Should I pull the trigger on an M7?

curtis73

Active Member
I'm an analog guy, but we gotta go digital. It's time for me to learn stuff and things, and we're doing more musicals here in this black box these days.

I have a line on an M7CL-48. No Cat5 card, no case, but it will never move, so I don't care about a case, and I have enough XLR to choke a whale. Used fewer than a dozen times for $2000. Good deal? 48 channels is stoopid overkill. 32 channel would be more than enough, but I'm not finding 32s for this kind of bargain... or what I think is a bargain.

I know of its condition because my sound guy works for the company selling it and he's the only one who ever used it. The company's owner is 76 and retiring and liquidating.

Buy it? Keep shopping?
 

DaveySimps

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
The M7CL is a good board, but it is almost 2 generations old. I would not sink $2,000 into technology that old.


~Dave
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
My shop had a pair of M7s. They were reliable and ticked a lot of market-driven boxes when they came out, very volunteer, HoW friendly (no layers). Inputs can route directly to Matrices giving you an effective 26 bus console. Lots of flexibility for the day and not hideous audio, but it shows it's age now.

I'm with Dave, though. If I had $2k burning my pocket I'd still hold out for something else unless it's a case of "spend this grant/donor money now, or lose it". Even then there might be a better use of $2k than an M7...

edit ps: the above from a guy who pioneered using the M7 in youth musical theater in this market. The M7 let me do things that the company and PACs equipment could not do. It significantly upped the expectations for sound quality, execution, and eventually sound design. Yamaha supports professional audio for about 10 years from EOL, subject to eventual runout of custom mechanical or silicon parts. Faders may already be gone.
 

Aaron Becker

Well-Known Member
Really depends on your use case. If you have the cash to spare and are replacing an analog board and a bunch of outboard gear, it could be worth it. Latest and greatest? Of course not, but you know that.

It's "old technology" - but I always look at the newest tech and say "what does the newest have that the old tech doesn't, and will I desire than over the lifetime of the used purchase?" I say go for it. But I don't know your specific situation, budget, if this purchase is personal or business, etc. I think at this point having a digital console over an analog for anything over a few channels is a no-brainer, but that's just me. It's likely the M7 has better tech than whatever you're using analog, and you're still going to gain a whole ton of features in the meantime.
Does the price include a road case of any type?
 

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Its fine... I'd probably rather have an X32... The X32 will sound better. The M7 is a good desk though, plenty of bands still tour with them at monitors simply because they don't want to have to re-do all their scenes.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Its fine... I'd probably rather have an X32... The X32 will sound better. The M7 is a good desk though, plenty of bands still tour with them at monitors simply because they don't want to have to re-do all their scenes.
I haven't seen an M7 with an act in... uh... years. What I see most often are a few Midas Pro series, Avid S6L, Digi 10 and 12, a couple of Yammy CL... oh, and a A-H once in a blue moon. For acts carrying an IEM rig the most common is an X32 Rack, a hard wire split to XLR fan to the house snake head, and an access point for the band to use their phones to mix. Maybe IEM and wireless mic TX/RX in the rack with a work drawer, too. One stop shopping.

The one place the M7 will sound better is EFX... at least the reverbs will sound different.
 

Lextech

Well-Known Member
At this point I would not buy an M7, I also have not seen one in a long time. It was an "okay" sounding console but I never liked the work flow. Considering it's age and how hard it is to get electronic parts I would be afraid of keeping it working. Considering you can get an X32 for $2500, and I really dislike Behringer's business practices so this is a stretch for me, I would save up for that.

 

curtis73

Active Member
This is all great input (pun intended).

There is no budget, truthfully. A few times in the past when I see an urgent need I have purchased things with my own funds and then wrote a grant and the theater buys it from me, but waiting for a grant at this point will take the better part of a year, if it's awarded at all. Sometimes a board member will write a check to cover urgent needs as well.

I was leaning toward the Yamaha line since I'm told that it has a more "analog" interface, so anyone who is proficient on an analog desk can pretty easily switch over. I was also told that Behringer is a bit of a learning curve.

