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Buchla - Mixdown / Mixing Desks
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge  
Author Buchla - Mixdown / Mixing Desks
LVU
The last couple of months I found a great workflow for recording my Buchla system, but i still struggle with a decent mixing workflow. Now some ideas, questions popped up in my mind.

I record multiple tracks from my 16U Buchla directly into a RME Fireface UCX. I really love Buchla being line-level and that most modules have two outputs. I often go with an output trough reverbs/delays/effects and as a backup with the other output directly into the DAW. In case I've overdone it with reverb / effects I can later reroute it back through effects and have a second chance. While recording with Ableton I use Midi-Faders to fade in/fade out the different tracks and develop the musical piece. Ableton records the audio and the midi data. This allows me to slightly or even drastically chance the musical piece later. If i mixed something in too early, i just change it later.
Sometimes I do some overdubs or reroute some tracks back into the Buchla for filtering/stereo processing.
I end up with a pretty decent structure of a musical piece.

When it comes to finally mix it and give it some final polish i totally struggle. I am a person getting overwhelmed with too many options and plugins. Being able to change things constantly doesn't make me work effectively.

How do you Buchla people mix your stuff? Do you use EQs and Compressors? Do you let the musical piece through the Buchla again? Do you just adjust volume level and that's it?

I have this idea of a musical mixdown. Before getting into modular I used a cheap Mackie 4-Track Mixer live a lot. The EQs had only High and Low. But for live it was such fun to change the sounds with it. The bigger the mixers get the more complex get the EQs (which sure can be nice, but makes it less immediate). I also have an Allen Heath ZED R16 with some friends, but the EQ section is already too complex for my idea. It would be such fun to have a quality mixer with minimal eq, comp and maybe a aux (for dubs) and then make 2-3 mixdowns and rerecord it into Ableton. Then I could choose the best and give it to a mastering engineer.

What do you use? Any ideas on a good 6-8 track high quality mixers?

I searched the forum and found two interesting threads:

High end mixing desk for home studio
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=64773&highlight=

High quality compact mixer advice
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=188390&postdays=0&po storder=asc&start=0

Things like the Revox C279 look really interesting. Other ideas?

Any thoughts on the subjection in general?

I really love the sounds i get from my system, did a lot of recordings, play live but sometimes i think going a step further would be nice.
On the other hand it's the fun of the modular stuff. But maybe having also that fun in mixing things would be a nice thing.
tobb
LVU wrote:


Things like the Revox C279 look really interesting. Other ideas?



No, Not for modulars,the sound is superb but it uses vca's and you can overdrive to fast with those dynamic audio signals..

Had a Studer A-779,sold it
levelhead3
I'm planning on trying out the Radial Space Heater as a compact front end for my system.

https://www.radialeng.com/product/spaceheater

No EQ, but there should still hopefully be some interesting tones in there, and the outputs are transformer coupled which is never a bad thing when recording modular.

Current plan is to send the individual channel outputs to the DAW and use the mixbus just for monitoring, but I suspect it would also work well as a mixer if you're only wanting to record in stereo.
cyberdine
Slight detour - and sorry to derail this - but @LVU - what cable converter do you use to plug eg. the 292e directly into your audio interface? Do you have a good tinijax to 1/4" converter you could recommend?
beyourdog
Hi, sorry, don't want to derail, but what kind of studio monitors are you using on this? I'm using my old Bang & Olufsen HIFI as the amplifier / speakers out of my mixing tape recorder and not sure it is a damn good idea...
jimfowler
My system goes directly from 207 outputs into the line inputs on my Neotek console. It then gets treated with whatever eq or effect I choose and then into PT. Maybe you can go directly into your soundcard but you might need a means of gain trim.

I really (REALLY) like my Neotek and encourage folks to get at least a small console because hands on is fun.
tarandfeathers
I've been using a Mackie 1402 for live performance for a long time. It's a reasonable compromise between size and flexibility but the quality could be better, I don't really use the EQ on it and I don't do any dynamics processing live. If anything like that needs doing I just use as many DIs as necessary and get the sound engineer to apply it. I have a 20 channel Calrec in the studio and when running through that I do make use of the processing available, plus outboard stuff, but I do not record myself a great deal. I would really like a decent, comprehensive mixer that would fit inside the system but nothing is available that has the feature set I want. I have a half thought out design that I might get round to implementing one day but probably not any time soon...
misa
Hi LVU,

thank you for the insight into your setup, such a comparison is invaluable in my opinion.

my workflow is completely different and I might be coming to different needs and resulting mixer but I am asking myself the same question.

