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Live mixers

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Live mixers

Postby christopholes » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:37 pm

In a new 4-piece rock covers band establishing a set list and want to invest in a mixer for live gigs if and when we ever get to do one. Like the idea of a tablet controlled digital mixer but anxious about all the problems I read about Wi-fi drop out.
Want to run 2x guitar amps, 1x bass amp, 3x vocal mics and mic’d drums +/- keyboards and backing tracks at some time. What would people recommend for £500 budget?
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Re: Live mixers

Postby blinddrew » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:57 pm

My starting point around there would either be a Zoom L20 if you didn't need the tablet bit, or a Behringer XR 18 and a separate router.
Other smarter folk will doubtless be along shortly with other suggestions.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby Dave B » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:04 pm

+1 for what Drew said - I'd be looking at the XR18.

There are a number of tricks I've discovered with wifi / tablet mixers :

1. get an external router (cheap) - anything you have laying around will work at a push and, if your networking skills are at most people's level, you may need a hand with the odd bit. I found that an Apple Airport express made a big difference over the mixer itself being the access point. This goes double for the Behringer

2. get an external route (expensive) - I've splashed out on a more expensive router that is rack mounted. Sadly, despite hearing good things about it, I got it just as lockdown started so haven't had chance to kick it in anger. It should be good

3. wired networking - this is quite cheap. For not too much, I got a Lightning -> ethernet adaptor that goes into an iPad or iPhone and lets me plug directly into the mixer (directly on the Berry and via a usb-ethernet adaptor on my QSC). Add in a good length of rugged cat5e/6 cable and you have a wired remote control
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Re: Live mixers

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:58 pm

I've run a few gigs with the TouchMix 8. It has both physical faders but it can be controlled via phone/tablet. Wifi does not require a router - at least it hasn't in the conditions I have used it (not the Opera!). Effects are excellent and it's small and portable. Good piece of kit.

But then a lot are these days.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:18 pm

I would also probably go for a Berry XR-18 if I had to start again, I have an XR-12 (nice little mixer but built in router is pants) and a couple of X32's (Compact and Rack) but the one that gets used most is my old Mackie DL1608 I bought when they were pretty new (before Behringer had entered the fray). The app is the easiest to use of the few I've tried (A&H Qu, Sq and iLive, Berry X32 and XR, and, of course, Mackie Master Fader).
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Re: Live mixers

Postby AlecSp » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:56 pm

+1 on the XR18.

All of the digital mixers on the market will do the kind of job you're after. In the end, each has its own fans and detractors.

You mentioned that your budget was £500 - which means that the XR18 is about the only digital mixer (well) within budget at retail. Obviously, you could look at used.

If using any wireless mixer, get an external router (doesn't have to be anything special) as you'll live/die by your network connection.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby The Elf » Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:14 pm

XR18 for me too, with a *wired* connection to a laptop. When a wired option is available I'd take it every time. Wireless is just asking for trouble IMHO.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby christopholes » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:27 pm

Thank you all very much. I had reckoned on a Behringer XR18 air or even an RCF M-18 because of better internal Wi-fi router but actually like the split channels to DAW functionality of the behringer so best option I reckon is wireless iPad for wandering around the room getting setup right (with external router if necessary) and wired laptop connection for tweaks when playing. Thank you.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby AlecSp » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:16 pm

christopholes wrote:Thank you all very much. I had reckoned on a Behringer XR18 air or even an RCF M-18 because of better internal Wi-fi router but actually like the split channels to DAW functionality of the behringer so best option I reckon is wireless iPad for wandering around the room getting setup right (with external router if necessary) and wired laptop connection for tweaks when playing. Thank you.
Ah yes, the M-18, I'd forgotten about that mixer - as has most of the world!

I'm a big fan of RCF's speakers, but this mixer looked to miss the mark when it first came out being pretty expensive for what it had to offer. I was surprised to see just how much its price has dropped, so yes, it is in your budget. Just be aware that altough it's an 18 channel mixer, it has only 8 mic inputs. That could be enough for you but, from your description, it probably isn't.

One of the big benefits the XR mixers has is its ubilquity, which means it's well supported, both by Behringer and by third parties. Mixing Station is a cracking app, and is continually being developed, with many happy users.

I think you'll find that all mixers have poor onboard routers. Not least, you've got the problem that the router is not in the best position, on the floor, surrounded by cables. You'll pretty much always be better with an external router, especially when you put it in a better location.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby resistorman » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:00 am

XR 18 with an external 5ghz router.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby AlecSp » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:59 pm

resistorman wrote:XR 18 with an external 5ghz router.
I'd go for dual band, rather than just 5GHz (though not sure if 5GHz only routers exist).

5GHz is great, but limited range. Having 2.4GHz as well will typically keep you going if you roam further in a big venue or outdoors.

And, as others have mentioned, having a cabled PC is the perfect fallback option if wifi is letting you down (which it never has for me *yet*).

If you're mixing while playing, you can customise Mixing Station on your tablet to give you all the things you want to hand - no more, no less - perfect for when you're a little distracted.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby Dave Rowles » Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:15 pm

AlecSp wrote:I'd go for dual band, rather than just 5GHz (though not sure if 5GHz only routers exist).

Yeah, I've used the XR18 quite a bit in a local venue I used to help out at. When on the 5GHz it kept on cutting out as I walked to the back of the room. Tried the 2.4GHz and it worked fine. The router was in a corner and 5GHz didn't like that.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:30 pm

Apparently 5GHz is worse at getting through walls than 2.4GHz but goes around corners better as the walls are more reflective to 5GHz than 2.4GHz. I suppose in a corner you'd be getting first reflections interfering with the direct signal.
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Re: Live mixers

Postby MOF » Sun Aug 09, 2020 8:00 pm

Apparently 5GHz is worse at getting through walls than 2.4GHz but goes around corners better as the walls are more reflective to 5GHz than 2.4GHz. I suppose in a corner you'd be getting first reflections interfering with the direct signal.
The shorter the wavelength the more directional it is, 5G networks will require more, lower powered, transceiver base stations.
The more metal work in the venue the more cancellation will occur due to multi-path phase cancellation, that’s why diversity receivers are standard on professional receivers.
A wall that stops a 2.4Ghz signal will equally attenuate a 5Ghz signal. It’s the wavelength that makes the difference but not because of reflection, it’s diffraction.
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