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Thread: Advice on analogue mixing for home studio

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    Advice on analogue mixing for home studio

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    Hi folks,

    Iím currently running a multicore from my live room into a Safire pro 26 with octopre mk II. This pretty much gives me 14 inputs. This is going into a Mac book pro with Logic Pro X. Pretty simple setup. (I also have a focusrite isa one without digital i/o soundcard, running into one of the 14 inputs if anyone finds this relevant.)

    ANYWAY, Iím currently focusing in on making the drum sound I can achieve better and was considering getting an analogue mixing desk to use itís preamps to warm the signal and the eq on the front end rather than waiting to do ALL in that in the box.

    Was hoping for some advice on what pit falls to avoid, suggestions on which makes and models to look for on second hand market, any routing concerns etc. I will assume the best and most simple way to connect will be 14 multicore inputs into a desk that allows for that many inputs, and has the same number of outputs that I can plug directly into the Safire interface 14 inputs.

    All opinions welcome.

    Thanks

    Garvan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garvan View Post
    ANYWAY, I’m currently focusing in on making the drum sound I can achieve better and was considering getting an analogue mixing desk to use it’s preamps to warm the signal and the eq on the front end rather than waiting to do ALL in that Was hoping for some advice on what pit falls to avoid, suggestions on which makes and models to look for on second hand market, any routing concerns etc. I will assume the best and most simple way to connect will be 14 multicore inputs into a desk that allows for that many inputs, and has the same number of outputs that I can plug directly into the Safire interface 14 inputs.
    Keeping 14 inputs separate and not having to re-patch means that you will probably have to find a 16 channel mixer with direct outputs on each channel, which will have quite a big footprint. There isn't much you can get new that's worthwhile (as it sounds like you want something that imparts desirable sonic character) under $1500.

    If you're not mixing on the analogue mixing desk but just want to us it for mic pres and EQ, you might want to consider getting a bunch of external preamps and external EQ's instead? An API lunchbox can be filled with up to 10 different EQ/preamp combinations and it's only 3RU in size. There are plenty of 8 channel mic preamp rack unitsas well that usually take up only 1 or 2 rack spaces as well.

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    Maybe consider warming up just a couple of o'heads/room mic's and let the spot/close mics just stay clean. A good two channel pre and two warmish sounding mics can go a long way for less hassle and cash. SSL has just come out with a small mixer that you could run some of the mics through but it ain't cheap.
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    A mixing board isn't automatically going to have better preamps. In fact, since it also has all the eq, routing and summing, it may not be an efficient way to get better preamps, even assuming the stock preamps are the limiting factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    A mixing board isn't automatically going to have better preamps.
    Right.

    My question to the OP was going to be..."which mixer?"....because to hear an improvement with onboard mixer pres, you really have to take it up quite a few notches to begin improving on what you would find with basic audio interfaces...and to get something substantially better, it would need to be a pretty high quality mixer with channel preamps that equal or surpass what you can find in high-end standalone preamp units...and then, it will also depend on the design, and if it will be a transparent neutral preamp or one with more color...so "warming" the signal wouldn't just happen with any mixer preamp.

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    I'm m not really into this analogue warmth thing any longer and have been using large format, quite expensive audio mixers in the studio since the late 90s, and mid 80s live - and apart from a few, most just had decent quality audio, but not special. A few like Allen and Heath, did sound a little nicer, and the same thing applied to a few very expensive Shure modular live sound mixers - but they all sounded good. Once they found the right frequencies for the LF and HF centre, they added one or two variable mids and that was that sorted. Each one had better and better noise figures. The worst sounding ones were actually pretty good, but just somehow sounded a little less 'big'. I've still got one of my Shure live mixers sitting in my studio getting lots of line level modules back into my electronics. It does it fine, but I really could not countenance going back to using the EQ section. Just not a consideration, and the mixer has the EQ cut button pressed on every channel to stop me EQ'ing accidentally.

    I'm not anti analogue, but it needs to be those special buts of older kit that really did something. Ordinary analogue is as characterless as digital, and of course noisier. I like the idea of a bit of a Neve in a box, because it made a difference. So few bits of kit had character - which of course in modern terms is called distortion, even though we gave it nice emotive words like warmth, depth, character, sonic coherence etc etc. they distorted what went in, into something we judge as nicer, but it always was a change to the waveform, so really just nice distortion.

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