What's the ideal mixer for me?

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witchonhorseback
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What's the ideal mixer for me?

Post by witchonhorseback » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:50 am

I recently started using my modular live for my ambient/glitch/generative/downtempo act, with good results. But these performances have me reflecting on the relative weaknesses of my mixer.

I'm presently using a Roland 531. The advantages of this mixer are: 6 channels (all mono), 1/4-inch outs, CV control of panning on every channel, and a versatile input for an external source. My first four channels are typically used for the outputs from Radio Music, Plaits, Plonk, and one wild card (VCNO, Clouds, or Stages in Harmonic Oscillator mode), one or more of which are passing through DSPII or DLD. Channel 5 is the output from my Minibrute, and 6 is an OP-1.

Disadvantages of this mixer: only mono inputs (although CV panning control helps with this—I've usually got Marbles patched into a couple of these), and, most importantly, it's really hard to perform smooth fades with those sliders. I think knobs might be better for this.

I'm thinking about replacing this mixer with two linked 4ms Listen 4s. (Ideally this would be a Listen 4 and a Listen 4 Quarters, but I don't think I can spare the extra couple of HP, see rack below.) This would give me four stereo channels and four mono with CV panning, which is great. The main disadvantages are: no 1/4-inch outs, and I'm literally out of power slots—I'd need to daisy-chain them I guess.

What do you think? Good idea? I'd have to solder up a couple of custom output cables, but that's not a big deal, especially since before the PA I'm going to a reverb pedal, like 12 inches away. Is there a better 20HP solution to this? I suppose I could lose a Links and go to 24HP if I had to.

Thanks y'all

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Last edited by witchonhorseback on Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MossGarden
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Post by MossGarden » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:56 am

Have you considered an external mixer? obviously you can't cv any paramaters on one but for me, when playing live, having those long faders w/mutes/aux/eq and knobs not being hidden by cables is a godsend.

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Post by witchonhorseback » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:00 am

MossGarden wrote:Have you considered an external mixer? obviously you can't cv any paramaters on one but for me, when playing live, having those long faders w/mutes/aux/eq and knobs not being hidden by cables is a godsend.
I've considered it! But the advantage of this setup is that I can get ready for a gig by normalling up the whole synth ahead of time, then folding it up, sticking it in the case, and heading to the gig (case is the Arturia RackBrute). Big Sky fits in one case pocket, OP-1 fits in the other. I don't have to patch anything during soundcheck, it's all ready to go. External mixer would mean a lot of weird interfacing on stage, including bringing along a bunch of 1/8"-to-1/4" cables...

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Post by deftinwulf » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:33 am

(Most of this rack is digital, so power draw is less high than it might seem.)
Don't mean to criticize - but you may want to check your premise there. Usually, digital modules are the ones with higher power draw and analog circuits the ones which draw next to nothing.

Other than that, not sure what to suggest in terms of mixers if you really want to stay in eurorack and have sliders. Only other thing I know of is the WMD Performance Mixer, which is huge.

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Post by cg_funk » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:42 am

I just upgraded to the WMD Performance Mixer, it's basically got everything. Really, like love at first patch for me.

6 mono channels with A/B bus and 2 stereo channels, 16 inputs total. The sliders are super useful, and the aux-sends are also amazingly useful. Has CV for levels and pan. I do use Intellijel audio I/O for my 1/4" jacks... that might be the biggest hang-up for your setup.

If you want your mixer to live in-rack, I highly recommend it! It takes up a lot of space but is also extremely VCA-dense and I felt that installing it made my rack way more useful.

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Post by witchonhorseback » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:44 am

deftinwulf wrote:
(Most of this rack is digital, so power draw is less high than it might seem.)
Don't mean to criticize - but you may want to check your premise there. Usually, digital modules are the ones with higher power draw and analog circuits the ones which draw next to nothing.
Thank you, misconception on my part. Edited the original post.
deftinwulf wrote:Other than that, not sure what to suggest in terms of mixers if you really want to stay in eurorack and have sliders. Only other thing I know of is the WMD Performance Mixer, which is huge.
The sliders are actually my main complaint—they're harder to move smoothly than the knobs. Not the case with 100mm faders on an outboard mixer, of course, but in this format I feel that pots might be better. Also, the faders on the 531 are in between two rows of cables, the inputs and the pan CVs...you gotta gently part them and sneak your fingers in there.

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Post by witchonhorseback » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:48 am

cg_funk wrote:I just upgraded to the WMD Performance Mixer, it's basically got everything. Really, like love at first patch for me.

6 mono channels with A/B bus and 2 stereo channels, 16 inputs total. The sliders are super useful, and the aux-sends are also amazingly useful. Has CV for levels and pan. I do use Intellijel audio I/O for my 1/4" jacks... that might be the biggest hang-up for your setup.

If you want your mixer to live in-rack, I highly recommend it! It takes up a lot of space but is also extremely VCA-dense and I felt that installing it made my rack way more useful.
And aux sends, too, be still, my heart! 40HP is quite a hit, though...I'd have to lose a couple of beloved things......

