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New Audio Interface and Mixer

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New Audio Interface and Mixer

Postby delite1 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:02 am

Hi Guys,

I wonder if you can help me. I have recently bought a Mac Mini which is faster than any and every mac I’ve owned to date including the 8 core Mac Pro. I have suffered from the fact that M-Audio has not produced a reliable driver for 10.8.2 so I have had to dispose of my Profire 26-26 interface. I was using this with all my analogue gear connected directly into it. So once I got rid of the Profire I thought I could not use my condenser Mic anymore. I wanted to put a vocal down and remembered I had a Yamaha mixer lying around somewhere. I plugged my Mic into my mixer in and connected the mixer’s out to the Audio In on the Mac Mini. I brought the latency down to virtually nothing in Live and Logic and I was able to put down the vocal.
In the past I have had to give up the use of a lot of my hardware just because the drivers are no longer produced, and that includes the all in one type units namely the M-Audio Projectmix and the Tascam FW 1884 which both gave me a mixer, an audio interface and transport controls. Since I have been let down many times by manufacturers not producing drivers any longer I was wondering why I need an audio interface at all. If I bought a good mixer (deliberately not a usb or firewire one) and plugged this into my Mac Mini’s input what am I missing out on? I still get the inputs for my analogue gear and I still get a decent pre-amp from the mixer. I would have to rely on the Mac Mini to do the analogue and digital conversions. Is this approach too simplistic? Would the Mac Mini’s Analogue to digital converter not be up to the quality required? I was used to the quality that the Pro-fire delivered and will not compromise on that. I do not really have a fixed budget but I was looking at a Mackie 1402 VLZ or a digital mixer (without computer interfacing) as the mixer and if I did have to get an Audio interface either an Apogee Duet 2 or the new Steinberg UR22. That Mackie 1402 VLZ mixer is just one that I have always respected and any alternative suggestions would be most welcomed.
As I am trying to reduce my dependency on any single manufacturer I also thought that perhaps I could get a decent mixer and route its output into a decent small audio interface just to expand the amount of connections available. This way if the audio interface had to replaced in the future the upheaval would no be so great.
Any help is greatly received.
Thanks and kindest regards,
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Re: New Audio Interface and Mixer

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:35 pm

The Mac's built in convertors aren't going to be as good as those in most audio interfaces so I'd suggest you look at buying a basic interface. As far as the number of channels on the interface is concerned, how many inputs and outputs do you need to use at the same time? If you are never going to be recording anything more than a stereo source and listening to a stereo playback then a 2in/2out interface will be fine.

One suggestion that I would make is, instead of a mixer, have you thought of using a patchbay? You can just patch in whatever source you want to record to the interface inputs. Of course, if you are usiing mics then you will still need a mic preamp or two so a mixer may be more cost effective. If you are looking at mixers then I'd suggest looking ath the Allen & Heath range too.

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Re: New Audio Interface and Mixer

Postby The Elf » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:51 pm

Let me say it...

You don't need a mixer!
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Re: New Audio Interface and Mixer

Postby Urthlupe » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:50 pm

Reducing your dependancy on any particular manufacturer is totally understandable Billy, but in the context of software recording you are always going to face this issue.

Software, and the hardware upon which it depends is changing so quickly that backwards compatibility quickly becomes an impossible burden on forward development. We unfortunately now have to come to terms with the concept of 'orphan software and hardware', devices rendered completely useless by other changes in the software/hardware environment in which they operate.

Ebay is your friend.

If, on the other hand, you are happy to leave your system as it originally was then it should continue to run happily within it's original specification until it dies of boredom. You could argue that I don't continually irritate my favourite mic by updating its components.

And despite Elf's assertions there are circumstances where desks are invaluable, (but he is right - there are certainly those where they are no longer necessary). Incidentally, I owned a Mackie 1402vlz for a while and very much enjoyed it.

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