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Best new studio mixer 2022: Teenage Engineering TX-6

As 2022 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2023, we’re bringing you our picks of the best new gear this year, from drum machines to turntables.

Describing Teenage Engineering’s genre-defying TX-6 as a studio mixer is massively underselling it, but it’s the closest category which fits this controversial but dazzlingly impressive little box. ‘Little’ is the operative word here; the TX-6 is absolutely tiny, measuring in at a truly palm-sized 90 x 62 x 23 mm. Portability certainly isn’t an issue, but how exactly would you describe this diminutive device?

The TX-6 is a studio mixer or battery-powereed field mixer with up to six stereo channels, but it’s also a wireless controller. It’s an audio interface which can also function as a DJ mixer, while also including a built-in synthesiser and sequencer. With such a variety of functions thrown in, you might assume that it’s a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. That certainly isn’t the case. If anything, the number one strength of the TX-6 is its sound quality, which is truly high-end. Treat it purely as a portable mixer/interface and the quality alone justifies why it should be considered a genuine professional tool.

We’ve come to expect clever, stylish design from Teenage Engineering and that’s certainly the case here, even if the TX-6 wears its innovative approach a little more lightly than something like an OP-1 or a Pocket Operator. Take, for example, the customisable controls for the six channel strips, allowing you access to obvious parameters like EQ or panning but also other, deeper control depending on your requirements. The built-in digital synthesis features include drum synthesis and can be sequenced in real time alongside incoming audio thanks to the ability to analyse tempo and generate an internal clock signal. All of these features add value, but the bottom line is that the TX-6 is high-end professional device masquerading as a cute little toy, in much the same way as the original OP-1 shook up the synth/sequencer market. The target market here is unashamedly high-end, just as it was with the OP-1; you’re most likely to find the TX-6 in the hand luggage of a touring producer-DJ who wants to record high-quality audio on the road, or stashed away by a pro musician who might need to record at a moment’s notice when inspiration strikes.

All of which leads us to the question of price, the most controversial aspect of the TX-6. At just over £1,000, the TX-6 is literally in a class of its own. If you don’t get it, that’s fine – the features on offer here won’t necessarily make sense for everyone’s needs – but for those who need the combination of high-end sound with unparalleled portability, there’s simply nothing else which competes with what the TX-6 has to offer.

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