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Mixer for movie post-prod room.

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Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:00 pm

Business scenario - We are developing a movie company, based around the business model of the very first days of Hollywood. We are taking a completely fresh look at every aspect of movie-making, from conception, commissioning, all the way through to distribution and even staff and crew training. I can expand on this here or elsewhere if anyone is interested, but that is not why I am posting here now!

I saw this and it seems too good to be true -

https://www.soundcraft.com/en/products/ui24r

Technical scenario - we are building a post production room which is designed to put out stereo, 5.1, 7.1 and possibly Atmos/DTS-X at a later date. The room is c.a. 40 sq m and will double as viewing room, foleys room, ADR and dubbing room and also as a work space for me for editing and composition work. We already have one small Premier-AE editing room that is busy three days a week.

At the heart of the operation will be a dual Xenon 36-core PC (probably from Scan) running DaVinci-Resolve, Reaper, Soundforge and Hit-Film. Our output will be 4K/UHD, HD and SD. At the beginning, we need stereo and 5.1 audio only.

We already have a 60-frame Amek desk with stereo, 4.0, 5.1, 7.1 and other multi-channel outputs in another room and studio and TBH, I'd rather leave it where it is! It took three months to wire that thing up and I do not fancy going through that lot again! It is also large and with effects and patchbay, would stretch from one side of the room to the other.

The idea is to find a mixer with a small footprint - or better still, can be placed in the machine room and just be on the desk as a tablet or similar!

It also has to accept the outputs from our Lexicon 960L, which has AES and eight analogue outs. So in my ideal world, just a tablet or touch-screen for the mixer and the Lexicon remote and the various screens (50" video monitor, two or more PC monitors) and my trusty old and battered Apple keyboard.

Audio monitoring will be a small passive M&K 5.1 at the mix position and a large 7.1 Genelec with twin subs for the whole room. Projector in the ceiling.

The problem I have with the above Soundcraft mixer is that I have heard that it is not very good, as the digital gubbins interferes with the mic-pres, making them noisy. I have no other information on that box and it is suspiciously cheap!

Are there any alternatives that work?

Any other comments or things I need to think about?
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby Ramirez » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:50 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:The problem I have with the above Soundcraft mixer is that I have heard that it is not very good, as the digital gubbins interferes with the mic-pres, making them noisy. I have no other information on that box and it is suspiciously cheap!

I have one, and have absolutely no problem with the mic pres, other than the fact they don't have a massive amount of gain available (no worse than most audio interfaces though). I haven't heard any strange noises in the recording I've done with mine.


There were some problems with the onboard wifi on the earlier UI12 a UI16 from what I've read, but I don't know about the preamps. The UI24 is apparently a complete redesign, sharing only cosmetic similarities with the others.


I've had wifi dropouts on occasion with mine, but it would be trivial to have a wired connection in a fixed installation.

My main qualm is that it's fixed at 48kHz for recording.

All in all, its doing well for me, although that's mostly in a live sound capacity, with the occasional location recording.

If you're around north west Wales anytime you're welcome to borrow it for a few days if I'm not using it.

Hope that helps,
Aled
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:33 pm

I seem to recall it being well reviewed in these hallowed pages a while back, should be on the free articles by now.
JBL/Harman were using one for a competition they were running last year and that was in a room with a lot of AV kit all running as well - with no problems that I could hear (see usual disclaimer etc).
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:16 pm

blinddrew wrote:I seem to recall it being well reviewed in these hallowed pages a while back, should be on the free articles by now.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/soundcraft-ui24r and there it is and available from Scan too and at an attractive price - £750, so £625 without VAT.

The 48kHz is hardly a problem for us, as that is all we will be needing - film, remember! (But yes, it's a pity it can't do 96 for a wider market.)

Apparently it is the bee's knees! I am surprised I managed to miss that review when I last looked - must try harder!

Ramirez wrote:If you're around north west Wales anytime you're welcome to borrow it for a few days if I'm not using it.

That's a very kind offer, but the 900-mile round-trip rather precludes that endeavour!

I shall now improve my brain by reading that lot.
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:13 pm

Yep, I remember thinking at the time that it would be pretty much the perfect box for anything I wanted to do.
Except for the price of course, which is very reasonable but not currently within my grasp. :)
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby Dave B » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:27 am

This is the second time this month that someone has mentioned the 'it has a bad reputation' thing. Soundcraft really messed up with the earlier units and these shouldn't be touched with the proverbial. But, as mentioned, the 24 is a whole different kettle of fish - I know one user who ditched his QSC TouchMix in favour of one (heresy I know) and is happy as Larry.

On a related note, if people don't need as many inputs, you can now get the Behringer XR 18 for as little as 340quid (gear for music). It's almost worth getting one as a spare just for kicks at that price...
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:08 am

The only problem with the XR18 is that it has the word 'Behringer' written on it. (It may have other problems - I wouldn't know!)

That is a name one cannot allow to be seen in a commercial facility. Seeing the name 'Soundcraft' is already pushing it, but as that box does not appear to have any one-to-one competition and it would be hidden in the machine room, it is OK.

Yes, that is the 'snob-effect' in full flow, but that effect is just a fact of commercial life. Try running a facility without Neumann microphones!

That effect also condemns facilities to use less than the best equipment - SSL and Neve desks for example. They have great snob value, but are not as good (less noise, distortion, headroom, etc.) as ADT in Germany. It's just that ADT does not buy any advertising, so it is hardly known outside of Germany.

There are loads of products that pour huge chunks of their revenues into advertising and having a sexy front design (much to the benefit of audio magazines!) but fail to deliver on quality or (more importantly) reliability.
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:49 am

How are you planning to handle monitor control? Given that the primary market for the Soundcraft is live sound I'd imagine that it might not be possible to gang the outputs for 5.1 level control.
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:11 am

A VERY good question and the answer is a combination of 'Build my own 7.1 volume controller!' and at the same time use the 5.1-7.1 existing speaker management box that we have in our main studio. As that room is now only used for tracking, the speaker management system really could come out and be put to better use (as will the 960L and a few other boxes).

Cobbling together an eight-gang log pot (or being adult about things and using a VCA!) is a challenge I feel equal to!

But I shall cross that bridge when I get to the river - right now I have to get on with finishing the plastering work on the room. Then it's painting and then it's second fit electrics (33 lights, 3 dimmer circuits, 4 HDMI-2 lines, 9 junction boxes, 28 power sockets on the walls and 4 power points in the ceiling, one air conditioner for the machine room).

All good fun and keeps me off the streets causing trouble!
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:41 pm

BTW - whatever happened to soundcards with 5.1 and 7.1 outputs? I just don't see them around any more. Have they gone the way of the Dodo?
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Re: Mixer for movie post-prod room.

Postby Dave B » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:48 pm

Most interfaces have lots of outs. It's not uncommon to see more outs than ins on the smaller ones. And the larger ones all have 8 outs - often as well as the standard stereo outs. The idea being that you set up your 5.1 or 7.1 in your software and just plumb the connections from the outputs.
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