Mixer crisis...

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Post by thevegasnerve » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:37 pm

Gearslutz is good for discussions about mixers, and if you want to talk to Uli from Behringer..

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Post by Wray » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:13 am

sutekina bipu-on wrote: I've been a member of Gearslutz for 15 years now and it is a great site but honestly the synth section of it sucks and more often than not cooler people are here, plus you can talk about gear without the only people discussing it being in the context of rock or something non electronic
Their synth section is much less eleborate than Muffs. Of course.
But I don't mind hanging around there for certain information. Rock orriented? Yeah I guess so. I'm not into rock but its always good to hear experts on gear. The rock part don't really matter. When talking about how to mix, get a certain sound with a specific type of gear, they've lots of information. People who have been soundengineers or producers at Motown have knowledge about 50's and 60's gear which would otherwise be lost for ever. They and other people who've worked in 70's and 80's studios can give information about way of recording, mixing, mastering, which was specific for that era and made 'that' sound. Also lots of info there about things like bit depth, dittering, endless, tedious :) discussions about 96 kHz vs 192, etc.

Muffs is excellent in indepth information around anything synth related. And excells in it.

Anyway, combining the Muffs and the Slutz would of course not work. Because the Muffs would be the 'little sister' and become only a subsection of GS. No long for the BS in GS to happen and the Muffs starting a Slave Revolt. A future Synth War of the Muffs vs Slutz unfolds.
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Re: Mixer crisis...

Post by MindMachine » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:50 am

mousegarden wrote:I'm at tipping point, between getting rid of things because it's ever expanding, or carrying on with even more "stuff" Like I'm running out of mixer channels, but I don't have the space for a big desk, I need something with the maximum number of channels in a small footprint, I can go a bit bigger than 19 inch format, but not much. I'm having to run all of my stereo keyboards in mono, and I'm using a sub mixer, which I don't like, it's cumbersome and not very flexible.
I've got four stereo sources, a couple of tape decks, 2 Monotrons, 2 mono synths, computer returns. I'm up to about 18 inputs with just that lot.
I'm finally thinking of getting a digital mixer, if that would give me more inputs.
Do you want one giant mix interface with 18-20 channels?

Or... Speck mixers. Patchbays. A small desk mixer and a big line mixer. There are a lot of options. A combo may suit you best.

What are you currently using? I just added a third sub-mixer to feed my main desk as a cure to my caveman ills, but I have some space.

Like others suggest, patchbays keep all of your options open and even offer flexibility if you can wrap your mind around them in more than a simplistic way (which I struggle with). I've even added little ART TPatch units to my set-up for floating sound stations. Those also showed me how the bigger ones work without much anxiety.

Older line mixers (Speck, Roland, Teac/Tascam) offer a lot of flexibility in a small space.
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Post by Wray » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:54 am

Otoh, I'm not against a mixer section in MW.
Would love to read about how synth wizzards from the past got a certain sound by ways of recording, mixing and mastering.
If it would unfold into something like that it will most def be intetesting. But I suggest a more broad 'production' section, which covers everything about recording + mixing + mastering techniques specific to electronic music.

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Post by Wray » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:08 am

Ok. Discard my last post. I see there's already a production section :))
:yay:

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Post by mousegarden » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:03 am

This is the top of the list so far....friendlier than the A&H Q.

Image

And this A&H with more channels would be my dream mixer, my God, LP filters per channel, the ability to route any channel to any other channel, a looper on every channel, FX per channel as well, add to this the ability to cross-fade and it would be absolute heaven in a 16 channel version, I really don't know why these types of features aern't found in more mixers.

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Post by dubonaire » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:36 am

mousegarden wrote:And this A&H with more channels would be my dream mixer, my God, LP filters per channel, the ability to route any channel to any other channel, a looper on every channel, FX per channel as well, add to this the ability to cross-fade and it would be absolute heaven in a 16 channel version, I really don't know why these types of features aern't found in more mixers.
Didn't I point you in the direction of the Playdifferently Model 1 before?

https://playdifferently.org/model-1/

But those DJ mixers don't have anywhere near the functionality of digital mixing consoles, which also give you FX etc on every channel.

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Post by Panason » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:38 am

The Xone is more of a DJ mixer

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Post by calaveras » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:31 pm

The thing I keep running into with mixers is that they don't have direct outs on each channel for recording, and you have to kludge with inserts and TS cables. Or if the do have inserts on each channel, they have just butt ass EQ.
This is another thing that bugs me about a lot of mixers. I don't want to pay for an EQ on every channel, 6 aux sends and all the other bells and whistles. But there are not a lot of barebones line mixers with just direct outs, a couple auxes and good sound quality. I'd actually prefer that a mixer doesn't have EQ, because I've got great EQ in the DAW.

