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Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

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Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby out-of-bed » Mon May 05, 2008 3:59 pm

Hi All!

While many people nowadays seem to recommend mixing ITB with a ctrl surface, some still prefer doing it OTB. However, I'm a bit confused about the type of gear that those who prefer OTB are referring to. Would a mid-range analogue mixer, like the A&H Mixwizard 16:2 or Soundcraft M12, give the benefits of mixing OTB, or is it generally regarded that only the real high-end analogue gear improves over ITB?

Background: I record instrumental electronic music with Logic 8 using hardware synths and an Emu SP1200 sampler for beats. I usually need at least analogue 10 channels. Currently I use a Phonic Helixboard 12 mkII firewire mixer. It all works quite well (the Phonic actually sounds pretty good) but I wonder whether my tracks would sound significantly nicer if I upgraded the Phonic to more highly regarded gear (like an Echo Audiofire 12 souncard and, perhaps, one of the abovementioned mixers).

Thanks in advance for any opinions!
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Re: Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby forumuser695516 » Mon May 05, 2008 4:19 pm

You can certainly do better than a Phonic desk.. But for the kind of thing you are making, I expect you are better off doing the lot in the computer. Unless you have a lot of outboard you still like to use, in which case you will still want a good mixer really.
I've been weening myself off hardware lately and doing much of my audio doodles completely within the computer.

At the end of the day however, its down to the way of working that you feel most comfortable with. So, whatever works for you..

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Re: Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby out-of-bed » Tue May 06, 2008 8:47 am

Thanks for your reply Paul.

Let me give a concrete example: if I routed my tracks from Logic through a good soundcard into an A&H Mixwizard 16:2, use its EQ's and faders, and then recorded it back into Logic, how would this affect the sound compared to doing everything in Logic? Would I get added warmth and harmonics or just added noise?
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Re: Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby archdake mkII » Tue May 06, 2008 10:59 am

If you are to see a difference then it's better to use a summing box with quality signal path [eg, discrete design with transformers]. I believe that the mere presence of such a signal path has a more obvious effect than the act of mixing OTB. If you can find a quality outboard EQ or comp that would help things even further. Myself I'm building a modular mixing system with few but quality channels based on the API lunchbox format and a few good outboard comps [that Portico 5043 is landing soon!].

I wouldn't dismiss experimenting with the mixwizzard, especially if the budget is steep though!
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Re: Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby The Elf » Tue May 06, 2008 11:40 am

Unless you know what you're trying to add to your recordings I'd stay in the box. Just adding random noise and distortion to your recordings on the basis that it might do something magical is hopeful at best.
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Re: Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue May 06, 2008 1:11 pm

I'd agree with that - in my experience ITB mixes generally provide greater clarity and transparency than when all your audio has been passed through a low to mid-range analogue mixing desk.

Yes, high quality analogue can do great things to your sound, but as archdrake says, a summing box or high-end preamp/compressor/enhancer is specifically designed to do these nice but subtle things, whereas the primary goal of a general purpose mixing desk is to mix signals together in as versatile a way as possible.


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Re: Mixing with a mid-range analogue mixer like A&H Mixwizard or just stay ITB?

Postby out-of-bed » Tue May 06, 2008 1:55 pm

Thanks all for your valuable views! I feel much wiser now.
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