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This article was originally published in issue #30
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The M1622USB is hardly an imaginative name for a manufacturer's flagship mixing console. It is certainly a bit of a mouthful, doesn’t roll off the tongue and not that easy to recall… unless you consider what the numbers mean. It mixes 16 channels, 2 groups, 2 output buses, utilising USB. Oh yes… the name makes perfect sense now! The modest M1622USB is the largest of Proel's current range of mixers and makes for an interesting little package.
Proel started out in the early nineties simply making audio cables but quickly grew in to a multi-faceted company producing many products for use in the entertainment industry including speakers, lighting, amplifiers, processors and hardware. In 2007 it acquired famous British manufacturer Turbo Sound and truly entered the ring with the big boys. Since then its audio products have risen to some prominence amongst customers looking for affordable solutions.
Proel is keeping things simple with the M1622USB. First off it is an analogue mixer. Despite having on board 24bit digital FX and a USB input/output bus, it is still a simple analogue console which, in this overtly digital world, may appeal to some of you. One of the main attractions, other than the very reasonable price point, is the mic pre-amp count. It features 12 high quality XLR mic pre-amps. Alternatively it can be used in an eight mono line / mic in with four stereo line-in configuration.
The first eight channels include a neat, sweet sounding compressor and all channels have four band parametric EQ. There are four Aux buses, one of which is automatically routed to the internal FX and returns on its own control so you do not lose a fader when using the on board FX. All channels are easily routed to either the sub group or mix bus and as you continue down the fader strip the pan pot and fader bank feels smooth and responsive enough. The Outs, insert points and returns are all on TRS jack apart from the main mix bus out which has an XLR output option. There is also a very simple yet useful graphic EQ available and this can be inserted over either the mix bus or an aux bus at the push of a button.
The USB function is very useful. It is a simple two track option which eliminates the need for an external sound card if using a laptop to either play stereo files or record them. The source from your laptop appears on the two track in pot control, so you just plug your laptop in using USB and seamlessly play audio directly through the mixer. Alternatively you can send whatever is going through the mix bus of the desk straight to your laptop to record. In addition one of the Auxes is set up to be routed to the USB out as an alternative to the mix bus, so you can have a completely different mix (set up on your aux pots) going to the record than the one going to your PA system.
Finally there is the wonderful 24bit digital FX engine, proudly boasting 256 studio grade algorithms including stereo tap delay and tap delay with reverb. The FX sound sweet enough for a desk of this stature. Couple this with decent sounding pre-amps, compression and EQ and I have to admit it is difficult to find fault with this neat little analogue package. Here Proel have produced a very sensible product at a very sensible price.