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TRiP

New mixer advice

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Would any of you fine gents be able to suggest me some mixers?

I've been through 2 so far - first was a Mackie DFX-12 which was nice but no usb, second was a Behringer UFX1604 which had the ability to record stems via USB

However, my biggest gripe with it was that it would record the stems 'raw' and not listin to the 'live' physical fader mix, nor could it record the AUX sends

Is this impossible or just comes at a higher price tag?

Also would like more inputs than 16.

Any ideas?! The finer and cheaper the better!

Many thanks

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I use this. It is less than 16 inputs, although they probably have a model with more inputs that is more expensive. Pretty sure you could record the aux sends easily with this: 

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Thanks for the suggestion, but seems to be an analog mixer - to clarify when I say record the AUX sends I mean via USB as a separate stem

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I don't know what your  willing to spend but going by the 2 mixers you listed I think you'll be hard pressed to find a digital mixer with +16 ins and extensive bussings/pre/post fader routing in the 300,- range. Is it not a better option to go for a soundcard, mixer with direct outs and patchbay?

This way you can build your setup and upgrade/replace parts as needed (eg start with 8 in soundcard and expand with behringer ada8000).

I can thoroughly recommend the focusrite saffire pro40 which has 8 inputs and can be expanded via adat and/or a 2nd unit via firewire. I don't think they're available new anymore but here in NL they're easy to find 2nd hand for around 200/250 eur. Patchbay around 100,-. Analog mixer... take your pick. This solution might be a bit more clunky but there's the spreading of spending and again ability to mix and match/upgrade and replace etc. I don't know why you prefer a digital mixer so sorry if this idea is way off.

I thought the tascam model 24 looked really good when I heard of it: https://www.thomann.de/gb/tascam_model_24.htm

It has 24 digital outs I believe and pretty sure it has pre/post fader routings etc.

 

 

     

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Thanks for all the info and ideas! That mixer looks perfect but also on the expensive side (but I sort of expected as much considering all I'm asking for)

Perhaps my understanding of what a sound card can do is wrong, but the main reason I think I'm avoiding the soundcard route is that I want to have all my hardware hooked up so that I can do a live jam without having to turn on my laptop/daw, but also have the ability to record the stems of each input if I decide to turn on the laptop

Also could you tell me what the correct terminology is for recording AUX sends? That is to say, the ability to record the AUX send as a separate stem like any of the other inputs on the mixer? That will help in my search for specs 

Does 'pre/post fader routing' refer to the mixers ability to record the physical fader position?

 

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6 hours ago, TRiP said:

Also could you tell me what the correct terminology is for recording AUX sends? That is to say, the ability to record the AUX send as a separate stem like any of the other inputs on the mixer? That will help in my search for specs 

Does 'pre/post fader routing' refer to the mixers ability to record the physical fader position?

 

Not sure about the AUX send - this is usually mentioned in the mixer/interface specification as to how the I/O maps to the tracks on the physical mixer.

Pre fader means that you are able to get the audio after gain phase, but before it goes through the mixer channel (volume fader, pan, EQs). Post fader means exactly what you meant in the OP - you get the audio just like you mixed it physically on the mixer.

I would suggest something like Mackie CR1604 (the things are built like tanks) https://www.thomann.de/intl/mackie_1604_vlz4.htm, and pair it up with a rack audio interface that just does AD/DA. Speaking of personal experience we used a CR1604 with a Terratec Phase 88 FW and the combo cost like 200EUR and it got us a quality mixer and 8 inputs.

If you want a 16+ channel mixer with a built in audio interface, I think you are not going to find a good solution that is affordable. Because above 16 inputs you get into professional territory and you are essentially looking at high quality mixers with high quality interfaces combined - not cheap.

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19 minutes ago, thawkins said:

I would suggest something like Mackie CR1604 (the things are built like tanks) https://www.thomann.de/intl/mackie_1604_vlz4.htm, and pair it up with a rack audio interface that just does AD/DA. Speaking of personal experience we used a CR1604 with a Terratec Phase 88 FW and the combo cost like 200EUR and it got us a quality mixer and 8 inputs.

Thanks for all the helpful info!

