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Mixer Options as Small Home Studio Front End
Old 16th March 2021
  #1
Gear Head
 
Sad Iron Studio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mixer Options as Small Home Studio Front End

About 10 years ago I had an old Allen & Heath 24 channel board I used as a front end for my studio with a motu 828 mii and an ada8000 taking the stuff into the computer. Loved it. Had to downsize.

Now I'm sick of fooling with tiny interfaces and I've had bad luck with all in one mixers like the Tascam and Soundcraft options. I just returned a Presonus 16.0.2 because of power supply whine.

I'm tempted to buy a Studiolive 32sc or an X32 but maybe it's best to stay simple.

What mixers should I consider if I wanted to go back to my old method?
Old 16th March 2021
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
A Behringer XR18 is downsized and workable - as long as you can cope with 18 channels of USB I/O, 16 XLR, 1 stereo and no faders ;-)

The X32R is a nice option if you need more - and more expandable.

If you are a Studio One person the StudioLive might be better - but if DAW agnostic the Behringer path seems easier?

I use my XR18 live, and as my computer interface - works peachy.
Old 16th March 2021 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Head
 
Sad Iron Studio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I was looking at those and it looks really great. I was really wanting knobs and faders, but I did see a video with someone who ran it with an X-Touch.
Old 19th March 2021
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I use an X-Touch to control my XR18 in my home studio. The XR18 is my "soundcard" for my system. Works great. The combo costs about $1000 US.
You don't mention budget, or actual channel counts needed. The X32 Compact at $1400 US could fit your needs.

Now if you are a Studio One person then the StudioLive mixers might be ideal, but of course the price is much higher.

NB the X-Touch is basically a clone of the Mackie Control Universal which gives it utility for many/most DAWs - for me it's Logic Pro, so I have a very well integrated control surface that I toggle to control my mixer. Brain shift is a bit tricky - I use a template for the XR18 control features.
Old 19th March 2021
  #5
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
You don't say how many simultaneous inputs you need. And why does your front end need to be a "mixer?" Post-tape, even in gigantic studios almost nothing gets "mixed" on the way in except for those cowboys who combine mics on guitar cabs (and that's an old habit from the tape days.)
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Gear Head
 
Sad Iron Studio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
You don't say how many simultaneous inputs you need. And why does your front end need to be a "mixer?" Post-tape, even in gigantic studios almost nothing gets "mixed" on the way in except for those cowboys who combine mics on guitar cabs (and that's an old habit from the tape days.)
16 simultaneous inputs. It has to be a mixer because I want a mixer. I see you've been here for at least 15 years. Me too. I am one of those 'cowboys' I started my career 'pre-digital' and I still know a few tricks that boards make possible. Don't need a lesson. πŸ˜ƒ
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Take the number of channels of conversion you have, let's say 16. Now if you want to hang hardware off the board then you need to have some additional capabilities than just 16 channels of mixer. Many FOH boards have stereo channels, you want these for reverbs and delay returns. Let's say your future need is for 5 different reverbs and fx outboard, guitar pedals, whatever. Then 5 stereo returns would be your need. Now you also want to hang compressors off your mixer for various things, maybe a stereo master buss chain in outboard. Then you will need inserts, at least at the stereo main, maybe inserts on all those channels for building a tracking chain of outboard for a vocalist. Also you may want to assign compression to groups of instruments either in stereo or mono. This requires, in one approach, 8 group faders from which each channel of the board can route to with some group assign buttons. (4 stereo groups is fine too).

Now here is where things can expand. Say you want one side of the mixer for tracking and another side for mixing without re-patching everything...double the amount of channels required so you can track and monitor some semblance of a mix using all that width and depth goodness external summing provides.

So all that said, now we come to patchbays, which if you keep track of the above you would need about 4 patchbays even at inexpensive options (TRS cables) will cost about $400. Add the average cost per patchbay around $150 in cables, (unless you want to halve that cost by building your own) so say $600 in cables.

