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help choosing a mixer, please...

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help choosing a mixer, please...

Postby a student of life on Mon Dec 15, 2003 2:16 am

if i want to use 4 (harware synth) keyboards and a hardware sampler...
yamaha djx (aux out, midi i/o)
roland xp30 ( http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--ROLXP30 )
kurzweil k2600xs ( http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--KRZK2600XS )
korg karma ( http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--KORKARMA )
emu e5000ultra ( http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp ... oduct=1097 )

..and want to be able to access the effects on the karma, emu, and kurzweil (and maybe the xp30), from all of the other gear, i would want a mixer with how many channels and how many buses..? i don't have all of these at this time, but i figured getting a mixer that would not need to be replaced or upgraded until i have the sounds i want to be able to use would be an intelligent decision...

why so many keyboards? for me..? for the same reason i want to get a mac and dump this POS wintel PC... easier to get around... if i want to hear the xp30 soundset and im using a jv1010, whatever keyboard im using as a controller has to go into local mode -and technical requisites don't help stimulate my creativity... though i guess with that in mind i might want to have a dedicated keyboard for the sampler, too, huh...
and also, i don't not know if it is possible, but if possible, id rather save the mixer channels and audio quality by running digital signals if possible.... but since i can't tell (and/or don't understand) how that could happen, i threw the links up to the product and product specs page(s)...

and Tweak, you've used behringer, mackie, and alesis mixers... who offers the cleanest (or nicest) preamps on their mixers, or anyone else who has used more than one company's and has a preference...

thanks very much !!
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Postby Tweak on Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:32 am

and want to be able to access the effects on the karma, emu, and kurzweil (and maybe the xp30), from all of the other gear


You can do that on an emu with an RFX board and I think you can on the Karma (i know you can on the triton), but this is a very strange way to work and is a routing pain. You can't access JV effects with other gear. Depends on which kurz--the hi end you probably can.

I like the mackie XDR preamps better than the alesis. I like the Behringer mx9000 pres as much as like the Mackie.

Routing digital signals means a digital mixer. Make sure your synths have digital outs (many do not).
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Postby a student of life on Tue Dec 16, 2003 6:21 am

Tweak wrote: this is a very strange way to work


makes sense that the mess of cables to facilitate the capacity i would prefer would not be simple, but, uh, why would this be so strange..?

http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--KRZK2600XS for reference...

"Live Mode
Powerful V.A.S.T. DSP capabilities to process any incoming mono or stereo signal via the analog or digital sample inputs (requires the sampling option). Imagine plugging your guitar, microphone, mixer, or tape track directly into your K2600 and customizing the sound using any of the V.A.S.T. parameters, all in real time. Then add effects using the K2600's on board effects or the state-of-the-art KDFX. The K2600 is the most advanced real-time signal processor ever created. With the digital I/O option you get 8 in and 8 out KDS I/O that can bidirectioanlly communicate with the DMTi and any other devices wired to the DMTi, such as MDMs (Adat, TDIF), Computer I/O (AES, SPDIF), and more."

so kurzweil not only built a relevent feature into their synth, they are using the feature to market the unit..?

seems resourceful to me to want to get the most out of emu's z-plane filters, the karma's editing functions, and the kurzweils kdfx..?

enough quality effects and i can avoid having to have an outboard unit... and can leave the cpu on the daw from getting bogged down with multitasking... but this is not resourceful, but strange?? how? why? please explain a little more if possible... thanks very much
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:56 am

the mixer is something i would rather not have to worry about upgrading and just get enough channels out of the box... any further insight(s) would be of great value to me... thanks very much...

