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1U Line Mixer Questions (Rane / Ashly / Alesis)


NoahZark

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Well it made economic sense. The HC6 headphone amp circuit is low parts count, I used to own one, I didn't need the other five channels, I knew it sounded good, and I didn't want to cherry-pick other headphone amps while paying "restocking" charges for each one.

 

Yes I am an EE but I am in no hurry to own a CS-80. I've seen the inside of one and a Memorymoog is enough of a rats' nest :D

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So anyway, I am back now to three choices:

 

1)Samson SM10- perfect if the sound quality is good enough. As in can pass a headphone test for noise and distortion.

 

2)Ashly LX308B- perfect except for the lack of an effects send. Maybe there is an outboard effects device that has a clean dry signal?

 

3)Rane SM82- and I get the real MC to recommend or build a headphone amp for another real MC?

 

Or is there a high quality, small (8-10 channels) regular mixer? Maybe A&H Zed10 or something?

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Or is there a high quality, small (8-10 channels) regular mixer? Maybe A&H Zed10 or something?

 

I have the Zed 10FX and I wouldn't call it high quality. It's serviceable and gets the job done, maybe on the level of that older Mackie 1202 VLZ. I still keep the Mackie up in the attic in case of an emergency and it might actually be more transparent then the A&H fwiw.

 

If I could find something of actual "high quality " that was small, had maybe 4 mic pres, fx &/or monitor sends and was intended more for pro audio apps then film location recording, I'd buy it.. ;)

 

That APB-Dynasonics piece that I posted earlier in this thread last year looks good, they get very high marks in the pro audio world, but still some features lacking that I need.

http://www.apb-dynasonics.com/downloads/ProSpec/ProSpec_1U_2012_with_Specs.pdf

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

https://www.youtube.com/@daveferris2709

 

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, CP88, P515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I seemed to get ignored first time round so I'll say it again:

 

SM PRO-AUDIO DI8E is excellent - can anyone hear me?? :mad:

 

http://www.thomann.de/gb/sm_pro_audio_di8e.htm

 

 

 

SM Audio DI8E with built in DI............

 

http://www.smproaudio.com/images/products/diboxes/di8e/DI8E_hires_1.jpg

Yamaha CP70B;Roland XP30/AXSynth/Fantom/FA76/XR;Hammond XK3C SK2; Korg Kronos 73;ProSoloist Rack+; ARP ProSoloist; Mellotron M4000D; GEM Promega2; Hohner Pianet N, Roland V-Grand,Voyager XL, RMI
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b]Samson SM10[/b]- perfect if the sound quality is good enough. As in can pass a headphone test for noise and distortion.

 

I'll be the first to admit that I rarely hear the differences in the sound of mixers that others often descibe as huge. As long as there is no hiss, no "pops" or "scratches" when controls are being moved, etc. - they all sound pretty similar to my ears.

 

That said - I've never had any issues with the sound of my SM10. It's quiet (i.e., no hiss) ... there's no discernable noise when I'm making adjustments to it. My wife is one of those "early to bed" types too - so I regularly use the headphone port - again, with no issues regarding sound quality.

 

If the SM10 has the "perfect" feature set for you - why not order a unit from one of the vendors that offer a "30 day, no questions asked" return policy and try it out? If you find it provides acceptable sound quality - you'll end up with the "perfect" feature set - and at a fraction of the price of either the Rane or the Ashley. I'd consider it worth risking the headache of dealing with return if it offers you the chance of a "win-win" situation (perfect feature set at significantly lower price).

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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So anyway, I am back now to three choices:

 

1)Samson SM10- perfect if the sound quality is good enough. As in can pass a headphone test for noise and distortion.

 

2)Ashly LX308B- perfect except for the lack of an effects send. Maybe there is an outboard effects device that has a clean dry signal?

 

3)Rane SM82- and I get the real MC to recommend or build a headphone amp for another real MC?

 

Or is there a high quality, small (8-10 channels) regular mixer? Maybe A&H Zed10 or something?

 

The Samson SM10 has ALL the features you need for gigging.

