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Scramble
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Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output?
      #1046229 - 02/05/13 09:12 AM
What I'd really like, DI-wise, is a passive DI box that will merge two inputs into one, and then provide a Low-Z output AND a link output for that merged signal. I've never seen one. Anyone know if such a thing exists?

Obviously there are possible workarounds, eg. using a mic merge box after the DI to merge the two low-Z outputs into one, but that requires having two boxes (same goes for any other solution of that sort, eg. using a small mixer as well). What I'd really like is just one box which does it all.

(Radial's Duplex Stereo DI box can merge two signals into one, but annoyingly you have to use the link output socket for the second signal, so that's no good for me as there's no longer a link output for me to use).


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046231 - 02/05/13 09:24 AM
Nope... not aware of anything that does as you want, I'm afraid.

The easiest way to acheive what you want would be to make up a special 2-into-1 passive mixing cable, and then use a conventional passive DI box with a link out socket.

THIS RANE NOTE explains how to make the summing cable with just three resistors. It is easiest to make if you put the two 470 ohm resistors in each of the two source output plugs, and the 10K across the destination input plug.

H

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Mike Stranks
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046275 - 02/05/13 01:44 PM
Been there, tried looking for a two-to-one DI, gave up...

I settled on a buffered mic-combiner downstream from a stereo DI, but might give Hugh's suggestion a try sometime...

Of course, if there were enough of us wanting an all-in-one solution maybe Orchid could oblige... but I guess they'd need significant guaranteed sales to make it a viable option.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Mike Stranks]
      #1046287 - 02/05/13 02:54 PM
I think John at Orchid is quite open to the idea of one-offs and his prices are always very reasonable.

However, if the OP is thinking of having a custom build, it would be better to go down the active route, with a proper virtual-earth summing input and active buffered outputs. Orchid already makes a muting DI with separate Link, Tuner and Mixer outputs, and I'm sure that box and electronics could be repurposed very easily.

H

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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046301 - 02/05/13 03:36 PM
As it's for keyboards I'd prefer to stay passive just because an active box means more hassle. No doubt there would be some advantages to having a quality active version, but for me these are outweighed by having to worry about dead batteries or phantom power.

I actually think I'll go the mic merge route. Would the Art SplitcomPro be okay?


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Mike Stranks
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046362 - 02/05/13 10:22 PM
Quote Scramble:

As it's for keyboards I'd prefer to stay passive just because an active box means more hassle. No doubt there would be some advantages to having a quality active version, but for me these are outweighed by having to worry about dead batteries or phantom power.

I actually think I'll go the mic merge route. Would the Art SplitcomPro be okay?



Yup! (I use an img 'Stage Line' MC-31 for the occasions when I need to 2:1 outside of the mixer.)


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Mike Stranks]
      #1046418 - 03/05/13 09:48 AM
There are certainly some advantages in using transformer mixing via separate primary windings, but decent transformers with headroom for line level signals, low distortion, and the ability to handle high levels of LF without saturation are inevitably expensive.

The three-resistors-in-a-Y-cable solution is much cheaper and generally sounds better...

H

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Mike Stranks
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046436 - 03/05/13 11:23 AM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

There are certainly some advantages in using transformer mixing via separate primary windings, but decent transformers with headroom for line level signals, low distortion, and the ability to handle high levels of LF without saturation are inevitably expensive.

The three-resistors-in-a-Y-cable solution is much cheaper and generally sounds better...

H



Indeed; although in this case we're talking mic levels not line levels as we're thinking of merging the outputs of a dual-channel DI rather than the inputs to a single-channel DI.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Mike Stranks]
      #1046444 - 03/05/13 11:39 AM
Quote Mike Stranks:

...in this case we're talking mic levels not line levels as we're thinking of merging the outputs of a dual-channel DI rather than the inputs to a single-channel DI.




Sorry -- my misunderstanding.