The mixer I am looking at is the Tascam Model 24. it's a 22 channel mixer that lets you record all 22 channels plus master to an internal SD card. it eliminates the need for a computer and gives you direct control.
The mixer can also be a 22 channel audio interface (no drivers needed on Mac, compatible (needs drivers) with 64 bit windows)

The reason why I am hesitant: it doesn't seem to record the SUB channels - the alternative stereo output, missing a chance to directly bounce out quadrophonic mixes.

But my present setup/signal flow is this:

- Buchla 200e A&B
- Eventide Time Factor
- EHX Cathedral
- EHX 45000 Looper
- into a stereo Channel on my Mackie 1202 VLZ3
(for Quad:- output C&D from 227e goes directly into another stereo channels (front and back, routed to Master or Alt 3-4 outputs))
- Aux 1: Montreal Assembly Count to Five and Ananashead Ultrafuzz
- Aux 2: TC Electronic Hall of fame (I rarely use this)

Then I simply record a stereo sum out of the Control room or Tape Out into a Tascam DR-05 (a silly bottleneck -- I am currently shopping around for a better recorder)



@cyberdine: SAmodular makes good tini jax->jack cables for a decent price.just get 1.3 x the number you think you'll need and you'll have spares..wink
LVU
Thanks for all the answers. I think it is a really interesting subject. Nice to hear different approaches.

Just to make it clear, generally I am very happy with going directly into the RME audio interface. I don't miss the mixer preamps at the moment (of course if the mixer would have great preamps i might would end up using them). I really can recommend going with lots of outputs out of the Buchla system, I think everything being line-level is such a great thing. I appreciate the adjustments and fixes i can make later.

I guess what I am looking for is some decent mixing equipment to do the mixing out of the box. I know this might be better suited in the production techniques subforum, but i was really interested what Buchla users use. I think the sound you get is already very high quality and i think i need minimal adjustment. I guessed if people pay lots for the modular they would also have some high-quality outboard gear, but maybe you don't even need it.

I think i check out some more mixers and the Series 500 outboard gear looks really interesting too.

tobb wrote:


No, Not for modulars,the sound is superb but it uses vca's and you can overdrive to fast with those dynamic audio signals..

Had a Studer A-779,sold it


Very interesting, i nearly bought one yesterday. Did you use it for recording or just for mixing recorded material? What are you using now?

levelhead3 wrote:
I'm planning on trying out the Radial Space Heater as a compact front end for my system.

https://www.radialeng.com/product/spaceheater



This looks interesting, i was also doing some research on summing mixers. Looks like some people love them and some find them useless. I think I should test one out.

cyberdine wrote:
Slight detour - and sorry to derail this - but @LVU - what cable converter do you use to plug eg. the 292e directly into your audio interface? Do you have a good tinijax to 1/4" converter you could recommend?


I also use the ones from SAmodular. Don't have them for too long, so can't tell about longevity, but the normal Tinijax I have from SAmodular are great quality.

beyourdog wrote:
Hi, sorry, don't want to derail, but what kind of studio monitors are you using on this? I'm using my old Bang & Olufsen HIFI as the amplifier / speakers out of my mixing tape recorder and not sure it is a damn good idea...


In the studio I use Genelec 8040A with a Genelec subwoofer (don't know which one by heart) and to double-check the workhorse Yamaha HS8. At home also Yamaha HS8 and Genelec 8010A. Don't know if your B&O sounds better or worse, but the good thing with this industry standards is that if you make it sound good on these, it will sound good on almost everything.

jimfowler wrote:
My system goes directly from 207 outputs into the line inputs on my Neotek console. It then gets treated with whatever eq or effect I choose and then into PT. Maybe you can go directly into your soundcard but you might need a means of gain trim.

I really (REALLY) like my Neotek and encourage folks to get at least a small console because hands on is fun.


This Neotek consoles look nice. How big is yours? Ever tried to go with lots of outputs into it and then into PT? Do you use it to send tracks back from PT?

tarandfeathers wrote:
I've been using a Mackie 1402 for live performance for a long time. It's a reasonable compromise between size and flexibility but the quality could be better, I don't really use the EQ on it and I don't do any dynamics processing live. If anything like that needs doing I just use as many DIs as necessary and get the sound engineer to apply it. I have a 20 channel Calrec in the studio and when running through that I do make use of the processing available, plus outboard stuff, but I do not record myself a great deal. I would really like a decent, comprehensive mixer that would fit inside the system but nothing is available that has the feature set I want. I have a half thought out design that I might get round to implementing one day but probably not any time soon...


Interesting. What is your favourite outboard gear you use? All this outboard gear is really new to me, no idea about it.

misa wrote:


The mixer I am looking at is the Tascam Model 24. it's a 22 channel mixer that lets you record all 22 channels plus master to an internal SD card. it eliminates the need for a computer and gives you direct control.
The mixer can also be a 22 channel audio interface (no drivers needed on Mac, compatible (needs drivers) with 64 bit windows)

Then I simply record a stereo sum out of the Control room or Tape Out into a Tascam DR-05 (a silly bottleneck -- I am currently shopping around for a better recorder)
)



I really like the idea of not needing a computer for recording, sometimes it really stresses me. I have to check that mixing desk out. Maybe no Midi, but I'll check it.