So far all the products I've found that fit the bill have a premium price, such that I'll never take that mixer out for a show!

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Post by dubonaire » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:38 pm

calaveras wrote:The thing I keep running into with mixers is that they don't have direct outs on each channel for recording, and you have to kludge with inserts and TS cables. Or if the do have inserts on each channel, they have just butt ass EQ.
This is another thing that bugs me about a lot of mixers. I don't want to pay for an EQ on every channel, 6 aux sends and all the other bells and whistles. But there are not a lot of barebones line mixers with just direct outs, a couple auxes and good sound quality. I'd actually prefer that a mixer doesn't have EQ, because I've got great EQ in the DAW.

So far all the products I've found that fit the bill have a premium price, such that I'll never take that mixer out for a show!
I guess that's why I like using the Soundcraft MTK 22. Direct pre-fade outs into the DAW on every channel. But I also like using the Soundcraft's EQ, and faders for dub activity, so I return the channels after using plugins and EQ on the desk and record the summed output.

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Post by calaveras » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:39 pm

I can see the allure of a mixer with built in AD/DA conversion. A lot less cables for one thing. But I prefer to keep my digital conversion and mixer as separate things.
For one thing, analog to digital conversion has gotten better over the years. We used to buy '24 bit' converters that were really only 18bit or 20bit converters in terms of the kind of noise floor you could expect. Likewise it used to be a freaking struggle to get anything better than 48k resolution.
I can buy 192k 24bit converters at guitar center now, for less than $1000, and they sound great.
Also the mixers these days with this 'British EQ' jazz. I'd love to hear one of these Soundraft mixers next to an old Soundcraft 200B or even an LX7. I'm pretty sure the 'Genuine British EQ' on these boards won't sound quite as fat in comparison. Though it is doubtless better than current Mackies.
There is also that I like to record at 88k or better. This may seem needlessly extravagant, but I've noticed that when I'm recording stuff aside from synths it makes a huge difference. Especially on cymbals and other metalophone instruments with complex harmonic timbre.

But then I am doing things the expensive, complicated way to justify having a middle class job. It costs a lot more to have AD and DA converters connected via thunderbolt to your computer, and then route all your devices to those. Or to a mixer with channel direct outs as I described before.

Basically one approach sacrifices convenience for flexibility. The other puts ease of use ahead of sound quality. (I don't mean this as a dig against the Soundcraft MTK 22, rather, it only goes up to 48k sample rate, like most of these mixers with on board audiocards).

I've been trying to downsize my setup so that I would be happy with lower channel count, smaller mixer footprint and gera overall.
But I am already pricing out a second row of digital conversion so I can have everything plugged in. :bananaguitar:

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Post by dubonaire » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:03 pm

calaveras wrote:I can see the allure of a mixer with built in AD/DA conversion. A lot less cables for one thing. But I prefer to keep my digital conversion and mixer as separate things.
For one thing, analog to digital conversion has gotten better over the years. We used to buy '24 bit' converters that were really only 18bit or 20bit converters in terms of the kind of noise floor you could expect. Likewise it used to be a freaking struggle to get anything better than 48k resolution.
I can buy 192k 24bit converters at guitar center now, for less than $1000, and they sound great.
Also the mixers these days with this 'British EQ' jazz. I'd love to hear one of these Soundraft mixers next to an old Soundcraft 200B or even an LX7. I'm pretty sure the 'Genuine British EQ' on these boards won't sound quite as fat in comparison. Though it is doubtless better than current Mackies.
There is also that I like to record at 88k or better. This may seem needlessly extravagant, but I've noticed that when I'm recording stuff aside from synths it makes a huge difference. Especially on cymbals and other metalophone instruments with complex harmonic timbre.

But then I am doing things the expensive, complicated way to justify having a middle class job. It costs a lot more to have AD and DA converters connected via thunderbolt to your computer, and then route all your devices to those. Or to a mixer with channel direct outs as I described before.

Basically one approach sacrifices convenience for flexibility. The other puts ease of use ahead of sound quality. (I don't mean this as a dig against the Soundcraft MTK 22, rather, it only goes up to 48k sample rate, like most of these mixers with on board audiocards).

I've been trying to downsize my setup so that I would be happy with lower channel count, smaller mixer footprint and gera overall.
But I am already pricing out a second row of digital conversion so I can have everything plugged in. :bananaguitar:
I'm totally with you on sample rate. For me it was a really cost effective trade off with the functionality I get. I'd really like to have a top flight console going into a high level converter, but I can't justify that kind of expenditure. My studio is already an expensive thing and it's just a hobby for me. I'm very happy with the flexibility of this system and I'm also happy with the sound Im getting. I'm getting a much better sound than when I did all the mixing in the DAW.

