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Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

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Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby John2016 » Fri May 20, 2016 1:13 pm

What a total crock this review was... it didn't answer any questions about how the thing actually operates in practice. It was just a glorified sales pitch that explained how things "should" work in theory. Anybody with half a brain could have worked out everything it said for themselves from Soundcraft's sales blurb. Your reviewer didn't report even trying record anything with the mixer! He simply outlined feature after feature about how things "should" work (at least on paper). Now that the product has actually hit the streets, people are finding out for themselves (no thanks to Sound on Sound) what exactly the real deal is with this mixer. In other words, they are facing the real issues that probably helped to kept it off the market for so long. Fundamental issues that users are now experiencing in real terms: Unusable headphone output, noisy fx, missing leds, poxed up playback levels, etc, etc... Yup... Sorry to say it boys, but with all due respect, your so-called "review" was a real POS.
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby The Korff » Fri May 20, 2016 3:11 pm

Hi John,

I can assure you that Mike used every feature of the desk while he was reviewing it. If you've read many of his reviews before, you'll know that he not only tries the gear out, but he often takes it out on paying gigs (he runs a live-sound/production/hire company) and, without fail, will report on any malfunctions he experienced. On this occasion, he didn't get the chance to use it at a gig — but he did, as you can see in the review, set it up in his studio, where he tried all of its features including the multitrack recording.

As it happens, I personally used the exact same desk that Mike reviewed, at a festival in Wales shortly after that review went to press, and it worked flawlessly — for three days straight, in a soggy tent, with dozens of artists and through countless hasty re-patching jobs at both the stage and mixer end!

korff gig.jpg


We had interval music playing between the acts from a PC laptop, which worked fine all weekend (and at a perfectly reasonable level); the headphone output worked fine; I didn't notice any failing LEDs; the effects all worked very well (and I did use them extensively); there were no dropouts, no problems with the routing (I set up drum and vocal buses on all of the acts big enough to warrant them, and we had three monitor mixes fed from the auxes, all of which worked fine); and the multitrack recording also seemed to work fine (though I'm still waiting for the stage manager to dropbox me the WAVs, since they got recorded onto his laptop — if there are any problems with them I'll report back!).

In short, the model we reviewed works exactly as advertised! I am well aware, though, that there were a LOT of problems in bringing it to production since it was first announced over a year ago (PSUs overheating, digital noise creeping into the audio outputs, USB interface stability...). But as far as we were told by Soundcraft (specifically, the Signature series' product manager), those problems only affected the prototypes and pre-production models — and their solving of those problems is the reason it took so long to bring it to market.

I'm sorry you feel the review wasn't thorough enough, but if Mike didn't identify any problems with the desk, that's because there weren't any — and I can personally vouch for that!

I had considered writing a 'user report' of the Signature 22MTK (we've done such with other significant products, such as the X32, which got both a technical and a practical review), but if I were to write such a thing it would be glowing — and I'm afraid that would probably infuriate anyone with a duff model even more.

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby John2016 » Fri May 20, 2016 4:46 pm

When I received the magazine in the mail, I took one glance at your "review" and straight away I could see it was a total PR job. Nothing substantial whatsoever. Nothing I didn't already know. No real attempt at completing an actual recording project with the mixer. No attempt at producing a finished "mix". Nothing. Just paragraph after paragraph of sales blurb. Finally, you can see where the reviewers mind is at when he even says: "there is more 'detail' on the Soundcraft website". More sales detail? Correct? Or is he talking about the User Manual? He's certainly not suggesting we'll find an unbiased review on Soundcraft's website, is he?

As for it having been tested out at live gigs - maybe that's where the real disappointment comes in. Maybe this mixer is more suitable for live gigs rather than project studios. The conditions and expectations between those two scenarios are very different.

Regardless, if you read the review again, there's no way anyone can call it anything other than 4 pages of sales fluff.

If you can't see that, then we'll just have to agree to differ. No worries.
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri May 20, 2016 4:59 pm

John2016 wrote:

As for it having been tested out at live gigs - maybe that's where the real disappointment comes in. Maybe this mixer is more suitable for live gigs rather than project studios. The conditions and expectations between those two scenarios are very different.