When I say I'm analog, I mean ANALOG. My current desk is an 8 channel Mackie with one toasted fader. I did have an A&H 24+4 that became so used and abused that I liquidated it. Prior to that I had a Soundcraft 200 that was so old I expected it to have vacuum tubes. I cleaned the A&H and was able to get 20 dirty channels so I traded it for a pair of SP3Gs and a 16+4 snake.

Current rig is 4 wedges in a cluster - two with blown horns, an old bronze Peavey M7000 amp, and 1/4" speaker cable. I don't think I own anything with speakon. That's how analog we are here. The problem is, we are likely doing a musical here in December, and I'm not going to be able to do that with 7 working channels on a Mackie, nor do I have time to solicit a grant to do it right.

Keep this going. I'm learning.
 

TheaterEd

Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
I have worked with the M7 for the past 9 years. This feels weird to say, but it still doesn't feel like 'Home'. Y'know? I don't like that it doesn't have pages and that I have to commute to the top left of the board. I'm currently eyeing up an A & H SQ7 for it's affordable price, custom pages, and that it still has analogue inputs on the board to work with our current snake.

The M7 Definitely translates well for analogue users, but I think you will be surprised how quickly your analogue mixing skills translate to digital boards.

If you want to get any kind of board before December, then you will have a hard time finding something in stock, so the M7 purchase might make sense for you.
 
We have had an M7 since we opened in 2011. There have been no software updates since ~2015(I think) and the app/computer interface is difficult if you can make it work. Compared to modern digital consoles it is noisy. Very "original digital" sound.

We are in the process of replacing it with a AH dLive C3500. Our June order should arrive this year... probably.
 

curtis73

Active Member
Ok, so if you had a budget of $2000 for a used desk, what would you buy?
  • Easy to use for an analog guy like me, plus something easy to teach to volunteers who want to learn.
  • 32 channel
  • future cat5 upgrade
  • wifi... already have the ipad
  • better-than-average sound quality
  • it will likely never leave the booth, so no road case required. I can build a doghouse for it.
aaaand GO.
 

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I haven't seen an M7 with an act in... uh... years. What I see most often are a few Midas Pro series, Avid S6L, Digi 10 and 12, a couple of Yammy CL... oh, and a A-H once in a blue moon. For acts carrying an IEM rig the most common is an X32 Rack, a hard wire split to XLR fan to the house snake head, and an access point for the band to use their phones to mix. Maybe IEM and wireless mic TX/RX in the rack with a work drawer, too. One stop shopping.

The one place the M7 will sound better is EFX... at least the reverbs will sound different.

We had one roll in late 2019. For a long time we had to rent one every single time we had Fab Faux in... but they finally moved to CL desks. Post pandemic Midas and Digico are still dominate, we even had a Heritage D in last week. Small blip of Avid desks with their new line came out but that quickly went away and Digico's are back. Still sitting on our Pro2's and have no idea what we will do next.
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Frankly, I'd probably go for an X32 or M32. I don't know that the sound quality is "better than average" these days for a digital console, but they're all so good that the mixer is generally not going to be anywhere near the limiting factor in sound quality. It is (or at least can be) superior to most analog consoles in many regards: the noise floor is lower (and stays low throughout the board), the EQ is much more flexible which lets you get better sound if you use it properly (and worse sound if you don't), there is pretty comprehensive dynamics processing available on every channel, etc. Doubtless there are better effects and such available on other, more expensive mixers, but those in the X32 are entirely usable in my somewhat limited experience.

Yes, there is some learning curve, but it's not like you're trying to figure out how to fly a UFO coming from another planet based on expertise with paddling a canoe. The conceptual basis is pretty much the same as any mixer, though you can't see everything at once. Additionally, with the X32, there are a whole lot of training videos and other materials readily available since it's so popular.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
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I don't like that it doesn't have pages and that I have to commute to the top left of the board.
Though you can use the quick select buttons and essentially make the centra logic section your "page".



