Mixers and Home Recording

RFR

Well-known member
You can set up the reaper routing matrix so you can totally go through the mixer.
With the limited ins and outs of the interface you could still set up sub mixes.
Say like in reaper you take all your drums to two outs then bring that into the desk in two input channels.
Drums 2 physical faders, guitars 2 faders , etc.
But you probably already knew that. :D
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Don't know if it applies to that one but some of the Spirit PSUs were unreliable and are now tricky to source. If you intend to build a recording system around that mixer, start looking for a spare NOW!

Dave.
 

blanca12

New member
Good work, can we also perhaps cull a couple of the other stickies whilst we're here, 6 is too many, I reckon and there are a couple which have outlived their usefulness..
 

cyrano

New member
Don't know if it applies to that one but some of the Spirit PSUs were unreliable and are now tricky to source. If you intend to build a recording system around that mixer, start looking for a spare NOW!

Dave.

None of the Soundcraft PSU's are unreliable by design. The smaller mixers just have an external transformer. Easy enough to source. Ubfortunately with a proprietary connector. But if you need to, it's a good opportubity to replace ith with fi a 3. Pin mini XLR.

The serious mixers have excellent external PSU's. The only problem is that a number of them came with a slightly underpowered PSU in some configs. If you put that one in a hot rack, it would die prematurely. Just like with most other brands...
 

ecc83

Well-known member
None of the Soundcraft PSU's are unreliable by design. The smaller mixers just have an external transformer. Easy enough to source. Ubfortunately with a proprietary connector. But if you need to, it's a good opportubity to replace ith with fi a 3. Pin mini XLR.

The serious mixers have excellent external PSU's. The only problem is that a number of them came with a slightly underpowered PSU in some configs. If you put that one in a hot rack, it would die prematurely. Just like with most other brands...

The problem supply I saw a picture of was an SMPS PCB. There was a heatsink for the switching device (MOSFET?) and mounted very close to it were two electrolytic capacitors. The heat from the sink cooked the caps and caused premature supply failure.

I subsequently read that the poorly designed supply was NOT of Soundcraft's designers doing! Some beancounter insisted on an out of house PCB.

http://www.neufeld.newton.ks.us/electronics/?p=498

Found that ^ You can see the "browning". Not read it through as yet.

Dave.
 
Last edited:

Wrnvdb

New member
hi all,

Dunno if this is the right thread for this one..as a starting sports announcer i'm doubting between a soundcraft notepad 12fx and a xenyx x1204usb.
Mainly laptop with SSPro for the music and a mic needed.Also need to be rugged enough to go into the backpack to travel.
read some good things about both already but still not really made a decision :(
 

ecc83

Well-known member
hi all,

Dunno if this is the right thread for this one..as a starting sports announcer i'm doubting between a soundcraft notepad 12fx and a xenyx x1204usb.
Mainly laptop with SSPro for the music and a mic needed.Also need to be rugged enough to go into the backpack to travel.
read some good things about both already but still not really made a decision :(

If you are set on getting a USB mixer make sure it has 24 bit converters.

Dave.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
hi all,

Dunno if this is the right thread for this one..as a starting sports announcer i'm doubting between a soundcraft notepad 12fx and a xenyx x1204usb.
Mainly laptop with SSPro for the music and a mic needed.Also need to be rugged enough to go into the backpack to travel.
read some good things about both already but still not really made a decision :(

Still not clear why you need a *mixer*. Are you streaming live at events? Multi-party interviews? Is that what the mixer + ruggedness is needed for? Or recording? Is music also "on the go" or is that at home? Use cases, please...
 

cyrano

New member
The problem supply I saw a picture of was an SMPS PCB. There was a heatsink for the switching device (MOSFET?) and mounted very close to it were two electrolytic capacitors. The heat from the sink cooked the caps and caused premature supply failure.

I subsequently read that the poorly designed supply was NOT of Soundcraft's designers doing! Some beancounter insisted on an out of house PCB.

Repairing a Soundcraft Spirit E6 Mixer Switching Power Supply << Keith's Electronics Blog

Found that ^ You can see the "browning". Not read it through as yet.

Dave.

Yes Dave. You're absolutely right. That darned "E" series. I tend to forget about those. They didn't do to well over here. I've never had to repair one. Maybe everyone who owned one threw it out?
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Yes Dave. You're absolutely right. That darned "E" series. I tend to forget about those. They didn't do to well over here. I've never had to repair one. Maybe everyone who owned one threw it out?

Ooo! Wish someone would chuck one my way. I would then just build an outboard, good old fashioned 50Hz supply for it!
I can see that the dodgy SMPSU would be even "dodgier" in 115V land because as V in goes down I has to go up and heat is of course prop' to I squared.