Quite so... and that's why it was in the 'Live Sound' section of the magazine and was clearly flagged as such in both the contents list and on the page itself...
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Wonks » Fri May 20, 2016 5:11 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
John2016 wrote:

As for it having been tested out at live gigs - maybe that's where the real disappointment comes in. Maybe this mixer is more suitable for live gigs rather than project studios. The conditions and expectations between those two scenarios are very different.


Quite so... and that's why it was in the 'Live Sound' section of the magazine and was clearly flagged as such in both the contents list and on the page itself...

Not in my paper copy it wasn't, though I felt it should have been.
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri May 20, 2016 5:28 pm

Wonks wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:
John2016 wrote:

As for it having been tested out at live gigs - maybe that's where the real disappointment comes in. Maybe this mixer is more suitable for live gigs rather than project studios. The conditions and expectations between those two scenarios are very different.


Quite so... and that's why it was in the 'Live Sound' section of the magazine and was clearly flagged as such in both the contents list and on the page itself...

Not in my paper copy it wasn't, though I felt it should have been.

Oops! :blush:

My bad!

I don''t keep my paper copies so had made a leap of assumption from the fact that the review was by Mike Crofts.

But the the first sentence of the review starts: "There has never been a shortage of small–format analogue mixers aimed at the live–sound market..." so Mike has set-out his stall very clearly.

The review mixer performed flawlessly for Mike C and Chris K - who used it over an extended period. Their experience was not borne out by that of John2016 with his mixer. But his legitimate complaint is with his dealer and Soundcraft - not SOS, who reported on what they experienced.
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby John2016 » Fri May 20, 2016 5:46 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:But his legitimate complaint is with his dealer and Soundcraft - not SOS

Nope. My "legitimate complaint" (as a paying subscriber) concerns SOS's poxy "review" which is 95% pure sales blurb, as I already explained.
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 20, 2016 6:10 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:The review mixer performed flawlessly for Mike C and Chris K - who used it over an extended period.


They did, and both in live-sound situations and/or mindsets -- and both would certainly have reported -- and SOS would have published -- any real world problems they encountered during their use of the console.

Their experience was not borne out by that of John2016 with his mixer.


I don't want to put words into John2016's mouth, but I don't believe he owns a Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK of his own. I'm not clear if he has even laid his hands upon one... I believe his position is as an interested potential purchaser.

But his legitimate complaint is with his dealer and Soundcraft - not SOS, who reported on what they experienced.


Yes and no. Clearly if a console is faulty, through design of manufacture then its soemthing to take up with the dealer or Soundcraft themselves, as you say. However, John2016's primary complaint here is that he found Mike Crofts' review lacking in the kind of practical detail John desired to provide sufficient reassurance in guiding his own decision to purchase or not.

I can see where he's coming from, and accept that as a valid comment to make and feedback to us... And that's why Chris has responded directly on behalf of SOS and why I'm posting here now.

For the benefit of others reading this, I think the unsaid background here is an extensive thread on GS (and I believe John2016 has taken part in that), which is heavily critical of this console. Exactly how many of those criticisms are genuinely valid and applicable to current production units, how many are actually operator error or misunderstanding, and how many are just bandwagon mutterings, is far from clear -- to me at least...

With that background in mind, it seems John2016 simply doesn't believe that Mike and Chris couldn't have found the same kinds of problems as those reported in that GS thread, and is expressing his incredulity here. Fair enough -- it's why we provide these forums. Chris has already given his first hand experiences, and we'll ask Mike if he'd like to offer any further thoughts, too. I believe the console is actually still at the SOS offices, so it might be possible to organise further specific tests -- although I can't promise that because of the pressure of deadlines for upcoming issues etc.

To be continued... (politely!)

H
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby John2016 » Fri May 20, 2016 6:20 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:The review mixer performed flawlessly for Mike C and Chris K - who used it over an extended period.

They did, and both in live-sound situations and/or mindsets. Soundcraft's description of the console states that it is intended for "live gig or a studio rehearsal, mixing a band, or producing a demo"... so it would seem to me more appropriate to test it in the live sound arena, as we did, rather than in a studio context. Regardless, I'm 100% confident that both Mike and Chris would have reported -- and SOS would have published -- any real-world problems they encountered during their use of the console (and both are very experienced in both live and studio work and know what is required).

Their experience was not borne out by that of John2016 with his mixer.

I don't want to put words into John2016's mouth, but I don't believe he owns a Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK of his own. I'm not clear if he has even laid his hands upon one... I believe his position is as an interested potential purchaser.