But again, a custom Y-lead and a single channel passive DI is a lot more cost-effective than a dual passive DI and mic-merge box!

H

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Mike Stranks
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046460 - 03/05/13 01:19 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Quote Mike Stranks:

...in this case we're talking mic levels not line levels as we're thinking of merging the outputs of a dual-channel DI rather than the inputs to a single-channel DI.




Sorry -- my misunderstanding.

But again, a custom Y-lead and a single channel passive DI is a lot more cost-effective than a dual passive DI and mic-merge box!

H



Can't argue with that!


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Goddard



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046531 - 04/05/13 04:27 AM
Well, dunno about everyone else but I'm still a bit confused as to what exactly the OP is after here, which seems to be an input merger plus output splitter.

If it's for keyboards, that would imply line level inputs, not mic level, although still not clear whether the ins/outs need to be balanced and on TS/TRS or XLR.

Perhaps something like a Rapco STL-1 could do?


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MarkOne



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046533 - 04/05/13 06:59 AM
Radial do one of these.

http://www.radialeng.com/r2011/jdiduplex.php

Not sure what the through signal does if merge is selected

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shufflebeat



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046535 - 04/05/13 08:24 AM

ART pro split

After your exisying DI set-up.

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Mike Stranks
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046539 - 04/05/13 08:39 AM
Previous two posters: both suggestions covered earlier in the thread....

...the ART would do the biz; the Radial doesn't meet the O/P's needs...


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Goddard]
      #1046544 - 04/05/13 10:01 AM
Quote Goddard:

Well, dunno about everyone else but I'm still a bit confused as to what exactly the OP is after here...




My understanding is that Scramble is seeking something that sums the left and right outputs from a keyboard, provides a mono 'link' output to feed a local amp, and a balanced (and isolated) mono mic-level ouput to feed the PA mixer. In other words, a conventional passive DI box but with with dual 'merged' inputs instead of a single input.

DI boxes are available with merging inputs, but all that I know of steal the 'link' output socket to provide the second input... which is what scuppers this as a solution.

Quote:

If it's for keyboards, that would imply line level inputs, not mic level




Yes... but Mike's suggestion was to use two conventional DI boxes and then merge the two mic level outputs with a third mic-merge box.... To my mind this is a sledgehammer solution to a simple nut, involving numerous bulky and relatively expensive boxes... and it still doesn't provide a merged link output for the amp... but that one seems to have been overlooked!

Quote:

Perhaps something like a Rapco STL-1 could do?




That would do provide the merge function in its mono mode, and the second balanced mic output of the summed signal is available... but it would probably not be appropriate for the application in mind -- ie. feeding a stage amp.

I'm still firmly of the opinion that the most cost-effective and practical solution is a dedicated mixing cable as previously described (probably with the resistor values scaled up a bit to give the keyboard's output electronics an easier time -- say 4k7 and 100k), and then to use that with a conventional mono passive DI box... The link output would then inherently provide the summed mono signal.... and it's just the one (cheap) box!

H


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Mike Stranks
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046547 - 04/05/13 10:46 AM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

... but Mike's suggestion was to use two conventional DI boxes and then merge the two mic level outputs with a third mic-merge box....




Not quite; I use a stereo DI box. But I fully accept your point Hugh that the simplest solution is to make-up a Y-lead as you suggest.

(NB. Anyone thinking of simply using a 2:1 merge lead with no internal resistors... don't! You run the risk of damaging the electronics of your 'sending' source.)


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Exalted Wombat



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046563 - 04/05/13 12:37 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

My understanding is that Scramble is seeking something that sums the left and right outputs from a keyboard, provides a mono 'link' output to feed a local amp, and a balanced (and isolated) mono mic-level ouput to feed the PA mixer. In other words, a conventional passive DI box but with with dual 'merged' inputs instead of a single input.