(That's "I" as in amps folks not me. Tho I IS a bit of a square!)

Dave.
 

cyrano

New member
Sounds like a good idea.

Over here, the Spirits with analog supplies are plentiful. I imagine nobody cared enough to go the external PSU road.

I'm in the process of buying a 32/8/2 inline one. Or maybe a Tascam. The Soundcraft is a little too big. The Tascam requires more work, as the Soundcraft is already recapped. But I need to get rid of a few other mixers first to make room.
 

SDZB

New member
This is extremely helpful! If you guys would like to compare mixers after reading this id recommend checking some out at twoelevengear.com.
 

jimmys69

MOODerator
This is extremely helpful! If you guys would like to compare mixers after reading this id recommend checking some out at twoelevengear.com.

Be careful there buddy. We don't allow spam here. You can place you business link in your signature line, but don't be using the site to promote it.

Welcome to the forum otherwise! :)
 

emmakay80

New member
A recurring theme of questions here on HR is about mixers. "What mixer should I choose?" "How do I hook up my mixer?" "Why doesn't my mixer sound good?" (and all sorts of variations of the above.) Anyway, I thought I'd try to set down some mixer information in one place.

The first and most important thing to know is that YOU DON'T NEED A MIXER FOR HOME RECORDING. There are some reasons why a mixer might be convenient and aid your work flow--but unless you choose the right mixer and use it properly, many of these reasons aren't valid.

REASONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO USE A MIXER

-You have multiple instruments and the mixer lets you connect them all at once without lots of patching.

-You find it more convenient to set and ride levels with a fader than in software or with little knobs on an interface.

-You are fussy about headphone monitoring during recording and like the convenience of a mixer for setting it up.

-You like having specific knobs to control headphone monitoring, pre fade listen, etc.

-You buy an expensive mixer that can work as a control surface with your DAW.

-Some mixers can replace an interface and feed USB/Firewire/Something else straight into your computer.

REASONS MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T USE A MIXER

-Cheap ones have rubbish pre-amps that will add noise and reduce headroom.

-Routing options on cheap ones can be limiting and cause more problems than they solve.

-Cheapies don't have direct outs (which are needed to allow you to record multiple tracks).

-Cheapies don't have (or don't have enough) pre fade auxes for effective headphone monitoring set up.

So, other than looking sexy beside your lava lamp, a mixer can be more trouble than it's worth. You may well be better off with a decent interface that handles as many inputs as you need.

Still want a mixer?

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A MIXER FOR HOME RECORDING

1. Inputs

Work out how many sources you need and how many of these need mic pre amps (some mixers claim "16 inputs" but half of these are line level sources).

2. Quality

Microphone pre amps seem simple but have to do a lot. Poor ones can add extra noise (background hiss) to your recordings and also restrict the headroom you have making them prone to clipping. If that 16 channel mixer for the same price as a 2 channel interface seems too good to be true, it probably is--and the pre amps are a good place to cut costs at the manufacturer.

3. Routing to your Computer

You have a few options here. You can buy a conventional mixer and an interface with the appropriate number of inputs and outputs to connect between your mixer and computer. The interface inputs you need to connect a mixer are line level so you can save some money by not buying one with mic pre amps. Working this way, you'll need a mixer with some form of direct outs on each channel if you want to multitrack. If you just want the mixer for home recording, a mixer with the direct outs post fader is probably your best bet. If you want to record live performances and use the same mixer for the live mix, look for one with the direct out post pre amp, pre fader.

Note that it is possible to use the Insert jacks on some mixers like direct outs. This will need either a special cable (recommended) or just pushing a jack half way into the socket (always risky). Insert jacks are almost always pre fader when you consider this option...but always check.

Otherwise you can consider some of the mixers with built in USB or Firewire converters. However, BEWARE! The majority of these (at least in the economy range) only send the main mix output to the computer and also can have limitation as to what you can do with the return signal from the computer. If the return only goes to the main mix, it becomes useless for monitoring when recording. Don't laugh. A lot of cheap mixers are wired this way. Check the spec very carefully before buying--and don't trust the salesman.

At the higher end of things, consider a digital mixer. This could be a topic in its own right but, done properly, this can be a good way to convert your signals to digital then get them to your computer via ADAT, Ethernet or several other protocols.

4. Routing in the Mixer

Consider what you need when you're recording and also mixing.

When you record, you need to route the signal(s) out of your mixer into the computer but you also need to listen to any existing tracks and route these to headphones for yourself (and, potentially, everyone else in your band). If you're just doing the recording, you likely want to be able to give one or more mixes to the musicians but be able to swap between sources, mixes and anything else in your control room feed.

