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Advice on mixer with DAW? Possibly Mackie 1642 VLZ4
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Advice on mixer with DAW? Possibly Mackie 1642 VLZ4
ratchet
I am looking for some advice. This might be a little long winded so apologies.

My setup:
- Eurorack - 2 mono outs
- Two mono synths - 2 mono outs
- Analog four (2 outs) - Stereo outs
- Three stereo FX pedals - 3 x 2 in + out
- Plus the odd something else when I feel like it!

Now I have a RME fireface UFX and a focusrite Octopre. So I can hook all this (and more) up just fine. However, I really would like something more tactile while retaining the flexibility of recording separate tracks. Rather than looking at a screen and clicking a mouse I would like to turn the aux knob for a little more reverb or pull the fader to drop the volume or just reach over and twist the pan knob etc. I'd like to kind of perform and record as I go a little. Not really concerned about capturing one-off performances - just a few tracks as I jam and tweak the modular.

So, I figured if I got something like the Mackie 1642 VLZ4, I could sell the Octopre as its role is to provide i/o as send returns for the pedals. The 1642 has four aux sends. I could use the direct outs into the RME and record individual tracks for later remixing and arranging.

Would this kind of arrangement work? Could I also use something like the Mackie's busses to also record a dry track (or two, three..) in case I later decide I've overdone the fx from the pedals? Anybody using similar setups with similar mixers willing to provide advice.

I've looked on the web and youtube and I think what I am after would work with that setup but I have very little experience with hardware mixers and none at all with a four bus mixer like the 1642.

Any level of help / suggestions appreciated.
tonymasiello
I got a Mackie 1402VLZ4 (which I believe is pretty similar to what you are looking at) a few months ago, and it has been a solid option for working with modular. It seems very well built. It does not seem to have any problem taking hot signals from eurorack. I usually run direct out of a vca or effect module. This is my first mixer and I am still learning all of the permutations of doing busses. I have had some issues with trying to do sends to guitar pedals, but I expect that is somewhat my own lack of experience.
ratchet
tonymasiello wrote:
I got a Mackie 1402VLZ4 (which I believe is pretty similar to what you are looking at) a few months ago, and it has been a solid option for working with modular. It seems very well built. It does not seem to have any problem taking hot signals from eurorack. I usually run direct out of a vca or effect module. This is my first mixer and I am still learning all of the permutations of doing busses. I have had some issues with trying to do sends to guitar pedals, but I expect that is somewhat my own lack of experience.


The little experience I have with hardware mixers was with a Mackie 1202 VLZ4 which is the smaller version of yours. And I agree they are solid and work very well with the modular. The thing with these smaller models is they don't have the direct outs (although I believe the inserts can be used as such with the appropriate cables). Only 4 on the 1202 though. They also don't have the subgroup outs.

My experience with the aux sends with pedals was positive. I think it's just finding the right levels.

I moved to the RME because at the time I didn't have space for a larger mixer and it (together with the octopre) gave me enough i/o for my equipment inputs and three pedals. The RME is excellent but I just really miss the tactile nature of working with hardware and the ability to have a good jam without even turning on the screen. The RME can be used standalone but it's menu intensive to do it.
ZLAL
Was using an Allen and Heath 32 channel board with individual outs into a MOTU 8 channel firewire interface and a Persons 8 mic pre. Was often frustrated by routing, gain staging, and complexity with running signal out of the box back through outboard equipment.

I thought that I would be using a DAW as a glorified tape machine but, quite frankly, its hard not to take advantage of effective ITB techniques.

Switched to a Soundcraft Signature MTK22 and couldn't be happier. I have my usual routing wired to inputs through a patchbay so it is a breeze to bring in equipment that isn't hardwired into my console and the option to route all digital channels back out through the board with the push of a button makes mix down much simpler and more immediate. Lost about 10% flexibility and gained immeasurable usability.
ratchet
@ZLAL thanks for you input. Some things for me to think about.

I'd appreciate it if you could expand on what frustrated you with regard to the routing and complexity.

I hear what you are saying about the advantages of ITB. I do intend to make use of ITB techniques but before even attempting that I just want to get individual tracks into the DAW, without the DAW / screen / mouse getting in the way. Basically jam, record then use the ITB techniques.

I rely heavily on effects with a DLD and Erbe Verb in my rack in addition to outboard H9, Big Sky and Timeline. I am happy to record with those effects (although a track dry of the outboard in addition could be useful).

I am not looking to feed anything back from the DAW for outboard mixing. Just the main DAW outs into the mixer for monitoring.

I have looked at the Soundcraft MTK and a couple of other mixers with multitrack USB audio. I haven't ruled one of those out but I am a little concerned about driver compatibility with OS updates once the hardware becomes 'legacy'. With the RME I feel very safe that the drivers will be continually updated.
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