The thing to like about the EMX88S is that it's portable, light, easy to set up and functional enough for those small room club/bar gigs where a full large scale PA is unneccessary or impossible. It's drawbacks are limited individual eq's, size and ease of adjustment, and limited channels.
For the price these are suited well to the small room gig. If you really only need to get some vocal mics and maybe a quiet percussion mic running then this unit will be great. Also, if you are playing a very quiet gig, let's say with a harp, some acoustic guitar, bass, and some vocals as long as you have some decent speakers you'll be able to pull off a good balanced sound while running everything straight into the head, no guitar/bass amps needed.
The individual eq's are lacking, even just a sweepable mid would be a huge improvement. However, the graphic eq for the mains/monitors is definitely helpful to subdue some of those unwanted low mid feedback notes and of course those evil high screeching feedbacks.
Just as a thought, you can use the main direct out and run this into another EMX88S to run your monitors. Doing this you can utilize all of the power of one for your mains and all of the power of the other for your monitors!
The overall sound quality these put out is not bad, not amazing, but definitely passable. Comparatively, these have enough power to run some pretty decent sized speakers and still acheive good sound indoors or outside.
I've used the EMX88S, (a pair of them), with both of my gigging bands in small clubs for a couple years now and they perform as advertised. They have enough power to run nearly any smaller speaker set-up and overall deliver a clean sound.
Depending on your needs and your average venue size the EMX88S could be a fairly sound investment!
The Yamaha EMX88s is a powered mixer with two 400 watt (in 4 ohms) amp sections, which can also be combined in bridge mode. It has 8 main stereo inputs, all which are configured slightly different. The first four channels have hi-z line inputs and mic inputs. The next two channels have super hi-z line inputs and mic inputs. The last two channels have stereo (or mono) line inputs, along with the mic inputs. This gives the user a lot of flexibility with the 8 input channels given. Each channel has a basic EQ control (high, mid, low), a monitor send control, an effect send control, a pan control, an overall level control, and the first 6 channels have a pad switch. One of my biggest (and only) problems with this mixer, is that there is no clipping indicator on any channel. So there is no way to tell if a channel's input or output are pushed too far, unless you simply hear it with your own ears. This can cause extreme distortions if you are not carefully monitoring the output sound of the mixer.
There are two graphic EQ's: one for the main stereo output, and one for the monitor mix. Both of these sections can also mix in the signal from the effects section, and from the "2tr" input, which is essentially the tape input via an RCA connection. The main output also has a control to mix in the aux input as well. This gives you even more opportunities for inputs.
The effects section I find to be a bit excessive, and often unnecessary, but it is nice to add reverb and sometimes delay (to vocals) in certain situations. The flanger, symphonic effects, vocal doubler, and distortion, I find to be useless as a living mixing engineer. There is even a tap delay, with a separate tap button, which is interesting, but probably unnecessary.
Overall, this is a great powered mixer that is packed with power and potential. Be sure to try it out!