As for the 'British EQ', I find it really great to use and I think I EQ better by ear than by looking at the curve. I imagine someone with better skills than me wouldn't need it.

Actually the Soundcraft isn't enough channels for me. I also have an A&H Zed 22 FX which acts as a drum buss.

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Post by ugokcen » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:07 am

Interesting thread. I don’t have a mixer but have always enjoyed the feeling of sitting in front of a console. I guess it’s also why we like modulars, the tactile feel. As my sound sources have grown over the years I’ve found myself with a mixer dilemna much like the original poster. Every time I’ve decided against it but maybe I’ll change my mind one day.

Before DAWs came along, mixers were the center of a studio because of their routing capabilities. Few people need that anymore. Almost everyone mixes in the box with plugins these days so not much use for the mixer there either. Hence the only justification I see for a mixer is performing on the way in. Without that approach “dub” as a genre would not exist, so the mixer can definitely be a creative tool. If that’s what you want then I think analog is still king.

If you don’t intend to perform on the mixer but just need to aggregate sound sources then why not upgrade to an audio interface with more inputs? Digital mixes are designed for live shows so they have a ton of functionality I would never use. Some come with built-in USB audio but that almost seems like an afterthought. I’d rather spend my money on the best converters I can afford.

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Post by mousegarden » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:00 am

ugokcen wrote:Interesting thread. I don’t have a mixer but have always enjoyed the feeling of sitting in front of a console. I guess it’s also why we like modulars, the tactile feel. As my sound sources have grown over the years I’ve found myself with a mixer dilemna much like the original poster. Every time I’ve decided against it but maybe I’ll change my mind one day.

Before DAWs came along, mixers were the center of a studio because of their routing capabilities. Few people need that anymore. Almost everyone mixes in the box with plugins these days so not much use for the mixer there either. Hence the only justification I see for a mixer is performing on the way in. Without that approach “dub” as a genre would not exist, so the mixer can definitely be a creative tool. If that’s what you want then I think analog is still king.

If you don’t intend to perform on the mixer but just need to aggregate sound sources then why not upgrade to an audio interface with more inputs? Digital mixes are designed for live shows so they have a ton of functionality I would never use. Some come with built-in USB audio but that almost seems like an afterthought. I’d rather spend my money on the best converters I can afford.
My Motu has a stand-alone mode, I could ad a Behringer A/D expander to it, that would be a potential mixer-less solution, but I don't like that idea, as when I'm recording I need access to things like EQ, and FX sends, which I wouldn't have on the interface. I don't like EQ on the computer, I find perversely, that I'm always using my eyes to EQ, rather than my ears.
Dubonair is right, a digital mixer would probably solve everything, plus more.
The A&H Q seems more complex and less "analoguey" than the Soundcraft Impact.
On the analogue side I've been looking at these...

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/sc ... ular-mixer

You can have anything you want, but they're expensive.

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Post by ugokcen » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:50 am

I guess you need a digital mixer then, if you want to record with eq and fx and not bankrupt yourself with the high-end analogue stuff :hihi:

I personally prefer recording as dry as possible. Delays and reverbs have a tendency to cover up mistakes in the first place and I can never decide whether I have too little or too much at the start of a track. With eq, I really enjoy the software offerings whether it’s the ultra precise mastering grade stuff or the vintage emulations. I just haven’t heard an eq on a digital mixer that I liked the sound of, but you might feel differently of course.

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Post by mousegarden » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:00 am

ugokcen wrote:I guess you need a digital mixer then, if you want to record with eq and fx and not bankrupt yourself with the high-end analogue stuff :hihi:

I personally prefer recording as dry as possible. Delays and reverbs have a tendency to cover up mistakes in the first place and I can never decide whether I have too little or too much at the start of a track. With eq, I really enjoy the software offerings whether it’s the ultra precise mastering grade stuff or the vintage emulations. I just haven’t heard an eq on a digital mixer that I liked the sound of, but you might feel differently of course.
To be honest, I'm not comfortable with buying a digital mixer, but I may have to.
I like to "play" effects while recording, I've never been into post production, I record lots of stereo takes, some of them may be finished, if not, I'll save them and make giant collages in the computer later on, but I'll only cut and splice, move things around, no major fine tuning, that's all done when recording. I may seriously investigate that Schertler mixer, it's expensive, but if it gives me exactly what I need it may be worth it.

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Post by ugokcen » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:33 am

I like to "play" effects while recording
I hear you, that's been on my mind for a while as well. It would be great to incorporate the mixer into the performance, but the costs have been prohibitive. There's always the next module to buy, right?

I've been considering the 16 channel version of the Mackie VLZ line myself. They have been a stable in home studios and keyboard rigs for a long time and they sound good. Not as feature rich as the digital mixers of course.

