The TX-6 is marketed primarily as a tabletop mixer and audio interface, but also includes a synthesizer and drum machine, and it is it’s clever design and portability which make it so appealing to the musician on the go. The technologists at Teenage Engineering have left nothing unthought of when it comes to making a product which both suits the needs of musicians who may need to travel – as well as one which is technically well put together and doesn’t sacrifice it’s software or hardware just for being easy to manage. If anything, the TX-6 has so many features that its size and design is deceptive, this could, at first, be slightly overwhelming to a beginner sound designer and thus it may not necessarily be an ideal first mixer; then again, the ability to hook it up to your iOS device does make it an extremely attractive prospect for those who have not yet built a full studio of gear.
Ultimately the Teenage Engineering TX-6 is incredibly useful to have as a well-balanced middle ground between audio and digital. It’s unobtrusive enough that you can continue working mostly with your DAW if so desired – but the fact that it is a fully functional mixer as well as including the synthesizer and drum machine elements means that it is in some ways a stepping stone to the lush, hands on world of an analogue studio. In keeping with this happy medium between different ways of working, it’s design and aesthetics sit somewhere between modern and retro, with a pixelated LED display and sleek yet incredibly durable shell.
How does the Teenage Engineering TX-6 compare to other tabletop mixers?
Is there really anything comparable to the TX-6 on the market? It doesn’t fall cleanly into any particular category of gear as in addition to being a mixer, it also acts as a synthesizer with its own low frequency oscillator and envelope. How does this work? The TX-6 may be a little counter intuitive to work at first due to having to dig through it’s different parts to discover all that it can do, and this is one of the few cons of it as a piece of hardware. It takes a bit of getting into before you can really figure out all its features, plus how they interact with each other – and as a result it holds hidden surprises for you as you go along. That being said, this also means that after purchasing one you may not be able to fully predict how it will fit into your pre-existing workflow. Ultimately the TX-6 is part of a trend of synthesizers and tabletop mixers which are all about packing the best possible options into a small space – not necessarily from the perspective that more is more but instead, this is a synth which has really been designed to bring freedom and give you the most creative possibilities.
Features and specs
One thing which sets the Teenage Engineering TX-6 apart is what it is capable of when hooked up to an iOS device. It allows you to mix multiple tracks onscreen using GarageBand or the DAW of your choice, which works perfectly in keeping with the portability which is a huge selling point – Teenage Engineering have really taken into account the increasing number of high quality apps such as samplers or other pieces of music gear which musicians now carry with them on their phones – and despite the TX-6 being a high quality and pricy bit of hardware, the designers have chosen to work with these trends as opposed to against them. In this way, they have carved themselves a niche in the market which allows them to sit in a comfortable place at the crossroads of some sort of new evolution of music technology. In fact, the tech behind this synth means that it is actually – as boasted by the website – the smallest of its kind, and the kind of craftsmanship which has gone into creating it is evident in the fact that it is high quality and by all accounts hard waring. In some ways, the TX-6 is unprecedented in the combination of effects it has – one of the things Teenage Engineering has really thought about is usability.
The Teenage Engineering TX-6 has:
An included USB-C cable so it can be used as a classic 12 channel audio interface, as well as MFi which allow you to attach it to any iOS device.
An 8 hour rechargeable battery, user-sensitive display and customisable LED.
4 oscillator waveforms, 4 drum sounds, and tempo sync mode to stay on the beat.
8 built in FX – reverb, filter, delay, freeze, tape, distortion, and chorus
Wireless connectivity as well as specialist made slimline cables and a field bag so you can take the TX-6 wherever you go
In addition, the innovative DJ mode means that the TX-6 can be turned on its side with three of the 12 channels able to be used to crossfade.
6 3.5mm audio inputs
Price and availability
With all of this, the TX-6 really does not come cheap. But is it worth it? This is a truly unique piece of kit, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else on the internet- and one which certainly hasn’t really been seen before in the evolution of synthesis. However, at 1199 USD, it is on the pricier end. Nevertheless, it can be bought directly from Teenage Engineering’s website.
Does the TX six have too many things in one small machine? When reading it’s list of specifications, it could be easy to conclude that there is simply too much going on. However, the real test is whether a musician needs anything else. It is not necessarily the amount but how the features of the TX-6 fit into a musician’s lifestyle – instead, they have judiciously chosen features that offer the most based on what they are, and combined these into a small package to fit with the flow of a wide variety of kinds of sound designers. Therefore while it may take some investigation to discover everything that the TX-6 has to offer, it nevertheless is an extremely useful piece of kit and well worth the investment for those who want a more flexible way of working with sound design – or those who are really looking for something bold and parameter changing for a turning point in their work.