Hands-On Review:Yamaha EMX Mixers

Focus on your performance instead of on the PA

When you’re gigging, there’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a balky sound system. Instead of being able to devote your attention to the music, you find yourself contantly distracted by howling feedback, horrendous hum, or a wonky mix. Working musicians who don’t have their own sound crew constantly struggle with having to divert their attention from their performance to their PA.


Yamaha clearly had this scenario in mind when designing their line of EMX mixers. They let the musician get on with the business of creativity by offering tightly integrated features and functions that make gig setup quick and simple. Whether you’re a solo act or a combo, you’ll find an EMX that suits your budget and the venues you play. And speaking of budget, the entire EMX line represents fantastic value when you consider the dollars-to-watts ratios. Let’s take a look at each model:


EMX620: The solo solution
This is one sweet six-channel solution for the solo performer or someone who’s never had a powered mixer before. With power and features that let you project your performance without extensive tweaking, it’s a remarkable value.


The input section has four channels that accept both XLR and 1/4", and two inputs that accept Super Hi-Z inputs to handle acoustic guitar pickups. There’s also a set of tape inputs for easy connection of CD players or cassette decks.


A built-in DSP processor dishes up a range of quality effects including reverb that can be sent to the stereo mix and to your monitors so you can hear what your audience hears. The 7-band graphic EQ lets you shape your sound and control feedback. The 200W amp ensures that you get your sound across. It’s built around Yamaha’s EEEngine technology for lighter weight and cooler operation and is protected with a built-in limiter that also shields your speakers from incineration. A solid complement of controls and features make it as capable as it is wallet-friendly.


EMX660: A step up in power, performance
An excellent choice for duos and trios, the 660’s got the sonic heft and quality to fill a small club with full frequency sound. Two 300W amps with flexible switching ensure your presence is felt while giving you plenty of control choices unlike many other box mixers. The six-channel input section accepts XLR or 1/4", plus two Super Hi-Z inputs. Both the main and monitor outputs have seven-band graphic EQ for solid sound shaping and feedback control capabilities. The onboard DSP processor offers eight easily controlled effect types optimized for live performance. If you’re using condenser mics, the phantom switch is a boon. A tape in controls the amount of tape signal to the monitors which can be a great rehearsal tool. Bristling with features that contradict the modest price tag, the EMX660 gives small groups and smaller budgets a big performance boost.


EMX860ST: Check out all the ins and outs
The next step up is the EMX860ST. With 8 channels that accept XLR or 1/4" inputs as well as just about any mic or other input device imaginable, Yamaha’s one-box solution keeps setup simple.

It too has a quality DSP processor built in that produces great reverb and other effects which are easily controlled and can be sent to both the stereo and monitor mixes. Tweaking is simple with seven-band graphic EQs on the mains and monitors so you can readily banish feedback.


A pad switch reduces input sensitivity when you’re confronted with bellowing vocalists or squealing saxes. With the phantom power switch, condenser mics are readily integrated into the mix without external gear.


When you’ve got your sound shaped just the way you want it, you’ll find the EMX860ST has got the juice to project it. It generates 600W of total power with three separate 200W amps, two for the mains, and one for the monitors. Built-in limiters and LEDs help protect your gear from meltdown. Maybe the coolest feature in the amp section is a routing switch which lets you bridge the left and right amps to send 400W to a single speaker – a great option that makes the mixer very versatile.


Click here to get the entire spec's and features low-down on the EMX line. With the Friend’s incredible pricing, the right mixer for you is just one click away!

Features & Specs

  • Input: 4 channels; XLR or 1/4"; Hi-Z, Super Hi-Z, Lo-Z
  • Built-in DSP
  • 7-band EQ
  • 200W amp
  • Pad switch
  • Phantom power
  • Effect return
  • 200W amp


  • Input: 6 channels; XLR or 1/4"; Hi-Z, Super Hi-Z, Lo-Z
  • Built-in DSP
  • Two 7-band graphic EQs
  • Tape in • Pad switch
  • Phantom power
  • Effects return
  • Two 300W amps

  • Input: 8 channels; XLR or 1/4"; Hi-Z, Super Hi-Z, Lo-Z
  • Built-in DSP
  • Tape in
  • Footswitch jack
  • Pad switch
  • Phantom power
  • Effects return
  • Three 200W amps with amp switching