Tidy tiny analogue
I was recently asked by a friend for a recommendation on a small format analogue console which sounds decent. Mackie was not only among the brands which sprang to mind, it was the first. Small format analogue is kind of their domain – they’ve been doing it for years and they do it well.
The ProFXv2 range runs from 4 to 30 channels (read 2 to 24 preamps), and for this review we chose one somewhere in the middle – the ProFX22v2. It’s a compact little thing, and includes four sub-groups, two monitor sends and one FX send, plus an internal FX engine and 2×2 USB interface.
The ProFX22v2 features 16 mic/line input channels, plus two stereo line inputs. The last two mic inputs can also serve as stereo channels, and hence each of the last four inputs is labeled with two numbers (ie; channel 15/16). Finally there are two dedicated stereo channels (19/20 and 21/22). Mackie has included their new “Vita” mic pre-amp on every mic input. The rst 10 inputs include unbalanced insert points allowing use of external dynamic processors and such.
Channels 11-14 feature a single knob compressor right there on the channel strip. I spent some time tooling around with one of these and a mic, and the applied compression is pretty gentle until you turn the knob all the way up. One thing to be aware of is that the PFL metering is post channel compressor, so make sure to set your input gain correctly before applying compression (just as you would with an external compressor!). Phantom power is supplied globally to all channels at once via single pushbutton, which is disappointing. On a console with this input count I expect phantom power control to be per channel or in banks of four at a most.
Each mic input features a 3 band EQ with low and high frequency gain adjustments at fairly standard frequencies of 80Hz, 12kHz. The first 14 inputs feature sweepable mid- band from 100Hz to 8kHz, while inputs 15/16 through 21/22 have the mid frequency xed at 2.5kHz. I like the choice of 100Hz as a high-pass filter roll-off point – it’s a more useful filter than the 80Hz HPF commonly found on this size console. Channel strip controls all work the way they should, and I especially enjoyed the large size channel mute buttons. There’s also a button near the master fader to mute all the channels at once. The 60mm fader travel doesn’t feel as short as you’d expect.
The main stereo bus outputs on dual XLR, while TRS outputs are provided for each subgroup plus both monitor sends and the FX send. If you want to use an external effect processor there’s a stereo aux return which can be routed to both main and monitor sends. The internal ‘ReadyFX’ engine includes 16 presets, all of which do what their names say and most of which are pretty useful enhancements. No parameter adjustments are provided, which makes the effects engine functional without being complicated. The FX mute button mutes the FX return rather than the send, and can be remote controlled via footswitch.
The USB interface worked with my Macbook Pro immediately when I plugged it in. The input from the computer appears on the 2TK input pot near the master fader, however pressing the button at the top of the channel 21/22 allows you to return USB audio into a full channel strip instead. Note that the single knob input is not affected by the master mute button, which makes it good if you want to run some background music. The send from the console into the USB connection is either main or Groups 1 and 2 as selected by a pushbutton near the group masters.
Oddly the USB plug is the only connector (other than power) located on the back panel. My guess is that locating it on top would have cluttered the otherwise very tidy connector layout, so the rear panel seems logical. The included Tracktion recording software is a nice bonus.
A 7 band EQ provides up to 15 dB boost or attenuation to either main mix or monitor 1 output, with bus selection and bypass buttons immediately beneath the EQ. While there are no main insert points I don’t see this as a great omission on a console this size.
All told the ProFX22v2 is a solid little unit and I think one of the more user friendly analogue boards around. Granted there are only so many ways to build an analogue console, but this one is good because anyone with basic audio training will be able to understand it. There’s also not a lot you can do to stop it from working, which is very good. I see this console satisfying many users in schools, churches and small band situations.
- Brand: Mackie
- Model: ProFX22v2
- RRP: AUD$1729.00 inc GST
- Product Info: www.mackie.com
- Distributor: www.cmi.com.au
First published in CX Magazine (November, 2015)