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Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

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Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Martin Franco » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:33 am

Hi Guys,
I have a band that does a mix of styles (Latin, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Rock). We want to upgrade to a digital mixer (from a Yamaha MG16) that can provide more inputs (up to 24) and onboard effects (compression etc) as well as can provide a solution for recording our live gigs.
I hire different sound guys, depending on who is available and so I want a board that is easy to learn and easy to use.
I have heard that digital boards have reliablility problems, not as rugged as analog boards for gigging. Is that true? I want something that will last me years, problem free.
I would ideally like as simple a solution to multi-track recording as possible.
I'm open to buying used or new, but I want something durable.
I've looked at a couple of possiblilites: At the most expensive end of my scale is the PreSonus StudioLive 24 Series III Digital Mixer which is $2500 but records multi-track to an SD Card so eliminates the need to bring a laptop to record onto.
Also intriguing is the Behringer x32 line. The earlier PreSonus boards output Firewire, so that would entail buying a firewire laptop, which I don't want to do.
We usually only run two Mackier SRM 450's and a Sub as FOH and 2 SRM 450's as monitors.
It would be nice to be able to adjust my own monitor mix from the stage.
So, we're looking for something with 16 mic inputs, plus an additional 6-8 trs inputs, easy to use, easy to record multi-track from (preferrably USB if to a laptop) and durable.
Budget is anywhere from $1000 - $2500.
Any suggestions?
Thanks
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:26 am

If you want the convenience of laptop free recording, you could look at the Allen and Heath QU-24 which I believe records straight to USB drive. People round here seem to like them.

If you're happy enough to use a laptop, then I'd suggest considering the Soundcraft Impact. I personally like the Soundcraft workflow.

Bob
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:09 am

There are numerous mixers that would meet your requirements... and you need have no qualms about current digital mixers.

If you're happy to connect to a laptop to record then there are many options...

If you want physical faders then your options are not so broad (although still plentiful) but the Behringer X32 family is very good and very good value for money.

If you want to record direct to SD or USB drive then the A&H Qu series (as mentioned by Bob) is good. If you don't mind virtual faders then the QSC Touchmix series is well-liked here. It's just had a major software upgrade which makes a good mixer now great!
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Forum Admin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:20 am

There's a review of the Soundcraft Ui24R rack mixer with wi-fi in the August 2017 SOS (available online from 20th July) that might fit your needs?
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Dave B » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:03 pm

Have a look at the QSC TouchMix range. The 30 fits your needs quite nicely. We use the 16 for our band(s) and it's great. No so hot if you want real faders - in that case I'd be looking at the Midas / Behringer or A&H models. The Touchmix can be operated over wi-fi using a tablet and phones can be used over wi-fi to control monitor mixes. We record everything we play straight to a standard hard drive then import into a computer later for mixing (although that can be done on the TouchMix).

All suggestions here are good - The Allen and Heath Q series is well respected, the Behringer X series is common and the TouchMix has a few fans also. My advice is to get down to a store and see which one you like the feel of. They are all great units and seem to be quite rugged. And most are in your price range.
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Martin Franco » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:36 pm

Thanks a lot for the advice guys.
I looked up the Allen & Heath Qu-24 and liked what I read: It is set up much like an analog mixing board so, not a steep learning curve. Easy work-flow, great preamps. The ability to do stereo or multitrack recordings straight to a USB drive, library of microphone settings that you can use as a starting point for a given channel like the kick drum, sounds awesome. Especially given my needs regarding using different sound people, who may not have the time to learn the ins and outs of a more complicated board before a gig.

The Soundcraft SI Impact Digital Mixer marketing on their website talks about it's "British Sound" - not sure what that means and it's great effects. One negative review on the Soundcraft mentioned: "The screen broke after the first show. Sent it back to Soundcraft to have fixed, in it's flight case. It came back in December with the scroll nob broken off. Soundcraft customer service is terrible, the board is apparently more fragile than glass."

Haven't had time to look into the QSC Touchmix in detail yet.
Any reason that nobody recommended the Presonus StudioLive Series III?
That brand is popular here in the United States.
Thanks again everybody.
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:56 pm

Martin Franco wrote:Any reason that nobody recommended the Presonus StudioLive Series III?
That brand is popular here in the United States.

Several of us here had the 'original' small Presonus 16.0.2 when it first came on the market. Good little desk and a halfway house to digital. As someone here once said, "Analogue on steroids". But they weren't without their problems - particularly on the recording-front. That may have made us wary.

I guess the reason that no-one here has talked about the latest series of Presonuses is because that particular set has come to the market comparatively late and many of us have already purchased digital boards that we're quite happy with. Another factor here in the UK would be cost - compared to what else we can get for our money the latest Presonuses are expensive.

