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Mixer/interface for home recording

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Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby The Super Goat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:45 pm

Hi all,

I am looking for suggestions/recommendations for a mixer/interface.

I have an Alesis strike drum kit which has 8 outs. I would like to capture these in Audacity (or similar) on individual tracks.

I have an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar with electric pickup, a bass guitar, a Yamaka electric keyboard with L/R outs and also a microphone. Naturally I may add gear ;)

I will be recording to a PC.

I have not done much recording to date and whilst I don't intend on getting AWESOME sounding results, I would like them to be as good as my music capability can generate.

Obviously I must be able to play an instrument whilst listening to other tracks I have already recorded, eg play drums over the guitars and hear the drums whilst I am playing them as well as hearing the guitars that are already recorded.

I have done a small bit of research and these 2 devices seem respectable.

Soundcraft Signature 22MTK

and

MACKIE ProFX22v2

I am open to any and all feedback/recommendations. I would rather have a device that has room to grow and is better than what I need 'just in case' ;)

Thanks in advance :)
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:05 pm

The Mackie only provides 2x2 USB I/O so is not suitable for your needs. The MTK version of the Soundcraft does do 24x22 I/O which would work but I ca't help thinking you'd find a digital mixer more flexible (though at a higher price, the Soundcraft is around £700 and a budget digital mixer like a Berry X32 Compact is nearer double that.
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:21 pm

Welcome to the forums Super Goat.
Whilst those are both respectable devices, they are not the devices you are looking for...
Those are primarily designed for live use and, as a result, are not going to do what you need because the USB output is just from the stereo bus.
I.e. you won't get your individual channel outputs.
If you are just looking at a device for recording (and don't need it to double up as a live mixer) then you're far better off looking for an interface rather than a mixer-with-usb-connection.
There are a few things to consider here but the first one is probably, "how many sources are you going to want to record at once?" If it's just you, then 8 channels for your Alesis might be enough, if you're likely to be recording with anyone else (and using the drum kit) then you may need more.
Closely following this question would be: how many microphone pre-amps will you need?
Most interfaces will give you a mix of inputs, some with mic-pres and some without.


[EDIT] Sam beat me to it!
Once you've got that figured out, have a browse of what's available in your price range. For future expansion options look for something with ADAT ports as this will allow you to add additional input devices further down the line. Something like a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 for example.

If you do need a combination of mixer and interface then your options narrow considerably but if you have a tablet around then some of the cheaper digital mixers would be worth looking at. E.g. something like a Behringer X18 XAIR.

I'm sure smarter people will be along later with other and better questions and suggestions :)
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby The Super Goat » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:42 am

Thanks for the awesome replies ☺

It is possible that i want to record more than the drums at once.....though not essential.

Microphone preamps.....i would say 1 at a minimum. I have 2 microphones at the moment. 1 is the sm58 and the other is the wireless ULM200USB. Not sure how this would connect.

I guess i dont need a mixer too but....well...if i can ☺
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby The Super Goat » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:50 am

OK, I have had a good think about it and I think it is best not to get too carried away :)

I could go and get an X32 or an X32 compact and be all set up for quite a while (including a steep learning curve) but the reality at the moment is I can simply focus on my current requirements. Record 8 outs from the drum at once and send all to my computer on separate tracks. Then I can record other instruments and vocals as required by disconnecting the drums. I guess that narrows it down a bit more.

So I guess a Scarlet Octo Pre or Octo Pre dynamic might be sufficiently suitable at this stage?
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby blinddrew » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:14 pm

My concern about the straight octopre is that it has ADAT out but doesn't appear (others may have better knowledge or time to read the manual (hint hint ;) ) to have any ADAT in - this limits your future expansion considerably. The octopre dynamic does have this, but you're paying quite a bit more for that feature plus 8 compressors, and I would challenge how much you need them versus what can be done in the box (ITB). A 18i20 might be a better fit? Giving you 8 combi inputs plus ADAT in and out.
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:38 pm

The Octopre is not an interface and has no USB or FW connectivity so as Drew says you'll need a USB interface of some kind as well. Better to buy an interface with sufficient inputs like the aforementioned Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. Focusrite interfaces are well respected and have good drivers, I have a Saffire Pro24 myself. There are others of course :smirk:
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby blinddrew » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:32 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:The Octopre is not an interface
Doh! I missed that entirely. My bad. :oops:
Though that would explain the absence of ADAT in of course...
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby James Perrett » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:26 pm

