1. As a general concept, I think (hope) we can all agree that using a mixer purely as a signal switcher for a small audio interface is not the greatest idea, philosophically, practically, or technically.
The idea solution will always be an interface with sufficient input channels, because it would be easier and faster to use with the DAW, take up much less space, and maximise reliability and sound quality.
But, if acquiring a larger interface is not an option, it's not an option... so other solutions must be considered.
2. A patchbay is often a very convenient way of re-plugging multiple sources into a limted number of input channels, but in this case we have the significant complication of needing to connect balanced mics, unbalanced instruments, and stereo line-level unbalanced headphone/line feeds...
While possible with some care and custom engineering, that combination really doesn't lend itself to a simple patch-bay like the Samson.
3. The OP's original complaint was:
manwilde wrote:My ... RME Babyface mk I ... has only two analog inputs that I want to feed from the mixer master outputs. Currently using an old Behringer desk which is noisy as hell, even going out from the fx send instead of the master (a bit less noisier, but still -65dB noise floor!)
To be honest, that's a lot more noise than I was expecting, even from a Behringer desk.
But it was due to this high noise floor that the OP was seeking a better mixer.
Just to pick up on Dave's comment in passing:
ef37a wrote:These small mixer have about the same amount of electronics as a decent active monitor controller and probably the same op amps.
In fact a small mixer will have at least twice as many gains stages in the signal path as a decent monitor controller, including the potentially noisy preamp and bus-mix amps.
Back to the plot... and why was this Behringer mixer producing so much noise? Well, we find out from the OP's comment here:
manwilde wrote:...the way I´m using the Behringer, no gain is applied from the desk: I just leave the gain pot at "zero" ... set channel and send faders at 0 = Unity, and add tipically +35db or so at the Babyface input channel for voice recording, +27dB for bass DI, and +30dB for guitar.
And that, gentlemen, is where the problem lies. Terrible gain-structuring! :shocked: :shocked: :shocked: :o :o :crazy: :crazy: :wtf:
Manwilde, by working this way what you're doing is running low level signals through the mixer, so you have a truly terrible signal-noise ratio there, and then amplifying that signal to a sensible level in the interface, which just drags up the mixer's inherent noise floor. Result, very noisy recorded signals.
Instead, what you should be doing, is running the interface inputs at line level, unity gain, never to be touched again. And then adjust the mixer's input preamps to optimise the gain for each of your various sources...
The reason the Effects output is quieter than the main output is because they use a slightly different output topology... But I'd go back to using the main outputs so you can switch channels with your faders, routed to the main outputs. Dedicate the different input channels to your different sources and optimise the gain structure through the mixer.
I suspect that if you do that, your noise problems will largely go away and you will probably no longer feel the need to spend money on a new mixer.
Try it, and let us know!