American Audio Q-SD Mixer review

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For those of you who were interested in the SDJ1 SD card player, this is the matching mixer. I was looking for a simple way to work with digital files and also needed a new mixer since my CD Mix-2 conked out on me. This unit is perfect for my needs.

It's a 4-space unit with 4 channels, 2 mics, one SD player built in, and a mini-jack for any other portable audio players. It has a much sturdier feel to it than the three previous American Audio mixers I have used. Recessed inputs/outputs make connecting in tight quarters easier.

One issue I had with past AA mixers was the extremely light "feather faders". You had to be very careful to avoid blasting your audience. The channel faders on this unit are nice and snug making it easy to fade smoothly. Only the cross fader is a "feather fader".

We used the Q-SD for five jobs this weekend with a Numark CDN-34 and a Shure ULX wireless (Beta 58) mic. This mixer is extremely quiet and has plenty of headroom with all gains set at 12 O'clock. It was a bit unnerving to note that the recommended setting lines on the channel and master faders were at about 1/3 of the way up. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend this mixer to a newbie.

It is a well built unit. Fingertip sized cue buttons. Each channel has gain, bass, mid and treble. There are two mic inputs, one 1/4" input on the rear, and one very tight combo (XLR or 1/4") input on the upper left corner of the mixer face. There is only one set of bass & treble controls for the mics. There are two mute switches for the mics, however.

The unit comes with a 1GB SD card and a portable USB card reader. I was only able to use the card reader once. It was a piece of junk. I used my SanDisk reader and put my Kids Party SuperShow, Interactives, and Kids Party break songs on the card.

We used the SD card player to play mostly break songs and used CDs for the show. This allowed us to do the show with only two CDs and the SD card.
The sound quality of my 320K MP3 files were indistinguishable from CD as they should be. The player volume is just a tad weaker than CDs.

The mic pre-amp was also as good as any other I have used on a DJ mixer, and is comparable to the Mackie VLZ mixers.

There are three sets of outputs- two masters and one zone. One master is RCAs, while the other is balanced XLRs. The zone outputs are RCA, and have their own independent volume control.

Fader Q start allows you to use the cross fader to start American Audio CD players with the "Q" feature. It will also work with the SDJ1.

Each channel will control a regular line, aux, or the SD card. Two of the lines are switchable to phono. The 4th channel aux controls the 1/8" input for portable devices. This is an extremely flexible 4 space mixer.

It's not cheap. The basic street price is 399.00. I believe the price is justified and would purchase it again if given the option.
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