If it's a "stereo" keyboard, isn't there usually a mono output option by plugging into just one of the main outs? If it's two keyboards, a small mixer might be more flexible (and even cheaper!) than an advanced DI box. Of course, a couple of resistors in a splitter cable IS the ultimate "small mixer" :-)


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seablade



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #1046575 - 04/05/13 01:24 PM
To be honest, forget the DI, at that point you are looking for a small mixer, plain and simple, and probably much cheaper than getting a custom DI made. Have it at the keyboard, come Line in to the Mixer, Main Out to the System, and Aux Out to the Amp. Or if you don't have an aux even just doing Main L to the System and Main R to the Amp would work fine. In these cases you don't use the stereo input of the mixer, just two mono inputs.

Hugh's idea of a cable with the appropriate resistors inline would work as well, personally I would just go with the mixer myself. You can get small ones relatively cheap.

Seablade


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shufflebeat



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046578 - 04/05/13 01:41 PM
Quote:


To be honest, forget the DI, at that point you are looking for a small mixer, plain and simple, and probably much cheaper than getting a custom DI made.





In which case you'll also have the option to sack the amp for the small gigs and monitor your keys from the mixer via headphones.

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We called but you were out - B Dylan Deliveries (Intntl)


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shufflebeat



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Mike Stranks]
      #1046581 - 04/05/13 01:46 PM
Quote Mike Stranks:

Previous two posters: both suggestions covered earlier in the thread....





At the risk of pedantry on my part (as usual) the previous suggested use of the ART box seemed to be as a combiner, I'm suggesting it as a splitter after the existing system.

As it turns out I reckon the small mixer is the best (albeit not passive) solution.

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We called but you were out - B Dylan Deliveries (Intntl)


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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1046961 - 07/05/13 02:02 PM
>Well, dunno about everyone else but I'm still a bit confused as to what exactly the OP is after here, which seems to be an input merger plus output splitter.

Yes.

>If it's for keyboards, that would imply line level inputs

Yes.

>although still not clear whether the ins/outs need to be balanced and on TS/TRS or XLR.

Well, as usual with DI boxes the low-Z output should be balanced, and preferably on XLR. Ideally the link output would also be, but they rarely are. Either XLR or TS/TRS would be fine for that (the jack/plug format doesn't really matter, I can always make up whatever cables are needed).

>Perhaps something like a Rapco STL-1 could do?

Thanks for mentioning that. I've had a look and it's not clear from the description whether the split it talks about is a split of the merged signal, or a split of the original signals. You'd think the former, but I'll e-mail them to check.

>Radial do one of these.

As I mentioned, that model steals the link output socket for the second input.

>If it's two keyboards, a small mixer might be more flexible (and even cheaper!) than an advanced DI box

It's two keyboards. I don't want another mixer. I already have a small mixer for mixing the on-stage monitoring. It doesn't have auxs so I can't use it to both feed the stagebox and the on-stage monitor, and I'd rather not have to replace it with a bigger one (unless I really need to). And I would still need a DI box in the system somewhere anyway -- if you don't use your own quality DI then at crap venues you end up being plugged into those terrible Behringer DI boxes.

>Or if you don't have an aux even just doing Main L to the System and Main R to the Amp would work fine

No, because then you end up changing the volume being sent to the main desk every time you want to change your monitoring level.

>In which case you'll also have the option to sack the amp for the small gigs and monitor your keys from the mixer via headphones.

I've tried monitoring via headphones using my mixer, it's not great. The cable gets in the way of your playing and you don't always get enough volume. (These are again problems that can be solved by spending more money but I'd rather go for simpler solutions).

I'd even like to get rid of the mixer, and I thought that if I went down the route of merging my keyboard signals then maybe I could just use an SMPro Nano Patch to feed and control the monitor, as that is passive. But sometimes you need the extra bit of headroom that a mixer provides. (A bigger monitor would help with that, but I'd rather get a smaller monitor than a bigger one).

