The 16FX is the smallest in a range of three four-buss mixers with built-in effects which Peavey sees as being suitable for both live sound and project studio recording.
What you get with the 16FX is a compact but solidly-built mixer that can sit in a standard horizontal tabletop setting but also has removable rack ears for vertical mounting.
With all the connections except a single headphone socket tucked away round the back, the front surface is uncluttered and features colour-coded knobs that, although closely spaced, are nicely laid out for ease of use.
The 16FX features 16 input channels configured as 12 mono channels with XLR mic inputs (phantom power globally switchable) plus two stereo channels. Each mono channel offers routing to any of the four subgroups and directly to the main L/R buss and has three-band EQ with swept mid-range and six aux sends, four of them pre-fade and designed as monitor sends.
The other two are post-fade and can address any connected external effects or the pair of onboard digital effects - not an ideal situation for all users. It would have been much better for two of them to be switchable between pre and post for more flexibility.
The onboard effects consist of two separate processors with editable preset patches that can utilise three chained effects types at once. There are two return channels for the internal effects, one of which can be switched to take the return from an external processor.
One of the internal effects processors also has a 1/4-inch jack input and output so that it can be patched as an insert effect into any channel or subgroup. In addition, effects can be applied directly to the L/R buss and these include EQ, delay and limiter and the 'Feedback Ferret' that is used to identify and eliminate the frequencies that may cause feedback in a live situation.
Hands on, the 16FX's 'Silencer' preamps exhibit a clear sound and the EQ provides a useful degree of cut and boost at the top and bottom with plenty of scope for broad mid-range changes.
Overall, the effects are of a reasonable quality, cover a wide range of applications and are extremely convenient to have onboard, particularly in a live sound context. The range of features, in fact, makes the 16FX ideal for any live sound setup where 12 input channels are enough - perhaps in a small venue or as part of a band PA.
For a live band, the 16FX would be a cool front-end for recording gigs and rehearsals as it does the business if you want to record straight to stereo.
There is a stereo recording output with its own volume knob and independent of the main L/R XLR and 1/4-inch jack outputs plus a pair of USB ports - one designed to stream channels of audio to and from a computer, the other for connecting a removable data storage device to which you can record directly using the mixer's inbuilt MP3 compression (there's also a facility to play music back directly from a USB connected drive).
For multi-track recording, there are four busses for recording four tracks but you could also utilise some of the aux sends and channel insert sends to increase the track count.
In summary, this is a versatile package for not too much outlay.