Cutec MX1210 Mixing Console
Well constructed, facility-laden and reasonably priced, the Cutec is also one of the most attractive small mixers we've seen. Paul White finds out if beauty is more than skin deep.
A multi-purpose mixer that boasts a wide range of facilities and a surprisingly low price tag.
Although only a comparatively recent arrival on these shores, the Cutec brand name is already well established in the field of budget proaudio hardware, and judging by the time spent with their new MX1210 console, I'd say it can only serve to enhance their reputation.
The MX1210 is suitable for semi-pro live or recording work, while the provision of two pairs of RIAA-equalised record deck inputs extends its possible uses to production work and creative disco mixing.
Most of the chassis is fabricated from a single piece of steel, providing a strong but visually attractive exterior, while access to the electronics is through a separate steel bottom cover. Internal PCB construction is tidy if a little unremarkable, but there should be no need for most users to go inside in the normal run of things, since all user-adjustable functions are externally located.
The channel and master sliders are about three inches in length, which is perfectly adequate (perhaps even generous) for a mixer of this type, and all the controls have a smooth feel to them, which inspires confidence.
The cabinet is completed by a pair of wooden end cheeks, and the whole package measures only 620 x 105 x 256 mm and weighs a modest 8kg. A case is also offered as an optional extra, and this brings the overall weight up to 13kg.
Each channel has both mic and line input sockets, but there is no selector switch or input gain control. Instead, gain matching is achieved by means of a three-position slide switch that enables the sensitivity to be set to -15dB, 0dB, or +15dB, according to the type of input signal being used.
The EQ section is a simple bass/treble arrangement giving ±12dB of adjustment at 100Hz and a similar amount at 10kHz. This is adequate for most types of general-purpose work, but more than a little restricting in more demanding situations such as the equalising of closely-miked drums, for example. There are two auxiliary sends, one pre-fade for foldback, the other post-fade for use as an effects send control. The foldback output has a master level control, but the effects send relies on your outboard unit having a controllable input gain if precise level matching is required.
"No mixer can be all things to all men, but this little unit manages to offer a great deal of flexibility."
A conventional panpot is incorporated into each channel, and although there is no PFL (pre-fade listen) facility, there is a peak-reading LED on every channel to indicate excessive input gain.
Just below the meters are two five-band graphic equalisers (one for each output channel) and although these are not really flexible enough for exacting room equalisation, they do add greater scope to fine tonal adjustment. A stereo headphone output is provided, this being best-suited to high-impedance 'phones and having its own independent volume control. There is also an effects return level control, and this incorporates a transverse pan slider that enables the effect to be positioned in the stereo output mix.
The MX1210 worked pretty much as expected, the only real operational drawback being the limitations imposed by the two-band tone control. In terms of noise, the circuitry was no worse than many mixers costing three times the price of this model, and in general problems only occurred when a high gain was applied to the microphone output in an attempt to capture a quiet sound. The phono inputs could also be a little noisy at high levels, and I found it best to turn these right down when not in use.
No problems were encountered using the graphic equaliser section providing that only relatively modest amounts of cut and boost were applied, and the centre frequencies seem well chosen for the majority of possible uses. The sliders have centre detents (a nice touch), and if you're going to be recording live gigs, you'll be pleased to see that there's a pair of phonos for tape connection on the rear panel - also a thoughtful inclusion.
No mixer can be all things to all men - especially at the budget end of the market - but this little unit manages to offer a great deal of flexibility, no matter what you intend to use it for. The layout is particularly sensible, and the positioning of the input and output sockets means that you can always see what you're doing without having to walk round to the back of the console.
In terms of physical appearance, this mixer is one of the most appealing I have come across, and the provision of record deck inputs should attract users from the disco and production fraternity as well as pro musicians and engineers Because of its small physical size and clear layout, the MX1210 should also make an ideal keyboard mixer, particularly when you take its built-in graphic EQs into account.
Obviously some compromises have to be made in the construction and design of such a mixer, but for the most part these do not make themselves too apparent, and there's no denying that the Cutec represents an attractive and versatile package that meets all the normal requirements for a quality mixer at a sensible price.
The Cutec MX1210 carries an RRP of £358 including VAT, and further details are obtainable from the importers, MTR, at (Contact Details).
Review by Paul White
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