MACKIE vs SOUNDCRAFT
Today we have a compact mixer throw down! The two most compact and most powerful mixers on the planet right now. The Mackie ProFX6 version 3 and the Soundcraft Notepad 8FX. Both of these mixers offer powerful features for live performance, mix minus 1, streaming and podcasting as well as multitrack recording and both are small enough to fit inside a backpack to even a large purse. We compare each side by side to see who comes out on top. I've already done a complete, in-depth review on each mixer and if you want to take a deep dive into each, you can find them here:Mackie ProFX6v3: https://youtu.be/UShl4QP-5qkSoundcraft Notepad 8FX: https://youtu.be/PmtniHK8CLk
Both mixers have input gain knobs that allow you to correctly set the incoming gain of the signal before it is sent to the channel strip and both have input signal/peak LED indicators for the first 2 channels.Both of these mixers are designed to be very portable and they definitley excel at that. They have both packed an amazing amount of features into extremely small footprint. Both mixers have built in audio interfaces that allow you to record into your computers DAW and control where that returning computer audio stream comes back.
Both mixers feature combination Nuetrik Style inputs on channels one and two. Both feature high pass filters on the first two inputs which allow you to cut low end sounds out of your mic or signal input. Both feature "D.I." circuitry ( the Soundcraft only 1 channel, while the Mackie offers both ) The DI curcuit allows you to plug in 'passive' instruments like electric guitars and basses directly into the mixer with having to buy an aditional DI box. This means your guitar or bass will have the correct impedance and the mixer will not change the tone of your instrument.
Both Mixers have an Equalizer section for the first two inputs that allow you to sculpt the sound of your vocal or instrument dramatically. Both mixers have volume control knobs for each channel that keeps the size of the overall chassis down to a minimum. Both mixers have built in internal effects that cover a wide range of catagories. Both mixers have headphone outputs and XLR connectors for main outputs as well.
POWER: The Mackie has a physical power switch on the back of the unit as well as a 48vlt phantom power switch that can be turned off. In addition, it has a 'Break' switch that mutes all the channels ion the Mackie. The Soundcraft has no power switch and the phantom power is always on and no channel mutes.
EQ SECTION: The Mackie offers high and low shelving EQ for the first two channel strips while the Soundcraft has high and low shelving plus the addition of a fully sweepable Mid that is 'dynamic'. This means the boost section is a wider, more musical shape and the cut section is more narrow. This is similar to how more expensive eq sections work.
PAN SECTION: The Mackie has no continuous pan control but has pan 'switches' that hard pan the first two channels to the left and right respectivley while the Soundcraft has a true Pan buss with panning knobs.
INPUTS: The Mackie offers six total inputs, two Mic preamps/1/4" inputs plus an additional stereo input channel with two 1/4" mono inputs that can be run as a single mono channel as well as a stereo 1/8" mini plug input channel for phone or mp3 player.The Soundcraft offers eight total inputs, two Mic preamps/1/4" inputs, plus two additonal stereo channels (each with two 1/4" mono inputs that can be run as a mono channel) and another stereo channel that has RCA style phono inputs.
OUTPUTS: The Mackie has both XLR Mains outputs and that signal is duplicated on two more 1/4" outputs, giving you several output paths to use for additional monitoring or recording. The Soundcraft has only the XLR Mains output.
MONITORING: The Mackie has no dedicated monitor buss but, has a headphone output that can power a set of headphone monitors and its loud enough to drive several different types of heaphones. The Soundcraft has a true MonitorAUX buss with it's own 1/4" output. Each channel has its own monitor/AUX level control knob that sends to a Master AUX control level knob. In addition, the 1/4" output can be 'switched' into a completely independent powered stereo mix giving you two independent headphone mixes, each with its own level control.
EFFECTS: The Mackie offers a wide selection of effects in many different catagories including, delays, reverbs, chorus, flanger, doubler, and even overdrive, however, the Mackie has no effects send buss. Instead, each channel has a FX switch that is either completely on or off. The Soundcraft offers three different effect engines, Delay, Chorus, ands Reverb. The difference here is that all the engines can be used simultaneously. In addition, the Soundcraft has a true effects buss. Which means each channel can have a specific amount of FX.
As you can probably tell by now, neither Mixer is the clear winner here. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Mackie, with its wider selection of FX and its 'Break knob' feature and physical power switch is probably going to appeal to smaller live performance acts that can use those robust features.
The Soundcraft, with its true AUX buss, 2 independent heaphone mixes, and ability to switch which channels get recorded into the DAW will probably appeal more to recording and small studio setups.