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Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

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Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:40 pm

I find myself in need of a small analogue line-level mixer to extend the anlogue I/O on my 16 channel digital desk by pre-mixing up to 4 stereo sources together such that they can share 2 inputs on the main desk. I have plans to upgrade the 16 channel desk to a 24 channel next year but it's not something I can do right now so I figured this would be the next best option.

I don't need anything fancy ... my short wishlist is:

  • Minimum of 8 inputs (either 4 stereo, 8 mono or anything in between)
  • Stereo output
  • Panning on any mono input
  • Cheap-ish (it's more of a utility purchase than a gear purchase)
  • Something that won't colour the signals overly

I don't need mic preamps, EQ, FX, groups or returns - this is just to combine line-level signals in a controllable and straightforward manner.

Doing a few searches there are a lot of options about, and although it's a fairly safe buy I'd be interested in any recommendations anyone has based on their own experiences of something similar.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Wonks » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:42 pm

Have you got a short list?
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:53 pm

Wonks wrote:Have you got a short list?

I don't - at least not yet. I can put one together quickly enough but it'll be a random selection of online results that look about right.

Given a few folks here probably have used, or are using, something that does the job I'm wide open to recommendations. I'll quite happily throw a few links up here if you think that would help however.

EDIT: This looks about right: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mackie-Mix8-Mi ... +8+channel ... it's got some things I don't need but it looks decent enough at first glance.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:07 pm

Desktop or rack-mounting? Budget?

I picked up a pre-enjoyed Samson SM10 line mixer for not a lot recently, and while it's no Neve, it's not at all bad soundwise and is quite versatile. Cost around £190 new.

But there are Behringer things for £70 and lots in between.

H
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:10 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Desktop or rack-mounting? Budget?

I picked up a pre-enjoyed Samson SM10 line mixer for not a lot recently, and while it's no Neve, it's not at all bad soundwise and is quite versatile. Cost around £190 new.

But there are Behringer things for £70 and lots in between.

H

Thanks Hugh,

Either desktop or rackmount, budget up to about £100 though preferably somewhat under that as it is a temporary stopgap for a bit (though I'm sure I'll find other uses for it later).

I've had reliability issues with more than one Behringer mixer in the past, so my instinct is to avoid them unless that's no longer a problem these days :)

Edit: I'm rather liking the look of those Samsons though - might be worth extending the budget for something a little more robust and potentially rather useful going forward. Food for thought, thanks again :)
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:06 pm

I’ve used a few over the years including the Behringer RX1602, which seemed reliable, a Tascam model, and an Ashly LX-308B which was the keeper, but over your budget.

However a little device that might do the job is the Alesis Splitmix4, a passive device in their mini-series: http://artproaudio.com/product/splitmix4-four-channel-passive-splitter-mixer/.

I used this to mix various effects units in a live rig and whilst I haven’t really assessed its esoteric capabilities in a studio setting, it certainly seems to get the job done. It’s also a tool you might want to keep up your sleeve anyway.

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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:15 pm

I've had a string of behringer xenyx mixers over the last 7 or 8 years and all have them have been absolutely fine (still got two), despite all abuse a regular open-mic night could throw at them.
I've got a 1202 you could borrow for a while to see if you get on with it if you're anywhere near the north?

[EDIT - I know you're not based in the north, but if you're up at any time.]
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:19 pm

[quote="Bob Bickerton"]However a little device that might do the job is the Alesis Splitmix4, a passive device in their mini-series: http://artproaudio.com/product/splitmix4-four-channel-passive-splitter-mixer/.

Ah yes! Good call. I reviewed it here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/art-splitmix4

You'll need a lot of TRS-dual TS splitter cables, but it does work very well and is extremely cost effective. As a passive mixer it is lossy, of course, but if you're going into proper desk channels it shouldn't be a problem making the gain up.

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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:49 am

blinddrew wrote:I've got a 1202 you could borrow for a while to see if you get on with it if you're anywhere near the north?

That's a very kind offer, thank you. Given the relatively low cost of what I'm looking for, it wouldn't be economically viable to make a special trip and packaging is a pain in the neck, so I'll take a raincheck on this occasion, although the offer is very much appreciated :thumbup:

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:However a little device that might do the job is the Alesis Splitmix4, a passive device in their mini-series: http://artproaudio.com/product/splitmix ... ter-mixer/.

Ah yes! Good call. I reviewed it here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/art-splitmix4

You'll need a lot of TRS-dual TS splitter cables, but it does work very well and is extremely cost effective. As a passive mixer it is lossy, of course, but if you're going into proper desk channels it shouldn't be a problem making the gain up.

Great suggestion, thanks Bob - this looks like it'd do the job just fine, and though rather a wizardry little gizmo it's a little 'esoteric' perhaps (and I think I'd need 2 of them for my purposes).

I mulled it over a bit and I think I'm going to go for a Samson SM10 as it's got a couple of additional inputs over what I need right now, which might come in useful before I upgrade the main desk and also its form factor is a plus.

I'd not considered a rackmount originally, but it makes perfect sense as there is a slot in the rack just above the A&H desk which would be the ideal location for it, and my flat surfaces are already pretty packed as it is, so all in all I think I've got a winner.

Thanks guys!
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby The Elf » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:09 am

Late to this party, but will add that the Rane SM82 is worth considering. I still keep one of these around for the odd job or two and it's a useful device. Not sure you'd grab one under budget, but you may strike lucky.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:09 am

The Elf wrote:Late to this party, but will add that the Rane SM82 is worth considering. I still keep one of these around for the odd job or two and it's a useful device. Not sure you'd grab one under budget, but you may strike lucky.

