So many products I review see me reminiscing about my formative days in the industry and thinking about the products I used to use. I am often given cause to think about how far things have since advanced, and the powering up the PM502 yielded one such moment. What a wonderful little thing it is. Back when I was a kid, we used to call portable mixer amplifiers ’bricks”. The concept is simple, and in some way the reverse of the powered speaker. Put the amp in the mixer and use un-powered speakers for a pretty compact, lightweight mobile PA system. Add in some powered speakers and you can have foldback too. Usually there would be some kind of on-board effect processor too.
The PM502 is the powered mixer for the modern age. There are five mic inputs (complete with global phantom power), and three stereo line inputs. The mic inputs have variable gain pots and combo connectors which accept XLR or TRS plugs. Line input is via TRS or RCA, and each input can be switched between two sensitivity options (lo and hi). All inputs have a peak LED and three-band EQ, and each of them has a Master, Aux, and FX bus send level. Inputs done!
No, inputs not done. Because there are global mic compressor and talk over functions (each independently switchable), as well as a button to mute all the mic inputs. The mute button is the only red button on the panel, so it’s nice and obvious. On the line input side, there’s an internal USB file player with a port on the front panel. Its output appears at line input three.
On the output side of things, the dual class D 450W RMS amplifier channels appear on NL4 connectors at the back panel. An adjacent phoenix connector is used to drive 100V line systems – just choose between this and low impedance output in the setup menu. There’s an aux output on TRS and even a type B USB port allowing basic recording direct to computer. The front panel has a headphone output with volume control, though with no solo buttons you’re limited to just hearing whatever is routed to the master output.
The internal effect processor has 32 editable presets, and can be returned to main and aux mixes independently. A pedal input allows external effect on/off control. The seven-band physical EQ can be tied to the master A or master B or AUX DSP EQ. Did I mention the master output count? It’s two, with independent level control for each, as well as variable routing and delay for output B. You can also mono each bus independently, the default is stereo.
All this is controlled via the backlit screen and adjacent rotary encoder button. The menu is dead simple to operate and also gets you access to other functions like speaker processing and controls for the USB player. Even little things like the order – in which function pages appear on the display – has clearly been well thought out – the most commonly accessed pages are the ones that appear earliest. Rack ears are optional, but for light duty travelling or dry hire I’d probably just case it in a rigid soft case to take advantage of the minimal 4.9kg weight.
On top of all the wonderful functionality, the PM502 also looks really cool. Dynacord stuff has always worked well but I’ve never yet seen it look this nice. Perhaps the core of the attraction is the simplicity of operation – anyone with half a clue about sound would have a pretty easy time getting results from the PM502, while anyone with a whole clue will delve into the menu and get the absolute best from it. It’s just a beautiful thing and perfect for a huge number of applications – anything from council events to gymnasiums, schools, bistros, churches and community groups.
What Dynacord has done with the PM502 is taken the basic brick and made into something much smarter and cooler, and I reckon they’ve done it really well.
RRP: R17 500 ex-VAT
Product Info: www.dynacord.com