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Post by dogoftears » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:29 am

calaveras wrote:The thing I keep running into with mixers is that they don't have direct outs on each channel for recording, and you have to kludge with inserts and TS cables. Or if the do have inserts on each channel, they have just butt ass EQ.
This is another thing that bugs me about a lot of mixers. I don't want to pay for an EQ on every channel, 6 aux sends and all the other bells and whistles. But there are not a lot of barebones line mixers with just direct outs, a couple auxes and good sound quality. I'd actually prefer that a mixer doesn't have EQ, because I've got great EQ in the DAW.

So far all the products I've found that fit the bill have a premium price, such that I'll never take that mixer out for a show!
Ok well, you just described the SSL X-Desk to a T. i understand this falls into the category of "premium price" for most people but is it really premium if there is literally no other product like it on the market, and it still undercuts the price of most "summing mixers" by many thousands? i got mine used for 2k, never looked back. found an x-panda for another 2k, now i have a 24 channel SSL mixer with pristine quality.

why does it have to go to gigs? that's what mackie/soundcraft/ah etc are for. you don't need individual channel outs for a live set, do you?

this whole mixer thing comes up every few months it seems like, and no one seems willing to accept the fact that an actual pristine-quality mixer is gonna be at least a little expensive. it's like complaining that eurorack cases are overpriced.
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Post by calaveras » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:13 pm

I totally accept that the price is what it is for the x-desk. I'm just holding back on going all the way there in terms of making such a big purchase. Still have to finish paying off my Apollo!

I like what someone said above about 'eq-ing with their eyes'. You can of course use a control surface, but for whatever reason that is never a cinch to set up, and you still can't stop but to glance at the screen.
It's also been my experience that I have to crank the daylights out of the digital rendered EQ to get an audible effect similar to just a few db on a regular analog mixer's eq.
I'd love to get back to that huge analog desk sound, but I live in NY apartment land.

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Post by ugokcen » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:21 pm

But there are not a lot of barebones line mixers with just direct outs
That's because you don't need to have them in the signal path! Direct outs is a leftover from the days of tape machines and stand-alone digital recorders. They would feed the tracks on the recorder and the faders would be your monitor mix. Nowadays the audio interface or your DAW provides the monitor mix so why complicate the signal path?

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Re: Mixer crisis...

Post by globalwm » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:18 pm

CF3 wrote: - Expand with a Rane SM82s (8 stereo channels), Can be had pretty cheap
I have my 4th SM82S coming in - picking them up for under $150. Very versatile and useful - small footprint too. They are chainable so they can expand to reach your required channels - 8 at a time.

http://www.rane.com/app576.html

For balanced inputs, the SM26S should work similarly also.
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Post by dubonaire » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:13 pm

ugokcen wrote:Almost everyone mixes in the box with plugins these days so not much use for the mixer there either.
Actually I see mixing desks in almost all of the videos and pictures of the studios of professional producers or mastering engineers I come cross.

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Post by sduck » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:57 pm

Whatever. Mr. Mousegarden, it's been brought to my attention that you've been obsessing over this mixer conundrum over the last few years - you've started multiple threads (7-8) about this same issue. Perhaps it would be more efficient if you confined your mixer quest to this thread exclusively in the future?
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Post by calaveras » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:32 pm

ugokcen wrote:
But there are not a lot of barebones line mixers with just direct outs
That's because you don't need to have them in the signal path! Direct outs is a leftover from the days of tape machines and stand-alone digital recorders. They would feed the tracks on the recorder and the faders would be your monitor mix. Nowadays the audio interface or your DAW provides the monitor mix so why complicate the signal path?
Couple of reasons;
  • Makes quick level adjustments easy.
  • Makes cue mix much easier.
  • Likewise, if you have an aux send and a rack reverb, you can have a scratch reverb for tracking with, that you do not print, or tie up computer resources.
  • Some gear benefits a lot by having a preamp to bring up gain, instead of your interface.
  • You can listen to your gear even when the computer is off, rebooting or dead.

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Post by mousegarden » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:39 am

sduck wrote:Whatever. Mr. Mousegarden, it's been brought to my attention that you've been obsessing over this mixer conundrum over the last few years - you've started multiple threads (7-8) about this same issue. Perhaps it would be more efficient if you confined your mixer quest to this thread exclusively in the future?
There are so many different issues regarding mixers, and they are an ongoing situation for a lot of musicians.

The SSL X Desk is a mystery to me. I've used a big G Series and TBQH it was "OK" but a lot of this has got to do with hype, and like a lot of other people at the time I didn't actually like SSL, they characterised that harsh 80's sound for some of us used to more traditional desks.
The price for the X Desk is outrageous, and now, my ears are so old I wouldn't be able to notice the subtleties, all I'm concerned about is real estate and the number of inputs/facilities.

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