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Hardware individual outs to 8 channel interface or USB outs?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Hardware individual outs to 8 channel interface or USB outs?
synthysynth
Im looking to integrate a computer rig into my setup for recording. I usually record to tape but its such a bulky setup.

I was wondering if a mixer with hardware individual outs into an 8 channel interface sounds betters than a mixer with a USB port into a smaller interface?
Thanks for any help!
mousegarden
You don't need to use a "smaller interface" if you're connecting via USB, if your mixer supports multitrack/aux sends/sub groups over USB like a Midas Venice or similar the interface is in the mixer. I use a mixer without USB via a multi-input interface simply because it's easier to "see" what's going on, once you've set up your interface you can do everything from the mixer. Multitrack switching and routing on a USB/digital mixer can be confusing, but it depends entirely on your workflow and what you prefer.
As for sound quality, all interfaces sound different, combine these anomalies with mixer character and you've got a lot of variables, you just have to experiment and see what you like.
ElTonerino
Most usb mixers are stereo interfaces. Many of those have poor sample rate and bit depth.

Soundcraft MTK 12 and 22 are both many track interfaces / analogue mixers.

Presonus studiolive AR 12 and 17 seem to tick the bill too.
damase
mousegarden wrote:
As for sound quality, all interfaces sound different, combine these anomalies with mixer character and you've got a lot of variables, you just have to experiment and see what you like.


Well said here. Dont underestimate how different interfaces' a/d and d/a can sound. A stable word clock makes a huge difference. Using usb from a mixer basically means that you are using that mixer's built in a/d, d/a and word clock which is usually not the selling point for a mixer which often have 48k max sample rate.

My personal preference is to minimize the items in the signal chain, so I just go straight from sound source to interface. If you have an analog mixer that you really love the sound character of, or your tape machine, should all just be done in post. While i also see the appeal of having an analog mixer with direct outs for the inputs, some interfaces have really nice software mixers which can be midi controlled
calaveras
I'm of the opinion that the reason different sound cards sound different has more to do with the analog circuits than the digital ones. There are not a lot of different chips being used to do conversion at any given time. Often the high end and low end boxes use the same ones. But the high end ones have more robust analog front ends on their AD converters.

In a mixer you might get decent analog circuits, since that is job one at Acme A1 mixer company. But they may just use an off the shelf AD/DA with not a lot of options for samplerate and bit depth.
I know when I've checked out mixers with built in sound cards they never check as many boxes for me as a soundcard by itself.
akairipper
Might be more than you are looking for but yamaha 0196i is a bloody great usb mixer.
mousegarden
calaveras wrote:
I'm of the opinion that the reason different sound cards sound different has more to do with the analog circuits than the digital ones. There are not a lot of different chips being used to do conversion at any given time. Often the high end and low end boxes use the same ones. But the high end ones have more robust analog front ends on their AD converters.

In a mixer you might get decent analog circuits, since that is job one at Acme A1 mixer company. But they may just use an off the shelf AD/DA with not a lot of options for samplerate and bit depth.
I know when I've checked out mixers with built in sound cards they never check as many boxes for me as a soundcard by itself.


Yes, it's most likely in the converters. Loads of manufacturers probably take the route of sculpting the final output with analogue filters..
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