Do a lot of karaoke gigs so obviously I'm poor. Was looking for 5 things. Light weight (it's absurdly light), Compression on at least 3 channels (this has it on six), 7 band EQ, (this has 9 band) basic effects, and a sweepable midrange. This met or exceeded my requirements. The other biggie was durability. I've only had it a short time but Yamaha is known for road worthiness so I'm not really concerned. The only other mixer that came close was an unpowered Behringer in the Xenyx line but no one had it to check out and I heard about too many problems with them breaking down. Time will tell if paying more than double for this was worth it but it is powered with a nice lightwieght class D amp so now all I need to lug is this mixer, mics and EV ELX112 speakers, a major plus since I'm old. Ian at my local Sam Ash let me try out this board with my speakers and some others for comparison and his advice was invaluable. The mixer has little if any noise, doesn't changel levels when punching in the EQ like some other equalizers I've used and seems fairly simple to operate if you have any mixer experience. If you don't the manual is decent. The YSP function is good for novices or the lazy to get more oomph and I can use this for DJ'ing, karaoke, small bands/churches, (3 vocal mics, 3 drum mics, guitar, bass and keyboards and I have inputs left over), home studio recording, pretty much anything musical provided you don't need lighting control. As for volume I have only tried it in my living room but with the aforementioned EV's no EQ, no YSP, everything centered and the ST fader at zero on the 500 watt setting I can't really turn the music fader higher than -10db before it becomes uncomfortable and I like it on the loud side of average. Using it for a gig all this week so I may report any problems but I don't expect any. If you need a bit more there is a slightly upgraded model with dual effects, more inputs and some nice to have bells and whistles (automatic room equalization), I think it's the emx5016cf but for my application it was just what I was looking for.