All this for the freedom of mixing like the old days, treat your DAW like a recorder only, maybe some plugins, your option. The point of this is, understand what you want to do and get a board that can provide the features for this approach. You didn't say what your ultimate intent was so assuming you have a deep need to re-create the old days. Based on the above I would be looking for an older Soundcraft, Crest HP series, A&H, Midas. None of which will bring a colored sound but you can build your sound in outboard and hang it off these boards. If you have more money, I would recommend The Box or Box II from API

Now, if you want to just sum on the mixer, maybe hang a master buss chain off that, mix entirely in the box, then ignore everything I've said above. Just get a mixer that is twice the count of your converters so at least you won't be patching and repatching when you go from tracking to mixing. That get's annoying and takes time. A creative moment becomes an exercise in engineering and not recording. I would opt for one of the Soundcraft or A&H new models in this scenario. You can be always set up and ready to go. If they have inserts, all the better because you could easily add external preamps/compressors for vocal tracking and other things.

Last edited by Oldone; 3 weeks ago at 04:25 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sad Iron Studio ➑️
16 simultaneous inputs. It has to be a mixer because I want a mixer. I see you've been here for at least 15 years. Me too. I am one of those 'cowboys' I started my career 'pre-digital' and I still know a few tricks that boards make possible. Don't need a lesson. πŸ˜ƒ
You may not need a lesson, but please bear in mind everyone else who reads this stuff, hoping it will be a substitute for actual experience. Whenever you're talking on GS, especially in the forums the newbies are attracted to, you're mainly talking to them. Pardner.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
Sad Iron Studio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
You may not need a lesson, but please bear in mind everyone else who reads this stuff, hoping it will be a substitute for actual experience. Whenever you're talking on GS, especially in the forums the newbies are attracted to, you're mainly talking to them. Pardner.
Good point. Let's hope they pay attention.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You have not listed a budget. You have implied that you don't need what I would call a good mixer. You are looking for a mid level mixer.

I suggest getting the old mixer you were happy with. Allen and Heath and Soundcraft are still the best value in sub $2K mixers without going digital.

MOTU is still the cost effective step down from RME drivers.

If that made you happy then, not much has changed other then what can be done inside the computer.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
Sad Iron Studio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➑️
You have not listed a budget. You have implied that you don't need what I would call a good mixer. You are looking for a mid level mixer.

I suggest getting the old mixer you were happy with. Allen and Heath and Soundcraft are still the best value in sub $2K mixers without going digital.

MOTU is still the cost effective step down from RME drivers.

If that made you happy then, not much has changed other then what can be done inside the computer.
The mixer I was happy with was an Allen and Heath System 8 Mk II. And I let that go in 2010 or so.

I'm reluctant to go for something of that vintage these days and it doesn't seem like mixers made more recently have had recording in mind as much as live sound.

I could be wrong, of course.

My budget is anywhere from $2000 -$4000, the lowere the better, of course. This is all for my studio where I make YouTube videos and livestream for a living and do music because its what I've always done. Don't have any dreams of a pro studio or anything. I've been down that road.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
For going back to old-school (interface + analog mixer), I'd get a MOTU 16A 32x32 and maybe a Soundcraft LX7ii 32.

The mixer field is wide open though. Many people don't care for Soundcraft's preamps, and if I was going this route, I'd want to use the mixer's preamps. If not, just get a bunch of preamps and an interface. More flexibility and variety.

IMHO, recording vs. live A mixers these days with mid range analog mixers is mostly about routing and stage monitoring features.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Gear Head
 
Sad Iron Studio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➑️
For going back to old-school (interface + analog mixer), I'd get a MOTU 16A 32x32 and maybe a Soundcraft LX7ii 32.

The mixer field is wide open though. Many people don't care for Soundcraft's preamps, and if I was going this route, I'd want to use the mixer's preamps. If not, just get a bunch of preamps and an interface. More flexibility and variety.

IMHO, recording vs. live A mixers these days with mid range analog mixers is mostly about routing and stage monitoring features.
Do you feel like direct outs are important or is using inserts acceptable.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Nut
 
Dennis4's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
StudioLive 32SC is a good board. I have worked on one of those.
It's amazing what they cram into desks these days.
But I'd much prefer working on an older A/H from a sonic standpoint.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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elamberth's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Not used them, but the Cadac Live One looked interesting.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sad Iron Studio ➑️
Do you feel like direct outs are important or is using inserts acceptable.
First click on inserts basically is direct out. And the LX7 32 has DO on the first 24 channels.
I'd just put everything to a patchbay for flex. Total old school.
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