I'm still using an M7 as my main desk, and if I need to make a quick throw for some reason I find I can do that and flip back to where I was, faster than the long reach for the top corner. If we need something newer it's a CL because that fits every rider we get. Every show (broadway and various national touring acts) have been an even split between digico desks, CL's and one guy carrying a PM-10. I haven't seen anything else (at least in my house) in the last 3 years.

Ok, so if you had a budget of $2000 for a used desk, what would you buy?
Supposedly there's a shop selling NEW x32's for $2500 on Reverb, but I'd verify that stock is real first. But there's also a few compact x32's listed there as well at the moment, Keep an eye on their listings and maybe you'll score a good find.


https://reverb.com/marketplace?category=mixers&product_type=pro-audio&price_min=1500&price_max=2500
 

FMEng

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MNicolai

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That's the normal street price for an X32 these days, offered by many, reputable dealers.

Well...offered maybe by Amazon and Full Compass.

"Many reputable dealers" do not exist in Behringer's distribution chain anymore. They flamethrowered their dealerships last year and only sell through major online retailers.

As @josh88 pointed out, Behringer has major supply chain and technical support issues. Even the Midas side of things has had many loyal users swearing off of Midas consoles because Music Tribe has set fire to their support and reputation.
 
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nealgrover

Member
Ive shunned Behringer gear for decades. But then…. I bought a deepmind 12 keyboard snd there has never been anything like it for education nor for mad-scientist soundcrafting.
which brings me to X-32.
I wanted a digital mixer for the school theater due to so many effects and eq details per channel plus remote operation from any point in the house.
I have a Soundcraft ui24r for my own band and suggested one for the theater. A neighboring district vehemently argued for the X-32 based on similar functionality and the biggest factor of all: that the kids love operating it. Student production skills can leap when kids “just can’t wait” to get on the gear and make it sound good/make themselves feel competent and in control. C-32 has been around long enough to prove itself and is recent enough to be a success for at least another decade even though it will surely be outclassed due to the nature of the business. I’m convinced— for the kids.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Ive shunned Behringer gear for decades. But then…. I bought a deepmind 12 keyboard snd there has never been anything like it for education nor for mad-scientist soundcrafting.
which brings me to X-32.
I wanted a digital mixer for the school theater due to so many effects and eq details per channel plus remote operation from any point in the house.
I have a Soundcraft ui24r for my own band and suggested one for the theater. A neighboring district vehemently argued for the X-32 based on similar functionality and the biggest factor of all: that the kids love operating it. Student production skills can leap when kids “just can’t wait” to get on the gear and make it sound good/make themselves feel competent and in control. C-32 has been around long enough to prove itself and is recent enough to be a success for at least another decade even though it will surely be outclassed due to the nature of the business. I’m convinced— for the kids.
I also have a Soundcraft ui24r and just like the x32 rack and other "iPad" consoles, they have a place, but its a limited one and for me with a show critical situations, I can't give up physical faders entirely. Rack boxes are great for low key events, smaller groups, and backed up with a good router can be real reliable.

I have MANY years on the x32 and its a little long in the tooth (though UI update helps), it changed the game as far as cheap digital mixers when it came out, but other brands have caught up. That being said I've worked on 3 or 4 32's and all have been rock solid and real user friendly. Kids can pick up pretty much any digital board pretty easily. I've always had more trouble teaching adults used to analog workflow than I've had teaching students. My biggest complaint about the x32 was shipping with the stupid phone holder sized for the iPhone of the time, and rendered almost immediately worthless as phones changed shape.
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
back to the "2 gens ago" M7-CL ... anything of that age ... you want to check to be sure it wasn't built pre-ROHS regulations. So many things aren't board-level repairable because mfrs stopped making component X in dimensions XxYxZ when ROHS regulations (regulating lead in electronics) took effect. I've had that be the reason customers replaced entire PBXs, voicemails, and other largish infrastructure.
 

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