Yamaha MG16XU Audio Mixer Review

Yamaha MG16XU Review

16-Bus audio mixers are becoming the standard in the current music space, and the Yamaha MG16XU is one of the better ones out there. Yamaha is known for manufacturing objectively quality audio equipment with superior craftmanship and innovation like the world-renown MG10XU, for example. The MG16XU is the bigger brother to the MG10XU. This review is not meant to be a comparison but if you feel like the MG16XU is not for you, then feel free to check out our review on its sibling. 

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Why Should You Get an Audio Mixer

The audio mixer market is quite a niche market so if you’re reading this review, then you probably know what you’re looking for but for those that are new, here are why you should get a mixer for your setup.

An audio mixer is a kit of versatile tools that can be used in several settings, including recording studios, liver concerts, shows etc. Their primary purpose is to provide high-quality audio for music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts. They are designed to maximise the quality of sound tenfold, with or without sound effects. A reliable music setup is incomplete without a mixer and knowing what differentiates them is exceptionally vital.

Yamaha MG16XU Review

Features

The Yamaha MG16XU comes packed with a ton of different features for the average user. Here are the main standout ones:

  1. USB and SPX digital effects.
  2. Discrete Class-A D-PRE preamps with inverted Darlington circuit.
  3. Natural sounding bass and surprisingly smooth highs.
  4. 3-band EQ and high-pass filters
  5. 1-Knob compressors
  6. Other features standard to the MG Series.
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Before going through the different features, one thing that is worth pointing out is the interface of the Yamaha MG16XU. Many digital mixers at this price point seem to have overly cumbersome user interfaces that make it extra hard for beginners to get their foot in the door. Yamaha has broken the stigma with this mixer by creating an intuitive and easy-to-use interface in a compact form.

The build-in SPX digital effects adds a ton of variety to the mixer. The MG16XU comes with a very comprehensive suite of effects that can be used in many different scenarios to enhance one’s mixing and easily switch things up. The effects are not overly oppressive; instead, they provide a wide arrange of possibilities to the user while keeping things quite organised.

Every sound engineer knows that the preamps can be the be-all, end-all of a digital mixer. The preamps determine the direction of the mix and how things end up sounding at the end. Yamaha, with that in mind, produced their self-proclaimed, studio-grade, discrete class-A D-PRE preamps. The way it works is by utilising an inverted Darlington circuit comprising two cascading transitions. This configuration should, in theory, provide more power to the mixer with lower impedance. After using the mixer for two weeks, we can confirm that these preamps deliver what they promise. The frequency range of the D-PRE preamps is surprisingly broad. As a consequence of this, handling signals from different audio sources is quite easy and doesn’t require overly amplifying different elements of the sound.

Another essential feature is the build quality. Yamaha is known to be very reliable, and the MG16XU follows suite. This audio mixer is built to last with its rugged and impact-resistant metal chassis. The knobs and controls give off a sense of elegance that makes for an enjoyable user experience, in our opinion. Like most other audio equipment, the MG16XU also comes with an internal universal power supply.

Other notable features include a switchable phantom power & pad switch, knob-compressors, EQ and High-pass filters.

Yamaha MG16XU Review

Sound

The Yamaha MG16XU, being an audio mixer, the thing most people think of is the sound quality. All in all, what you get is what you should expect from Yamaha. You get a robust and reliable sound system that has above average quality. The quiet, noise-free operation allows it to make a noticeable difference to almost any setup. For the price, this audio mixer outperforms most of its competitors and does so quite easily. However, you can find better sound audio mixer if you’re willing to splash the cash. But for most setups that extra cash is not really worth it. Especially for beginners, the Yamaha MG16XU will most definitely satisfy your demands.

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Shortcomings

One common issue that users seem to complain about consistently is the sudden scratchy sound that the mixer produces when using it with a USB. This seems to be a unit-based issue so, most people will not experience it. For those that do though, the ability to get a replacement should quench any hesitance that arises from this issue.

If you want to get the Yamaha MG16XU for voiceovers, that might not be the right call. After recording a voiceover, plugging in your headphones to listen back at your recording will leave you disappointed. The sound output from the DAWs is very quiet, even on the highest attenuation and with the knob for the monitor/phones at 10. Even after normalising the audio, the sound can hardly be heard, which is quite frustrating. For this reason, we can’t recommend this mixer for this particular use case.

Conclusion

All in all, an excellent mixer. Does all you would expect it to do and more. Its biggest drawback is that voiceovers are not usable but for most of the people reading this, that is most likely not what you’re planning to use it for. At its price point and with the abundance of different features, you would not go wrong choosing it.

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