There’s now a bevy of mobile gear that runs on batteries – but how to mix it? That’s where Bastl’s new Bestie mixer comes in, with full stereo operation, mute switches with pre-listen, USB-C and battery operation – and the option to add distortion and even zero-input feedback. With summer coming to the northern hemisphere, this could be just the park / beach gadget we want.

The 2017 Bastl Dude was the company’s first foray into portable mixing. That device was cute, but limited to mono.

The Bestie is a bit spendier at 180 EUR, but comes in a nicer case and with more features:

  • USB-C power in addition to AAA battery operation. (The Dude was 4xAA battery or external power barrel-connector only – so this is handier with power banks.)
  • Flexible mono/stereo mixing. They’ve done this in a clever way that matches the gear a lot of us own. 1 + 5 have two minijacks each – use split left/right, right-channel mono, or left-channel stereo minijack. 2, 3, and 4 are stereo minijacks. And you get a stereo out.
  • New knobs! Still tiny, but like those new knob caps.
  • Dedicated headphone out with loudness and “a smooth mixdown overdrive.”
  • Per-channel pre/post mute so you can pre-listen before un-muting.
  • Overdrive everywhere. Each of the five channels can be overdriven by turning level beyond 12-o-clock for overdrive on the mix. But specifically –
  • Channel 3 feedback operation. You can treat channel 3 as a fifth input channel by plugging in a jack. But if you don’t plug anything in, it’s normaled to feedback, so you can self-oscillate that channel.

It’s those last twists that get interesting. The concept is that you can add a bit of subtle overdrive or mixdown saturation, which is part of why you’d use a hardware mixer in the first place. And the ongoing collaboration of Casper Electronics and Bastl Instruments is clear here, too, as this is hardware designed with no-input mixing in mind and what happens when you add other parts to that self-oscillating feedback. That is, you have this additional creative self-oscillating channel and you can mix stuff in. As Bastl explains:

Fascinating outcomes arise when these feedback signals are interrupted by elements
such as drums. They interact with the feedback tones and compete for dominance. Bestie is well suited for such experiments and directly encourages you to overload its circuitry and make the signals go ape.

More on the mixer operation:

And here it is making battery-powered ambient.

I’m definitely curious to try this one in person, and while it’s not going to be the optimal mixer for every use – even in jam sessions – you’ve got to love that it’s small enough to keep with you at all times.

Also, is this like literally the price difference between Czechia and Sweden? (Ducks as someone throws an OP-1 box at him.)

We’ll see Bastl at Superbooth so catch up with you then!

Pre-order now, ships early May – maybe in time for some folks’ Superbooth booths and jams, indeed.