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By Paul White Photo: Mike Cameron This compact desk benefits from built-in effects, sturdy construction and low noise. Does it measure up to the Mackie name? Available in 12—, 16— and 20—channel versions, the Mackie CFX MkII mixer is primarily designed for use in small to medium live—sound systems, but has some potential recording applications too. The noise figures are low and the layout is both clear and intuitive. All the CFX casework is metal, with stylish protective end—cheeks, and Mackie have placed all the connectors on the top panel, for easy access.
Power comes from the mains, rather than some awkward external adaptor. Insert points are provided for the mono input channels and for the main stereo output, but not for the busses. The main outs and subwoofer outs are on balanced XLRs.
Again, this is quite normal. The group Sub faders have assign buttons for routing them into the main mix, so at least one pair of faders must be routed in this way to get an output. This allows your gigs to be recorded to cassette or Minidisc and then played back through the mixer.
Each of the four Sub faders has Left and Right assign buttons for routing it into the main mix, as mentioned earlier, and there are also Sub output jacks that may be used for recording or other purposes. An output—level control regulates the amount of effect output sent to the main stereo mix, with two further controls allowing the effects to be mixed independently into the Aux 1 and Aux 2 foldback outputs, for those who like to hear reverb in their monitors.
Two buttons control the effect, one to bypass it and the other to enhance the stereo width of the stereo effects not the delays or the phaser, which are mono , while two rotary controls allow the effect time and damping to be adjusted. Actually, these labels only relate to the reverbs — for delay effects, the damping control becomes the feedback control, and for the modulation effects it sets the modulation depth, while the Time knob sets the modulation rate.
A footswitch jack is available for hands—free effect bypassing. As mentioned earlier, my only concern was that as Mackie have provided editable parameters, it would have been nice if they were saved, so that next time you called up that preset it would be as you left it, rather than returning to its default setting.
The remaining stereo channels two, in this case are fine for feeding in keyboards, MP3 players, modelling guitar preamps and similar. For the pub and small club circuit, though, it hits the mark pretty much square—on.
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