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Replacing low quality mixer for recording synths
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Author Replacing low quality mixer for recording synths
???
Hi! I have an Soundcraft EPM8 in which all my synths are plugged. I send the output of that mixer in an RME babyface. I feel like I'm losing some quality going through the EPM8. It's a bit noisy, and going back and forth through it smoosh the sound a little. I also recorded some synth in a studio through a preamp going directly in the babyface. To my ears it sounded a lot better.

It would like to get a pair of preamp, but I feel it might be stupid to go through a crappy mixer before hitting the preamp. So I would like to know if there are some really transparent mixer that could replace my EMP8 (I need 8 channels).

Another possibility would be to sell everything and get something like an appollo fro UAD and plug all my synths directly into it.

Has anyone gone through this kind of change before?

Thanks for your input! w00t
snercle
you're probably right, noise and a weird thin-ness of sound is what I've experienced in a lot of mixers like that. I don't know why they can't design them better!
What do you use the mixer for? If it's just for easier routing of signals and you don't use much eq, I would go for a passive junction box instead, that way you won't lose any signal quality and you won't break the bank trying to find a really nice mixer.
Unfortunately I don't know of any cheap mixers that you wont lose audio quality going back and forth through.
I think I might try and make one . . . hmmm.....
Dilibob
I use expert sleeper 3/6/7 to go into rme ufx. Another approach i use is es-8 right into the daw.
Koekepan
I don't have one, but I've heard good things about Yamaha's small analogue mixers. They're not break-the-bank expensive, and if they do sound that good, you're on to something.
slumberjack
how many inputs and what features you need on the mixer?
Eichburger
I've owned various cheap mixers over the years (including Yamaha) and they all made mixes sound thin and lifeless.

Investing in a good mixer with quality preamps has made a massive difference.

If that's not a possibility for you then a good quality soundcard with 8 inputs would be my recommendation.
felixer
soundcraft used to be very good. unforntunatly that quality has gone down the drain. try a mackie. even a behringer should work fine. at least there is no noise. unless you have to use the preamp at it's max.
???
snercle wrote:
I think I might try and make one . . . hmmm.....


Hehe, let me know if you do! Any suggestion for a passive summing box? I think that would work. I only use the mixer to hear all my synth simultaneously while I'm composing. I then record them one at a time...


slumberjack wrote:
how many inputs and what features you need on the mixer?


8 input, ideally with a stereo send which I think is pretty rare...
???
Eichburger wrote:
I've owned various cheap mixers over the years (including Yamaha) and they all made mixes sound thin and lifeless.

Investing in a good mixer with quality preamps has made a massive difference.

If that's not a possibility for you then a good quality soundcard with 8 inputs would be my recommendation.


I might try that... Any suggestion for a good mixer with quality preamp, just to get the ball rolling?
Eichburger
??? wrote:
I only use the mixer to hear all my synth simultaneously while I'm composing. I then record them one at a time...


In that case why not bypass the mixer when recording? A simple patch bay before your mixer will do the job for very little outlay.

Quality preamps can provide useful colouration/saturation but that does depend on what sound you're going for.
Eichburger
??? wrote:
So I would like to know if there are some really transparent mixer that could replace my EMP8 (I need 8 channels).


??? wrote:
I might try that... Any suggestion for a good mixer with quality preamp, just to get the ball rolling?


Not sure about 'transparent' mixers as I'm more of a fan of 'character'. Really depends on how much you want to spend. I'm guessing not much as its just for monitoring.
slumberjack
SSL XDesk or Radial Workhorse 8 with mixer (you can fill up the rack slowly afterwards, because the mixer has 8 line inputs for summing) or having a look at the apb dynasonics range, especially the prospec-2u might be perfect.
slumberjack
https://ashly.com/products/analog-mixers
???
slumberjack wrote:
SSL XDesk or Radial Workhorse 8 with mixer (you can fill up the rack slowly afterwards, because the mixer has 8 line inputs for summing) or having a look at the apb dynasonics range, especially the prospec-2u might be perfect.


Thanks for the suggestion! The SSL xdesk looks amazing but it's out of my price range. The radial mixer also look nice and is more affordable! I'll look into it. It seems the mixer is worth around 500$ I wonder if it's really better than lower end mixers...
globalwm
slumberjack wrote:
https://ashly.com/products/analog-mixers


I have been finding the Rane units here and there and picking up used (less than $150) since you can chain them together and expand. I'm up to 6 units now.

Here is a 500+ channel setup: http://www.rane.com/app576.html
slumberjack
shizzle ma nizzle that rack...
???
Those Ashly mixers looks perfect. Anyone using them? Also I was wondering if there was some quality difference between the Ashly LX-308B and the MX-508?

