June 30, 2019
The QSC TouchMix 8 is one in a series of digital mixers, based mostly on the amount of inputs and features. It starts with the TouchMix 8, 16 and 30. I had sold my 16-channel Ross analog mixer and moved up to the 16-channel Mackie 1680i FireWire mixer, a true beast of a mixer of excellent quality. I ended up never wanting to use the Mackie in a live show environment because I was mostly alone when setting up and carrying the equipment and the Mackie is big and heavy, so when the chance to sell the Ross came, I accepted the offer.
I do not want to sell the Mackie as it is an excellent home studio mixer that integrates perfectly with my DAW, but I was on the lookout for a small digital mixer. Honestly, I was looking for something in the 16 channel range, but when the TouchMix 8 came to my attention, I knew that I could easily get by with it’s 12 inputs for those times when I wanted something small, powerful and portable.
The TouchMix 8 has been out now for around 3 years, and to be quite honest, when it came out, it didn’t impress me much, nor did it have the reputation and features it has today. Amazing what a few firmware updates can do and after they were released they addressed all the serious bugs and added a ton of functionality and through their efforts, made this mixer good enough that it won the 2018 Mixer of the Year award at that years NAAM show.
Today this little mixer is reliable, has a ton of features and offers surprisingly good quality for the price, and it has one feature that many digital mixers lack… an integrated screen. There are many good digital mixers out there in this range, however, most need an iPad or tablet to work, and that is a large additional expense, and the one big issue with those is that when connectivity was lost (and that is not an IF, but a definite WHEN), there was no easy way to quickly reconnect and regain control of the mixer if the only interface you had to it was via WiFi.
With the TouchMix series, sure, you have the option of wirelessly controlling the mixer using an iPad or tablet, but you have an integrated screen, and more importantly, physical switches and gain knobs as well. It addresses most if not all of the concerns that I had with other digital mixers, and adds a good dose of some very serious levels of functionality.
These reasons, along with the fact that this unit has a very small foot-print (roughly 13″ wide by 9″ tall and 2″ tall on the thicker side), making it very small in comparison to the Mackie behemoth is why it won it’s place in my kit.
A few pictures:
A few important PDF files:
Quick start Guide
Chassis Design Drawings
Application Guide for Musicians & Bands
Here is a link to YouTube that covers tons of reviews and tutorials about the TouchMix!
Addendum July 1
Before I even tested it out, the very first thing that I did was upgrade to the latest firmware, as I heard that there were a lot of new options and features… 17 as a matter of fact. After that, I proceeded to do some quick tests, and they all proved quite satisfying. I found the preamps not the quietest out there, nor having the most amount of gain, but they are adequate for the needs and the sound as it came out from the Bose speakers through my 500 watt amp was louder than I think that I will ever need. The sound effects are all quite nice and functional. I tried recording the output (2 channels) to an old USB stick, (give it 5+ seconds before pulling it out after stopping any recording!), and that worked very nicely.
I look forward to playing with it more in the near future and adding my comments here as I learn about the mixer and start to push it’s capabilities a bit more.
Addendum July 9
I created a training assistant for myself which is basically a collection of all training files that I could find for this mixer. Not sure if I found everything, but this is the biggest part of it all. It is 1:26:15 in duration.
The more that I use this little mixer, the more I am starting to like it!
Addendum July 11
I finally pushed some proper music through it and played a recording through it over my Bose 802 speakers, and it sounds absolutely lovely. In terms of output sound quality, it is easily an acoustic match to my ears of the Mackie 1640i, though looking at the specs, the Mackie beats it hands down. Seems old age is a wonderful thing when it makes your ears start to go bad… haha!
The one thing that I did notice is that it puts out a good strong signal at the outputs, something that I read online where someone said that the output strength was not high enough… totally untrue, at least in my case. At my normal listening levels with the Mackie mixer, I had the amp set to about 3, which is pretty loud, but using the TouchMix, I had to lower it down to 2.5 to get about the same level of volume, so that means that the signal is a bit hotter than my Mackie mixer, and the Mackie was plenty hot on the outputs. No distortion or weird sounds anywhere, it was clean and with the graphic EQ I was even able to touch up the bass and high end to make it a touch crisper and better sounding to my ears. Adding a little Plate Reverb also made it sound more interesting to me.
Addendum July 15
I dropped in to the local Best buy and picked up a 128gb USB 3.0 SSD drive to play with and tried recording 4 tracks (BK-7m L/R and 8X L/R). It worked perfectly and it was actually fun being able to hear it back and even set things up a little better and then after all that, mix it down to a 2-track stereo file or even simply copy the files to a folder on my PC and do some more serious post production. This toy does a lot more than most people need, and covers all my needs quite nicely.
I am very happy to have picked up this unit!