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A while back, I posted about my trusty Mackie mixers starting to exhibit signs of age. A good cleaning has taken care of it (in this set and forget situation), but it got me thinking about flexibility and efficiency.

Since I'm sort of settling into the idea of comfort and flexibility in my home studio, I've decided to see what it would take to get every synth output I have accommodated in a mixer. Just a single hardware sampler alone has 16 outputs, and most of my synths have at least 4. So with amp modelers and modular rig and such, that is easily over 64 inputs.

In the past when I tried this, I used half a dozen manual patch bays, which essentially doubled the number of cables I needed.

Is there a solution for this that is not tens of thousands of dollars? I have not delved into digital mixers at all. Is there a system that lets you use 72+ channels with that many physical inputs? Just trying to fact find at this point. This is a legitimate application, correct?I'm not missing something obvious?


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Geez, that's a lot of inputs.

Me, I'd try to hunt up 3 or 4 used Samson PL2404 line mixers. 24 inputs each. They're quiet enough at unity and surprisingly flexible units. EQ on each stereo pair of channels, sends/returns, inserts, TRS on two channels, 1/4" on the rest. Two 2-channel busses. Might find them for $200 - $300 used. If you can find them....

I'm sure there are a ton of other options - this just happens to be an older line mixer I'm very familiar with. From the 90s when everyone had all sorts of hardware romplers and samplers and rack gear that called for line mixers to boil it all down to two channels for live or studio work.

In fact, I'll sell you mine!

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Originally Posted by zeronyne
A while back, I posted about my trusty Mackie mixers starting to exhibit signs of age. A good cleaning has taken care of it (in this set and forget situation), but it got me thinking about flexibility and efficiency.

Remember that there's a both a mic/line and tape return input on each channel, so some clever button-pushing will give you 48 inputs.

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Is there a solution for this that is not tens of thousands of dollars? I have not delved into digital mixers at all. Is there a system that lets you use 72+ channels with that many physical inputs?

I kind of like Nowhere's suggestion of picking up a bunch of obsolete line level mixers. There are plenty of digital mixers that will mix 72+ inputs, and that don't cost tens of thousands of dollars, but the problem is that they don't, as they come, have enough connectors for all of those analog inputs. Generally there's some sort of expansion capability, usually through an Ethernet protocol to an outboard stage box, but it's more pieces to buy. Mackie, Soundcraft, Behringer, and PreSonus all make knobless boxes that can be expanded, and controlled by a GUI computer application or even a phone or tablet.

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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
Geez, that's a lot of inputs.

I'm sure there are a ton of other options - this just happens to be an older line mixer I'm very familiar with.
nat

I'd totally agree, for line level outputs single space line mixers are the way to go!

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What's the goal? To submix into a lesser number of inputs, to have each input patchable to an audio interface, or...? Also, is there any reason you don't want to take advantage of, for example, a sampler's internal mixer? Of course there are some compromises, like not being able to patch external hardware to one of the channels, but the advantage is you can store all the mixer, pan, internal effects, etc. settings within the synth and call up as needed instead of writing down knob settings or whatever. Also, many synths have enough level that you can pump them into a passive line mixer and not add any noise or distortion.

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Originally Posted by Anderton
What's the goal? To submix into a lesser number of inputs, to have each input patchable to an audio interface, or...?

My first thought was that he wanted a funnel, not really a mixer. Back before the turn of the century, people were buying 8- or 16-channel Mackie or= mixers and connecting each of their half dozen or so synths through the mixer so any one would be ready to play through the same monitor system, or record through the same sound card. So mostly it was about playing, with the option of sending MIDI to more than one synth and getting a layered sound.

Of course if you're using soft synths, everything is routable and you can have a few templates with favorite combinations of synths loaded and ready to go.

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The behringer X32 Mixer is on sale at Sweetwater right now CLONK. $2500 gets you the control surface fitted with 32 inputs and you can expand the inputs via various digital means including ethernet up to a total of 96 inputs. I'd take a look at the various expansion options and see what fits your needs. That would be the most budget friendly way to get get a mixer with the number of inputs you need and you get the benefit of all the built-in effects and channel strips.


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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton
What's the goal? To submix into a lesser number of inputs, to have each input patchable to an audio interface, or...?

My first thought was that he wanted a funnel, not really a mixer. Back before the turn of the century, people were buying 8- or 16-channel Mackie or= mixers and connecting each of their half dozen or so synths through the mixer so any one would be ready to play through the same monitor system, or record through the same sound card. So mostly it was about playing, with the option of sending MIDI to more than one synth and getting a layered sound.

Of course if you're using soft synths, everything is routable and you can have a few templates with favorite combinations of synths loaded and ready to go.

Mike is dead-on concerning the application. I just want to have maximum flexibility, maybe even to the point of ridiculousness, but if I can set this up once and now have to dig behind my racks for some single exception, all the better.

Thank you all for your wise words. I will look into that used line mixer mentioned above and also into the X32.


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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Remember that there's a both a mic/line and tape return input on each channel, so some clever button-pushing will give you 48 inputs.

And Channel B and other goodies to make things more confusing !!

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Sorry to necro this thread, but I think I may have found my solution.

Does anyone happen to own a Presonus Studiolive 32R? Can two of them be controlled in the software like one big mixer?


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Apple makes it super-easy to aggregate multiple interfaces. You can also aggregate with native Windows drivers, and Windows RT drivers have gotten very close to Core Audio in terms of speed. However networking using AVB might be your best option, as described here. For example, you could use two mixers, but the more cost-effective solution might be a mixer and stage boxes.

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Originally Posted by zeronyne
Sorry to necro this thread, but I think I may have found my solution.

Does anyone happen to own a Presonus Studiolive 32R? Can two of them be controlled in the software like one big mixer?

I'm pretty sure you can control multiple mixers from a software application, but it might be an app for a tablet rather than a full mixer application that lets you call up plug-ins and such.

Assuming that you want a single output that includes the inputs from either mixer, you'll have to make one mixer the "master" and patch (with a real cable) the output of the other mixer to an input or pair on the master.

I've been bugging PreSonus to make a line-level-only (no mic preamps) 24-channel in/out expander like their stage boxes, but they don't pay attention what what I want. wink

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Here's the answer, straight from PreSonus (thanks, Wesley!): "You can use one 32R as a stagebox for another, but they won't ever behave like a 64-channel mixer like the old 32.4.2AI did. We do make a 64-channel mixer, however. If someone needs more than 48 channels, the 64S is the best and most affordable way to go."

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Thank you Craig and Mike! I think I may have to just submix my way down to 32 inputs, which is what I wanted to avoid, but at least there is a relatively affordable alternative.

I appreciate the suggestion!


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Just to finish off this thread. I did end up buying the insanely powerful Presonus Studiolive 32R. There’s a deal right now that gets you all of the DSP plug ins for free. I don’t know if that’s one of those “deals” that always active, but I don’t care. I may have to submit just my modular synth to stay within 32 channels, but the fact that this is also a very large audio interface and separately controllable monitor mixer just makes it too compelling for the price.

Thank you all for your input.


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Good decision, I think. You can expand it to up to 64 inputs for recording by adding networked stage boxes.

Happy plugging, Keep your cables neat and mark both ends as to where they're going, You'll thank me for that some day,

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Congrats! Modern digital mixers are super powerful. I run an Allen & Heath SQ-5 as the zero-latency monitoring solution in my space. It also is a place for synths to get on the Dante network. Very useful - used every day.... Good luck with your new setup!


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