I did look at the range a couple of weeks ago and liked what I read... they'd suit my requirements very well. But then I looked at the price... :thumbdown:

If I was upgrading from my Touchmix I'd be going for one of the A&H Qu's... principally because it ticks the requisite boxes for my use at substantially less cost than the Presonus equivalent.
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby MarkPAman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Bother - wrote a long post on the QU series, but think I previewed it, but forgot to post.
Can't write to whole thing again now, as I'm about to go out, but:

Their multitrack recording to USB stick is fixed at 18 track - but with full choice of what you record.

QU-16 may be just enough for the requirements here.

Both of mine (16 from when they first came out, & Pac from about 2 years) have been 100% reliable since I've had them.
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Dave B » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:49 pm

Martin Franco wrote: Presonus .... That brand is popular here in the United States.

Yes, it's a US brand so it's more popular there than over this side of the pond. Likewise, you find more people over here recommended Focusrite interfaces which are pretty much identical to their Presonus counterparts, but are British / EU products.

Nothing wrong that I know of. I think Chevvytraveller uses one and he's quite happy with his iirc.
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:19 pm

Regarding Soundcraft service, like any negative one-off post, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. I have two Soundcraft Expression desks that have been extensively used.

Having said that, I still think, if you want to record often, that you'd be better off with a desk that records direct to SD card or USB drive. I'd second Mike's view on the earlier Presonus desks, I had two and they were a half-way-house really without motorised faders. The latest Presonus look like they've finally come of age.

The QSC Touchmix are excellent little desks, if you're happy to operate without physical faders, and the Touchmix 30 would give you all the channels you need. But that's a lot of faders to work off an iPad.

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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Dave Rowles » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:27 pm

I like the Behringer, and the Allen & Heath offerings. I've not used the QSC stuff.

The X32, and the QU stuff are solid. The only fault I've had with my X32 is the XLR locks on the input channels. Had to remove them, which was a simple process. Sound wise, the QU has the slight edge, but it's a really small amount. You really have to pick the right effects unit on the x32 to get the right sounds, whereas I found it easier to get a good reverb on the QU. I've delved in the X32 a bit more because i own the Rack version and have found settings on each effect that do what I need them to. The SubOctaver on the X32 I've found to be quite good.

I've not used the Impact, but have had experience of the Si series soundcraft, and I have to say I'm not a fan. It doesn't feel as though the knobs actually do anything, although they do! I found it hard to dial in what I wanted. It's a tactile thing where I've not got the confidence that I can move a knob a certain amount and affect the sound the amount I want, so made clumsy changes during soundcheck that worried the hell out of me during the show which left me staring at the screen most of the time. I also found the pre-amps quite noisy.

My experience of the Presonus is similar to others here, where it did a job in the way it did it, but as I also get to use the big expensive desks as well, I found it lacked features which were deal breakers, though some of those issues have been rectified in the latest versions. I didn't hate them, but the Behringer provided more of what I needed at the time of purchase, and still remains a serious contender because of the low cost.

I've used the recording to laptop function of the behringer quite a lot and it's solid over USB. Never had a complaint out of my 2011 MacBook Pro.
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Re: Best 24 trk Digital Mixer that record multi track

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:11 pm

I was a fairly early adopter with a Mackie DL1608 which I still use (semi retired now) and, apart from a couple of issues very recently, 4 years on (dodgy aux sends which I'm sure are dry joints so an easy fix when I get around to it) it has been solid. The app is the easiest to use, especially for noobs and it sounds great. I subsequently bought a couple of X32s (Compact first then a Rack) which live in the home studio and go out a couple of times a year, (did the Three Degrees with them a while ago). Great system, has real faders on the Compact and I use the Rack as a stagebox and backup. The app works well too, though it's less intuitive than the Mackie app. Then I bought a Berry XR12 for my acoustic duo/trio bar gigs and, in many ways I love it but the app is distinctly clunky and was very frustrating at my open mic on Tuesday, slow to respond and frequently losing connection...... Not sure which way to go with it, it's outside the return period but I wouldn't trust it on a paying gig at the moment. Maybe I'll buy another router (which many have said solves the problems) but that partially defeats the object of a one box solution if I can't rely on the built in wifi.....

Anyway, whichever you buy you will be astonished by the features you get for not a lot of money (I worked out to match the DL with analogue would cost at least £7k and involve a huge desk and two large outboard rack cases) and if you buy something with real faders (or a built in/dockable touch screen) then any app/wifi related issues (and they all seem to have a few) disappear. The other huge plus is not having to run a heavy analogue multicore (which on many function gigs is simply impossible). A cat5 snake can be squeezed in almost anywhere and is much more manageable than a 32x8 analogue snake.
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