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Thread: Why are equalizers and mixers still used

  1. #11
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    The answer is mainly personal preference, but...

    For much of what I do I still use a mixer (in my case a digital one). There are two or three reasons I like to work this way. First, when using multiple mics it's quick and easy to set levels using 100mm pro faders than on small, closely spaced knobs or (even worse) software controls).

    Second, although I record everything clean, I'm frequently asked for EQ and/or effects in monitor mixes. The mixer makes this easy.

    And, in my case, a third reason is that I'm often doing a live theatre mix at the same time as I multitrack record the show.
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.
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    I have a zoom, and I also have a flight cased X32. On occasions I have taken this to stereo jobs, simply because it was handy, and caused no real grief, and offered some benefits.

    I needed direct to stereo, but was also able to add a few extra microphones with no impact - the desk output went to my MacBook. There was no EQ and no actually mixing done at the time - simply recording to the MacBook, via the desks preamps. However - I could also look at the spectral displays and get a feel for the content in terms of dynamics and frequency content. The desk case in wheeled, so creates no practical problems, and has ample headphone volume, something the zoom runs out of steam with. The zoom is a perfectly decent recorder, but the X32 is better in a number of ways - that don't improve the audio, but make managing it simpler.

    There is also a practical business perspective to this. Very often, clients have no technical knowledge at all - but a mixer with flashing lights and displays in a flight case, with more 'wires' than strictly necessary can often er, support the fee being charged. In the past, I've had issues with billing when clients see minimalist equipment. Perfectly satisfactory equipment, but often misunderstood.

    In a video job recently, the client mentioned at a pre-shoot meeting "One of our staff has a camcorder, and wanted to do this project - but we told him professional companies have very different equipment". This struck us as a potential trip-up point, as it was clear that this shoot would need lots of POV cameras, go pros, and probably cameras on poles, to peep over the edge of the higher machinery and look down inside. There would be some ground level conventional shots but not that many. We took far more equipment than needed, including our full size cameras, and cranes - which, while useful, were not really required and their shots were perhaps 10% of the total. If we had to hire in kit, we'd have been much more minimalist, but if you have it, use it?

    Given the choice of using a zoom, or something better - I'd use the better one if it was a no cost option.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fns View Post
    The Zooms have 2 on-board mics plus 4 XLR ports. So I run the onboards and then put a pair of mic's remote from the main unit. All mics can be controlled independently and have their own track. Later I can fool a bit with the "presence" that way. And if I get unlucky and land one pair near the "audience cougher" I can try to cut it off.
    Having 2 extra ports beyond that is indeed handy at times-generally for this type of work I don't like to spot mic as the musicians like to review "what the audience heard". But spot mic'ing is nice for some of the soloists playing a "weaker" instrument---harpsichords, period flutes etc. I can bring them forward in an additional cut if the performer wants that. Only downside of the zooms is you cannot independently control the phantom power so I can't use my ribbon mic (nice for violins and sopranos).

    I am not sure why "some issues that need to be EQ'd during recording" however-still seems like this can be done as well by post processing right?...
    I use an H6 a lot for open mic recordings and it's a great piece of equipment, though I have the extra 2 XLR input piece instead of either the XY or MS mics. There's usually plenty of room ambience bouncing off the back wall or available on the video tracks that I can automate in/out as needed.

    But, I also have a couple of pieces in an ABS rack that I'll bring with my old MacBook if I need more than 6 channels, and if I'd started there, vs. Sony cassette and stereo mic, that's probably all I'd bring, especially if it was the first time I got called in somewhere and didn't know quite what to expect. It doesn't help to show up with 6 channel capability only to realize you could have done a much better job with 7...

    I don't have any EQ, but if I was trying to make a living at it, I might, because some rooms are simply horrible, and if you can't close mic, you risk having tracks that are far more work than you might have, if you had been able to keep some of the room's bumps and warts out. Not sure, but that's my guess. It also gives you the option of (perhaps) being able to feed into video an audio signal that's better, and I'd want that these days since live streaming is so popular - that's already made me recognize some limitations of the H6, BTW, and consider paying more attention to the monitor pan settings in it, as well as packing my ancient Behri 2-channel mixer specifically to give me a EQ'd mix to pipe into a live camera (testing...).
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Work in my world and you never woukd have asked the question.

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