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Does such a thing even exist.

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Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Matt D » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:48 pm

Currently - I have 8 synths and a QSC Touchmix 16. I'm getting a bit fed up with the Touchmix as everything is buttons on a screen. The workflow is quite difficult to get your head around.

I do not want to use a DAW for tracking and messing about. This is only a hobby and used at home, no need for live recording.

Is there a mixer out there with all of the below.

1. The ability to record onto either the mixed hard drive or an external drive, so I can then dump the Wav files into a Daw later on.

2. actual physical faders with a solo button.

3. the ability to re-route the outputs from a synth to different channels on the mixer, without having to change where the lead is plugged in. For example, on the Touchmix, I have the DSI-OB6 plugged in to channels 1 and 2, if then want to record the same synth on channels 3 and 4, I have to move the leads.

4. I don't have masses of space, hence the Touchmix. I know it won't be anything with such a small footprint, but space is limited.

It may be the answer is just a straight no, but I thought I would ask.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:50 am

The Allen and Heath Qu16 digital desk (Sound On Sound review here) can do most of these things.

Matt D wrote:1. The ability to record onto either the mixed hard drive or an external drive, so I can then dump the Wav files into a Daw later on.

On the Qu16, yes but with limitations. You can record either the stereo mix of all inputs as a WAV file to USB storage, or you can record a multitrack whereby all the inputs are simultaneously recorded to USB as individual WAV files for later mixing.

What you cannot do is any form of editing or overdubbing, and that's not something you're likely to find on a digital desk.

Matt D wrote:2. actual physical faders with a solo button.

Yes, each channel has a (motorised) fader, solo and mute buttons. There is also a set of physical controls which apply to whichever channel you have selected on the desk.

Matt D wrote:3. the ability to re-route the outputs from a synth to different channels on the mixer, without having to change where the lead is plugged in. For example, on the Touchmix, I have the DSI-OB6 plugged in to channels 1 and 2, if then want to record the same synth on channels 3 and 4, I have to move the leads.

With 8 synths, the Qu16 can take all of them at once as it has 16 mono channels, of which any adjacent two can be configured as a stero pair, plus 3 stereo inputs (one of which is usually configured as the return from your DAW for monitoring).

By default each of the physical inputs is mapped to the corresponding channel strip but you can override that with custom routing if you want.

Matt D wrote:4. I don't have masses of space, hence the Touchmix. I know it won't be anything with such a small footprint, but space is limited.

The Qu16 is a very small desk as desks go and can also be rackmounted with optional ears if you really want to.

Another approach may be to consider a digital multitrack in the form of something like the Tascam DP32SD (Sound On Sound reviewed its smaller 24-track equivalent here but see note about MIDI below).

This is a multitrack recorder with overdub and editing facilities. It uses an SD card as the storage, but only has 8 physical inputs so you'd probably want to combine it with a patchbay to minimise messing around repatching your synths.

One thing about the DP32SD though; it does NOT support any form of MIDI sync. In fact it has no MIDI capabilities at all, it's just a recorder/editor. It does have physical faders and mute/solo buttons though.

Both have onboard FX but the Qu16 is a lot more powerful in that regard offering dynamic processing on all inputs and outputs as well as various other FX on top and noise gates on all inputs.

In short, you're probably going to have to choose between the number of physical inputs and the ability to edit audio. If you absolutely need to overdub stuff on the unit in question then you'll need a digital multitracker of some kind. If you're happy to drive the synths from an external sequencer (I use a Squarp Pyramid, reviewed in Sound On Sound here, sometimes, for example) and record all the tracks from the entire performance in one go then a Qu16 or something like it may suit you better.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby innerchord » Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:38 am

Allen & Heath Qu series with a compatible USB stick or connected to a computer.

Behringer X32 with latest software and SD card recording module. Files can be transferred from the SD cards to a computer.

There will be (many) other options I'm sure, but those are the two affordable solutions I've used in the last year.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Arpangel » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:54 am

The latest Tascam desks would do most of what you need, also the Presonus stuff.
But routing inputs without re-patching, you’ll need a digital desk to do that.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Matt D » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:20 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:The Allen and Heath Qu16 digital desk (Sound On Sound review here) can do most of these things.

Matt D wrote:1. The ability to record onto either the mixed hard drive or an external drive, so I can then dump the Wav files into a Daw later on.

On the Qu16, yes but with limitations. You can record either the stereo mix of all inputs as a WAV file to USB storage, or you can record a multitrack whereby all the inputs are simultaneously recorded to USB as individual WAV files for later mixing.

What you cannot do is any form of editing or overdubbing, and that's not something you're likely to find on a digital desk.

Matt D wrote:2. actual physical faders with a solo button.

Yes, each channel has a (motorised) fader, solo and mute buttons. There is also a set of physical controls which apply to whichever channel you have selected on the desk.

Matt D wrote:3. the ability to re-route the outputs from a synth to different channels on the mixer, without having to change where the lead is plugged in. For example, on the Touchmix, I have the DSI-OB6 plugged in to channels 1 and 2, if then want to record the same synth on channels 3 and 4, I have to move the leads.

