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Home studio question - too much gear?


Tom Fiala

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OK gang, looking for suggestions about mixers & sub-mixers. I need some more channels to handle the load....or else I need to stop collecting gear!!

 

In the home studio, I have one wall taken up by several keyboards (A6, Z1, Jup-6, OB-Xa, PEK and either a microQ or the ailing moog source). These are on 2 three tier Standtastic stands.

 

At the desk, I have a kurz 2661, and rack mounted PX7, Noah, PC2R and Mo'rack. There's an Hammond M3 in the closet, but I'll probably try to sell that one.

 

If I count correctly, that's about 10 stereo lines and 2 mono lines, before guitar and vocal inputs.

 

I had been running these into a 1604-VLZ, using a Rolls line mixer as a submixer - but the Rolls seems to be the source of too much buzz, even with a power conditioner, and I find there's too much background white noise coming out of the monitors for my liking when everything is turned on, with levels up. I wasn't aware of these problems until I upgraded my monitors to the fabulous p11a's (Thanks again, dB - they are awesome!)

 

So, what should I do? Pony up for a large mixer, try a different line mixer, get another 1604 to use as a sub, or slim down on gear?

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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I'm actually going through a similar thought process. I've got eleven keyboards and twelve modules running into two submixers before ending up at my main mixer. That doesn't even take the soft synths I own (and rarely use) into account...

 

I'm seriously considering selling a bunch of the synths and mixers (and some of my fx processors) and trying to concentrate on getting more out of the ones that I really use the most...not to mention having more room in my studio. ;)

 

The main problem I'm facing is trying to come to a decision on the mixers - I love my hardware desk, but I must admit that I'm tempted to get a few MOTU audio interfaces and some kind of controller for DP and just go in the box.

 

I dunno...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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I think I'd have a hard time relying on my computer to allow me to get sound out to my speakers. I've also pondered over this and would love to gain some room by eliminating my Mackie 32x8. But the thought of being dependent on a PC and software to have sound (other then headphones) really scares me. Also all that RA now passes through a A/D and D/A even when just screwing around and not recording. I wonder if at some point you feel like something is different or missing? Still my Mackie is just a big monitor console. I use very little of it's capability. Hmmm???
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Originally posted by Markyboard:

I think I'd have a hard time relying on my computer to allow me to get sound out to my speakers. I've also pondered over this and would love to gain some room by eliminating my Mackie 32x8. But the thought of being dependent on a PC and software to have sound (other then headphones) really scares me. Also all that RA now passes through a A/D and D/A even when just screwing around and not recording. I wonder if at some point you feel like something is different or missing? Still my Mackie is just a big monitor console. I use very little of it's capability. Hmmm???

Exactly my dilemma...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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After getting the mLAN for my Motif ES6, and getting the I88x mLAN Audio and MIDI interface to my Steinberg Cubase SX 3 DAW, pulling my Yamaha 01v digital board out of the signal chain was a snap.

 

Run my Ensoniq TS-10 into the Motif on-board A/D converters so have eliminated one snake..

 

Now, I only use the DAW (two video monitors really helps) and feel liberated. Really simplified things for me.

 

Should add: can use the built-in Motif faders as DAW faders, and also use the Motif transport buttons to start/stop which provides some crucial DAW functionality right on the board.

 

Of course, I am just a hobbyist not a pro so YMMV... :)

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

--------

My Professional Websites

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Originally posted by Tom Fiala:

So, what should I do?

I have always gotten rid of submixing. With more channels on one mixer, all instruments can use all effects, etc. and be monitored in the same way.

 

I was in a similar situation to you and went with a Mackie 24-4 (SR, VLZ, or VLZPro). Very flexible and everything has a place. Live, recording, and rehearsing on one mixer with no repatching cables. Easy. Used, they can be had for around $600, give or take, depending on the year. Reliable and they sound great. Compact for the many things that can be done. Mackie.com has the manual.

 

I now will be selling my 24-4 and am going with a 32-4. I just need to change the stand I use and will probably make the change in about 6 months or so.

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I may just do an experiment here and take a few of my most used synths and us them as if the Mackie mixer isn't there. I'm limited to an 8x8 A/D box right now so I can't go full out no mixer right now. But if I can go a month like this I should know whether my fears are justified or not. I've been consistantly using my S90es USB port as opposed to the midi out and this forces me to boot up Cubase each time. So maybe muixerless isn't as bad as I think.

