With stock just landed at PMT stores throughout the UK, today we're going to look at Wharfedale Pro's latest offering in the form of a compact mixer, complete with on-board FX and audio interface – the Connect 1202 USB/FX. With plenty of features and packing 12 channels into such a portable device, the mixer lends itself to any application the modern musician may come across.
Portability & Build
Most 12 channel mixing desks tend to take up the majority of a desktop so to save vital space for more portable pa systems, Wharfedale have used rotary controls instead of up-faders. Although many engineers prefer an up-fader to a rotary control, the essence of the connect range is as the name suggests, maximum connectivity and portability. At the same time when tweaked with the gain controls at the top of the unit, each channel offers a decent headroom to get an accurate balance between instruments and line sources with plenty of control. The mixer is just over 8cm tall, so for those with larger side pockets on their laptop case or guitar gig bag, you may even be lucky enough to slide the unit in without the need for any other case. Weighing in at well under 2 kg you won't feel the difference if you're out and about too.
Installed on this latest model is an FX Logic digital effects processor. Included are 56 different algorithms including 8 room reverbs, 5 plate reverbs, 8 hall reverbs, 3 gated reverbs, 8 chorus, 8 flanger, 7 rotary speaker simulators and 9 delays. The effects cover everything an engineer could need to add space to the mix with reverbs simulating large halls and small rooms alike, and individual FX send level on each channel means you can be fairly subtle with the application of your effect of choice. Most of the effects lean towards vocal applications, however the chorus and rotary speaker effects really can enhance an acoustic guitar, giving it a nice depth complementing the vocals of singer-songwriter types with only a guitar and voice. Some of the delays can also be used more creatively with a longer tail for those reggae influenced, longer delays.
Wharfedale have also managed to squeeze in a 2 in, 2 out interface on the unit. Although some mixers may offer more ins and outs via USB, realistically you are looking at a much higher price point for something of that nature. At under £100, it not only offers good value as a mixing desk but as an audio interface in its own right. Compared with other similarly priced audio interfaces it also has the benefit of its EQ and FX, which would usually be another post-recording process and an extra load on your CPU, with phantom power when using condenser microphones. Using the EQ and FX is also works well for those who are more hands on production wise, and lets not forget you can also capture all your live performances in a stereo track too. The sound quality is 16 Bit / 48 kHz so CD quality recordings are easily achieved.
When taking all the features into consideration, its plain to see that the connect series really are a versatile beast both for live and studio use, especially where space is sparse. The modern musician nowadays tends to be recording music at home on their laptop to upload and promote themselves online with the need for more equipment for their gig in the evening, so why not get a mixer that is equipped for both? If you're looking for a do-all solution on a budget, with a keen ear for quality look no further than the Wharfedale 1202 FX/USB.