With 8 synths, the Qu16 can take all of them at once as it has 16 mono channels, of which any adjacent two can be configured as a stero pair, plus 3 stereo inputs (one of which is usually configured as the return from your DAW for monitoring).

By default each of the physical inputs is mapped to the corresponding channel strip but you can override that with custom routing if you want.

Matt D wrote:4. I don't have masses of space, hence the Touchmix. I know it won't be anything with such a small footprint, but space is limited.

The Qu16 is a very small desk as desks go and can also be rackmounted with optional ears if you really want to.

Another approach may be to consider a digital multitrack in the form of something like the Tascam DP32SD (Sound On Sound reviewed its smaller 24-track equivalent here but see note about MIDI below).

This is a multitrack recorder with overdub and editing facilities. It uses an SD card as the storage, but only has 8 physical inputs so you'd probably want to combine it with a patchbay to minimise messing around repatching your synths.

One thing about the DP32SD though; it does NOT support any form of MIDI sync. In fact it has no MIDI capabilities at all, it's just a recorder/editor. It does have physical faders and mute/solo buttons though.

Both have onboard FX but the Qu16 is a lot more powerful in that regard offering dynamic processing on all inputs and outputs as well as various other FX on top and noise gates on all inputs.

In short, you're probably going to have to choose between the number of physical inputs and the ability to edit audio. If you absolutely need to overdub stuff on the unit in question then you'll need a digital multitracker of some kind. If you're happy to drive the synths from an external sequencer (I use a Squarp Pyramid, reviewed in Sound On Sound here, sometimes, for example) and record all the tracks from the entire performance in one go then a Qu16 or something like it may suit you better.

Thank you very much for such a comprehensive answer. Do you know if with the Qu16, you can re-route the channels internally?. If I was to get this unit, I would need to rack mount it on a rack trolley or similar. Im trying to avoid the unplugging and plugging in again of the XLR cables
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:27 pm

Matt D wrote:Do you know if with the Qu16, you can re-route the channels internally?. If I was to get this unit, I would need to rack mount it on a rack trolley or similar. Im trying to avoid the unplugging and plugging in again of the XLR cables

I believe I answered this above, but yes you can. You can find the manual for the Qu series desks on the 'Documents' tab here: https://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/qu-16/ ... if you're thinking of buying one then you should definitely have a look through it to make sure it does what you need!
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Matt D » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:51 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:
Matt D wrote:Do you know if with the Qu16, you can re-route the channels internally?. If I was to get this unit, I would need to rack mount it on a rack trolley or similar. Im trying to avoid the unplugging and plugging in again of the XLR cables

I believe I answered this above, but yes you can. You can find the manual for the Qu series desks on the 'Documents' tab here: https://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/qu-16/ ... if you're thinking of buying one then you should definitely have a look through it to make sure it does what you need!

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Looks like the Qu16 will be the way to go. I did look at one of these a couple of years ago and I realise now that I chose the Touchmix as it has such a compact size - I didn't take into account how much I didn't like the fact that everything is on a touch screen. I was trying to build a studio in 140cm x 180cm, that could house everything. Its quite difficult.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:16 pm

The Qu16 is a lovely desk, less powerful than the X32 but, as a consequence, more 'user friendly'. The the nearest X32 to the Qu16 is the Producer but I bought the Compact, mainly for the LCD scribble strips (massively useful IMHO, but I do have the memory of a gnat....).

The X32 (any flavour) is quite a lot more powerful, expandable and configurable than the Qu16, whether the extra I/O and flexibility is worth more than the more analogue-like workflow of the Qu is your call but both are excellent mixers.

The X32 Compact costs £1155 at thomann today, the Qu16 is £1398.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Matt D » Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:18 pm

I was really looking at the X32 compact as well, I'm a big fan of Behringer.

Oddly enough, just as your message was posted, I received a reply from Allen and Heath, within 1 hour of asking a question, so very impressive.

'Input sockets are assigned to input channels. On Qu, the local sockets are fixed to an input channel and can't be changed. Using dSnake inputs (via a dSnake expander) allows more flexibility and can be assigned to any input channel freely."

Do you know if you can control internal routing on the X32?
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby innerchord » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:44 pm

I answered this post with two suggestions because I believed they will both do what you wanted.

With the Qu you can assign/reassign inputs to the custom layer, which is in effect what you wanted. You either didn't ask A&H the right question, or they misunderstood your requirements.

I believe that with the latest firmware the X32 can route any input to any fader.

The information is out there for you and easy to find.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby DGL. » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:18 pm

Matt D wrote:I was really looking at the X32 compact as well, I'm a big fan of Behringer.

Oddly enough, just as your message was posted, I received a reply from Allen and Heath, within 1 hour of asking a question, so very impressive.

'Input sockets are assigned to input channels. On Qu, the local sockets are fixed to an input channel and can't be changed. Using dSnake inputs (via a dSnake expander) allows more flexibility and can be assigned to any input channel freely."

Do you know if you can control internal routing on the X32?