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Postby Tweak on Wed Dec 17, 2003 2:12 am

On the hi end it is certainly do able and the kurz has an effects engine that would make it worth it. You mentioned have effects accessible from all other gear. That's quite a wiring job, even using sends. Go ahead and try it. I have on my triton, electribe, ms20, sp808 whjen the need arises. I find that today these kind of tweaks are much easier in software with plugins.
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:09 am

easier as in easier on the checking account..? :lol:

so theoretically, how would one be able to go about routing various soundsets to one another..? is it a task for the mixer? or a patchbay??

realistically though even if i had all of these synths at one time, i probably wouldn't have them all at one studio or location, the djx would probably get booted by the karma, and the xp30 by the kurz. (bread and butter) and i reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllly don't want to get caught up buying expansion cards for too many different product lines...

would this all be possible on a behr1204? if that's about as amusing as the special character who spends 50,000 on gear and nothing on acoustical treatment, point taken... i'm trying not to drown in the proverbial sea of materialism... i have the djx, whenever the e-check gets accepted i'll have an xp30 and even if all of the gear cannot be wired to one another at the same time, having enough (what is enough?) extra channels set aside would be something that i want to get a better grasp of before i buy now regret later....
Last edited by a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Tweak on Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:08 pm

about routing various soundsets to one another..?


Now you have lost me again..I am suspecting again that you think this stuff is more capable than it is. you would be routing audio through other modules, not soundsets.
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:33 pm

no, i was talking about leaving enough channels open so that the sounds (of the soundset) of one of the keyboards could be routed to the audio (digital or analog) in's on another keyboard to use the signature functions of each model... sort of, i think, is that still misleading?
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Postby gibong on Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:44 pm

So you will be routing audio from all your keyboards to the mixer and routing from keyboard to keyboard to mixer? This can probably be done using the sends or direct outs from the mixer (treating each keyboard almost like an outboard device.)
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:28 pm

seemed like the easiest way was to go from a keyboard through the mixer to another keyboard... is that what you are also saying?

i've read tweaks guide and have a very very basic understanding of buses/sends and returns/inserts....

...and the mega-store employees are more worried about their commission than explaining things thoroughly...

...what i would like to do is be able to have 4 or 5 hardware (i am assuming here, stereo is preferred) keyboards/samplers and be able to "use" any of them at any time without having to mess around with cables (i.e. record the onboard sounds). AND (again, i am assuming here) have a seperate stereo bus and channel free to route any of the sounds going thru the mixer from one piece of gear to another...

i am trying to be as thorough as possible because i want to worry about the research phase now so that it's not something getting in the way of my creativity later...

is this something that something like the tascam fw1884 is capable of..? (though i am by no means opposed to an analog mixer) because, after the cost of a mixer, an interface with enough midi and analog and digital i/o, having a control surface would be something i would be looking to pick up down the line.... any suggestions or help would be very helpful, thanks very much

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Postby gibong on Wed Dec 17, 2003 8:56 pm

seemed like the easiest way was to go from a keyboard through the mixer to another keyboard... is that what you are also saying?


Yes - either by using a send, direct out or insert, etc (or even a bus).
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:04 pm

to anyone who has read or replied to this topic... i do not want to sound as if i don't appreciate the resource visiting the forums allows me, but am i asking the wrong questions? or asking too much? because i am looking for greater detail and depth...

how many channels (stereo/mono)? i know this depends on the way i want to route the audio/data and that is dependent on the i/o on each keyboard, and i did read the specs of each item on each link, but cannot decipher the terms (i.e. how many i/o each item has), pertaining to how to go about running cable, which could be only digital or only analog or both, and how that translates to the number of necessary features on a mixer that can do what i want to do, as far as routing... and from there, any subjective suggestions or opinions would also be much appreciated...
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Postby gibong on Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:21 pm

Just add it all up:
The number of outs in total keyboard/module need to have a corresponding inputs on the mixer. So that should be the minimum number of channels you'll need. If you are using an insert/directout to route the signal into another keyboard's audio ins (like in that VAST example), then add up the total number of keyboard ins you have - you should have at least that many insert/directouts (most big mixer will havee one per channel anyway)....and a tangled web you weave.