 

There are differences between all mixers and according to crosstalk between channels, S/N ratio, phase shift and distortion.

 

Samson SM10 crosstalk in channels and across overall channels is <-70dB @1KHz and S/N ratio typical >90dB w/ no conditions mentioned.

 

The Ashly crosstalk is <-80dB @1KHz and <-60dB 20Hz-20KHz. Residual output noise (all levels minimum) <-100dB / master level and input level of 1 channel unity gain <-90dB.

 

The ProSpec 2012 manual doesn´t tell about crosstalk at all but presents specs for phase response which the other´s don´t mention and residual output noise is <-95dBu ,- all channels unassigned and channel sends down, Master at unity gain (2oclock), all @1KHz.

 

RANE SM82S S/N ratio is 98dB,- reference +4dB/20KHz bandwidth, all inputs max., 50% out level, balanced and crosstalk is 76dB L/R and 85dB channel to channel.

 

You see, the manufacturers use different measurement methods anyway which doesn´t explain too much for the user.

 

Now given the price and the features, I´d probably go w/ the Samson SM10 for live-keyboards because the hardware keyboards and modules also introduce some crosstalk in their own stereo outputs as well as some noise and distortion at all of their outputs.

 

In the studio, you probably decide to go directly into converters or use digital outputs of the hardware keys/modules if available.

 

A.C.

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I was recently evaluating 1U mixers, and came down to the Samson SM10 new, or an Ashly LX308B used. Both were almost the same price, the Ashly just a touch more. I ended up purchasing the 308B and have had it a couple of weeks.

 

I'm new at playing keyboards and just learning at home so I'm using it with headphones mostly right now. I'm mixing my PC3 and CP33, plus metronome. For what its worth given my minimal experience, I can say it is incredibly quiet, amazingly so. This may not be a fair comparison, but it is night and day quieter than a Yamaha MG102c that I was using briefly.

 

I bought the Ashly on recommendations of countless musicians commenting in forums, including some of you guys. :) It was a great purchase that I'm sure I'll have for many years to come.

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I always liked the modular approach as opposed to the "all-in-one-box" solution. With the latter the temptation to cut corners to keep the price reasonable (and possibly compromise audio) is too great. With the modular approach 1) you're less likely to be compromised 2) if one component breaks down you can still keep going 3) you can always switch out for a better component.

 

I use that same concept with my effects. I have separate boxes for delay, for reverb, for phasing, for flanging, etc. They sound MUCH better than all-in-one multieffect boxes.

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Well, to follow up on the Rane/headphone amp idea, someone suggested using a PreSonus HP4. I understand the Rane and Ashly mixers are pretty much at the same level of sound quality, so this may be the way to go.

 

I'm not sure I understand what value the Presonus HP4 would bring to a mixer like the Ashley (which already has a headphone output). If I'm understanding what the Presonus HP4 does - it takes a single set of inputs - and provides the ability to support 4 sets of headphone outputs each with a discrete volume control. Unless you need to have three friends listening via headphones along with you - what value does the Presonus add?

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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He wants an effect buss, the Ashly doesn't have one.

 

It's a lot easier adding a headphone amp than an effects buss.

 

Seems like alot of work and expense to retrofit features - especially when the SM10 is readily available with stereo main, stereo monitor, effects buss and headphone output that can be used to monitor virtually any output (main, monitor and/or effects) - along with more input real estate and at a significantly cheaper price. Granted there's the highly subjective question of sound quality - but considering the leg up that the SM10 has in terms of price and feature set, I'd certainly give it try to see if its quality of sound passes muster with your ears. It certainly does with mine.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I've owned my Ashley for 8 years. It's a fabulous piece of gear. One of the few things I wouldn't get rid of for anything.

 

 

 

I'm looking for a 1U line mixer to fill an empty space in my rack and allow me to avoid separately lugging along to gigs my Mackie 802VLZ3. I've read all the good things about the Rane SM82s and the Ashly LX308b, but I'm struggling a bit with shelling out that kind of dough ($500) at the moment (especially after my wife and I did our part to help the economy during the holiday shopping season).