I'm still trying to get my head around this idea - is it that each input on the mixer has a separate out which is then connecting into a rack interface? So use the mixer standalone for offline jam then switch on laptop/interface for recording? (How did you get the rid costing 200 all together if the CR1604 is €698?)

Also what do you mean by AD/DA?

Sorry for all the questions, never thought buying a mixer would be so complicated ?

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I got a Zoom L-20 and I highly recommend it.Works with or without USB. (Auto) Records stems without fader action (but master track records everything)

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/L20--zoom-livetrak-l-20-20-channel-digital-mixer-recorder

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2 hours ago, TRiP said:

Thanks for all the helpful info!

I'm still trying to get my head around this idea - is it that each input on the mixer has a separate out which is then connecting into a rack interface? So use the mixer standalone for offline jam then switch on laptop/interface for recording? (How did you get the rid costing 200 all together if the CR1604 is €698?)

Also what do you mean by AD/DA?

Sorry for all the questions, never thought buying a mixer would be so complicated ?

I bought an older version of the CR1604 used, it was around 150EUR iirc (around 60 for the Terratec). The one I linked is a fancier newer version with some added bells and whistles I think. It's got a LOT of inputs outputs on the back, and basically we had those patched direct into the audio interface. YTBiOWIzNTNmYzUyZTdjNTI0NTJmMjBmNGI0NTU3

Basically the top ones are your direct outputs - it even works two ways - if you plug the jack halfway you get pre-fader sound in case you want to have a different mix blasting from your speakers as you work. I suggest checking out the manual too - it's super clearly written and probably the best I have ever read. You will learn a lot about general mixer stuff from that too!

AD/DA - analog digital, digital analog. Basically what the audio interface does - converts your analog signal into digital for the laptop, and then when you listen to stuff, it converts the digital back to analog signal.

Edited by thawkins

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48 minutes ago, iococoi said:

this sounds quite good..no physical inserts tough..

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/soundcraft-signature-22-mtk

This one sends the inputs raw, meaning pre-fader and eq. Only the pre-amps end up in the DAW. 

It’s also not super reliable. I’ve now had to send mine back for repairs twice because one of the channel inputs blew out and I gather on the internet I’m not the only one. 

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I'd say find a 2nd hand mixer on Craigslist or something and try to find something with D-Sub ports for individual outs.

Or win the lottery and get a Toft.

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I’m going to say the same thing I say every time this topic comes up.

recording 16 simultaneous stems is more trouble than its worth.

just get good at recording everything you need to chop up later as one stereo file. I think a lot of people just do multiple hour recordings and cut things up.

also, I have a dedicated computer just for recording hardware that isn’t interneted

and this is the sound card I’m about to try for that purpose: 

https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Behringer/Computer-Audio/Interfaces/UCA202/p/P0484#googtrans(en|en)

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My downstairs neighbor has some kind of Allen and Heath (one of the Zeds I think) and it sounds pretty good for the money.  I think he payed around $375 used.

 

I've always liked the older Mixwizards but those are analog only, no interface or anything.

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i just record via an audio interface.. can route anything anywhere w/a patch bay and a mackie 1640i that i've had for ages. i don't use the digital side of the mixer. it has a built in FW audio interface but my RME performs way better in every way.

FWIW most mixers don't record from the fader volume setting.. they record pre-fader and often the EQ can switched in or out of the signal path.  this is because you monitor what's coming back from your recording source and set those levels either on your computer or on a whole other signal path in the mixer.. this is of course totally dependent on the mixer you have.  the idea is you record using all the dynamic range you have available. 

anyway.. i've never felt i had any shortcomings w/the set up i use.. audio interface/mixer/patch bay. can record everything to its own track including (aux) FX returns.  it's super flexible. 

edit: regarding mackies.. the new ones are shit.  if you google "mackie 1604 manual" it's full of good info on how you can configure it for different situations. 

Edited by ignatius

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mackie manuals are required reading for real. one of the only manuals i've ever read that made me laugh out loud.

no experience with the vlz4 1604, but my 802vlz4 is my main mixer for my daw setup, and it's wonderful and steady. only thing i can't figure out is the left is always .5dB louder than the right. oh well.

