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Thread: Better mixer or audio interface to improve my setup

  1. #1
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    Better mixer or audio interface to improve my setup

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    I am not sure if I posted this question in the correct sub-forum. If so, please move it. I am totally new to this forum and home recording. Thanks for understanding.

    Here is my problem:

    I bought an Alto ZMX 52 to connect my Krome 88 and an iPad to my monitors. I used the two instrument inputs of the mixer for that.
    After a while I bought a second keyboard and also wanted to add my old iMac for using a DAW to the setup.
    I used y-cables to connect the two keyboards to the mixer (the two keyboards are never used simultaneously) and used the line input and the headphone output of the mac to connect it to the mixer.
    My problem: When the volume is high I hear noise. Also the iMac seems to make some problems. If turned on, the noise coming out of the monitors is even louder.
    I tried to find a better mixer and/or audio interface for my needs but simply have not the technical background to know what to buy.

    Any suggestions?

    2 Keyboards (not used at the same time)
    1 iPad
    all connected to a PC/Mac to use a DAW
    1 Headphone out

    This must be a common configuration so you guys should be able to help a noob like me.

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb Static noise

    Static (noise) is always present in a signal.
    You can determine where the sound is coming from. It could be from the Krome, the Ipad or even from the mixer itself.
    It is normal that your Imac produces so much static. The headphone outputs of a computer (and the internal soundcard) are (almost) never high quality, thus creating the static noise. That's why many people buy a good external soundcard (headphone amp/audio interface/soundcard) for their music setup: to get a much cleaner (and better) audio signal.

    For determining if any of your other gear produces high levels of static, try this:

    1) Connect everything to the mixer and turn the volume up (don't play a note), get an idea of what the static sounds like.
    2) Disconnect everything. Turn the volume back up (don't play a note), if it sounds like the same kind of static sound, then you have found the source: the mixer. If not proceed to 3.
    3) Connect one thing (Krome), turn the volume back up (don't play a note), if it sounds like the same kind of static sound, you have found the source: the Krome. If not proceed to 4
    4) Connect one thing (Ipad), turn the volume back up (don't play a note), if it sounds like the same kind of static sound, you have found the source: the Ipad.

    If you would like to try a good beginners audio interface here are a few (these one's only have 2 combo inputs each; also look if you're PC/Mac OS is compatible):
    - Presonus AudioBox USB96
    - Focusrite Scarlett2 2i2
    - Steinberg UR22 mkII

    I myself have the Steinberg UR22 mkII and it works like a charm!

    If the mixer isn't the noise generator, you can even hook the mixer up to an audio interface (Main out mixer => 2 inputs interface) and have 2 stereo inputs and 1 mic input available (Note: only 2 audiotracks will be recorded in your DAW as the interfaces listed above have only 2 inputs) .

    I hope I helped a bit although I'm also kinda a noob.

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    So, you do need a real "interface" to connect these devices to the Mac. Not sure what the iPad is doing - backing tracks?

    That mixer has AUX In, which is where the iPad should go.

    It would help if you could clearly state what you are trying to do with all these devices, but I could see the two keyboards still using that mixer if, as you said, they're never on at the same time. Just go in to the stereo LINE channels 2/3 for keyboard 1, and 4/5 for keyboard 2. You want to ditch the Y-cables IMO, whatever you do.

    It seems like you're using the mixer for performance with the iPad? For DAW usage, I'd suggest just putting whatever is on the iPad onto the Mac (probably already is), and load that track into a project in the DAW. There would be no need for the iPad to be part of the Mac/DAW/recording step. But, I'm making assumptions here. So describe your use cases clearly.
    "... 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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    Like Keith, I am not sure what your 'MO' actually is?

    To get audio into a mac or PC you really need an interface and since the Korg 88 has MIDI ports it would be daft IMHO NOT to get an AI with same, e.g. the Steinberg UR22.

    When you come back with a clarification can you give a more precise description of the noise? "Static" is an all embracing term that really belongs in the wartime years of radio! Is it a hiss, hum, crackle, whine? Naturally posting a sample recording would be best but you need an AI to do that properly!

    Dave.

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