blinddrew wrote:Personally i'd say ditch the mixer. Get a decent ai (the Scarlett you mention is a safe bet), and get a control surface if you like being hands on. I do, so i have, but it's always worth keeping an eye on the secondhand market because lots of people buy a control surface, never really use it, and finally move it on. Prices tend to be reasonably high for secondhand gear, but they've generally hardly been used.
P.s. analogue warmth isn't really a thing. It's just saturation/distortion and can easily be introduced in your DAW whenever you want it. ;)
Well, on the last point, words like 'warmth' are just ways to describe things (although tubes get damn hot!) but I know *I* prefer the sound of my turntable - or any other source - when it's through the tube pre-amp than when it isn't. And the sound of my tube radio is much nicer than the sound of a modern digital radio. (Of course, if I did get an analogue desk it wouldn't be tube-based, I know).
And it's all personal preference and no point arguing about it.
But in reality, I also know I don't need an analogue desk for what I am doing and the final output source will be the internet where it will most likely be played on crap speakers or a phone. I guess I'm just trying to cling to the past and/or keep a bit of 'soul' in things.
From a workflow point of view a control surface and a desk does seem cumbersome and I can easily see I wouldn't use the desk for much apart from mic/guitars in for most things, so unless the preamps were *hugely* better than the inputs on a separate AI, it wouldn't make much sense. And I could always add one in the future if I felt I needed it without scraping any thing else.
So yes, as you suggest, I am leaning towards an AI and control surface. I do want to be hands on. I want faders, I want eq via knobs etc. And motorised faders is a dream (and very practical if only 8 faders on the control surface).
There is someone selling a 6-month old, allegedly perfect condition, x-touch control surface plus an extender locally for 600 euro (new price from Thomman would be 684). Maybe I could get that down a bit, it's been listed since March so either sold and not de-listed, or still available and ready for a price drop. That could be an option.
Combined with an AI - if I got the 600 euro control surface (16 motorised faders with the extender), the Scarlett blows my budget so it may have to be the UMC1820 - that combination would do want I need and more. I don't know what, if any, internal routing software the AIs come with but I have Loopback which can handle that if nothing suitable.
If I didn't spend so much on the mic (ie, instead of an sm7b with fethead, something like a Procaster + shockmount), I'd have more wiggle room and could get the Scarlett but obviously it's not as good a mic full stop and especially for instruments - although competent enough for podcasting obviously. But the mic is something I wouldn't want to rush to replace/upgrade.
I can't find the EIN of the UCM1820, but the 18i20 is -128db, so it may be a fethead or cloudlifter isn't needed for the sm7b, although that doesn't save too much (the fethead in a bundle with the mic adds 61 euros).
But the basic principle of a motorised fader control surface (whether 8, or 16 with the extender), an AI, and a new mic does seem to cover everything I *need*, as long as the AI has midi in which the ones I'm looking at do.
Now, does anyone disagree? ;)