>At the risk of pedantry on my part (as usual) the previous suggested use of the ART box seemed to be as a combiner, I'm suggesting it as a splitter after the existing system.

That would be an idea if I bought a merging DI box that didn't have a link output. It's another box, though, but at least a passive one.

I think I'll either try the merge cable, or the Rapco box if it turns out to do what I want (although it looks like that isn't easy to get hold of from the UK).


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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1048469 - 16/05/13 10:35 AM
I've heard back from Rapco, the reply wasn't very clear but it seems that the 'link' (ie. the hi-Z or parallel) outputs aren't merged in mono mode, so that's no good.

I'm actually now thinking of just replacing my mixer, and getting a slightly bigger one with an aux to feed the monitor. The Mackie 802-VLZ3 seems a good option, and I noticed that it possibly has an extra advantage -- the main XLR outputs can be switched to mic line level. I thought, why not just use those to feed the main mixer, rather than using a DI as well? Any reason why I shouldn't just do this and ditch the separate DI box? Maybe the signal quality isn't quite as good as you would get with a quality Radial DI box, but it would surely be decent enough, right? Are there any important extra benefits to using a DI box that I would miss out on?

(The Allen and Heath Zed-10 also does this, so that's a possibility too, although it's bigger again, and I'd rather have a small mixer that can sit on my upper keyboard.)


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shufflebeat



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1048494 - 16/05/13 11:53 AM
Quote Scramble:



(...and I'd rather have a small mixer that can sit on my upper keyboard.)




studiomaster.com C3

I'm told they're not the company they once were but...

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We called but you were out - B Dylan Deliveries (Intntl)


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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: shufflebeat]
      #1048502 - 16/05/13 01:20 PM
That's way too big and the wrong shape (I want square-ish), with far more inputs than I need. (Also it doesn't have the mic level option on the main Outs like the Mackie and the Zed do, so it's no good if I want to go that route).

Their tiny C2 series mixers look more the right sort of size, but there is no literature of any sort for those (even the brochure on their page is the wrong one), and the photos are useless. And I have to say that their website gives me no confidence. It screams "We faded out years ago". (And who thought that putting up a picture of a small dreary industrial unit in Leighton Buzzard was a good idea?) Also, not many places sell their gear any more. So, not Studiomaster.


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seablade



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1048510 - 16/05/13 02:02 PM
Quote Scramble:

I've heard back from Rapco, the reply wasn't very clear but it seems that the 'link' (ie. the hi-Z or parallel) outputs aren't merged in mono mode, so that's no good.

I'm actually now thinking of just replacing my mixer, and getting a slightly bigger one with an aux to feed the monitor. The Mackie 802-VLZ3 seems a good option, and I noticed that it possibly has an extra advantage -- the main XLR outputs can be switched to mic line level. I thought, why not just use those to feed the main mixer, rather than using a DI as well? Any reason why I shouldn't just do this and ditch the separate DI box? Maybe the signal quality isn't quite as good as you would get with a quality Radial DI box, but it would surely be decent enough, right? Are there any important extra benefits to using a DI box that I would miss out on?

(The Allen and Heath Zed-10 also does this, so that's a possibility too, although it's bigger again, and I'd rather have a small mixer that can sit on my upper keyboard.)




This is why I mentioned doing this above, some of several reasons. And honestly your sound won't change much in any comparable way on the stage for line level inputs by doing this instead of a DI, so long as your leads from the keyboard to the mixer are fairly short.

Soundcraft Notepad mixers, a bit harder to come by today sadly, are on my goto list for things like this. Personally I wouldn't bother with mic level output, send line level out, UNLESS you are plugging into a VERY cheap system that can't handle that over XLR. Then I would probably look at using an adaptor to go to 1/4" if needbe at the main system, or using an inline pad, both of which are pretty cheap options.

