Review: Soundcraft Ui12

Soundcraft, a subsidiary of Harmon International Industries, is a British company with a great reputation for designing and building live sound and recording consoles.
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Soundcraft, a subsidiary of Harmon International Industries, is a British company with a great reputation for designing and building live sound and recording consoles. The company was founded in 1973 by sound engineer Phil Dudderidge and electronic designer Graham Blyth. Soundcraft first made its mark with the Series 1, the first mixing console built into a flight case.

Consistent with the Soundcraft legacy, the Ui12 is a complete digital mixing system in a compact, gig-ready format with integrated Wi-Fi and the ability to be controlled by any connected device (tablet, smartphone, or laptop) that has an HTML5 compatible browser. So, there are no OS or separate app issues to deal with. The user simply logs on to the Ui12’s built-in Wi-Fi router using their device, the mixer controls appear on the screen, and you’re ready to go.

The Ui12’s functions are all accessible on the screen of your smart phone, laptop, or tablet.

The Ui12 is an ideal mixer for small bands who ordinarily mix themselves from the stage and want to have access to nice pro EQ and effects features from dbx, DigiTech, and Lexicon, without requiring a pile of outboard gear. Of note for guitar players, the Ui12’s two hi-Z inputs feature DigiTech’s amp and stompbox modeling with tons of amp, cabinet, and effects choices. Live sound neophytes will be pleasantly surprised with the straightforward learning curve, and will be able to run a live show that sounds great in no time at all. The manual is very complete and if the user runs into any roadblocks, Soundcraft tech support is very helpful.

We tested the Ui12 with a six-piece Americana band in a small club setting, running four vocal mics and an acoustic guitar, and found that it provided a fairly straightforward way to move into the digital mixing world from our old-school physical mixer. After some time with the manual and focus on setting initial levels, the Ui12 delivered very good, easy-to-control live sound through the EV EKX 12Ps we used for mains. The challenges we faced had to do with the nature of reducing the traditional P.A. controls onto the smaller format of the iPAD screen.

With the Ui12, these traditional controls are presented as a series of screens that appear as the user works with different mixer functions. One memorable result of this layering of the controls is that a nasty feedback event during soundcheck took a while to shut down while we fumbled for the right control panel. This type of unwelcome event diminished with experience, and ultimately we found the Ui12 to work very well and were happy with the results. Beyond the ins and outs and the bundle of EQ and effects available in the Ui12, a very nice feature of this mixer is its ability to save the settings for any given venue. This alone is worth the price of admission, as it saves the band from having to set up from scratch every time they return to the same venue.

SPECIFICATIONS

UI12

CONTACT soundcraft.com
PRICE $299 street
KEY FEATURES Digital Mixer with 8 ins, 2 main outs and 2 Aux sends; integrated Wi-Fi; signal processing from dbx, DigiTech, and Lexicon; 4-band parametric EQ, high-pass filter, compressor, de-esser and noise gate on input channels
EXTRAS 31-band Graphic EQ, Noise Gate, and Compressor on all outputs; Real-Time Frequency Analyzer (RTA) on inputs and outputs; 3 dedicated Lexicon FX effects processors: Reverb, Delay, and Chorus; Digitech amp, cabinet, and effects models for guitar; Show/Snapshot recall with channel safes and security lockout
WEIGHT 5 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS Great-sounding, easy to set up and use. Show/Snapshot remembers settings for a room. Includes DigiTech amplifier and stompbox modeling.
CONCERNS Multiple function screens for the digital control interface on smaller tablets or smartphones can get cluttered and be challenging to navigate.

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