Stanton’s Rack-Mountable Multi-Mixer for DJs or Solo-Performers
As technologies collide, and the line that separates various categories of gear blurs—it’s no longer a “that’s meant for this, and this is meant for that” world. A great case in point is this rather cool looking, compact, 19” rack-mountable mixer from Stanton. Disguised beneath the RM 416’s typical “DJ Mixer” design is a well-built, economically priced “utility mixer” that serves performers just as well. While there are many excellent mixing boards, from companies such as Yamaha and Mackie, designed for various stage applications, there are situations when a mixer such as Stanton’s RM. 416 may be all you need. In addition, being that it is a full-featured DJ Mixer as well, it opens up another possible river of revenue for musicians who will happily set down their axe and pick up their CD collection if it means making a buck.
What It Is
The RM.416 (RM is for Rack Mount) features four traditional channels coupled with microphone inputs. In addition, a USB connection is provided for playing tracks off a computer or for recording in real-time. It provides balanced XLR outs (with trim control) to an amp or powered speakers, as well as a subwoofer output with built-in crossover control. There’s also a balanced 1/4" zone output that can be used to drive a monitor.
While Stanton refers to it as a 4-channel mixer, that does not include 2 of the microphone channels—so it offers 6 control channels. The first two inputs are dedicated mic inputs (XLR or 1/4”) with their own gain and hi/mid/low EQ on each channel. The remaining 4 channels provide various line, aux and USB inputs, with gain trim and eq—and even two phono inputs, for those moments when you can’t resist practicing your vocals using granddad’s vintage “Sing A-long With Mitch” collection. In addition, the RM.416 is fully laden with the latest audio control/mix tools for DJs to facilitate easy cueing and fast and seamless crossfades and mixes.
How It works
In the Live2Play test studio, we connected our sample Stanton RM.416’s outputs to two Yamaha DSR115 powered speakers to simulate a small house system. We then connected an EV SXA5 powered speaker to the right zone output to use as a stage monitor. On the input side, we connected our Yamaha P-120 Electronic Piano to the aux1 input and a Takamine Acoustic guitar with a Fishman pick-up to the #3 mic input (accessible on channel 4). We then connected our vocal mics to the Mic 1 and Mic 2 inputs and still had two aux/line inputs available for a drum machine, CD player (s) or for adding pre-recorded tracks from an iPod.
During our test session, we found the RM 416’s slider controls smooth and accurate. Balancing everything out was easy using the mixer’s various gain trim and eq controls, along with the volume and tone controls on the instruments and speakers. Once we had the balance we wanted, we left it alone—and if when you’re playin’ to a packed coffeehouse, you don’t need to be fiddlin’ with your mixer. Speaking of which, using this minimalistic mixer approach makes finding the right knob or slider much easier when you’re on stage. As far as how it sounds, even with the speakers up full, there was little noticeable noise that we could trace back to the mixer. In addition, with an average selling price in the $299 range, the Stanton RM.416 is a not only a viable mixing solution for solo/duet acts, it also pays for itself in the very short-term.