Teenage Engineering TX-6 Review

Teenage Engineering TX-6 Review

It’s time to get hands-on with the Teenage Engineering TX-6 mixer and interface hybrid music machine. The TX-6 is much more than just a mini mixer. It certainly sums up individual audio signals/inputs into a single stereo output, six to be exact, as any good mixer should, but it can also serve as an on-the-go audio hub of sorts, completely tar-free, for on-site recording, live music sets, DJs and one of the most feature-rich portable audio interfaces out there. Connect to your DAW over USB-C for 12-track multi-track recording – it’s also MFi certified for use with iPhone – plus you’ll find a built-in, albeit relatively basic, drum machine/synthesizer and a range of both standard edition workhorse and more boutique FX that can be used on it all. Go below for a closer look.

Hands-on with the Teenage Engineering TX-6

Teenage Engineering describes it as “the first portable pro mixer that can be used as a multifunctional 24-bit 48kHz audio interface that has an instrument tuner, built-in digital fx, synthesizer and drum machine.”

You’re looking at up to eight hours of completely tether-free battery life, built-in send effects like reverb, chorus, delay, freeze, tape, filter and distortion (three-band eq and an adjustable compressor too). There’s a secret arcade game for some reason (lol) and you can even turn it on its side and use the channels as a DJ-style crossfader.

But even that really doesn’t do it quite right.

Build/Physical Design

When it comes to the actual build here, there aren’t many surprises – you’re looking at a well-made TE CNC aluminum construction with 2K casting, solid custom knobs, faders, clickable tactile buttons and a main rotary encoder with subtle, satisfying incremental notches when you give it a go. The faders themselves are smooth and well made with just the right amount of resistance to mitigate accidentally adjusting the levels/values ​​more or less than intended in my experience – there is a tiny bit of horizontal wobble on them, but just barely

While it can be a bit cumbersome to get your fingers around the 3×6 layout of buttons above each eclipse, especially the middle row on lanes two through five, it doesn’t completely kill the experience for me. Just be aware that if you have even slightly larger fingers, it’s going to be a very tight squeeze.

Mini show

The miniature 48×64 pixel monochrome display looks great in just about any lighting situation with fonts, gauges and menus that will be familiar to anyone who has experienced a TE display like this on other gear. While there are smaller elements of the UI here that can be hard to see at a glance and quite possibly require a bit of a double-take for people with aging eyesight like myself, I’d suggest it does about as well considering the small amount of real estate that the overall design accommodates here.


As for the USB-C, 1/8-inch audio jacks and power button around the sides, back and front of the little hybrid mixer, many of the same impressions apply. There are six inputs, a pair of stereo outputs and a stereo headphone jack with support for headphone microphones. Everything feels solid with no wobbly connection points, but one thing to keep in mind here is how stiff the main six track inputs are on the rear. Not all standard 1/8-inch cables are going to fit side by side – the inputs are just too close together. Of course the Teenage Engineering cables will fit in there just fine, but you need to make sure that the wrapping around the actual connectors on whatever cables you use is as tight and thin as possible to get six of them in (or two) right next to each other ).

Teenage Engineering TX-6 I/O at a glance:

  • 6 input connections (stereo or mono)
  • 1 stereo headphone jack
  • Bluetooth low-energy radio interface
  • 3.5mm mini jack to 6.3mm jack main output
  • Aux output
  • Cue Output
  • USB-C (charging or for use as a 24-bit/48kHz USB interface)

The sort of blinker power switch delivers a unique look and feel that’s about as satisfying for traveling as it probably is on the road – I can imagine some people prefering something more similar to the unit than having a hard plastic flap on the having one side of the unit. otherwise mostly clean outline, but it’s never gotten in the way for me.

All in all, it’s a well-built machine with a few quirks that certainly don’t feel like they’re going to break under typical conditions of use, but that’s to be expected with Teenage Engineering gear for me at this point.

Built-in synth with a sequencer, FX, and more

The TX-6 also boasts a built-in synthesizer and sequencer – it’s an interesting addition to a miniature mixer like this, sounds great, but falls more into the fun distraction category, at least for me. You can essentially load a sound onto each fader (kick, snare, hi-hat, clap, and one of four synthesizer waveforms – sine, saw, square, and triangle). All the FX the unit carries can be applied here, along with a number of sound-shaping functions including sample length, EQ, pitch and things of that nature – the customizable 3×6 bank of knobs come into play here, just as when you use the machine as a straight mixer. But the sequencer setup is pretty basic. You can’t plug in your own patterns or beats, but instead choose from a range of pre-made options ranging from your usual four-on-the-floor to more syncopated sequences and a random option – you can sort the sequencing on a set up from always-on-like mode for the synth waveforms to all six channels to create drunken sounds and ambiances as well.

Obviously it would have been nice to be able to type your own patterns here somehow, but the 20+ patterns available are quite extensive and things can get quite interesting with the sustained drone notes and random setups – one could argue that most of these patterns are the same beats most people would create anyway, but I can’t help but feel a lack of complete musical freedom.

That said, Teenage Engineering even enjoys and thrives in the creative constraint space, which sometimes forces even creatives to be even more so when faced with limits. me here

Also a secret hidden arcade game?

Spoiler alert – Avoid this section if you’d rather discover the TX-6’s hidden arcade game yourself.

Like many of TE’s other musical gadgets and synths, the TX-6 also has a new little arcade game hidden in the system just for fun. This is clearly a very basic experience as arcade games go, but you can get Knock Off – a simple pong-like paddle game – to run on the thumbnail screen by holding the Aux, Cue and Shift buttons. Once you have the Knock off logo on the screen, press the main rotary encoder button (also used to play the game itself) to start it.

Teenage Engineering TX-6 closure

The Teenage Engineering TX-6 is a compelling and interesting little mixer. There’s a lot more than meets the eye here, like most of the best TE gear, beyond the usual limitations that, while for some are just drawbacks, others will find creativity-inducing bliss.

For me it sits somewhere in the middle. The TX-6 certainly inspires creativity and makes me want to pull out all my hardware sound-making devices to create a boutique arsenal of instruments and get busy. But therein lies my final verdict.

The relatively exorbitant price aside, it seems to me that the TX-6 is really most useful for people who specifically want to aggregate the outputs of a range of hardware devices in the form of a unique, literally out-of-the-box box sound creation setup and/or more avant-garde live performance gear.

The small form factor obviously works well as the main audio center for mobile setups, but it’s also almost as useful at home, and it certainly doubles as an interface when it’s time to get your DAW involved. One important point to keep in mind here is that it’s inherently expensive to land even a standard audio interface that will provide six discrete stereo inputs in a single unit like this, never mind one with physical mixing controls,’ a built-in synth/drum machine, DJ capabilities and an arcade game.

In the end, it’s clear that there’s nothing like the Teenage Engineering TX-6 out there – in many cases you’ll need to buy several different pieces of kit to achieve the same thing. Just be prepared to dig deep into those pockets to shell out the $1,199 it will cost you to land one. And if I were you, I’d make sure you really need the six stereo inputs in mobile form before you do, as the rest of the bonus goodies here are just that – fun extras that inspire creativity and a well-built and honest a beautiful mixer/interface combo in a great audio geek funk without being particularly useful. It’s awesome, inspiring, and I love it, I just wish it was cheaper and I’m not sure I really need it.

That’s one small mixer and one giant leap in innovation for any mixer of its kind, but only a select few will really find it an essential one.

Buy the Teenage Engineering TX-6

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