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5 hours ago, sheatheman said:

I’m going to say the same thing I say every time this topic comes up.

recording 16 simultaneous stems is more trouble than its worth.

just get good at recording everything you need to chop up later as one stereo file. I think a lot of people just do multiple hour recordings and cut things up.

also, I have a dedicated computer just for recording hardware that isn’t interneted

and this is the sound card I’m about to try for that purpose: 

https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Behringer/Computer-Audio/Interfaces/UCA202/p/P0484#googtrans(en|en)

My workflow's not recording 16 stems but I do keep all the loops and separate tracks in Live. Disk space wise already this is becoming an issue for me.. if I recorded full stems, I will fill up my HD with 2 sessions and have to spend time cleaning it up.

I think the only scenario when I would do it is when I immediately cut and clean up everything after recording a jam session, but for me that usually triggers another jam-mix session where I mess around with the samples and loops and so usually what I do is just keep some stems and MIDI on disk, render the whole thing to mp3 and come back some day to extract interesting bits and ideas from it.

However if I had a good hardware setup and I felt fairly comfortable with it - no doubt I would just record the 16 tracks because I would expect that there's far less "boring" parts (for reals my jams have 20 minute spans where NOTHING NEW happens because I started checking out something on the internet). Still I would bounce all of that into a stereo track unless there's Really Something Amazing there to be kept safe.

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10 hours ago, sheatheman said:

mackie manuals are required reading for real. one of the only manuals i've ever read that made me laugh out loud.

no experience with the vlz4 1604, but my 802vlz4 is my main mixer for my daw setup, and it's wonderful and steady. only thing i can't figure out is the left is always .5dB louder than the right. oh well.

I had one of the older (early 90s maybe) VLZ1202 mixers and I liked it until the main outputs died (I pulled it out of the trash so I'm surprised it worked at all), but we've got a current generation VLZ1202 at work and the noise floor is really high.

 

The main/alternate output thing the VLZ series has is really useful though, I just haven't had as good an experience with the latest ones as I have with the older ones.  Right now I've got an early 90s Micro Series 1202 that I traded for last year and it's missing a lot of the features that are nice in the newer ones but it has a great sound if you're looking for a sort of rough synth sound.  Great for processing drum machines.

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On 11/19/2019 at 3:07 AM, sheatheman said:

I’m going to say the same thing I say every time this topic comes up.

recording 16 simultaneous stems is more trouble than its worth.

just get good at recording everything you need to chop up later as one stereo file. I think a lot of people just do multiple hour recordings and cut things up.

I think i'm starting to come around to this conclusion - just started thinking 'real songs are stemmed out and processed individually'  but in reality you're just making more work for yourself in post

I used to record live jams on an ole' H4N from the headphones out of my mixer and I honestly don't think i've ever mixed a song better by individually stemming it out and mixing it in the DAW than I have doing the 'live' mix method...also it's near impossible to recreate the magic you create when doing the live jam as opposed to tracking each synth one at a time

Also its asking alot from you as an artist to not only compose a cool song but also to somehow have all the know how to 'professionally' process it in post...

Time is limited these days, so the quickest and most fun method to getting the music finished should be the way forward!

Thanks for everyone giving their thoughts and opinions, interesting to see all the different methods we have

 

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One of my buddies has the Behringer XR18 digital mixer and swears by it.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/XR18--behringer-by-air-xr18-tablet-controlled-digital-mixer

He even bought a second one for live shows. It's expandable, too. I'll probably get one of these once I'm done with my analog mixer.

Unless a Yamaha LS9 falls into my lap...

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If you're only using it for line level stuff and don't mind having rotary level controls instead of faders, you can get more channels for your money (and for the size) from an old Mackie LM3204 or something similar than from a console style mixer. Won't give you a multi-channel interface, but if you come around to the "record everything to a single stereo file" school (I go back and forth myself, I think I come up with better ideas when I record straight to stereo but it takes a lot more time to work that way for me - with stems I can track everything in a couple hours and then go back and mix it later but with live to stereo it all has to be where I want it before I even record, and once I've got a few takes that's it - so it's not always an option) then it would be a decent option on a budget. Something to consider.

Edited by TubularCorporation
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