Sonic LAB: 1010 Music Bluebox Mixer/Recorder

US Tiny desktop studio      18/01/21

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1010music have a range of products using their Box format. Featuring the touchscreen, buttons and rotary encoders. The Bluebox follows the same form, but this is a 12 channel digital mixer with 2 FX and a 14 channel digital SD card recorder (included 32GB card)

Connections are made with the 1/8th stereo jacks -   6 stereo ins which are pretty close together and require some specific adapters to enable easy fit access. There's also two stereo outputs - Mix and Cue or a bus, plus headphones out also 1/8th jacks.

On the front, there's a Micro SD card for storage (32GB card included) plus two mini jacks for MIDI io.

Power is supplied by a USB (large format) connector, thankfully, as this won't pop out  easily.

With up to 12 Input channels, they can be configured to be mono so it is possible to have up to 12 tracks, each with input gain, volume, pan, FX sends, EQ and record enable.

There are no dynamics per channel, but a stereo compressor for the master bus.

As a digital mixer, it is quite basic, but the EQ and FX do sound pretty good. I would have liked to see presets for the EQ and the Reverb/Delay as there are plenty of parameters to tinker with.

Recording is enabled per track and works at 16 bit 48kHz only. Each input can be recorded, plus the master Bus. Unfortunately, FX cannot be recorded separately, which would be pretty useful for stem creation.

The recording process itself is pretty basic. Enable the tracks you want, then hit record/play.

It's only possible to record from the beginning, making this more suitable for recording full performances or sketches. Recording always starts at 0, there's no punch in possible and playback also only starts at 0 too. 

If you want more granular control, you'll need to whip out the SD card and copy the files to your DAW for more work and editing.

Each time you record, a file is created which you can then select the active take (or not) so when you hit play this will be the file that plays back through the same channel

MIDI control
With the USB host connection a class compliant USB controller can be hooked up and MIDI controllers assigned (press edit>LEARN) to assign to volume and most FX parameters.

It would be nice to have a more comprehensive control mapping,  for instance I really wanted to map Freeze in the reverb.

Although there's only Delay and Reverb, they are pretty nice sounding, with the Delay being tempo syncable, and the reverb can give you short ambient spaces through to massive modulated frozen textures - right up my street.

While this is not a fully featured digital desk or digital recorder, it's actually really useful for jamming and  recording in a small setup and moving to your DAW for further work.

Additionally, you can use this as a playback device allowing you to mix your live and prerecorded tracks for live playback.

Priced at around £477 it's not the most affordable device, but it is really specifically useful if it's what you need. It also sounds pretty good, but you will need to invest in some decent, specialist audio adapters to make sure you can hook everything you need up.

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