 

One consideration will be that I'll most likely be using direct monitor out. Therefore no effects on my minis etc where as with the mixer I can use outboard delays and such. We'll see. Sorry if I'm hijacking this thread- yeah one large mixer is definitely preferable to using submixers IMO. Hang on for a month- I may strongly recommend a Mackie 32x8. ;)

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I made a decision a long time ago to make the PC a central part of the studio, so running everything through it was part of that decision.

All the hardware goes into a Mackie CR1604, into a Delta66 box, and then into another splitter box which feeds a headphone amp, and the Adams.

 

Good monitors definitely reveal noise in the signal chain. I now find my Alesis MicroverbIII & Quadraverb+ too noisy to use, prefering the flexibility of noiseless plugins instead.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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I too own a Mackie 32x8 and I don't want to part with it either. I wonder if you could still get the extensions for the board. That will get you quite a bit more inputs and outs. My Mackoe board is an analog board and I never had (knock on wood) any problems with it yet. I really can't get with the PC thing yet. I might try some protools LE. A friend of mine wanted to sell it. Don't know if it is gon yet.

 

Jazzman :cool:

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Dumped my 2 TMD4000 tascam boards, 2 2408's my Trinity, JV1080, DM5, MPX1, PCM91 and a whole bunch of other stuff to work in the box, err boxes! So I now run a FW1884 from one PC with Sonar and fx teleport for my GS3 system and I've been really happy about my decision! Using TBO and similar piano samples that sound awsome, GPO for orchestra stuff, some soft synth like the cameleon 5000 yada yada, missing the Logic pro synths a bit as I'm all PC! I've eliminated tons of cables (in fact all those cables bought a pluggin). Smells better, I'm great at setting up PC's for recording, I'm finding that all presets for Fx's units, keyboards, mixer settings, automation etc all gets saved within Sonar and Uad-1 presets! That was a big one for me, before the Tascam boards I had no recall on my mackie 24. Sonically everything is silent, no buzzes, the noise floor is a lot lower! So the biggest headache will be if I ever get into a harddrive crash I will have all the types of copy protection to reload! But for me I'm not missing all the cables, heat and patch bay headaches! But with GS3 and all the choices of samples out there as with anything, there's always something I'm looking for!

Later

Brian

Smile if you're not wearin panties.
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Too much gear??

 

BLASPHEMY!!!!! :D

 

In all seriousness, that does seem like a lot of synths. Do you really need them hooked in all at once? I'd say reserve a few channels for the ones you use most, and keep the others in storage. If you do need to use of those "extras," find unused channels for them on an as-needed, project-by-project basis.

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I vote for staying with a submixer. I keep my session gear submixed and wouldn't have it any other way. I like having all of my stuff, patched and available at all times, ready for me to pick and choose different combinations and effects.

I doubt you can still get one, but I have used an old Roland M-480 mixer for years, and still love it and prefer it over much of the current choices. It is quiet, small (takes up very little rack space), 48 inputs (24 A&B), 6 aux sends 4 stereo returns, multiple outs (master, sub, monitor) and no EQ (which is probably why it is still quiet after years of cartage abuse). It was cheap too. I wonder if you can still find one on Ebay?

Steve Nathan

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Originally posted by Jazzman:

My Mackoe board is an analog board and I never had (knock on wood) any problems with it yet. I really can't get with the PC thing yet.

 

Jazzman :cool:

I bought mine in 1994 - never a problem. Glad I had one of the originals before they started building them overseas with the ribbon problems or whatever.

 

My system is also very quiet - even with the 32 channel board in the path. Damn - I wish I didn't start thinking about this - especially right after one of the worst PC problems I've had. Syncrosoft update totally messed me up and ended up reformatting. It's always a chore to get back to where I was and new problems always seem to introduce themselves. Today was MS Word giving me error message when opening a file. Ended up being because I'm using Norton 2002. Fixed it but who would have thunk. Two days ago I'm trying to figure out why my Ameritrade pop-ups are screwing up - ended up I changed a setting on my Matrox Video Card not realizing the ramifications. Once it set though it works very reliably and I'm almost there - just need to reload Logic Audio.

 

I can just imagine tracking down a buzz or no signal without a mixer. I mean how would you know whether it's the keyboard output or the A/D box or software if you can't isolate it from the PC when troubleshooting? Maybe just a different mindset -sorry just thinking out loud - quietly.

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1) Patch panels are handy if you're tight on space or budget.

 

2) Most MOTUs can be used & controlled without the computer. But it's kind of like building a ship in a bottle, IYKWIM -- buttons and menu and small LCD display.

 

3) Big mixers really impress the chicks, don't they?