If I was in the market for an interface right now I would seriously consider one of the RME Babyfaces that Synthax have up on Ebay at the moment. They're the RME distributor for the UK so I'd be confident that they know what they're selling.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/RME-Babyface-U ... 7675.l2644

RME interfaces have a great reputation for stability and continued support - even stuff discontinued 15 years ago can still be used with some versions of Windows 10. The only downside is that the Babyface only has 2 mic preamps built in but it has an ADAT port that allows you to add a further 8 inputs. 8 input preamps start around £170 for a Behringer ADA8200 or you could use the Focusrite units mentioned above.
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby CS70 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:47 pm

The Super Goat wrote:I am open to any and all feedback/recommendations. I would rather have a device that has room to grow and is better than what I need 'just in case' ;)

Thanks in advance :)

If you find one, an Alesis USB 2.0 will allow you to connect the 8 drum kit line outs and record individual tracks. If you get the 16 channel version, you'll even have 8 preamps to spare in case you want to record something else. And it's very nicely priced.

As a live mixer is workable, but it's not heavy duty, so it'll need a strong case to be carried around.
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby The Super Goat » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:34 am

Lots of info, thanks.

OK so does the 18i20 have the ability to accept inputs from my keyboard:

Keyboard has this:
OUTPUT L/L+R, R
USB TO DEVICE Yes
USB TO HOST Yes (MIDI/Audio: 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, stereo)

I am guessing I would simply run L and R lines from keyboard to 2 ports on the scarlett.

Oh, and when the 18i20 is hooked up to my computer do I hear everything that is already in my recording back through the 18i20?
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby James Perrett » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:42 am

The Super Goat wrote:I am guessing I would simply run L and R lines from keyboard to 2 ports on the scarlett.

Oh, and when the 18i20 is hooked up to my computer do I hear everything that is already in my recording back through the 18i20?

That's a yes to both those questions. You can easily use more than one MIDI interface in a computer but you usually can only use a single audio interface with programs that use ASIO drivers. This means that you would lose the ability to send audio from your keyboard to your computer via USB but, as you say, you could just plug the left and right outputs into the 18i20.
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby The Super Goat » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:57 am

OK, I think I am nearly done :)

So just to confirm, I can get my keyboard/guitars/drums/vocals recorded on my computer (obviously not all at the same time) with each on a different track (and drums being split to different tracks that line up with my drum outs) and I can hear everything in my recorded mix whilst I am recording something else, ie I have laid down a guitar track, I hit record in my software to record new tracks from the drum and I will be able to hear the guitar (and click if I have recorded one) whilst I am playing the drums.

Obviously I am just getting started into all of this ;)
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby pax-eterna » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:18 am

Couldn't see it mentioned, but the Allen&Heath ZEDi 10 is a very nice unit!
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:45 am

A&H Zeds are decent mixers but the ZEDi 10 only does 4x4 over USB and the OP needs at least 8 simultaneous tracks into the computer.
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby The Super Goat » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:30 pm

Yep thanks for the suggestion. I do think the 18i20 should suffice for the moment. If I need a mixer later then I will get one :) Thanks for all of the help :)
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:29 pm

:thumbup:
FWIW I bought my 8i6 years ago without really understanding what I was buying (before I started reading SoS!) but it's been a great buy for me. If it would just quit with the annoying habit of occasionally changing the sample rate to 48Hz for no reason whatsoever then it would be perfect. :)
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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby ef37a » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:29 pm

blinddrew wrote::thumbup:
FWIW I bought my 8i6 years ago without really understanding what I was buying (before I started reading SoS!) but it's been a great buy for me. If it would just quit with the annoying habit of occasionally changing the sample rate to 48Hz for no reason whatsoever then it would be perfect. :)

What are you recording Drew with a cut off of 22Hz? Long distance elephantine communication?

I have an 8i6 paid £100 for it at Cash Gens, hardly ever use it so no idea if it hops sample rates. What OS do you use? I am on W7 but could try the AI on W10 if need be.

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Re: Mixer/interface for home recording

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:32 pm

Sorry! 48kHz... :oops:
I don't think even bashing the body of my upright would give me a 22Hz note.
I'm on W10 but it used to do it on W7 as well. It's via the Scarlett MixControl software. It'll be fine for months and then suddenly decide that it will default back to 48 instead of 44.1.
Then it will stop doing it again. Updating/reloading the drivers will sometime fix it, but sometimes not. I've not heard anyone else mention it so I'm assuming it's just a 'unique feature' of my particular set up.
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