- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
Finding any device that can work live and in the studio is tough. Find one that isn’t super huge, it gets even tougher. Try to make it reasonably priced, and it’s practically impossible. Soundcraft somehow figured out how to satisfy all the needs for a small, live/studio mixer and interface with the Notepad-12FX.
First off, it really is notebook sized, it easily fits in a backpack. With 4 channels that have a 3-band EQ as well as combo 1/4 and XLR connections, its super familiar, even to novices. Hi-pass filters are also selectable, and channels 1 & 3 also have Hi-Z pads, great for direct inputs for electric guitars, synths, etc. The 3-band EQ is satisfyingly musical, with a really nice signal to noise ratio. The remaining channels don’t feature a 3-band EQ, but they sound good on their own, with 5-8 having 1/4” inputs and 9-10 using a stereo RCA input. Channels 11 and 12 can function as an external effects send and return.
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The output options are XLR, as well as Aux and headphone controls. Connection to a computer is via USB. Simple. Just connect it to a power amp, and it’s a nice small-format live mixer for a bar, rock club or other venue. Or use it as a sub mixer to connect to an already existing mixer (I’m looking at you keyboard players that think 4 boards is “minimalist”). Considering 90% of the time the main item that needs to go through the board are vocals, this is a perfect item for singer/songwriters and small combos what won’t be complicated to operate.
The sound quality is head-scratchingly superb at this price point, and the EQ is quite flexible for instruments and vocals. Soundcraft preamps are legendary for being musical and rich, and that legacy is found here as well. It’s not sterile or thin. Most of the time the EQ isn’t really needed to fix inputs, but can rather be used as an adjustment for the room.
There is a nice effects section (by Lexicon) with selectable chorus, reverb and delay. The only controls are a tap tempo button, and a parameter adjust knob. It’s not super flexible, but just adds in the ambience that would be needed in a small room. It’s subtle and functional, and again, at this price point, a welcome (and usable) addition.
Plug it into a computer (Mac/PC are supported) and it can be an excellent interface for a DAW. It works well with a variety of software packages, with no issues. It also supports phantom power for condenser microphones that require it. Podcasters and video producers will love it as an interface that is reasonable to navigate and won’t take up a ton of desk space. It does come with a power supply, and unfortunately cannot be powered by USB alone. The Street price is just $159, and it’s hard to beat a mixer that can be such a useful tool, across a lot of applications. We give it our full recommendation.
Great price, functional as live or studio mixer, great size.