But his legitimate complaint is with his dealer and Soundcraft - not SOS, who reported on what they experienced.

Yes and no. Clearly if a console is faulty, through design or manufacture, then its something to take up with the dealer or Soundcraft themselves, as you say. However, John2016's primary complaint here is that he found Mike Crofts' review lacking in the kind of practical detail John desired to provide sufficient reassurance in guiding his own decision to purchase or not.

I can see where he's coming from, and it's a perfectly valid observation to feedback to us... which is why Chris has responded directly on behalf of SOS, and why I'm posting here now.

For the benefit of others reading this, I think the unsaid background here is an extensive thread on GS (and I believe John2016 has taken part in that), which is heavily critical of this console. Exactly how many of those criticisms are genuinely valid and applicable to current production units, how many are actually operator error or misunderstandings, and how many are just bandwagon mutterings, is far from clear -- to me at least...

But with that background in mind, it seems John2016 simply doesn't believe that Mike and Chris couldn't have found the same kinds of problems as those reported in that GS thread, and is expressing his incredulity here. Fair enough -- it's why we provide these forums.

In response, Chris has already given his first-hand experiences, and we'll ask Mike if he'd like to offer any further thoughts, too. I believe the console is actually still at the SOS offices, so it might be possible to organise further specific tests -- although I can't promise that because of the pressure of deadlines for upcoming issues etc.

To be continued... (politely!)

H

Amen! Thank you.
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 20, 2016 6:21 pm

John2016 wrote:Amen! Thank you.

You're most welcome! Have a good weekend.

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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby bass bloke » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:41 pm

Jumping in with a tech question on same may be inappropriate but here it goes. I have just bought the 12 MTK mainly to record gigs and rehearals i have logic 10 pro on an i mac and air book. The article says just plug it in and off you go but not in my experience the imac wont play ball at all the air all look good then throws its toys out with a audio to midi sync error message. Im no wizard at this stuff which is why the plug and play implication of the reveiw influnced my purchase. Im now 2 days from running sound at n acoudtic event i need to record HEzlzp. help help .....
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Rev.F » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:02 am

Well it is now June 2017 and I just bought an MTK12. The USB driver works fine - very impressed. However the FX section is virtually unusable. -So noisy that only by sending a high signal to it and bring a small amount back can it be used. The FX are poor and the control in real live gig terms is poor. (ie - I want to able to tap a tempo or set a time, not hunt for it...) The FX have no EQ control on their return either. Most of the FX are mono. The result is just noise and mush... - Not a good advert for Lexicon... :?
I concur with the people on here. - I don't think he really had the desk for review...
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:16 am

On the last point, let's just get that nonsense out of the way straight off! You can 'believe' what ever you like, but I can assure that the desk was used in real live-sound situations -- as everything we review always is -- in this case by one of our regular and highly trusted freelance writers AND also independently by our live-sound section editor. The latter provided a picture of the desk in use, too.

As for the noisy FX, that doesn't seem right at all. I wouldn't be expecting Bricasti quality effects from a desk at this price, but there's no reason why they should be 'unusably noisy'.

On the assumption that we can rule out 'finger trouble' my initial thought is that there might be a fault with the specific desk, rather than a generally poor design -- Soundcraft have been employing Lexicon effects in various products for years very successfully so it seems unlikely they would get it so wrong here.

Can you/have you take(n) the desk back to the supplier to compare with another unit?

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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016 SEPT 2017

Postby UncleMonkey » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:09 pm

I own a Soundcraft MTK12. I use it for 3-piece live gigs and also as a multi-channel USB interface. I use it daily with PreSonus Studio One 3.5,other DAW's. No problems with routing matrix, the Ghost preamps are better than any 8-channel USB interfaces at this price-point, there are plenty of positives. BUT-I can say this as fact about MY unit. Headphone amp is awful. 2/3's the way up, after that...noise is distracting as hell. I use an Audient iD14 for mobile/field work and switching over from that to the MTK12 one day was excruciating experience. Bummer but doesn't diminish the mixers other capabilities. The effects,man,I am at a loss..I have Lexicon effects units and plugins, and the MTK12 onboard effects do not sound any where near par. WTH? So I use outboard effects or route effects back on channel return via USB switch(Soundcraft provides an awesome reverb plugin upon purchase). I am befuddled by those two things, the headphone amp and the effects unit. Otherwise, I love it. Also, the support from Soundcraft has been top-notch, with reponse time to emails less than 30 minutes. Just throwin' this out there. Cheers!
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby mgshightech » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:02 am