A good way to handle the headphone mixes is with a facility known as a "pre fade aux". You need a separate pre fade aux for each different monitor mix you want. Turn up the pre fade aux for each channel being recorded and also for any returns from the computer (the faders for these channels stay off so you don't feed them back into the mix).

Similarly, it's very useful if your mixer includes "pre fade listen" capability on each Aux output, letting you check each Aux mix at the desk.

Finally, consider how you will hook up and control your monitor speakers. Good mixers have separate monitor outs with a dedicated control so you can turn them off when recording and up again to listen to your recorded take.

5. Use as a Control Surface

Some mixers, particularly digital ones, can send and receive MIDI commands, allowing them to act a a controller for your DAW. In this mode, user buttons on you mixer can operate the transport controls (Play, Stop, etc.) on your DAW and the faders can be used to control the "virtual" faders on the software mixer in your DAW. However, this only applies to some very specific (and expensive) mixers such as some of the Yamaha digital range, some big Studers, Protools/Digidesign specifically for Protools, etc. I don't know any at the economy end of the market that have this facility. If you are buying specifically for this, be aware that there are some dedicated control surfaces (for example a Behringer BCF2000) which can do this for you--but don't actually do any mixing themselves.

Before assuming you want to use anything as a control surface, make sure your DAW is compatible! Not can even do this and not all have the right protocols for every control surface.


In summary, think carefully about whether you even need a mixer--and if you decide to go that route, check every details of the spec of the ones you're considering. All mixers are NOT created equal and very often the cheap one the guy at the music store tries to sell you will be more trouble than it's worth. My advice would be that, unless you can buy a mixer with a decent list of facilities, you're probably better off with a good interface.

Hope this helps!
:guitar::guitar::guitar:
 

Feranax

New member
Hi! I'm now starting in the Home Recording world and I'm very confused. Last year I bought a mixer from Behringer, thinking I could record into my PC with that. Now I know that I need an audio interface...
Does a cheap interface like Focusrite Scarlett 8i6:
-Monitor with the processed audio (w/ plugins) returning from the computer?
-Have enough low latency to record while listening to another tracks?
Thank you!
 

bouldersoundguy

<div><p>&nbsp;</p></div>
Hi! I'm now starting in the Home Recording world and I'm very confused. Last year I bought a mixer from Behringer, thinking I could record into my PC with that. Now I know that I need an audio interface...
Does a cheap interface like Focusrite Scarlett 8i6:
-Monitor with the processed audio (w/ plugins) returning from the computer?
-Have enough low latency to record while listening to another tracks?
Thank you!

Any interface can monitor audio from the DAW. That's more a function of the DAW routing. How much latency there is will depend on the computer's speed, how much processing you use and how you set up the DAW (buffers etc.). Also, how much latency bothers you is a personal thing. Most modern computers should be able to do this with fairly low latency.

You might look into the UAD gear or other brands that offer onboard low latency effects processing.

Also, there's always the option of using hardware effects ahead of the interface.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Hi! I'm now starting in the Home Recording world and I'm very confused. Last year I bought a mixer from Behringer, thinking I could record into my PC with that. Now I know that I need an audio interface...
Does a cheap interface like Focusrite Scarlett 8i6:
-Monitor with the processed audio (w/ plugins) returning from the computer?
-Have enough low latency to record while listening to another tracks?
Thank you!

Welcome Feranax. I would not call the 8i6 a "cheap" interface! Most newbs by the most basic AI then come here wondering why they can't muti-track their band!

Assuming it is the new Gen 3 interface it certainly will have the capability of low latency but, much depends on your computer and the recording software you chose to a lesser extent. If you don't already have such software, called a "DAW" I strongly suggest you download the 'free for a time' Reaper.

The actul 'speed' of your computer does not matter too much for basic 2 in 2 out working with a couple of pluggins. You need 8G or memory. 4 should work but is pushing things with Win 10, but don't go more than 8G at this stage.

More important is the cruddy programs you might have on the PC and mainly those that are running in the background. Look into ways to find those and stopp everything you don't need. Favourites are "text writers" Ms Office say and other 'grebby' things that you don't need whilst running music such as Drobox.

So, setup the AI TO THE BOOK! And make sure you are using ASIO drivers. You need a buffer size of less than 10mSecs but some people are even more sensitive to delay than that. As you drop the latency time you will reach a point where sounds start to glitch and distort. That is your limit and it that is stll too much delay we need more info to fix it.

Keep in touch.

Dave.
 
Top