The only extra benefit of using a DI is providing isolation from the main system. But any decent mixer should also do this as well as they should be able to handle phantom on the outputs. I haven't tested specifically for this on the small mixer side of things though, so obviously do take it with a grain of salt, but I would be surprised, let me put it that way.

Seablade


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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: seablade]
      #1048516 - 16/05/13 02:21 PM
Thanks Seablade.

>Personally I wouldn't bother with mic level output, send line level out

It would actually be handy to have both line and mic level available at the switch of a button, because sometimes you get differences in what the sound guy prefers.


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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: seablade]
      #1048522 - 16/05/13 02:43 PM
>Soundcraft Notepad mixers, a bit harder to come by today sadly, are on my goto list for things like this.

It's been quite interesting looking around at the small mixer market again. Soundcraft no longer make any of their previously large range of small mixers, and of course Mackie pulled Tapco a couple of years ago, whereas on the other hand Behringer now has an enormous range of small mixers (possibly not unrelated developments).

Peavey's small mixers look very cheap and nasty even judging by the photos on their own website. As for buying an ultra-cheap mini-mixer from Alto, Wharfedale, Icon or Phonic, no thanks.

Yamaha didn't fit the bill. Alesis or Samson had some units that did (although not the mic-level Outs), but I doubt they would be as good as the Mackie -- I know Mackies have traditionally been regarded as average, but since their VLZ3 and Onyx ranges came out they have been much better. I've been using the 402-VLZ3 for my keyboards on-stage, and it's pretty decent (just a pity it doesn't have an Aux Out).


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seablade



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1048531 - 16/05/13 03:59 PM
Quote Scramble:

>Soundcraft Notepad mixers, a bit harder to come by today sadly, are on my goto list for things like this.

It's been quite interesting looking around at the small mixer market again. Soundcraft no longer make any of their previously large range of small mixers, and of course Mackie pulled Tapco a couple of years ago, whereas on the other hand Behringer now has an enormous range of small mixers (possibly not unrelated developments).

Peavey's small mixers look very cheap and nasty even judging by the photos on their own website. As for buying an ultra-cheap mini-mixer from Alto, Wharfedale, Icon or Phonic, no thanks.

Yamaha didn't fit the bill. Alesis or Samson had some units that did (although not the mic-level Outs), but I doubt they would be as good as the Mackie -- I know Mackies have traditionally been regarded as average, but since their VLZ3 and Onyx ranges came out they have been much better. I've been using the 402-VLZ3 for my keyboards on-stage, and it's pretty decent (just a pity it doesn't have an Aux Out).




Yea for this job Mackie isn't a bad choice, as at this level those mixers are essentially all disposable anyways, meaning that if they break you don't have much ope of fixing them vs replacing them. My range of preference these days probably goes something like A&H->SoundCraft(Notepad)->Mackie, any of them getting used depending on the needs and what is available.

Seablade


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tacitus



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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: Scramble]
      #1048641 - 17/05/13 08:32 AM
Yes, it was a black day when I had to bin my Soundcraft Notepad, but it was making strange (and loud) noises and wasn't viable to repair. I used that mixer more than any other during the 12 years or so I had it - from desk top organisation to back-up mixer on band gigs, but usually as my keyboard control centre. It was spectacularly useful and spoilt me into thinking there's always a small mixer out there for this type of job. And there isn't, it seems. So we're using more DI's and converters/adapters which are all fine and dandy but have no knobs to speak of.


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Scramble
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Re: Passive DI box that merges two signals and provides a link output? new [Re: tacitus]
      #1048651 - 17/05/13 09:38 AM
>spoilt me into thinking there's always a small mixer out there for this type of job. And there isn't, it seems.

Well, there are plenty of small mixers out there that will do a similar job as the Notepad without costing too much or taking up too much space. And I expect a modern A&H Zed or a Mackie VLZ3 will be similar or better quality (I have two medium-sized budget Soundcrafts from the mid-2000s, and neither are that good).


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August 2014
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