I have one

I haven't tested the headphone or other auxilliary outputs.
otherwise, it performs as claimed. No obvious disaster problems for road use. The effects channels are not especially noisy, though they are just slightly hoaky (have heard worse). DSP algs need a lot of processing power to be really good, and I don't think this thing has that kind of hardware on board. BTW ... noise isn't something we expect from digital effects channels unless they are really trash, what we expect is Jitter .. which explains why I said they are slightly hoaky. If you are getting really wankly noise in the effects channels though, this might be caused by one of the parameter adjustment potentiometers not working properly. The parameter adjustment pots are really cool, but it dawned on me that if they had static in them, they could seriously screw up your effects channels. I wonder if they have low-pass filters attached to try and evade that potential problem. Having two effects channels is definitely an upgrade over some of our earlier gear. You can add each channel to each effect channel separately.


The digital signal is taken off just after the first gain stage. This is also where the digital return is injected. This means that you can record straight to your DAW with nothing but the first gain stage between your device and the ADCs. (no analog eq).
If your instrument or mic needs much gain, then this thing won't make studio class recordings. IMO .. it has something like 10 DB too much noise. If you pre-amp anything requiring a lot of gain before you get it to the board, you may in fact get away with studio class recordings as you will be able to avoid using the initial gain stage. (in other words, if you don't turn that gain stage up, then it doesn't add much noise) The initial gain stage is going to be your studio/non-studio definer.

Have not yet tried the ghost pre-amps ... don't have appropriate mics (maybe later). We have a fine mic, but it uses its own pre. So I'm looking hard at pre-amps for that reason .. but also other reasons. For example .. guitar pre-amps often are designed to get a certain sound, or to add high class digital effects. a single guitar pre-amp may cost 3x more than this board however, depending on what you're after.


This board works fabulously with Linux (Ubuntu Studio) .. no problem .. no drivers required ... just plug and play ... however, only a few Linux sequencers will handle it. I suspect that many sequencers just weren't designed with that many channels in mind. Actually, so far, I could only get Tracktion7 and Waveform9 to properly behave on Linux. ... No biggie ... they're cheap and both great pieces of software that are good at handling plugins that will do a lot of the heavy lifting. Yes, I have recorded and played back on Linux .. multi-channel. To reduce latency, you may wish to switch a lot of the channels off. The high channel count clearly creates latency issues. This should be easy to do, since you probably don't need to return 22 channels of digital data. .. Also, a good cpu will be required ... bare minimum ... 4 core 2.8 ghz IMO. Also, if your digital channels are preconfigured for a sample rate different than what you set the sequencer to use, then you'll get extra latency problems because something somewhere is doing a sample rate conversion, and that requires extra time juggling.

There is some rumor of Ardor also working on linux with this ... but only if you specially compile it. I wouldn't waste the time ... Just do Tracktion7 (currently free) to prove that it works, and then purchase Waveform9 (later version) if you want to. Remember that those two software versions can't work on the same data.

Each channel has a switch that allows you to pass either the dry signal, or a return from the DAW. That is a really cool feature, and gives you opportunity to use your DAW to add effects. However, Tracktion7 and Waveform9 don't cooperate with this real time, since they only add effects to pre-recorded data. Other effect software may work. Sorry, haven't tried it yet.


I'm wondering if the pre-stage noise problem could be solved by replacing bad op-amps with more expensive ones .. but don't have an answer on this. .. One of the primary definers of op-amps is definitely their noise floor. I'm surprised that soundcraft would sacrifice so much potential value simply by using noisy pre-stage gain. It's almost like .... they want to force studios to buy much more expensive gear. but yeesh ... it's like great op-amps are available for <$5 each so, it may be possible to convert this to studio gear for $100 .. but sorry, don't have the answer on this yet. .. and am leery of opening it up while still under warranty.

OK ... that's all folks
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Re: Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Review - April 2016

Postby Wacka » Tue May 07, 2019 12:15 am

Just stumbled upon this post.
I myself have owned the Signature 10 for about 6 months now and I'm struggling with the effects.They just dont sound very good.
it's either swimming in reverb or not enough and rather muddy, I just can't get them right and I am constantly tweeking, often on stage.Don't know what i'm doing wrong.
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