WHAT! A breath of fresh air that Rane site is! No messing about to find info. Pdfs THERE, just click on them. No need to register or eff about with pictures of traffic signals that are too dark to make out.

Then the specifications themselves! SO clear and detailed. And BIG props to Rane for giving schematics, a truly professional company that serves the professional.

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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:32 am

Agreed - it's a nice simple set of stuff you need.

I'm still looking for the right mixer. One thing is that I've decided that rackmount is definitely preferable (thank you for that input Hugh).

I really like the Samson SM10 on paper but I'm struggling to find anywhere I can buy one from in the UK - if I could find one I'd have bought one already.

I looked at the ART MX622 - but why they had to use phono inputs I have no idea, and the mic/line inputs are XLR only. I know none of that should matter a jot really, but personally I like a nice jack socket and I've got enough cable faff in my life already.

I looked at the Behringer RX1202FX ... but I have a bit of an aversion to Behringer mixers due to historical issues. This may be prejudicial on my part and although for good reasons based on models from 20 years or so back it may be a concern I can drop if anyone knows better. Has anyone used one? I'd be interested to hear opinions on it.

The Rane SM82 looks nice too - though again, I can't find anywhere that sells them and Elf commented on a historical thread (https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 16&t=26341) saying:

The quality is OK, but I certainly wouldn't record through it. I definitely wouldn't record through a chain of mixers.

... which I've noted and on some level bothers me even though his threshold of acceptability is undoubtedly higher than mine.

So .. the search continues. Any and all input welcome. Even if a decent link to buy a Samson or Rane from a UK source.

I've certainly changed my goalposts slightly from the original post. I'm willing to spend a bit more now as I think it's a good piece of equipment to have going forward for a number of reasons even though I plan to upgrade the main desk later, so I've upped the budget to £200 or so.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:37 am

The SM82 is not the lowest noise design around looking at the schematic and there are slightly better ICs than the RC4580s but the quoted S/N is -98dB ref +4dBu and that is better as a bare figure than 16 bit recording!

I have no idea what the "off" noise output of a top line synth is but I doubt it is better than that mixer?

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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby The Elf » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:08 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:The Rane SM82 looks nice too - though again, I can't find anywhere that sells them and Elf commented on a historical thread (https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 16&t=26341) saying:

The quality is OK, but I certainly wouldn't record through it. I definitely wouldn't record through a chain of mixers.
My comments back then were related to the older SM82, which I later added to, and ultimately replaced, with an SM82S. The latter seems slightly better built and also has an internal PSU.

I've always found these mixers to be pretty good, but you do have to be careful in getting a good compromise between incoming channel volume and master output volume to minimise added hiss. That would be the case with any mixer TBH.

But my stance remains that I never put unnecessary electronics in the recording chain, so I would ALWAYS get I/O on a bay and bypass anything that might otherwise sit between source and audio interface when I'm recording. While simply using the mixer to add monitoring I/O it's perfectly fine.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:40 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:
I really like the Samson SM10 on paper but I'm struggling to find anywhere I can buy one from in the UK - if I could find one I'd have bought one already.


Not UK, but Thomann have them. I do a lot of business with them... only once had a problem and that swiftly sorted.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/samson_sm10_b_stock.htm

Thomann also seem to have the full range of Rolls minimixers, BUT I know Hugh has reservations about the electronics design of at least some of their products.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Zukan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:14 am

Eddy, you on Facebook buddy? I am a member of a couple of classified groups and you can pick up mixers there for very little.

Great time to buy mixers. Some half decent Mackies, the odd Soundcraft and lots of compacts for sale.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:24 pm

The Elf wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:The Rane SM82 looks nice too - though again, I can't find anywhere that sells them and Elf commented on a historical thread (https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 16&t=26341) saying:

The quality is OK, but I certainly wouldn't record through it. I definitely wouldn't record through a chain of mixers.
My comments back then were related to the older SM82, which I later added to, and ultimately replaced, with an SM82S. The latter seems slightly better built and also has an internal PSU.

I've always found these mixers to be pretty good, but you do have to be careful in getting a good compromise between incoming channel volume and master output volume to minimise added hiss. That would be the case with any mixer TBH.

But my stance remains that I never put unnecessary electronics in the recording chain, so I would ALWAYS get I/O on a bay and bypass anything that might otherwise sit between source and audio interface when I'm recording. While simply using the mixer to add monitoring I/O it's perfectly fine.

Thanks muchly for the clarification - I overlooked the difference beween the SM82 and the SM82S.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:27 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:
I really like the Samson SM10 on paper but I'm struggling to find anywhere I can buy one from in the UK - if I could find one I'd have bought one already.


Not UK, but Thomann have them. I do a lot of business with them... only once had a problem and that swiftly sorted.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/samson_sm10_b_stock.htm

Thomann also seem to have the full range of Rolls minimixers, BUT I know Hugh has reservations about the electronics design of at least some of their products.

Thanks Mike - yeah I saw this one during my hunt, but wasn't sure about the wisdom of ordering from a non-UK source. I also found a few tales of woe from people who had done so with that distributor, although of course that's not necessarily something to be overly concerned about.

I may come back to them later if I can't find something a little more local.
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:28 pm

Zukan wrote:Eddy, you on Facebook buddy? I am a member of a couple of classified groups and you can pick up mixers there for very little.

Great time to buy mixers. Some half decent Mackies, the odd Soundcraft and lots of compacts for sale.

I'm not on Facebook as I consider it to be Evil - but thanks for the suggestion Zuke :thumbup:
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Re: Recommendations for a mini line-level mixer?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:29 pm

I have dealt with Thomann a fair few times with no problems.
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