I’m always on the lookout for good deals on products that you can use for multiple purposes. Today I’m going to tell you about the Phonic Helix Board MkI FireWire. It has been replaced by the MkII but is virtually the same board with a few cosmetic changes. I’m talking about the MkI because you can get a great deal on it right now on eBay.
The great thing about this board is it’s versatility both in a live setting and in the studio. The fact that you can connect this mixer to a PC or a Mac via the FireWire interface is just amazing in a mixer in this price range.
The mixer can handle your bands live mixing requirements with 6 Mic/Line channels with inserts. These channels can either accept a microphone or a 1\4″ mono input signal. It also has 2 stereo input channels that can also either accept the 1\4″ stereo or mono input or 2 additional microphone inputs. That’s a total of 8 mic preamps complete with phantom power for powering your studio condenser microphones. The mixer also has 2 additional stereo auxiliary inputs for a total of 18 inputs. That should be plenty of inputs for a typical band of 4-5 members. The mixer also features a built in 24-bit digital multi-effect processor with 16 programs plus one main parameter control, tap control and a footswitch jack. For a full list of features I’ve included a link to the Owners Manual at the bottom of this post.
I’ve listed just some of the features of this mixer and as you can see, it’s got you covered for hooking up your entire band without a lot of fuss. Now the true advantage this board has is it’s built in FireWire interface. This will allow you to stream up to 16 individual channels to any PC or Mac allowing for recording, editing and tweaking of tracks. You can either record with the onboard effects unit or use any of the plugins for the Cubase LE audio software included with the Helix Board 18 FireWire MK1. My preference would be to use this board as an input mixer for the very powerful Sony Acid 6 Music Workstation software. The boards drivers are compatible with both Mac OSX and Windows XP. What makes this really great is if you want to record your bands live shows you can hook it to a laptop and record a sixteen track take of your live show. Having sixteen tracks to work with at mixdown is a huge advantage for mixing a live show for commercial release.
I don’t own this board yet but I LOVE the features. In researching it, I’ve read both positive and negative reviews of the board. By and large everyone agrees that for this price you just can’t beat it’s features though some people have experienced breakdowns with the board. I will offer this opinion from my experience with budget equipment. Make sure you buy from a seller that can at least guarantee that the board will be covered under the manufacturer warranty. Most equipment will fail within the manufacturer warranty if it’s going to fail at all. I’ve found that if you treat your budget equipment with care you can really get some good use out of it. If any of you that read this have experience with this board, please leave it in the comments section.
The best deals on the Internet that I’ve found on this board are on eBay. Just click the links below to search and find the best price on the Helix Board 18 FireWire.
Read the Owners Manual
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