Do you record your tracks always in one take without later adjustments and corrections? I mean if it works, it's great. I often fuck it up at some point, or just mix something in too loud and can't fix it in the mix later.
tobb
LVU wrote:

tobb wrote:


No, Not for modulars,the sound is superb but it uses vca's and you can overdrive to fast with those dynamic audio signals..

Had a Studer A-779,sold it


Very interesting, i nearly bought one yesterday. Did you use it for recording or just for mixing recorded material? What are you using now?



Back then for recording,after i sold it i bought Sennheiser M8,was much better,super pro sound,P&G faders and all potmeters Sfernice P100 (same pots you can find in the Focusrite Blue ISA series),compact but very heavy mixer.

Also check out Sony P-21,sounds great,super dynamic and its full discrete mixer!,sometimes you can find them for very cheap. Don't mix up with the MXP-290 its not the same..
Default1
For mixers, the prosumer market is super cheap and you get reasonable quality for a relatively small amount of cash.

I am currently using a Yamaha MGP16X. These prosumer mixers now are so cheap, you can get a 16 channel mixer with 2 stereo groups, on board decent effects, EQ, inserts for about half the cost of a Buchla module. I run the 200e outputs directly from the Quad Dynamics Manager or Triple Morphing Filter directly into the Yamaha, which works well, coz I can then decide if I want to route that to delay or reverb etc, or use the plug in points for a compressor. The downside is I cannot do CV panning.

To answer cyberdine's question: the only way I am aware of converting tinijax to regular 1/4 guitar jacks is with a soldering iron.

LVU: you have asked about a high quality small mixer with minimal EQ and on board compressor for 6-8 channels. You have pretty much described the SSL Six.

But it seems to me there is a hole in the market for really high quality compact mixers: modular, repairable, discrete components, with replaceable parts with channel counts less than 16.
lumin
It looks like you may want an outboard desk, so what I will add might not apply, but I have had a console in the past which I sold when I went to an Akai DPS24 multi-track. After using that for a number of years I upgraded my whole recording rig.

I record my easel (and pretty much everything else) through a Sphere Fab 4 preamp into an iZ Radar Studio unit. Although Radar has proprietary recording software, I capture audio in Harrison Mixbus 32C- an amazing sounding DAW.
With this setup, I have legendary sounding preamps recording through some of the best convertors in the world. It makes a difference come mix time. Miiiiiles better than anything I ever used in the past.
Mind you, I do overdubs and treat my Radar as a glorified 24 track tape machine. If I need to send audio out to external hardware or even back through buchla, I have all of Radar's 24 Outs routed to my patchbay. Somewhat of a traditional multi-track studio setup from yesteryear, providing flexibility when I need it, but limiting my options and forcing me to focus on the important parts of the song and capturing the idea in mind.
You can have too many options when mixing and every day play the previous day's work back, and tweak and tweak and tweak with plugins and gear and never finish anything.

I try not to recommend ridiculously high priced pieces of gear as a necessity to capture all the goodness of your Buchla. Typically I recommend instruction in mixing and/or investing in acoustic treatment in the studio.
If you already have loads of experience mixing records, then I would suggest investing in a high quality front end. Not only will it make mixing a million times easier because your source material is captured properly, but you find yourself needing to use less pieces of gear/plugins to fix the issues you might have with your song not sounding right.
@green
Everything goes into my Tascam M-308 then to the TEAC A-3440 Reel to Reel @ 15 ips

Really dig the EQs and overall mojo of the Tascam. It is the mixer section of their 388 8-track Reel to Reel/Mixer combo. It's not super quiet or pro by any means, but it's beefy and has a nice feature set, especially for interfacing with a tape multi-track.
LVU
Thank you all for the mixer proposals. I'll take some time to look close at everything soon. Also gonna keep my eyes open on the second-hand market!

Also gonna make some mixing test sessions with the gear lying around in the studio.
djangosfire
From my experience with different Buchlas/Serge systems . . I will say once I finally laid the $$ into a high-end audio interface (Apogee) and found a second hand API Console (The Box).... EVERYTHING sounds amazing. I realize that this route cost as much as your Buchla, but my gosh it can open up the headroom and allow you to hear everything. On The Box it has massive routing options, 4x full feature input channels (EQ, Pre's) and a killer stereo Buss Compressor.. and 16x channels of summing. Thank you for the post... many great ideas shared here! Cheers, Adam
LVU
Yes, I think before i spend more cash on a bigger system, i definitely gonna spend some cash on a decent mixer and outboard gear. Can't wait to have as much fun mixing as recording/playing.

