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Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

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Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Lemmy » Sat May 25, 2019 11:52 am

Hi all,

I have a Mackie 1402VLZ Pro which is getting a bit long in the tooth and I am wondering about replacing it.

I'm using a UA Apollo Twin going into an iMac, and I have modular synths and a desktop synth.

I record acoustic instruments ocassionally, and electric guitar. In theory I could use the Apollo for this, and I also have a Golden Age Pre73 for recording. So perhaps I don't really need XLR inputs in a mixer.

I am accumulating eurorack drum modules and I would like to process these separately, so I am going to run out of channels soon.
With the Mackie I have a spring reverb and another fx box going into the two sends. It would be nice to have more options in this area.

I use the Mackie for monitoring options too - it has a handy feature where you can route channels to the alt outs, so I use that for sending signals to the Apollo for recording.

So my priorities are:
- enough channels to handle multiple synth voices, preferably with per channel FX possibilities
- possibility for high quality acoustic recordings
- convenient interface with sound interface / computer

I've never used a digital mixer, so I don't know if I should be looking at that, or a sound interface with more ins and outs, or a patchbay, or a mixture of above.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby MOF » Sat May 25, 2019 3:55 pm

You need to tell us how many analogue outputs you need to mix and if you need to hear them all at the same time.
Maybe a patchbay (to send to your DAW for recording once you’ve done each external device’s midi pattern) plus your Mackie mixer would be a good temporary measure?
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Lemmy » Sun May 26, 2019 11:32 am

Yep, I think as I'm not going to need to be recording a lot of inputs at once, what I really need is a way to monitor multiple instruments each with their own FX sends.
The drum voices are the most urgent need for this - perhaps I should just mix them and send them to FX using Eurorack modules, then send a whole drum bus to the Mackie mixer.
The Mackie could probably be revived with a bit of contact cleaning.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Arpangel » Sun May 26, 2019 5:31 pm

I just bought a Behringer QX2442fx which does this job perfectly, I had a Mackie and got really annoyed when the sends were cut off in ALT mode. You've got four proper subs on the Berry, 4 aux sends, and lots of I/O options, direct outs etc. It's very reasonably priced and sounds good. Plus it has a stereo USB output/input.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun May 26, 2019 5:47 pm

Do you really need a mixer at all? Doesn't sound like you actually mix things, just route and monitor, with some FX thrown in...

And if that's the case, you'd probably be better off with a decent multi-input interface and a patch-bay.

You could run your external hardware fx off the interface (RME's total mix makes this a doddle) so still play into them live.

And think of all the desk real-estate you'd get back! :-)

H
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Lemmy » Sun May 26, 2019 10:09 pm

Arpangel wrote:I had a Mackie and got really annoyed when the sends were cut off in ALT mode.
Yes that is a pain.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Lemmy » Sun May 26, 2019 10:21 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Do you really need a mixer at all? Doesn't sound like you actually mix things, just route and monitor, with some FX thrown in...

And if that's the case, you'd probably be better off with a decent multi-input interface and a patch-bay.

You could run your external hardware fx off the interface (RME's total mix makes this a doddle) so still play into them live.

And think of all the desk real-estate you'd get back! :-)

H

Yep, I do mix in the box... but I do like to have hardware faders and mutes for the external gear. And I already have the Apollo and want to keep it for the UAD plugins, and it looks quite expensive to buy another sound interface with enough channels.
You're right, space is important, I am reluctant to move up to a 16 track or more mixer for that reason. I must say I very rarely use the Mackie EQs. Maybe there is a gap in the market for a compact mixer without EQs?
Any recommendations for multi input interfaces welcome, but I will also look at mixing down voices in the modular and doing the FX sends there too.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby James Perrett » Sun May 26, 2019 11:08 pm

I wonder if a line level mixer would be more appropriate as most of your sources are line level? I'm not sure what is around these days but we used to use a Nomad Reddimix as an expander for the main studio mixer.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Arpangel » Mon May 27, 2019 12:21 pm

I thought about going in the box too, and was going to get one of these, it gives you a straight 16 I/O.

http://motu.com/products/avb/16a

But I decided against it because a mixer gives you instant visual feedback about what's happening at a glance.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Lemmy » Mon May 27, 2019 9:18 pm

James Perrett wrote:I wonder if a line level mixer would be more appropriate as most of your sources are line level? I'm not sure what is around these days but we used to use a Nomad Reddimix as an expander for the main studio mixer.

Interesting idea. The only things I could find were extremely expensive like the Speck LiLo.

In Eurorack land the Befaco HexMix + expander looks perfect but at the price for both I would be better off getting a higher spec separate mixer.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 28, 2019 9:13 am

Well, there are line mixers and line mixers....

You need to decide how many inputs you really need.

Then you need to decide whether you need (not want) faders, or if knobs would be fine.

And if you need an effects loop (or two) for hardware effects units.

And once you know all that, you have myriad options from $500 upwards.

For example, I use a Samson SM10 as a line mixer for keyboards feeding into an interface. 8 stereo input channels, 1U rack mount, one effects bus.

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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue May 28, 2019 4:48 pm

Maybe a DAW controller al la the Mackie MCU in conjunction with a line mixer? That way you get faders and the feel of a desk and control over the digital realm at the same time. You can virtually route to sends to hardware in the DAW and just use it as an outboard mixer.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue May 28, 2019 11:56 pm

I have the exact same Mackie mixer and have found a way to use it like you described where you want to leave everything set up with some hardware FX sends but, record only one piece or a few at a time.

No need to move wires around the room!

Basically I have a full drum set up with 8 mics. Then I have mics around the room: piano, guitar cabs, bass DI, vocal, solo instruments, 2 stereo synths, PC audio outputs (for recording soft synths played through a PC live as an instrument). So about 12 channels of permanently plugged in stuff.

I use an 8 channel interface - M-Audio Ultra 8R. The interface can switch between line inputs or mics for the first two channels. So when recording from the Mackie sources, I push the buttons for line level. So anything plugged into the Mackie can go to Protools through the 'tape output'. The cue mix comes in on the 'tape monitor'. Hey man, a DAW is just a tape recorder! Just mute the channels you are not recording.

Unlike the way you did it, I send the 'tape out' to the interface.

Then for drums, I switch the first 2 inputs of the interface to mic, and we have 8 mics ready to go for the kit with just a button push. Jam on!

I monitor everything in the analog domain BEFORE it goes to ProTools. I really never have to think about latency with this setup at all any more. Everything is played live and monitored live. The cue mix comes back in on the tape monitor. 'Latency' is just the time between when you hit the space bar to when the music starts.

This is a very natural way to work with the Mackie since ProTools is now just a 'tape recorder' and everybody is very happy.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby Lemmy » Fri May 31, 2019 4:15 pm

Interesting - I may try something similar with my Apollo Twin, switching between mic and line inputs. I like the idea of using the tape outs from the Mackie, that gives me the option to record using the send FX.
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Re: Recommend a mixing solution for this recording setup?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri May 31, 2019 11:10 pm

Right. And send the 'control room' to your studio monitors.

I've never really found anything useful to do with the 'main outputs' from the Mackie? Go figure.

It's good to have that EQ available when tracking like with the Mackie cause the players will hear that in their ears so you can make it sound better for them if needed to be heard or blend in with the cue mix better. That EQ will get printed and you can mess with it later in the DAW. It's a lot more fun to play when the mix is sounding good!
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