It’s time to get hands-on with the Teenage Engineering TX-6 mixer and interface hybrid music machine. The TX-6 is much more than just a mini mixer. It of course sums the individual audio signals/inputs into a single stereo output, six to be exact, like any good mixer, but it’s on-the-go, totally tether-free, on-the-go audio Can also act as a hub. Site recording, live music sets, DJing, and one of the most feature-rich portable audio interfaces out there. Connecting to your DAW over USB-C for 12-track multi-track recording – it’s also MFi certified for use with the iPhone – plus you get a built-in, albeit relatively basic, drum machine/synthesizer and keys for both There will be a range of standard issue workhorses and more boutique FX that can be used on all of these. Head below for a closer look.
Hands-on with the Teenage Engineering TX-6
Teenage Engineering describes it as “the first portable pro-mixer that can be used as a multifunctional 24-bit 48 kHz audio interface with an instrument tuner, built-in digital FX, synthesizer and drum machine.”
You’re looking at up to eight hours of completely tether-free battery life, built-in dispatch effects like reverb, chorus, delay, freeze, tape, filter and distortion (there’s also a three-band EQ and an adjustable compressor). , There’s a secret arcade game for some reason (lol) and you can even turn it on its side and use the channels as a DJ-style crossfader.
But even that doesn’t really do it a whole lot of justice.
There aren’t many surprises here when it comes to the actual construction – you’re looking at a well-made TE CNC aluminum construction with 2K molding, solid custom-made knobs, faders, clicky tactile buttons, and a main rotary encoder Huh. Subtle, satisfying incremental trail when you’re giving it a twist. The faders themselves are smooth and well made with just the right amount of resistance to accidentally over- or under-adjusting the levels/values in my experience – there’s a bit of horizontal wobble on them, but just barely.
While it can be a bit cumbersome to get your fingers around the 3×6 layout’s knobs above each fader, especially the middle row on tracks two through five, it doesn’t entirely kill the experience for me. Is. Just keep in mind that if your fingers are even a little too big, this will be a very tight squeeze.
The tiny 48×64 pixel monochrome display looks great in almost any lighting condition, with fonts, meters and menus that will look familiar to anyone who’s experienced TE screens like this on other gear. While there are small elements of the UI here that can be hard to see at a glance and may very well require a double take for those with aging eyesight like me, I would suggest that it might be worth considering. Small amount of real estate accommodates the overall design here.
Much of the same effect applies as far as the USB-C, 1/8-inch audio jack, and power buttons around the sides, back, and front of the tiny hybrid mixer go. There are six inputs, a pair of stereo outputs and a stereo headphone jack with support for a headset microphone. Everything feels solid with no wobble connection points, but one thing to note here is how tight the main six track inputs are. Not all standard 1/8-inch cables are going to fit side by side – the inputs are too close together. Obviously teenage engineering cables will be fine there, but you’ll need to make sure whatever cable you use has as tight and thin a wrap around the actual connectors as possible, so that there are six of them ( or two) can be obtained. right next to each other).
Teenage Engineering TX-6 I/O at a glance:
- 6 input connectors (stereo or mono)
- 1 stereo headphone connector
- bluetooth low-energy radio interface
- 3.5mm mini jack to 6.3mm jack main output
- aux output
- cue output
- USB-C (for charging or use as a 24-bit/48kHz USB interface)
The type of flipper power switch provides a unique look and feel that’s just as satisfying for travel as it is for arguably being in the way – I can imagine some people preferring the back of the unit than the plastic flap sticking out on one side of the unit. For some prefer more flush. Otherwise mostly clean perimeter, but it never got in the way for me.
All in all, it’s a well-built machine with a few quirks that certainly don’t feel like it’s going to break under typical use conditions, but that’s just what I expect with teenage engineering gear at this point. can be done.
Built-in synth with sequencer, FX and more
The TX-6 also has a built-in synthesizer and sequencer—it’s an interesting addition for such a miniature mixer, sounds great, but, to me at least, falls more into the fun distraction category. You can essentially load a sound onto each fader (Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat, Clap, and one of four synthesizer waveforms – Sine, Saw, Square, and Triangle). All the FX performed by the unit can be applied here, along with many sound-shaping functions including sample length, EQ, pitch, and things of that nature – much like the customizable 3×6 bank of knobs here When you are using the machine directly as a mixer. But the sequencer setup is pretty basic. You can’t just plug in your own patterns or beats, but rather choose from a range of pre-made options ranging from your usual four-on-the-floor to more syncopated sequences and a random option – you can choose from the sequencer One can set an always-on-like mode for synth waveforms on all six channels to create drone sounds and ambiance.
It would obviously have been nice to be able to tap into your own patterns in some way or another, but the 20+ patterns available are pretty extensive and with sustained drone notes and random setups things can get pretty interesting – anyone argue that Granted most of these patterns are what most people create anyway, but I can’t help but feel a lack of complete musical freedom.
Having said that, Teenage Engineering enjoys and even flourishes in creative frontier territory, sometimes forcing creatives even more so when faced with the limitations DAW-based Workflows have been knocked around for a long time, and I have to admit, that’s definitely the case for me here.
A secret hidden arcade game too?
Spoiler alert – avoid this section if you want to discover the TX-6’s hidden arcade game on your own,
Like many of TE’s other musical gadgets and synths, the TX-6 also has a novel little arcade game hidden in the system to keep you entertained. It’s obviously a very basic feel as far as arcade games go, but you can get Knock Off – A simple pong-like paddle game – To play on the miniature screen, press the AUX, Q and Shift buttons. once you see To end logo on-screen, press the main rotary encoder knob (also used to play games) to launch it.
Teenage Engineering TX-6 Wrap-Up
The Teenage Engineering TX-6 is a compelling and interesting little mixer. Along with the usual limitations like the best TE gear there is more than meets the eye and while for some there are only drawbacks others will find creativity-inducing joy.
For me, it sits somewhere in between. The TX-6 definitely inspires creativity and makes me want to pull out all my hardware sound making gadgets to build a boutique arsenal of tools and get busy. But therein lies my final verdict.
Relatively exorbitant price aside, it would seem to me that the TX-6 is really most useful to those who specifically want to tie together the outputs of a range of hardware gadgets as a unique, literally external audio source. Huh. production setup and/or more avant-garde live performance rig.
Its small form-factor obviously works well as a main audio hub for mobile setups, but it’s also useful around the house, and it’s definitely worth a try when it comes time to incorporate your DAW. Doubles as an interface. One important thing to keep in mind here is that it’s inherently expensive to bring together even a standard-issue audio interface that would provide six discreet stereo inputs in a unit like this, never mind the ones with physical mixer controls, A built-in synth/drum machine, DJing capabilities and an arcade game.
In the end, it’s clear that there’s nothing quite like the Teenage Engineering TX-6 – you’ll have to buy several different pieces of kit in many cases to achieve the same thing. Just be prepared to reach deep into those pockets to pay the $1,199 it will cost you to land one. And if I were you, I’d make up and make sure you actually need six stereo inputs in mobile form before doing this because the rest of the bonus gifts are just that – fun extras that inspire creativity and a Well built and transforms a frankly gorgeous mixer/interface combo into a wonderful audio geek oddity without being particularly useful. It’s fabulous, inspiring, and I love it, I just wish it was less expensive and I’m not sure I really need it.
It’s a neat little mixer and a giant leap in innovation for any mixer of its kind, but only a select few will find it truly necessary.
Buy Teenage Engineering TX-6
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