The API Box looks really interesting, have to keep my eyes open for a used one.
Default1
djangosfire wrote:
From my experience with different Buchlas/Serge systems . . I will say once I finally laid the $$ into a high-end audio interface (Apogee) and found a second hand API Console (The Box).... EVERYTHING sounds amazing. I realize that this route cost as much as your Buchla, but my gosh it can open up the headroom and allow you to hear everything. On The Box it has massive routing options, 4x full feature input channels (EQ, Pre's) and a killer stereo Buss Compressor.. and 16x channels of summing. Thank you for the post... many great ideas shared here! Cheers, Adam


Hey Adam,

I am wondering if you could tell us a bit more about your setup. While my trusty Yamaha prosumer mixer will stay put for the time being, I do dream of one day having a truly nice console.

In particular, wondering if you find that you end up using all the channels on The Box. It seems to me that us synthesists basically need something with a few inputs (about 6-8 like LVU said) but with heaps of routing options: ie. inserts on every channel, 4-6 aux sends, multiple groups, master bus insert.

The recently discontinued Toft model AT8 seemed to fit the bill, but that company is no more, and from what I hear, it is still surface mount large PCB technology that is difficult to service. So, with no more support, I am not keen to go down that route.

So, the options which seem best to me are:
Cadac Live 16 channel model. Enough groups to go quadraphonic and enough aux for all your effects. But, too many channels for me, really.
Schertler - almost perfect, but would prefer 4 aux sends rather than 3! (2 each for stereo delay and reverb, but would have to settle for stereo delay and mono reverb.... hmmm.... or use their own reverb). The ability on this to add as many groups as you like also seems to offer the possibility of utilising the 200e quadraphonic ability.

Also, I am currently looking to upgrade my audio interface. Just wondering what one you previously used, and which apogee you are using now, and what the difference is you have noticed. I am about to upgrade my own, and was thinking of the focusrite clarrett or a small apogee or RME. It seems you mix in the same way to me given your console (ie. in the analog domain entirely, and then just using stereo input for audio.... but I may be wrong).

Cheers
LVU
tobb wrote:
LVU wrote:

tobb wrote:


No, Not for modulars,the sound is superb but it uses vca's and you can overdrive to fast with those dynamic audio signals..

Had a Studer A-779,sold it


Very interesting, i nearly bought one yesterday. Did you use it for recording or just for mixing recorded material? What are you using now?



Back then for recording,after i sold it i bought Sennheiser M8,was much better,super pro sound,P&G faders and all potmeters Sfernice P100 (same pots you can find in the Focusrite Blue ISA series),compact but very heavy mixer.

Also check out Sony P-21,sounds great,super dynamic and its full discrete mixer!,sometimes you can find them for very cheap. Don't mix up with the MXP-290 its not the same..


Both this mixers look very interesting, really in the direction i was looking for.

Regarding the Studer A-779, when i would use it only for mixing, would i still run into problems with too dynamic signals? Do you you know any other Studers that would work? Being located in Switzerland, there are a lot of Studers on the used market.
rklem
Does anybody recognize the small black mixer Floating Points is using here for his Buchla system?

LVU
According to this thread: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=223335&highlight= it's a Sonosax, a Swiss brand often used in film production.

They also make even smaller mixers, but it's a bit on the expensive side (at least for me at the moment, but who knows).
What I think interesting, the more i look at different high-quality compact mixers, the more i end up with broadcast mixers.
rklem
Wow, 25k, a bit on the expensive side indeed.
levelhead3
LVU wrote:
Both this mixers look very interesting, really in the direction i was looking for.

Regarding the Studer A-779, when i would use it only for mixing, would i still run into problems with too dynamic signals? Do you you know any other Studers that would work? Being located in Switzerland, there are a lot of Studers on the used market.


If you're worried about excessive dynamics then you're not going to solve that by mixer selection alone (although there are differences in headroom). You might want to be looking at compressors/limiters, especially if the excessive dynamics you're encountering are after mixing.

If the problem is at the channel input side, you could try the trick I've used for years - which is basically to misuse a good quality passive direct box by running the modular signal into the instrument input. The transformer in the DI slews the input slightly instead of distorting, and then of course drops the level down into the normal range expected by mic pres.

With a good quality transformer the color added is actually quite musically pleasing (to my ear). With Buchla's output levels that's all you really need to do, with Euro or 5U I have a four channel decade resister box which lets you dial back the signal by four fixed dB amounts before hitting the DI.

Unorthodox, but it actually works really well. Also throws a transformer in the signal path between the modular and your recording chain, which again is never a bad plan. This is my setup:

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