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Mixer setup

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Mixer setup

Postby cookietran » Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:19 am

Hi. I'm considering a new setup for recording and mixing and I'd like to know if anybody can see any problems with it before I take the plunge and buy more equipment that turns out to not do what I want it to...

Basically I want to use a Mackie 1402 VLZ3 mixer (which I have already) and an 8in/8out audio interface connected to the Mackie's insert jacks on the first six channels. I plan on setting up the audio interface's DSP mixer so that whatever is coming in on a given input gets routed back to the corresponding output. So the signal path will be Mackie mic/line input -> gain control -> insert jack out to audio interface (for recording) -> back to insert of the same channel on Mackie desk which is pre-eq and fader (these will be used for monitoring mix). In my DAW I will have access to the 8 outputs of the audio interface so whatever I have just recorded can be assigned to the same channel and will hopefully sound the same as it did when I was monitoring.

The idea of this setup is to be able to use the desk for every step of recording, monitoring, and mixing and my monitor mix while recording should seamlessly become my playback mix once it has been recorded. I'll be able to mix my DAW projects outside the box using six mono and one stereo fader, and I'll still have enough spare inputs on the Mackie to connect my hardware synths (and record them if necessary using alt 3-4 or by connecting to one of the mono channels)

The only drawback I can see to this is that the use of insert jacks restricts me to unbalanced cables, but if they are short it shouldn't really be a problem.

Right now I have an Alesis io26 but I have to get something else because it has my heart broken with it's instability. It was one of the first batch and I suspect it's actually faulty but the retailer I bought it from are now gone and Alesis are not entertaining me either. I'm looking at maybe the MOTU ultralite mk3, or the m-audio fast track ultra 8R.

Any feedback, suggestions etc. would be welcome....
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Re: Mixer setup

Postby CS70 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:33 pm

The usual reply to these ideas is that if you're interested in the haptics of faders, small buttons and rotary controls, you're better of with a good control surface; if you're interested in the noise and distortion and the "analogue" flavor of a mixer, you need a far better desk - and even then, you probably need to rethink your beliefs: a good multichannel interface will allow you to have both pristine mixes and mixes with all the added-in noise, distortion, crosstalking and mains hum that you care to put in. :)

The only reason for a mixer would be to get completely rid of DAW and computer and record directly to a solid state recorder. But even then, how do you edit?

That said, can it be done with the Mackie? Sure it can be done.
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Re: Mixer setup

Postby resistorman » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:40 pm

If you use the preamps carefully and within their specs and the gain pots are new they’ll record ok, but unless you like the sound of the EQ ( I suppose that’s possible) and aren’t using any efx you’d be far better off mixing in the box instead of a cheap mixer. Also, doesn’t the Fast Track have 8 mic/ line inputs? You don’t need a mixer in that case unless you’re sub mixing going in.
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Re: Mixer setup

Postby Arpangel » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:58 am

It sounds like you have enough knowledge to make this work, as in a lot of things to do with
music technology these days, there are many ways to make an omelette, if you like this way of working then do it.
Personally, I’ve always found these small Mackie mixers very frustrating in many ways, the sound isn’t exceptional, it’s just OK, the EQ is awful, it may as well not be there.
And the routing regarding the FX and the ALT outputs is perversely devilish in not allowing you to use FX on the ALT outputs.
I got fed up with using a mediocre mixer for no reason, and I’d suggest a Behringer UMC1820 with an ADA82000, and be done with it. That will give you 16 inputs, and the quality is easily up with units costing a lot more.
Unless you really want to work with the Mackie, then fine, but IMO unless you’ve got some lovely sounding old desk that you just can’t do without, there’s no point in bothering with a mixer at all.
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