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Post by mdoudoroff » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:58 am

Everything is a tradeoff.

Despite being something of a WMD PM booster, I gotta warn: you may not like the sliders on the WMD PM any better than the ones on the 531. By necessity, they’re short throw and there’s quite a curve at the quiet end.

If you’re worried you may have missed some of the options, here’s a pretty exhaustive list:

https://doudoroff.com/mixers

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Post by witchonhorseback » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:56 pm

mdoudoroff wrote:If you’re worried you may have missed some of the options, here’s a pretty exhaustive list:

https://doudoroff.com/mixers
That’s where I found the Listen Fours! Can’t thank you enough for that resource, it’s an astounding project and extraordinarily helpful.

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Post by tomdarude » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:08 am

I bought an Intellijel Mixup as a little utility helper... but I really love it.

2x mono + mute switch
1x stereo + mute switch
1x stereo unity gain

and can be daisychained without loosing an input.

I´m now considering to get 2 more and use those 3 as mixer for my Intellijel 7u case for live.

(also the Happy Nerding Mix and VCA looks intriguing!)
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Post by radiokoala » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:53 am

I'm going to potentially get Alyseum Q-MIX in place of my Befaco A*B+C for most of the in-rack mixing duties. (I also have Pico A MIX and CV MIX). With this one, you can also use it as four non-VC crossfaders which for me is useful. You lose stereo operation then but get quite some routing flexibility for 6hp – e.g route oscillators to different filters/waveshapers/destinations or patch these as dry/wet controls to reverb/fx and have a good idea of each one's amount.

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/alyseum-q-mix

I also think (while simple) Patching Panda's 4 input mixer in 3hp has high hp to value ratio:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/patching- ... tit-mix-v2

SSF/WMD Blender is often overlooked but would be a great way to mix audio, and with more modular approach at that:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/steady-state-fate-blender

Not too sure these are any ideal for you, but just throwing them in. Also, I'd probably just get a pair of 3.5 to 6.3mm cables and not care that much about 1/4" – when unbalanced, it's less relevant anyhow in my opinion.
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Post by witchonhorseback » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:03 pm

tomdarude wrote:I bought an Intellijel Mixup as a little utility helper... but I really love it.

2x mono + mute switch
1x stereo + mute switch
1x stereo unity gain

and can be daisychained without loosing an input.
Oh man...I had no idea these could be daisychained! Three of them could work great for me. Thank you...gotta look into this a little more.

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Post by witchonhorseback » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:20 pm

Ahh, but I just realized, I would lose panning per channel...

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Re: What's the ideal mixer for me?

Post by morgulbee » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:09 pm

witchonhorseback wrote: The main disadvantages are: no 1/4-inch outs,
1/8 to 1/4 cables should work, unless I'm missing the point. Balanced vs unbalanced, perhaps?

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Post by Chartreuse-J » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:40 pm

WMD PM Mixer with a snake DB25 output.

L-1 Stereo mixer is good, has alot of THAT chips in it.

Listen Four Quarters [L4Q] by 4MS, might be what you are looking for for a live venue/home play. Has 1/4 outs. Has pan knobs. Best bet here.
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Re: What's the ideal mixer for me?

Post by witchonhorseback » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:50 am

morgulbee wrote:
witchonhorseback wrote: The main disadvantages are: no 1/4-inch outs,
1/8 to 1/4 cables should work, unless I'm missing the point. Balanced vs unbalanced, perhaps?
I just prefer a more physically robust connection to external gear. It’s no big deal, though. Don’t care about balanced/unbalanced...my stuff is deliberately noisy!

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Re: What's the ideal mixer for me?

Post by damase » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:32 am

witchonhorseback wrote: I'm thinking about replacing this mixer with two linked 4ms Listen 4s. (Ideally this would be a Listen 4 and a Listen 4 Quarters, but I don't think I can spare the extra couple of HP, see rack below.) This would give me four stereo channels and four mono with CV panning, which is great.
4ms listen4 does not have cv over panning. you could consider a MN X-pan + 4ms Listen

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Re: What's the ideal mixer for me?

Post by witchonhorseback » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:41 am

damase wrote:
witchonhorseback wrote: I'm thinking about replacing this mixer with two linked 4ms Listen 4s. (Ideally this would be a Listen 4 and a Listen 4 Quarters, but I don't think I can spare the extra couple of HP, see rack below.) This would give me four stereo channels and four mono with CV panning, which is great.
4ms listen4 does not have cv over panning. you could consider a MN X-pan + 4ms Listen
hmm yes you're right...not sure why I thought that. I hadn't looked at the X-pan, had thought of it just as a crossfader. Thank you...

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Post by witchonhorseback » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:49 am

witchonhorseback wrote:Ahh, but I just realized, I would lose panning per channel...
I keep looking at three chained Mixups, despite the lack of panning on the mono inputs, because the knobs are so large; because the I/O is on the bottom, preventing cables from getting in the way; and because I'd have so damn many channels at an almost incomprehensibly low power consumption level (15mA @ 12V, 16mA @ -12V)...

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