On the X32/M32 (and the smaller X-AIR brothers) any input can go to any channel and with V4 you can pick those channels from anything connected to the (USB, AES50, Local) rather than the original limitation of having to pick groups of 8 channels from each source. Very flexible.

And, of course, with the WING the inputs are separated from the channels, so it's designed from the outset for anything to go anywhere.

I would suggest downloading X32-EDIT and playing around with it as it should give you a feel for it's features.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Matt D » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:19 pm

DGL. wrote:
Matt D wrote:I was really looking at the X32 compact as well, I'm a big fan of Behringer.

Oddly enough, just as your message was posted, I received a reply from Allen and Heath, within 1 hour of asking a question, so very impressive.

'Input sockets are assigned to input channels. On Qu, the local sockets are fixed to an input channel and can't be changed. Using dSnake inputs (via a dSnake expander) allows more flexibility and can be assigned to any input channel freely."

Do you know if you can control internal routing on the X32?

On the X32/M32 (and the smaller X-AIR brothers) any input can go to any channel and with V4 you can pick those channels from anything connected to the (USB, AES50, Local) rather than the original limitation of having to pick groups of 8 channels from each source. Very flexible.

And, of course, with the WING the inputs are separated from the channels, so it's designed from the outset for anything to go anywhere.

I would suggest downloading X32-EDIT and playing around with it as it should give you a feel for it's features.

Thank you very much, I watched a video online earlier and it is exactly what I was looking for. The ability to change the routing, with ease, from the menu.

I should have got one of these 2 years ago, instead of the Touchmix.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:12 pm

DGL. wrote:I would suggest downloading X32-EDIT and playing around with it as it should give you a feel for it's features.

Seconded, it's nearly a fully functioning X32 in an app except you need to connect an X32 to get at the I/O. The current fw does allow total flexibility of routing but, inevitably, at the cost of a little more complexity. AFAIK A&H did answer your question correctly, unless the basic architecture has changed since I demoed one, the Qu does have all inputs fixed to specific channels. The custom layer simply allows you to display a 'random' selection of channels together in one bank.

The X32 doesn't have a custom layer as such (I may be wrong though, I only use about 10% of my Compact's capabilities TBH) but lets you assign any input to any channel so, in effect, you can create custom layers. All of the parameters can be saved and recalled.

The other potential nag is that the X32's don't have combi XLRF and TRS inputs, I believe the XLRs are happy accepting line levels but I always worry slightly that phantom is available on this inputs and could be accidentally switched on so use DI boxes for my keyboards (I have five synths/keyboards but as I always need a few DI's in the box for the occasional live gig I can easily accommodate them).

I have the Compact and, unless you need the full sized X32's 38 local inputs or the Producers rack mount size, the LCD scribble strips and the ability to have 16 channels across the two banks of 8 faders makes it the best of the bunch. You can easily and relatively economically add up to 96 inputs, with combi jacks, of which 38 can be available in any one scene (did I mention scenes....) as ll the X32 (and Midas M32) range share the same processing and operating paradigm with a few variations to cater for the differing control surfaces they each have.
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby Matt D » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:45 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
DGL. wrote:I would suggest downloading X32-EDIT and playing around with it as it should give you a feel for it's features.

Seconded, it's nearly a fully functioning X32 in an app except you need to connect an X32 to get at the I/O. The current fw does allow total flexibility of routing but, inevitably, at the cost of a little more complexity. AFAIK A&H did answer your question correctly, unless the basic architecture has changed since I demoed one, the Qu does have all inputs fixed to specific channels. The custom layer simply allows you to display a 'random' selection of channels together in one bank.

The X32 doesn't have a custom layer as such (I may be wrong though, I only use about 10% of my Compact's capabilities TBH) but lets you assign any input to any channel so, in effect, you can create custom layers. All of the parameters can be saved and recalled.

The other potential nag is that the X32's don't have combi XLRF and TRS inputs, I believe the XLRs are happy accepting line levels but I always worry slightly that phantom is available on this inputs and could be accidentally switched on so use DI boxes for my keyboards (I have five synths/keyboards but as I always need a few DI's in the box for the occasional live gig I can easily accommodate them).

I have the Compact and, unless you need the full sized X32's 38 local inputs or the Producers rack mount size, the LCD scribble strips and the ability to have 16 channels across the two banks of 8 faders makes it the best of the bunch. You can easily and relatively economically add up to 96 inputs, with combi jacks, of which 38 can be available in any one scene (did I mention scenes....) as ll the X32 (and Midas M32) range share the same processing and operating paradigm with a few variations to cater for the differing control surfaces they each have.

I have decided to get the X32 compact and so thank you for all of your help. This does raise a question though - you mention synths and DI boxes, I've never used them. Is there a DI box you could recommend, so I can try one out?
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Re: Does such a thing even exist.

Postby DGL. » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:21 am

Note that a DI box is only essential if you want to fully remove any chance of accidentally applying phantom power your synths/line output devices or provide some isolation for the removal of noise/ground loops, the XLR inputs are designed to be able to take line inputs natively and as such a simple 1/4" to XLR adaptor/lead should work just fine for most applications.
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