I don't need the preamps (will probably buy some later) so just a noise free good quality mixer that is not detrimental to the sound.
The Grump
For tracking, I love using a pair of SuperAnalogue EQ's and Dynamics modules in a couple of Mynx boxes as inserts from my K-Mix, or a Focusrite Producer Pack into my Duet. That's if I don't feel like tipping an APB or Midas XL200/XL250. If you can swing it, I'd suggest an X-Desk, and watch your world change.
calaveras
felixer wrote:
soundcraft used to be very good. unforntunatly that quality has gone down the drain. try a mackie. even a behringer should work fine. at least there is no noise. unless you have to use the preamp at it's max.


I have to wonder if this poster has actually used the mixers they suggest?
Mackie are only good if you never touch the EQ. Which requires a lot of will power. hihi
Behringer are never good.

Soundcraft still makes very good mixers. However those mixers start at the LX7 II and go up from there. All the dinky little 8 input and 12 input mixers Soundcraft makes are just so they can compete against the likes of Behringer and Samson.

The standard Behringer bashing aside, going from a cheap Soundcraft to a cheap Behringer or Mackie you shouldn't expect improvement. You are better off getting a used old Soundcraft (or Soundtracs, Yamaha PM, Sound Workshop Ramsa). Luckily a lot of churches, clubs and sound rental places are going digital and dumping old analog mixers right now!
The downside is that though you can get a decent old mixer for less than $1000. They often weigh over 50 kilos and will take 2 or more people to move.
MindMachine
Just get a line mixer. That is all you need for synthesizers. A Roland or old ass Tascam. Roland had a nice variety. Speck made a few.
acidbob
I have a Soundcraft efx12, and I have been struggling a lot with noise, maybe its due to the relative high channel counts and the fact that its a budget mixer. Compared to my UFX and Octamic it's terrible quite frankly, but the trick with this mixer in particular is that the main out levels should be set to max. (The yellow faders). The input faders needs to be as low as possible and the pre-amp can only be turned to 9 o clock but best to have it at zero.
Mute channels that are not in use. Use bal. Cables.

For the sound quality I actually think it's not too bad, the effects are very simple however quite effective.

There is quite a big difference between this and some of the Behringer mixers I have tried. Behringer was more muddy but not as noisey.

I would like to try a Allen & Heath 12 or 14 FX or a Midas mixer.
But instead I have maxed out my UFX with additional Octamics.
Dont know how good A&H and Midas are???
DickMarker
To the OP - where are you finding your EPM is noisy? I'm using the same model and don't find it noisy at all, although I do just use the line inputs rather than cranking the preamps.
I agree with others suggesting that for the most transparency, direct into your soundcard or a simple line mixer is probably the best solution.
felixer
Eichburger wrote:
??? wrote:
So I would like to know if there are some really transparent mixer that could replace my EMP8 (I need 8 channels).


??? wrote:
I might try that... Any suggestion for a good mixer with quality preamp, just to get the ball rolling?


Not sure about 'transparent' mixers as I'm more of a fan of 'character'. Really depends on how much you want to spend. I'm guessing not much as its just for monitoring.

everybody wants 'character' these days. what about getting some good sounds to begin with? and i strongly advize on getting some mixer with too much 'character'. as all your sounds will get the same treatment. not always a good thing. i want my recorder and mixer to be as clean as possible (with no character built in) so i can hear what i'm doing and add character myself. thank you very much ....
Eichburger
felixer wrote:
Eichburger wrote:
??? wrote:
So I would like to know if there are some really transparent mixer that could replace my EMP8 (I need 8 channels).


??? wrote:
I might try that... Any suggestion for a good mixer with quality preamp, just to get the ball rolling?


Not sure about 'transparent' mixers as I'm more of a fan of 'character'. Really depends on how much you want to spend. I'm guessing not much as its just for monitoring.

everybody wants 'character' these days. what about getting some good sounds to begin with? and i strongly advize on getting some mixer with too much 'character'. as all your sounds will get the same treatment. not always a good thing. i want my recorder and mixer to be as clean as possible (with no character built in) so i can hear what i'm doing and add character myself. thank you very much ....


By character I mean the subtle differences imparted by quality mixer preamps and in particular ones with transformers on the inputs. This has vastly improved my sound design in that I am incorporating and emphasising aspects of the preamp sound as I build the patch.

But hey, really happy you're so pleased with your way of doing things.
Futuresound
slumberjack wrote:
SSL XDesk or Radial Workhorse 8 with mixer (you can fill up the rack slowly afterwards, because the mixer has 8 line inputs for summing) or having a look at the apb dynasonics range, especially the prospec-2u might be perfect.


I hadn't seen those Prospec mixers, must be recent. Very appealing.
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