There are three new Soundcraft Notepad mixers: the Notepad-5FX, Notepad-8FX and the largest, the Notepad-12FX. These are all analog mixers with Harman signal processing and USB I/O connectivity.
I received the Notepad-8FX and it is compact enough to throw into a backpack along with a couple of mics and cables and get on with doing your next podcast interview or Facebook Live video. Even within this small mixer there are powerful features that help you get excellent sound quality in a professional way--fast!
The Notepad-8FX is a stereo mixer with balanced XLR line stereo outputs, pan pots on all channels, plus an output jack for stereo headphones. The first two channels can be either microphones or line level inputs using Combo jacks and each have three-band equalizers that let you boost/cut up to +/-12dB at 12kHz, 2.5kHz, and 80Hz frequency points.
There are three more stereo line inputs (with single, ganged control knobs) plus all channels have access to Lexicon® effects for adding any combination of tap tempo delay, reverb and chorus treatments. Channels 1 thru 6 have input Trim level controls while stereo channel 7/8 has both RCA input jacks and an USB jack I/O for digitally streaming audio directly, to and from your computer.
I was able to connect fully professional microphones (switchable 48-volt phantom powering on mic inputs) and also add balanced line levels coming from my studio and CD-player with no problems. I liked that each input has Aux/FX send control useful for deriving a separate mono mix (via a separate ¼-inch output jack), or as the send to the Lexicon effects system.
The Soundcraft Notepad Mixers are the perfect size with the right choice of connections that make it great for podcasters, singer-songwriters or any audio professional. I'm using it now as a way to mix several outboard effect boxes together as a stereo pair into my Pro Tools mixes. Works great!
The Notepad-5 is $123.75; the Notepad-8FX: $161.25; and the Notepad-12FX sells for $198.75 (all MSRP).
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com