It’s the ultimate music gear you can swallow.* Sorry, make that carry in your pocket. And now the TX-6 starts to make more sense.
For all the naysayers, the TX-6 earned some supporters early on. It’s a mixer, it does FX, it’s an audio interface, it’s got other little toys in it. And there’s something appealing about just how small this is, as pure design accomplishment and fetish object.
There is some method to this madness. It always struck me that how the TX-6 could work was as music gear you always had with you. Digital DJs are at an enormous advantage – carry a couple of USB sticks, and the club does the rest. But we already take for granted that our smartphone can stand in for our computer in a pinch, and the stuff it does is important enough that we want it with us (and charged) at all times.
So, even though the TX-6 may not be for everyone – and it definitely, absolutely is not for everyone – it could be a beautiful proof of concept for a different category of music tool. It could be the rack full of gear you carry around with you at all times, in a way your smartphone and iPad and even some handy synths and whatnot can’t. It could finally
Just one snag – the TX-6 didn’t actually do everything you need at launch. Crucially, it missed out on recording or storage, which more or less missed the point. So I am surprised that this firmware is dubbed “1.1.4,” because it feels more like 1.5. New products often seem useless at launch and then get fleshed out. This is the TX-6 looking like an actual, complete product.
And not only did the Teenagers add recording, but they added connectivity (MIDI and Bluetooth, which also makes the built-in synth and whatnot useful) and sync (also with Bluetooth support). There’s a cue that’s more usable. And mono inputs mean you can make greater use of the mixing features.
Here’s the full feature set (copying here) – record, playback, sync, connect, and get hands on internal features via your external gear, even wirelessly:
- usb mass storage disk record/playback for 24-bit 48 kHz stereo wav files, including armed recording with automatic start on audio detect.
- PO-sync output on aux and cue, with selectable 8th note for PO-sync and 16th note for modular systems.
- external midi control of all TX–6 parameters, for complete remote control over midi.
- extended midi support for synth mode to play the synth chromatically using midi notes from an external keyboard.
- added ‘scenes’ to save and load all settings.
- usb audio multiple sample rate support: 48 kHz and additionally 44.1 kHz, for compatibility with MPC live etc.
- BLE midi clock in/out support with clock routing settings.
- BLE host mode to connect peripherals like BLE midi keyboards.
- switchable aux and cue outputs, to be able to utilize the higher output level of the aux jack if needed for high impedance headphones.
- added balanced mono input mode in addition to the stereo / mono / split modes.
- parameters keep their values until a knob is moved, making it easier to switch knob config without undesired behavior.
- no snap back of the freeze FX parameter. click to reset instead.
- smoother change of FX I send.
- stability bugfix for usb midi host mode.
- usb audio mode set on menu exit, instead of directly.
TX–6 update 1.1.4 [Teenage Engineering blog]
Having finally got my hands on it at Superbooth last month, it really is usable in practice, and it’s even smaller and more precisely-machined than you can get from the pics. I don’t know whether I’d budget for this box myself, but now I can say it looks like something that would be fun to own. And as a larger demonstration of a design idea, it could point to how miniaturized all-in-one gadgetry could be useful in future.
Mainly I just want to get together with the Swedes for some backpack-sized gigs, even if I show up with some cheaper gear. No luggage allowance needed. Heck, I’ll even save some CO2 and take buses and boats and things.
*CDM reminds you please do not eat any electronics.