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Originally posted by learjeff:

 

 

2) Most MOTUs can be used & controlled without the computer. But it's kind of like building a ship in a bottle, IYKWIM -- buttons and menu and small LCD display.

Cool - didn't know that.

 

 

3) Big mixers really impress the chicks, don't they?
Where? :confused::D

 

 

I patched my Voyager directly to my RME interface.

And I'm bussing my A6 to the RME and also minitoring through it.

 

First problem I see is I need seperate input levels on the RME whch it doesn't have. I have to globally select -10, +4 or Lo gain for all the inputs. Since the A6 has gain from the mixer it much hotter then the Voyager. This wouldn't be the case if I eliminated the mixer but I wanted to simulate significantly different output levels form different gear.

 

I haven't tied the monitors (4) directly to the RME. Have to figure out how to control output volume.

 

Using Direct monitoring eliminates latency ...but then you have no control over levels from the host application (Cubase).

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Allen & Heath have just upgraded their W20 Mix Wiz to the Mark 3.

 

http://www.allen-heath.com/AHImages/WZ3_20S_threeq.jpg

 

If I was doing it all over again (and stereo was my thing) I'd strongly consider that guy. 16 stereo channels plus four mono channels, and analog electronics that will do justice to... analog electronics. Frequency response is 20Hz to 50Khz (+/- 0.5 dB).

 

And it fits in a rack!

"More tools than talent"

Motif ES7:Kurzweil PC1x:Electro 2 73:Nord Lead 3:MKS-80:Matrix 1000:Microwave XT

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Hi Tom and group,

 

I use the Speck Xtramix cxi for submixing all of my synths, keyboards and DAW returns. I have a whole bunch of hardware synths -- that I LOVE -- and the Xtramix keeps them all up, available and QUIET when not in use.

 

I also have a second Xtramix in my "big" live rig. I think it's a great product:

 

http://www.speck.com/xmix_2.shtml

 

I also have two of their 16-ch EQs which also rock although apparently not in production anymore. And as a disclaimer, I have no affiliation whatsoever with the company and did, in fact, pay discounted retail (aka "everyman price") for all of my Speck gear. Kudos to those guys.

 

Best regards,

Erik

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Originally posted by Tom Fiala:

I find there's too much background white noise coming out of the monitors for my liking when everything is turned on, with levels up.

A lot of that white noise is probably coming out of one or more of the synths rather than the mixers. In other words its probably inherent in the synth and chaning mixers won't fix it.

 

One way to fix that is to run the offending synths through a gate. I use a 266XL, although for vocals rather than synth.

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

I'm seriously considering selling a bunch of the synths and mixers (and some of my fx processors) and trying to concentrate on getting more out of the ones that I really use the most...not to mention having more room in my studio. ;)

 

 

I dunno...

 

dB

Hey dB,

 

You may want to, as you said, sell a bunch of your Synths then turn around and get a Korg OASYS. The money you get from your Synths should easily suffice for the OASYS with money left over. You will have accomplished two things in the process. One is you will be freeing up much needed space as you put it and two is you will have the latest greatest in Keyboard sounds and functionality in an all-in-one package. Something to consider anyway. ;)

 

Or you may want to sell the Synths and wait a while for the new Yamaha Flagship to be released and get that instead. You wouldn't get some of the functionality that is on the OASYS but you will get the cream of the crop soundwise and you would have an extra $5,000 or so to pocket for yourself. :cool: Which you can then turn around and buy some more gear with. :D

 

Be easy though cause your original intent is to save space remember? ;)

Mike
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Originally posted by erik norlander:

Hi Tom and group,

 

I use the Speck Xtramix cxi for submixing all of :D my synths, keyboards and DAW returns. I have a whole bunch of hardware synths -- that I LOVE -- and the Xtramix keeps them all up, available and QUIET when not in use.

 

I also have a second Xtramix in my "big" live rig. I think it's a great product:

 

http://www.speck.com/xmix_2.shtml

 

 

Best regards,

Erik

I remember when the Xtramix was introduced at NAMM. I was impressed then and even more so now. It does look like a very well specked (and expensive) mixer. I can't help but wish it had direct outs on each channel(more so then inserts) along with maybe a third set of stereo outs.

I still may consider going this route at some point. I can't see needing a mixer to actually mix down any more - you know where you actually move faders - like in the old days. :freak:

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Direct outs are post EQ, inserts are pre EQ. I'd rather have both, with insert available for compression or other processing.

 

On the subject of mixing, I use Rane SM-82s. They can be chained as your system expands, without consuming a channel. I have two chained together now. They are 1U line mixers with no EQ, stereo FX buss, and they're very clean and transparent.

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