Teenage Engineering, the company behind ultra-stylish synthesizers, SpeakersY computer cases, has released a new audio device: It’s called the TX-6, and it’s a diminutive (in size, not price) field mixer absolutely adorned with knobs. In addition to letting you mix the sound of six stereo inputs and send them to a computer, a speaker, or both, in true Teenage Engineering fashion, the TX-6 can also act as a synthesizer, drum sequencerand the USB-C audio interface.
First, though, we need to talk about those knobs. By default, they act as controls for a three-band equalizer, allowing you to adjust the treble, middle, and bass of each input. But take a look at teen engineering guide reveals the tons of other things you can do with them, from controlling compressor settings to adjusting panning or note duration. Whatever you use it for, you’ll be doing it in style; the knobs are colorful and knurled at the top, which should help you grip something that’s otherwise about the size of a large Q-Tip.
If you can look away from the knobs, the rest of the controls are absolutely perfect too. It has fader sliders (which are possibly more important than knobs because they actually allow you to mixture), a group of buttons, as well as a button/knob combo for navigating menus – it’s still my heart. There are also LED volume meters, with controllable brightness.
In terms of I/O, the TX-6 has those six audio input jacks (Apple never could) and three output jacks; two are 3.5mm for aux and cue out, and the main output is 6.35mm, or a quarter inch. It also has a built-in battery, which Teenage Engineering claims lasts around eight hours of use, and is charged via the USB-C port that also allows you to connect the TX-6 to your device. This can be a computer or an iPhone/iPad, if you have an appropriate cable or adapter. Again, all of this, plus those delicious knobs, are packed into something that has an absolutely small package.
By the way, yes, I can hear the whole of the UK snickering that I’m once again talking about my love for knobs. No need to comment on that, my sides still hurt from reading all the jokes in the last article. But come on, just Look at these.
Of course, I don’t want to fall asleep on the other parts of this design: It has a CNC aluminum frame, an adorable little screen to show you the menus, and a faux-leather back. To me, it looks a bit like an old-school Sony device, but better.
Hey, actually Teenage Engineering says the knobs are customizable. I’m sure there is Some parameter you can control with them that goes to 11…
Speaking of going beyond the upper limit, let’s talk about the price. The TX-6 costs, take a deep breath now, $1,199. That’s for the actual drive, along with a 3.5mm adapter for the main output and a USB-C cable. Additional cables, like a 3.5mm to RCA or dual-TS adapter, will cost $10-15.
While that price is almost unbelievable, I had a hard time thinking of other devices like the TX-6. the $150 Yamaha MG06X it is compact, but it would be difficult to call it small, and it certainly doesn’t look that great, in my opinion. The $350 Expand H6 it can be configured to have the same number of inputs, but is substantially bulkier and doesn’t have as many features as the TX-6. Also, while you could use it as a mixer, it’s definitely more of a field recorder. The mackie mcaster live it’s even less expensive at $230 and appears to be a similar size, but it’s battery-free and only has four inputs (although one of them is XLR, which could be useful if you want to plug in a mic).
While being in a league of its own may or may not justify its price, the TX-6’s price will likely turn off many aspiring DJs or casual musicians like myself, although it does boast a “DJ mode” among its many extra features. But if I’m totally honest with myself, I’d probably spend an embarrassing amount of money to play with one for a day, just so I could feel those sweet, sweet buttons (again, I really shouldn’t be posting this alone while the UK is waking up) .
The TX-6 is available in Teenage Engineering website.