travel and handling, gives a lovely sound but it is relatively quiet so it's sometimes hard to hear it on stage without foldback. Generally we play a lot better and feel better with foldback. We aren't loud, the PA is sound reinforcement and we aim for a natural sound."

"We have an LD Systems Maui 5 PA, a compact line array system similar to the smaller Bose L1. It gives great quality sound and sitting behind us it gives excellent built-in foldback which helps our performance a lot. It has a simple built in mixer which we can use but it's a pain managing the sound if you are 2 metres away from the mixer and you have to turn your back on the audience to adjust anything. So we needed a 3-channel mixer that can sit right on the microphone stand. I have a bigger mixer for when we do more elaborate gigs with other musicians but 3 channels is ideal for just us playing in cafe or pub venues."

"So the Mini XLR mixer is ideal in combination with a passive DI box. The mixer is strapped to the mic stand with a big silicone rubber band (Grifiti Big-Ass 6" bands) and the DI box strapped to the foot of the stand so the whole setup can be moved around as one unit. I have three 1 metre XLR cables to connect the mic and DI box to the mixer and a single 5 metre XLR cable back to the PA, which has a mic socket. And no mains power or batteries. I managed to cut down a Mic boom stand (not the one in the photo) so it packs around 24"/600mm long. The LD PA comes with a great bag that holds the three column sections plus a separate pocket for cables that holds the Mic stand etc."

"So everything goes in the two PA bags (Column and Bass unit) including mic, stand and all cables. With a powered mixer or anything larger it would start to get too complicated and need another bag. I have tried a powered 3-channel mixer which works pretty well but this one is half the size and no batteries or power cables to worry about."

"In practice how does a US passive mixer work with Australian and US pickups on a Japanese clarinet and Swiss guitar with a German PA in an English pub. It's brilliant. The sound is no different from using the PA direct, there's plenty of gain available for the instruments, the mic is a little muted compared to going straight into the mic socket on the PA so if we needed to use the full power of the PA (you can turn the Maui up to eleven with no distortion or noise to speak of) I would probably use a powered mixer. If the mini-mixer is plugged into a powered mixer and that goes into the line input on the PA it seems to give enough volume but with the two integrated PA units we have (the Maui 5 and a Behringer B205) the attenuation from the mini mixer is perceptible and limits the power available for vocals. But in practice at our first gig with this setup, in a small pub with 30 people, there was plenty of power in hand."

"I have a pile of PA kit (I love gadgets) but this enables us to go out with everything in two bags that fit in the boot/trunk of my tiny Toyota, set up in a flash and in the most compact area with the least amount of cable and a single mains power plug, and have control of the PA right through the performance. Very pleased."

Chris Rust, Sheffield, UK

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