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Audio interface to mixer?

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Audio interface to mixer?

Postby Djizix » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:10 am

So I'm a little new to recording. I've gotten decent at the hardware and routing, busses and yadayada. But I've recently decided to take this up to the next level. The gear I've been using to record doesn't have much flexibility and can only record one input.

I have a Mg16xu Yamaha mixer that has a single channel audio interface built in. In the past, I've been able to record my band live and it came out sounding decent but nowhere close to my goal. I can't use the my headphones to monitor without the mix I'm monitoring getting recorded on top and I would like the ability to record individually without rewiring.

So I've been looking into the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. I've read that it is a very good interface for small time home recording. That would be my first question. If you have any opinions on this interface or others, I'd love to hear opinions.

My second problem is I've been told running a mixer and an audio interface together could cause more problems than it's worth. Though it is possible, does anyone have any horror stories or advice about making this work or will I just have to abandon the mixer?

You're probably wondering why I don't just go ahead and take the mixer out of the picture but my reason for wanting to run through the mixer is the auxiliary channels on the Mg16xu. The ability to individually mix my own monitor is very valuable to me but if the end doesn't justify the means then I will have to sacrifice that ability.

If any of you pros have any advice for me I'd appreciate it. I'm ready to order what I need I'm just not quite sure what I should pull the trigger on quite yet. Thanks!
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby ef37a » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:53 am

AFAICT the Mg16xu* does not provide either inserts nor direct outs so there is no way to get individual channels out to a multitrack AI?

That Focusrite does have 10 line outputs so you could plug mics into the AIs inputs then feed the mixer from the line outs. Bit of a cack handed way to go about things but however you did it you would end up with a gaggle of TRS cables (FCS make up looms and number each end!) .

Such an MO would be a bit of a shame since you would lose the mixers EQ and filters. I dare say the F'rite pres are AS good as the Yamahas? The other way would be mic splitters. Ideally transformers but this would be a very expensive way to go. You could use parallel XLR splitters but that would still be significant money for the connectors even if you made them yourself, a set of custom cables would likely be a good chunk toward another mixer!

*Yamaha! Why no overall signal block diagram? Such drawings are invaluable when trying to evaluate the functions of a device.

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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby The Korff » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:02 am

Before someone turns up to tell you that you don't need a mixer (it'll happen, because the mixer and interface duplicate on a lot of functionality, not least both having mic pres), here's how I'd hook the two up:

Connect the group outputs (1-4) of the Yamaha mixer to four line inputs on the Focusrite. That'd give you four independent mic channels to record — you plug your mics into the mixer, and if you want to record a mixer channel into the Focusrite's line input 1, hit the '1-2' group button on that channel and pan hard left; to record to channel 2, just pan hard right. Ditto for channels 3/4.

That way you can record up to 4 discrete channels from the desk while still using the desk's auxes to create your all-analogue, latency-free cue mixes.

Whether 4 channels of simultaneous recording/monitoring is enough for you, is a question only you can answer...
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby ef37a » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:09 am

Now see K', BECUASE Yamaha don't provide an overall signal flow diagram I missed the 4 group outputs!
I was looking at the usual place for inserts, post mic amps.

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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby The Korff » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:29 am

I just googled a picture of it...
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby The Korff » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:33 am

The Korff wrote:Whether 4 channels of simultaneous recording/monitoring is enough for you, is a question only you can answer...

Aha! Referring back to said picture, I see it has a separate switch for routing to the main stereo mix — so you can in fact record 6 separate channels, routing to busses 1-2, 3-4 and L-R, and using the pan pots to choose odd/even/left/right outputs. You won't be able to have a stereo monitor mix, but you'll still be able to use the two pre-fader auxes for two separate mono cue mixes.
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby The Elf » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:14 am

I'm one of those that typically pops up and says 'you don't need a mixer'. The important word is *need*.

You definitely don't *need* a mixer, but many people *choose* to use a mixer. Fair enough.

What you have to accept is that retaining a mixer in the chain may involve compromises and complications that could be avoided.

Having a mixer also may give you facilities that you find useful. In your case I'm a bit dubious that having an aux is such a big deal, as this can likely be emulated in most AI's front-end mixer applications. RME's TotalMix, for example, would give you as many submixes as you could ever want! I can't comment on what facilities Focusrite's interfaces offer, but maybe that's something you can investigate later.
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby Djizix » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:14 pm

Based on what I've read from the Focusrite, I could only have two submixes. One which would go straight to my drummer through headphones and that would limit the other three members to having only one mix to listen to.

I would like to avoid that situation by keeping my monitor in the mix but as I said before, I'm a little new to this so I'm not sure I'm understanding fully why I can't just plug directly to my AI inputs and use the outputs to feed directly to my mixers corresponding channel inputs. I'd it because I would be using two preamps to process my sound? Also is using the group outs a way to bypass the mixers preamp?
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby The Elf » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:01 am

Djizix wrote:Based on what I've read from the Focusrite, I could only have two submixes. One which would go straight to my drummer through headphones and that would limit the other three members to having only one mix to listen to.
Then I'd suggest taking a look at the RME range of AIs. I regularly work with bands requiring 5 or 6 independent sub-mixes and it's a doddle with RME's TotalMix.
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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby ef37a » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:14 am

" I'm understanding fully why I can't just plug directly to my AI inputs and use the outputs to feed directly to my mixers corresponding channel inputs. I'd it because I would be using two preamps to process my sound? "

Well yes, it is not technically a good thing to attenuate an amplified signal then amplify it again but, the recorded signal gets the 'first bite' (byte??) and if you are happy with the 're-amped' quality of the mixer's sound, what's the problem?

If the outputs of the AI went to a dedicated LINE mixer then the theoretical degradation might be lower but you would need to pay a lot of money I think to improve on the performance of the line inputs of the Yamaha.

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Re: Audio interface to mixer?

Postby blinddrew » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:38 am

Djizix wrote:Based on what I've read from the Focusrite, I could only have two submixes. One which would go straight to my drummer through headphones and that would limit the other three members to having only one mix to listen
Hmmm. I have a gen1 Scarlett 8i6 and the focusrite software that came with that (Scarlett mix control) allows you to set up 6 sub mixes and route them to different outputs - in theory, i've never needed it so haven't done so myself.
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