 

My question is this: Can anyone tell me whether the changes from the earlier Rane and Ashly models (SM82 vs. SM82s and LX308 vs. LX308b) are dramatic? I have been able to locate both of the previous models on eBay at fairly significant savings to the current models, and if the specs and performance are similar between the models, I'm inclined to go the used route with the older model. There are clear cosmetic changes from older model to new, but is there anything else that anyone is aware of?

 

Also, does anyone have experience with the new Alesis MultiMix 8 line mixer? It looks like a decent piece of kit, but I just don't know much about the quality of Alesis mixers.

 

Thanks, forum brothers and sisters!

 

Noah

�Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!�

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

 

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He wants an effect buss, the Ashly doesn't have one.

 

It's a lot easier adding a headphone amp than an effects buss.

 

Seems like alot of work and expense to retrofit features - especially when the SM10 is readily available with stereo main, stereo monitor, effects buss and headphone output that can be used to monitor virtually any output (main, monitor and/or effects) - along with more input real estate and at a significantly cheaper price. Granted there's the highly subjective question of sound quality - but considering the leg up that the SM10 has in terms of price and feature set, I'd certainly give it try to see if its quality of sound passes muster with your ears. It certainly does with mine.

 

SpaceNorm- I agree, I am going to a lot of trouble. The problem is, I will be doing a significant amount of monitoring thru headphones as opposed to playing live, and subjectively I can hear the difference. For example, some people play live using the headphone output of a MacBook Pro-->DI box-->mixer, and in that situation it works well. But thru headphones, I can most definitely hear a huge difference between the direct headphone out of the MBP versus the headphone output from an Apogee Ensemble. In addition, aside from the soft synths I am playing several analog pieces (Moog Voyager, MiniTaur, possible a Eurorack modular in the near future) as well a Solaris, and I want to hear these instruments in the best way possible. Previously, I used the Ensemble as a mixer, but it involved taking the analog signal, converting it to digital for mixing, and then converting back to analog for output to monitors. No matter how wonderful/high quality the convertors, it is still an unnecessary conversion step which affects the sound. Once again, playing live it would not be a problem, but directly into my ears I can hear it, FWIW.

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... thru headphones, I can most definitely hear a huge difference between the direct headphone out of the MBP versus the headphone output from an Apogee Ensemble...

 

Is that really a fair comparison? I certainly wouldn't think that a comparison of the laptop's headphone output with that of the headphone out of an Apogee Ensemble (a $2,000 audio interface) to be analogous with the comparison of two line mixers that are $300 apart on the cost scale.

 

Just curious - have you actually listen to any/all of the devices that have made your list through the headphone outputs yet? I haven't gone back to re-read all the posts, but for some reason I've been under the impression you were asking for feedback from folks with experience with these units because you've been only had the opportunity to compare specs so far. If you've actually heard the differences - the conversation is moot.

 

Either way, it's your party so obviously you gotta do what you feel is best for you. If you can hear the difference - by all means pony up for whatever sounds best to you.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Norm!

 

Well, it's interesting regarding the comparison. I know for a fact that Eddie Jobson, who is known to be pretty OCD regarding his rig and its sound, plays live thru three MacBook Pros where the output is coming directly from the laptop's headphone outs to DI boxes into the mixer. So in a live situation (as I am sure you are aware) good enough can be certainly good enough. But yeah, the difference between the MBP headphone out and the Ensemble was pretty dramatic. I have listened to the Samson and Rane units through headphones, but it was not in the best of environments (at NAMM, with all the noise and ear fatigue), so I couldn't make a decent enough comparison. The Ashly has universally rave reviews from everyone, everywhere.

 

My studio's signal chain is otherwise topnotch (Apogee, ADAM monitors, etc.) so I want to make sure the mixer is up to it. I think I remember that dB runs all of his analog gear thru a Speck X.Sum, which is a $2000 unit.

 

I may just be splitting hairs here and you are most likely entirely correct. But I have a few months to mull this over (sold Ensemble, waiting for new Duet2 this March/April) which makes thinking about that much worse....!

