Bastl Instruments says goodbye to the Dude and reveals the Bestie, a portable 5-channel stereo mixer with built-in feedback.
At SynthFest France 2023, Patrik of Bastl Instruments gave me a first look at their new intriguing BESTIE portable stereo mixer.
Article From April 12th, 2023
The small, inconspicuous products are often the ones that go down best with customers. Let’s say the little stars of the portfolio. The Volcas are a perfect example: Almost ten years ago, Korg presented the Volcas for the first time at the Musikmesse. And the small, affordable synths continue to be all-time favorites.
For the Czech company Bastl Instruments, it’s the Dude. A very popular 5-channel mixer with feedback for little money. This has now come of age, and for Bastl it’s time for a Dude for the current time. Say goodbye, Dude, and welcome Bestie, an all-new stereo mixer carrying the spirit of the original device.
Bastl Instruments Bestie
According to Bastl Instruments, it is a re-imagination of its popular mixer Dude (2017), with stereo connectivity and with portable USB-powered setups in mind.
Bestie is a 5-channel stereo mixer with up to a clean 20 dB boost per channel, a clickless mute switch per channel, and flexible connectivity. Looks unspectacular at first glance. Or like a dude in stereo. But the circuit has a cool experimental twist—something you don’t expect from a classic mixer.
The mixer was created again in collaboration with Casper Electronics. Both developers are strongly influenced by the no-input mixing technique, often used to make feedback drones with mixers. This influence can also be found here in the Beast.
Channel 3 on the Bestie is pre-routed as a feedback channel, giving your tracks an extra layer of dirt and distortion. Thus you can turn Bestie in a stereo distortion/saturator effect that can mangle your tracks with more juice and crunch. Bastl Instruments says:
When utilizing Channel 3 as a feedback channel, the level before the 12 o’clock position functions as an added distortion and gain. If boosted beyond 0 dB, it will begin to self-oscillate and generate increasingly deeper tones as the channel is further amplified. At maximum settings, it produces distinct tremolo-like effects.
The beast is particularly tempting for musicians who would like to drift into experimental sounds. The circuit is designed in such a way that the mixer can be overdriven and used as a sound-processing device
But don’t worry, it’s also a classic mixer. Without the feedback, Bestie is a clean mixer with a clean boost with up to +20dB per channel and carefully crafted saturation characteristics.
The inputs are on the front of the mixer, including two flexible 2-mono to stereo inputs (1/5 channels), two stereo inputs, and the mighty feedback input also in stereo. I like that the inputs are in front, and looks nicer and tidier than everything on the backside. Here, you get a stereo mix out, a headphones jack, and a USB-C port for power. Alternatively, you can power it with AAA batteries.
The dedicated headphone output offers a loudness control with a smooth mixdown overdrive character and a pre/post mute switch for pre-listening to all your channels before unmuting them to the speakers.
- 5 stereo channels
- mute switch with light indication per channel
- level control per channel with up to 20 dB boost
- low noise preamps with sweet overdrive character (same as Dude)
- inputs via 3.5 mm stereo jacks
- 3.5 mm jack output
- 3.5 mm jack headphone output with loudness control
- pre/post mute option for the headphone output (pre-listen)
- channel 3 is normalized to the output, making it a default feedback channel. Channels 1 and 5 have two 3.5 mm jacks to also accept dual jack stereo or mono signals.
- full metal enclosure and rigid pots
- USB-C power or 4x AA battery power
- input impedance: 22 kΩ, output impedance: 100 Ω and headphone impedance: 8–250 Ω
An excellent upgrade for the Dude mono mixer. The idea of adding a feedback path makes the Bestie a very fascinating portable mixer. So is not only a mixer but also a characterful effects processor and an experimental instrument.
Using the mixer with USB-C or batteries also opens up many possibilities for using it in various mobile setups. I’m now imagining a Beast+ with a built-in recorder; that would be the next step, wouldn’t it?
Bastl Instruments Bestie is available now for pre-order for 180€ excl tax and will ship in early May 2023.
More information here: Bastl Instruments
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