Hexmix + Hexpander is an awesome system if you do not care about voltage control and want multiple sends and EQs in euro format.
my biggest pluses
+ 3 send / stereo returns with post and pre
+ 3band eq on every channel + 3band master eq
+ playable vactrol (clickless) mutes
+ good overall quality and sound (personal feel, do not have xp with other bigger euro mixers)
+ switch for line/synth level on returns is nice to have if you use some external gear
my biggest minuses
- just manual pans :/, so you need to sacrifice 2 channels to do cv pan
- no vca or other voltage control :/...(which is why to have modular)
- only six channels, but usually it is enough for what I need or I just add few submixes
- no stereo dedicated inputs / channels, would be really cool and handy from my point of view
- for people with bigger hands / fingers might be too tight spaced
And here goes my journey how I decided on the Befaco Hexmix system as my actual eurorack mixer.
At first I started with small sized system just doing submixes and as the output mixer used Konstant Lab Panorama Mix - 4 ins with manual panorama and mutes, stereo (L,R) out + headphones amp out, lot of headroom and I was super happy with this small footprint, quality mixer for decent price. And I knew I will find use for it later when I decide for more advanced mixer solution...
For some time I was reading, watching many videos on various mix systems and possibilities for eurorack. External solutions could be cheaper, but felt detached from the system and not so straightforward use of euro effects / sends, also big footprint (but nice to have long faders...).Pluses / minuses....finally I decided to go with euro environment. I record just in stereo / 2 channels on a hand held Roland recorder and I do not use any audio interface atm (even though befaco have direct outs so if ever needed it is there), focusing more on the "live" play then recording multichannel and post editing atm. In the future maybe I will think about some stereo dj mixer to bring euro and stand alone synths or other sources together when I decide to expand the setup.
I researched mainly the Befaco Hexmix system, WMD performance mixer, Frap Tools CGM, ADDAC 807, XAOC Praga + Hrad and Doepfer Performance Mixer.
ADDAC 807 have almost endless possibilities, 3 stereo sand/return, stereo lines, synth/line level switches, pans, vcas...almost everything under cv control possibility, but then only 5 channels (with expansion +4 more) and also super power hungry and costs fortune...not sure even if it is available, haven't looked in shops.
Similar it is with Frap Tools CGM, looks interesting, but it could get really pricey and super power hungry, ADDAC seemed still a better solution then CGM from personal point of view.
Praga and Doepfer. At first it seemed good enough, but both of them had too many downsides for me personally, but I was inclining more to Doepfer here for some time, even I like Xaoc modules by look and also functionality it just not gives too much for the price tag...So I decided not to go this road either.
Then there were just the last two left on my list - WMD performance mix and Befaco Hexmix system. Probably everyone will have at some point this dilemma when looking into euro mixers. I let it sink in for more then a month and then I asked myself what I really want from the mixer atm... Send /stereo returns were important for me, EQ is super handy to have to sculpt the sounds in my point of view, I am mostly focusing on ambient, drone, generative genre with some melody, but not too much of drums etc...WMD gives me less effect simultaneously and personally I do not like small / short faders in euro format, for fine tuning the values it is just not that fun to work with (but never used WMD so I might be wrong). I was not super excited to have vca in the mixer as I have "enough" vcas in other modules, even though it is a great addition :/.I would love to have a panning cv, but it is possible to do it another way...So going back and forth for some time... and summing + and -... ultimate winner was Befaco Hexmix system for me. Later I bought bigger knobs from Thonk. The original knobs are not that bad as some people point out (slippery knobs)...it is definitely usable, just bigger knobs gives more precision. I miss some stereo dedicated channels, but ultimately it is a great mixer, just make sure it fits your needs and style of play in most features it has to offer.