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I always liked the modular approach as opposed to the "all-in-one-box" solution. With the latter the temptation to cut corners to keep the price reasonable (and possibly compromise audio) is too great. With the modular approach 1) you're less likely to be compromised 2) if one component breaks down you can still keep going 3) you can always switch out for a better component.

 

I use that same concept with my effects. I have separate boxes for delay, for reverb, for phasing, for flanging, etc. They sound MUCH better than all-in-one multieffect boxes.

 

The alternative view is you have a nest of wires between the components and connections = trouble in electronic systems.

+ crosstalk, hum, etc etc

Yamaha CP70B;Roland XP30/AXSynth/Fantom/FA76/XR;Hammond XK3C SK2; Korg Kronos 73;ProSoloist Rack+; ARP ProSoloist; Mellotron M4000D; GEM Promega2; Hohner Pianet N, Roland V-Grand,Voyager XL, RMI
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The alternative view is you have a nest of wires between the components and connections = trouble in electronic systems.

+ crosstalk, hum, etc etc

 

And that is why I pay attention to routing of AC vs audio cables, ground loops, foil vs braided shield of cables, etc. And my nest is cleaner because I use patchbays. I have a very clean sounding system.

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..I know for a fact that Eddie Jobson, who is known to be pretty OCD regarding his rig and its sound, plays live thru three MacBook Pros where the output is coming directly from the laptop's headphone outs to DI boxes into the mixer...

 

I guess I'm old school ... my rig all hardware based keyboards and modules (Yamaha CP300, Korg Kronos 88, Motif ES Rack unit) - all of which I run in a "dual mono" (Left and Right outputs from the sound generators - run into either the "left and right" inputs of a stereo channel or into two seperate "mono" channels on the mixer - with no panning (i.e., it's all panned dead center). I also run MP3 player functionality (provided via an iPad, an iPod, a iPhone or a laptop) using an 1/8th in stereo jack into 2 1/4" TR jacks into either one stereo channels or two mono channels. I also need the ability to mix in a single AUX feed (sent from the FOH board)containing a generic "band mix" of vocals and any instruments I may need to hear in my stage monitors.

 

For me the need for 9 inputs (Left and Right channels from 4 stereo devices) plus the one AUX Input meant all the 8 channel devices came up short. The SM10's 10 stereo input channels covered my needs with room from growth if needed. The routing capabilities - were perfect for my needs as well. I wanted the ability to send a stereo mix to the FOH, a stereo mix to my stage monitors and a mono mix to my IEM tranceiver (Shure PSM200). The SM10's stereo Main Output, stereo Monitor output and the effects bus output - allows me create individual mixes to send to each of the three outputs I needed.

 

The SM10's headphone jack (and source selector switch) lets me monitor whichever of the three output mixes I choose too.

 

Given my requirements - clearly, I'm looking for traditional mixer functionality. Coming from that perspective - I struggle to get my head around how some of the other products that I've seen recommended as possible solutions(i.e., Radial DI boxes, audio interfaces (i.e., Motu Ultralite, etc.)) would fit the bill.

 

For me - the SM10 was purchased to serve as the mixer in my live rig. The headphone output gets used at gigs when I want to "warm up" in private ... and at when my live rig is set up at home and I need to be mindful of not disturbing my wife and kids. I plug in a 20' foot headphone extension cable (Male TRS on one end - Female TRS jack on the other) into the SM10's headphone output - and connect my IEM earbuds (Live Wire TRiple Driver model) to it. Like I said, it's quiet (no hiss, no noise) ... and sounds acceptable to my ears.

 

 

 

 

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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  • 1 month later...
Or is there a high quality, small (8-10 channels) regular mixer? Maybe A&H Zed10 or something?

 

I have the Zed 10FX and I wouldn't call it high quality. It's serviceable and gets the job done, maybe on the level of that older Mackie 1202 VLZ. I still keep the Mackie up in the attic in case of an emergency and it might actually be more transparent then the A&H fwiw.

