Yamaha AG08 Mixer Review
Our Verdict and Review Summary
We really like the Yamaha AG08 because it's a very guitar-friendly mixer and interface. It has elements of a multi-effects processor (works for vocals and guitar), and a surprisingly advanced amp simulator. That simulator puts out a gain level and distortion that I've only heard in heavy-duty distortion pedals and tube amps.
I need to put forward a quick disclaimer, that I did not test the app for this mixer. Had I pulled that up, I could have made a lot more tweaks and adjustments, but the basics will do for my Yamaha AG08 review. Here's the setup I used to test:
- Boss Katana amplifier for guitar EQ
- Yamaha AG08 for effects and distortion
- PC with Audacity for simple recording
I wanted to use the EQ on the amp to provide more of a guitar-friendly base tone. I'd always recommend using a mixer's EQ as a secondary source of tone adjustment and not your primary, assuming you're talking about an instrument.
That said, this review was guitar-focused in terms of our sound demo, though I'll cover the raw features as well.
We don't do product comparisons for mixers, but you can check the Sweetwater pages for more info. This table just lists some mixers/interfaces in a similar price range.
Solid State Logic SSL 12
Universal Audio Volt 476P
Behringer FLOW 8
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IDEAL FOR: Streaming, small recording studios, and multi-use situations.
- Effects and amp simulator are incredibly good
- Multiple use cases and applicability
- App gives you a lot of granular control and easy-to-use graphic EQ
- Programmable sound pads up the value for streaming
- Some modulation (chorus or phaser) would have been cool
- A lot of granular control requires the app
Yamaha AG08 Price Guide
Prices updated Mon, September 25th, 2023.
Price History for Yamaha AG08 8-channel Mixer/USB Interface for Mac/PC - White
|Current Price||$535.99||September 20, 2023|
|Highest Price||$535.99||September 13, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$535.99||September 13, 2023|
Last price changes
|$535.99||September 13, 2023|
My focus was primarily guitar, since there's so much this mixer can do on that front alone. I used it as an amp model and effects processor, and was able to get a lot of really fantastic sounds out of it. Unfortunately, I was so enamored with the high levels of gain that I got through my recording without testing the lower, bluesier gain levels, so I'm currently working on a second video that covers things a little better (see video placeholder below).
Ambience (delay and reverb) and pitch shifting (voice changer) are the two primary effects categories. Modulation would have been a nice addition, perhaps a simple chorus. But within the two categories, you still have a lot to work with. Compression is another effects category included, but that's a pretty typical feature of mixers without regard to guitar.
The pitch/voice changing can get you a very vocal, wah-like sound, while you can pull lengthy trails and echoes out of the delay and reverb algorithms.
You can also combine delay and reverb.
Of course, all of these are designed for vocals as well, which is a more traditional context for this type of device.
That said, the amp simulator - which is specifically for guitar - puts out an incredibly high level of gain. What's more, it doesn't just sound saturated, but has a nice growl and chunk to it, like a modern and smooth distortion profile.
To be honest, I was shocked to get this sound out of it.
There's a little bit of noise in the demo, which I found out later was my fault (my own tech stupidity), but overall you get a nice feel for how thick it sounds. You can dial gain down to get a far more subtle tone, but again, I forgot to get that on the recording.
I wish I could have done some kind of an "in the room" demo like Ola Englund does, because the direct recording just doesn't do it justice.
We really need to get a decent amp mic in the studio.
Controls and other features
The AG08 doubles as a USB interface and streaming mixer, though there's a lot of granular functionality that you need the app for. I'm really not a fan of apps when it comes to music gear, which is probably dumb because they're everywhere now.
I'm just getting old (36) and "stuck in my ways" and want everything to be on a panel.
But, unfortunately for me, the app gives you most of the detail.
For example, you can tweak the effects levels and parameters.
You can see here that reverb level, delay time, and feedback can all be adjusted from the app. In my view, this process is just a lot more involved and time consuming than a typical pedal would be.
But if you're tweaking in the studio for recording, the app is a great tool to have available.
Here, you can see the EQ with a HPF (hi-pass filter) and extended control for each channel:
The design of the AG08 is most ideal for streaming, or for a member of a band who wants more granular control over his signal.
For streaming or podcasting, you'll only have two XLR (mic) inputs and two headphone outputs. If you stream a larger show with more than two people, you'll need a bigger mixer with more mic channels.
Here are the main areas of interest on the back panel.
You then have programmable presets, sound effects pads, and headphones/monitoring control on the front:
Price and Value
With a multi-use case device like this one, getting value comes down to how many of the features you'll actually use. Even with the guitar perks, streaming and vocals are still the primary attraction.
Perhaps a small studio where you dabble in all three (guitar, voice, and streaming) would be the best fit.
The price, at the time of writing my Yamaha AG08 review, was around $530.
This is a bit higher than the comparables I checked.
But, remember, you're getting all of the following, in some capacity:
- Streaming interface
- USB audio interface
- Amp simulator/effects processor
To get the most value possible, I'd only buy if you're hunting for at least three out of the four. Streaming should be one of them.
Wrap Up and Questions
I want to reiterate, there's more to unpack here, and I've just covered the basics, especially considering the app. But this is what you need to make a high level decision, as to whether or not the Yamaha AG08 is the right mixer/interface for your situation.
Assuming you need the streaming features, I think it's a great fit for home studios and smaller setups, in general.
If you have questions about the review, drop me a line in the comments section below and I'll help out as much as possible.