Seems complicated. It might get confusing in actual use.
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:31 pm

well how about having enough in's to have each board on a seperate channel whether its mono or stereo, and an extra stereo channel on the mixer that can take the signal from any of the other channels (is that what a "send and return" is?), and the inserts on that channel run to whatever synth effect's i want to use..? or doesn't that defeat a stereo signal down to a mono..? am i close? could i use two channels? and run one insert as "L" and the other as "R" for a stereo signal? so i would want at least 2 extra channels?? am i still missing an important point?
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Postby a student of life on Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:37 pm

and the difference between an insert and a send and return is...
the insert is used to add to a signal running through the channel and the send and return is sending the signal to have something added to it and returned to the channel but doesn't alter or change the original signal but interweaves a second signal on top...????
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Postby gibong on Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:46 pm

A send is used for effects where the returned signal is summed to the main mix along with the orginal signal - like reverb, chorus, etc.

An insert effect is used to modify the entire signal before summing it to the mix. Compression, etc. are examples.

A send is a mono signal from out one of the channels (then travels inon an aux bus) that usually returns to stereo in aux jacks (like for an outboard reverb), but it doesn't have to. You can use this send signal and return it back to the mixer on separate channel(s) for example. That's what makes bigger mixers flexible, you have aux sends, aux returns, separate busses, inserts/direct-outs...you can route audio however you see fit. And if you are not getting enough flexibility, get a smaller sub-mixer and/or a patchbay in conjunction with your main mixer.

Mackie has some good hookup guides. It might help clarify things for you. http://www.mackie.com/pdf/sr24-4_sr32-4vlzpro_hu.pdf
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Postby a student of life on Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:11 am

why i don't know, but adobe wont work on my pc... and adobe doesn't offer support for their freeware...

aside from the reputation of quality would the behringer 1204pro be enough for what i want out of it now AND later? or should i be looking at bigger boards and an interface with more i/o than the audiophile 2496, thanks
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Postby gibong on Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:18 am

It sounds like you'll need a bigger board eventually. If you aren't getting all the keyboards and modules right away, why not just get the 1204 now and get a bigger board later? You can always use the 1204 as sub-mixer later. Also why not get the 2496 now and expand later?
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Postby Tweak on Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:31 am

You talked about 3 synths and a sampler

That eats 8 channels minimum.

You want to send one synth to the effects on another

Add one send per device That is 4 sends

Add a channel for a mic

Two more for soundcard output

One more for a guitar or bass or other device

Alt out to go to a soundcard


You need at bare minimum

12 channels. 4 sends, and a subout bus.
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Postby a student of life on Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:09 am

so, Tweak, you say after going through all of the above, i could have found an appropriate mixer under your personal, hand-picked recommendations on tweakheadz.com..? that's...... appropriate... :roll: :shock: :lol:

and gibong, i could probably get by without the automation features on a control surface/mixer/interface, so your point is and was also relatively appropriate and insightful...

......thanks

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Postby a student of life on Sat Jan 03, 2004 5:59 am

another question, about which mixer or, rather, which brand mixer i would be able to get the most out of, for the resource allocated....

i have looked around a little more and, though, i will probably hold off on the mixer until i am able to afford a mac (so i am not buying interfaces/software with the intention of replacing them before buying anything else...) however, seems that yamaha makes mixers that are somewhere between behr. and mackies, both in terms of price and quality..? anyone have or have had experience with yamahas mixers? would you recommend them? i am at the point where i can't decide whether to go for a cheap mixer, with an outboard pre/compression, or for a slightly better mixer and use the pre's included with the unit...
theres always the possibility of finding a used mackie/soundcraft board discounted... though, i have heard (specifically, around here) to be wary of used mixers, especially...

i am fairly sure i will go with a seperate interface and mixer for now...
because the two things about the tascam-fw that i was not fond of were the complaints about its midi and not having those channel strip or whatever its called when you can see what fader is assigned to what track... so there's always the mackie control and for software, im definately partial to logic at this point, because
one- tweak uses it and, though he doesn't call himself an expert, having the knowledge he possesses accessible to me is valuable in itself, and
two- with the mac, i am not getting limited to audio (though, not to materialize a debate whether pcs can handle digital audio and video tasks as well as mac, at any given price, ad infintium), but i am looking forward to using the machines/gear for creative purposes (not messing around with drivers and the OS) and to a relative end, and in itself, as a means to another end... and so on... so that's where i'm at now, and thanks very much...

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