 

If I could find something of actual "high quality " that was small, had maybe 4 mic pres, fx &/or monitor sends and was intended more for pro audio apps then film location recording, I'd buy it.. ;)

 

That APB-Dynasonics piece that I posted earlier in this thread last year looks good, they get very high marks in the pro audio world, but still some features lacking that I need.

http://www.apb-dynasonics.com/downloads/ProSpec/ProSpec_1U_2012_with_Specs.pdf

 

I went through a great deal of trouble (driving to Long Beach and setting up my stuff in a demo room) to hear this today. The APB Dynasonics Prospec 2U6M2S.

http://apb-dynasonics.com/downloads/ProSpec/ProSpec-2U-052712.pdf

 

It was worth the time and hassle. The local rep had a good room, acoustically, to judge the sound. This thing eats the Zed 10 for breakfast sonically speaking!

 

Aside from the ton more headroom, both vocal and piano were way more punchy and in your face with better tone. Basically made my TT08As sound even more like studio monitors. Very impressive !

 

It's more then a line mixer and might not fit many player's requirements but for my purposes---a pair of speakers on poles (with occasional vocal wedge monitor) , piano, a coupla vocal mics, sometimes a line from the acoustic bass and occasional sax mic--it's perfect. I wish it had one more aux send for the verb...but reverb is overrated these days in my book on vocals. Most of the time in these clangy rooms, I find myself rolling off all the effects to get more clarity out of the vocal mic. So will probably just use that for wedge monitor.

 

The build quality and sonic footprint are stellar-it has the same Burr-Brown pres they put in their large consoles....real pro audio quality and made in the USA. Through my source, I'm guessing a tad under a grand.

 

A/B ing with A&H there was a noticeable improvement. As soon as some of my tax returns roll in, I'll probably be ordering this.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

https://www.youtube.com/@daveferris2709

 

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, CP88, P515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Through my source, I'm guessing a tad under a grand...

 

The little bit of price information I could find on the web peg this device in the $2950 price range. You must have some pretty good sources!

 

Having read about your speakers and now this sweet little mixer - I'm slowly but steadily coming to the conclusion that not do you have some highly refined tastes in audio gear, your wallet has to be waaaay fatter than mine!

 

All I can say is "niiiicee toys!!!!"

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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No list is $1340. I think number you have is list on the Pro Rack.

 

Lol...I don't have quantity- a lotta different keyboards (just the one)- so for what I do have, I try and go for quality in regards to the sound.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

https://www.youtube.com/@daveferris2709

 

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, CP88, P515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

For those who may still be interested in the change of specs from the older Ashly lx308 to the newer 308b.

 

I just spoke with tech support and the most significant change in the 2 versions is that the b version has balanced inputs.....the 308 does not. Outputs are balanced on both versions.

 

This could be important for those who have boards like Kurz that have balanced outputs.

 

FYI

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I still have uber-love for the Roland M120 line mixer. No line lump or wall wart, 1 space, super clean, 12 channels, independent mains and monitoring, 2 stereo fx sends, stereo 1/4" and XLR mains, stereo 1/4" monitors. Awesome.

 

I'm surprised it took so many posts to mention the Roland. I've had mine for decades now with very little issues. I put it in the shop a few years ago to re-solder some input jacks but that's it.

 

Great mixer.

 

Here ya go:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ROLAND-M-120-12-Channel-Single-Space-1U-Line-Mixer-19573-/171513020364?pt=US_Live_Studio_Mixers&hash=item27eef8ffcc

 

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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I've only ever used two 1U line mixers, and they were both great.

 

1) Behringer RX1602

2) Rolls RM203(x)

 

Both are fantastic mixers. I like the Rolls slightly more because of the designated XLR in (and phantom, which doesn't help me, but could be useful), plus it has really nice big knobs (like on all Rolls products), so you can really get your hand on it in a performance.

I like the Behringer (and am currently using it) because of the designated mute buttons, which the Rolls doesn't have. IE, you can turn a channel up all the way, press the mute button, and it's instantly muted.

 

Both are fantastic quality and great mixers or else I wouldn't be taking the time to write about each. Good luck to whoever the original poster is in your search!

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