I've had this headphone amp/mixer in my studio for over two years now and it's probably one of the best under $300 investments I've made. The Q-Mix is a 6 x 6 headphone mixer and amp with six inputs and six powered headphone outputs. Each musician can dial in their own personalized mix from the six inputs to one of the six outputs. Inputs 1 and 2 are the main stereo inputs and are controlled by one knob. The other four inputs are mono and have their own knobs. There is also an effects loop to hook up a dedicated external effects processor to the Q-Mix. Once you set up the inputs to the Q-Mix, just label it and show the most tech savvy person in the band how to work it. Since I've had this box, two things have changed on every session I do. One, I never have to waste time dialing in a headphone mix for bands, and they're never having to ask me to turn anything up or down in their headphones, which is frustrating for both parties. Two, we get better performances on tape because musicians can hear better, and that's the whole point, right?

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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