Vintage Tech: The SHURE M267 Professional Microphone Mixer
In this first installment of the Vintage Tech series, I search eBay for a retro utility mixer to handle some basic desktop mixing needs. I wanted something that had some pro features, reasonable build quality, the lowest possible price, and at least some redeeming retro quality.
Obviously, in modern utility & portable mixers, there are tons of options that range in price from under one hundred dollars, to many thousands. I wanted to have some fun though & maybe give an old piece of gear a chance to avoid the scrapheap, so I’m going vintage. I’m personally planning to add the new relatively inexpensive Sound Devices MixPre 3 to my kit very soon, and I’ve had excellent results with my Tascam DR70d which is very budget friendly, but this experiment shows that you can find a reasonably professional mixer that handles many of the same needs on an almost non-existent budget.
For this setup, I was looking for a simple mixer that would take up the least possible amount of desk space, allow me to connect two phantom powered microphones and one laptop, along with feeding a simple mono line level signal to a recorder. Beyond that I was completely open to other features and functionality, but again, I wanted it to be vintage and with some redeeming factor that would help me to continue enjoying having on my desk.
I came across the M267 almost immediately on eBay, as they are readily available and seem to hover in the $20 to $80 price range depending on their age and condition. I’ve used these mixers in the past, and I didn’t mind them at all. Working as a freelancer in Washington, D.C. you see your share of government facilities equipped with older Shure gear, so this was familiar territory. While I have operated dozens of these in the past, they generally live in simple installations, where you just use them and don’t give them much additional thought. I had never come home from one of those jobs with a burning curiosity to dig deeper into the world of utility mixers, but here I am.
I ordered one, at a reasonable $30 plus shipping and went about downloading the User Manual and checking out the specs. As it turns out, this little mixer was pretty feature packed for it’s day – Powered by 120V wall power, external DC supply or internal batteries, it’s certainly flexible. Transformer isolated inputs and outputs, with outputs provided in Mono on XLR and binding post for direct connection to things like POTS telephone systems. High-pass filters on all four channels, along with input limiters with adjustable threshold, things are getting serious! Switchable phantom power that is automatically defeated when the channel is switched to ‘Line Input’, and finally the 1kHz tone generator on Channel one.
This mixer was a freaking work of art back in 1981! Made of deluxe vinyl wrapped aluminum with rugged plastic end caps, this mixer was light weight and built to get out in the field. We have amazing digital displays on our field mixers these days, but the glow of that VU meter’s backlight coming through the headphone jack is comforting sitting on my desk as I type this up at night. Yes it’s old & simple, but it still gets the job done and with some style too.
The video for this one ended up being a bit long, I’m not going to attempt to summarize it in detail here, but the mixer does work and is currently on my desk being used. The only issue I’ve had so far is channel two not functioning, which I will be investigating in an upcoming video, and I’m confident we’ll be able to put it right, as we have a full schematic and parts list in the manual linked above.
In the video I mentioned some of the other YouTube channels that I’m inspired by who also make this type of content, albeit not in the Pro-Audio space. Check them out at the links below, I think you’ll like them all.
All of the gear shown in this video, with the exception of the M267 can be found in the DcSoundShop with affiliate links when available. Following those links helps keep the website going and costs you nothing extra, thanks for your support!
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