Which digital mixer?
Old 8th March 2005
  #1
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Which digital mixer?

Hey guys --

so I made the plunge, sold my Roland VM3100Pro digital mixer and an RME 9636 Light ADAT card is on its way to me.
Next decision: which digital mixer should I get? My spending limit is $800.-

I thought about either a Yamaha 01V or the Behringer DDX3216 with ADAT cards. Both units are around $600.- on Ebay, including the ADAT expansion card. I guess all the other "high-end" units (like the Yamaha 01V96, Tascam DM24) are out of my price range.

I am aware that Behringer is not exactly know for its quality, but the features of the DDX3216 are amazing: a real 32ch interface with 100mm motorized faders, and 32bit internal resolution. The Yamaha is similiar in terms of features, but only sports 20bit resolution. Also, the Yamaha 01V came out in 1998 (Behringer: 2002), which seems kinda old to me for a digital unit, given how fast the digital electronic evolves.

Any advice which route I should go? Would having an external AD/DA converter and an analog mixer give me a cleaner signal path??

Thanks for your help!
Old 8th March 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
DeadPoet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
Would having an external AD/DA converter and an analog mixer give me a cleaner signal path??
If you're going for clean, buy a digital mixer. If you want more character and/or you hate mixing ITB (with a mouse), buy an analog one.


That said, I think your budget is going to allow for more AD/DA and an analog mixer - you're better of with a budget digital one than with a sucky analog one.

Why not go the ITB route with a control surface ? Buy 8ch of AD/DA (or whatever your needs are) and preamps and mix in the box.



Herwig
Old 8th March 2005
  #3
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Thanls for your help, DeadPoet.

So you're saying its better to get a decent digital mixer than a sucky AD/DA converter plus a sucky analog mixer at a given spending limit, right? I mean, $800 would only get me a $400 converter and a $400 analog mixer, and I guess both would not be too great. A digital mixer with ADAT card used for $800 isn't much better, though, is it?

Alternatively, I could just go directly go into a decent AD convert and from there into the RME, but then I'd have no mixing desk whatsoever (and controllers are still kinda expensive).

Does anyone of you have experience with the Yamaha 01V? Does it sound good? (I don't realy need any pres because I have good outboard pres and do electronic music only, lots of synth and stuff). I read that it only has 20-bit converters, which is a bummer.
Old 9th March 2005
  #4
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Albert's Avatar
 

You might be able to get close to a TASCAM DM-24 for $800+ something. I just sold one of mine for $1,000 (keeping the other). The DM-24 is a big step up from the Behringer digital and the older Yamaha's. Worth the extra bread for sure.
Old 9th March 2005
  #5
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Yeah, the DM24 would be awesome. The cheapest I've ever seen is $1,100, though.
Old 9th March 2005
  #6
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
Yeah, the DM24 would be awesome. The cheapest I've ever seen is $1,100, though.
It's really worth the extra money if you can stretch your budget that additional $300.
Old 9th March 2005
  #7
Gear nut
 

I know this is out of place to say but i'll say it anyway...

the older 01V's are pretty terrible. You'll just want to upgrade sooner. The Behringers aren't much better...


The Wiser thing to do would be to save some money and get a DM-24, it sounds so much better.

It has also just been superceeded with the through expanded DM-3200 so chances are it will probably be offered at a greatly reduced price.

Maybe check out the 01X. It doesn't have quite as many features but it still has all the great bits a digital boards needs... sounds pretty damn good for the money, and you wont have to add Adat cards to the mixer and you wont need the adat card in the computer because it can run 28channels over M-lan...

just a thought... but saving a few dollars now and buying something cheaper will potentially cost you a lot more down the line...
Old 9th March 2005
  #8
Gear addict
 
eskay's Avatar
 

Thumbs up Yamaha 01v rocks.

[QUOTE=Sammas]I know this is out of place to say but i'll say it anyway...

the older 01V's are pretty terrible. You'll just want to upgrade sooner. The Behringers aren't much better...

That's just your opinion. I've been using my 01V for 4 years now, and it's been one of the best purchases I've made. Everything else that was semi-pro has deteriorated in my studio except the 01V. I use it as my summing mixer everyday from Pro-Tools an Logic, and are getting great results. I've mixed a lot of dance records that have been released and they all sounded great. The only thing to watch out for in the 01V is the monitor trip pot over time will need cleaning causing some audio glitches. I will finally retire this board in 2 or 3 months when I replace it with an 01V96.

Old 10th March 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eskay
That's just your opinion. I've been using my 01V for 4 years now, and it's been one of the best purchases I've made. Everything else that was semi-pro has deteriorated in my studio except the 01V. I use it as my summing mixer everyday from Pro-Tools an Logic, and are getting great results. I've mixed a lot of dance records that have been released and they all sounded great. The only thing to watch out for in the 01V is the monitor trip pot over time will need cleaning causing some audio glitches. I will finally retire this board in 2 or 3 months when I replace it with an 01V96.
Okay, but this guy is buying something now, not four years ago. You yourself are replacing your O1V with an O1V96. So while the O1V may have been a good buy four years ago, why throw fresh money at one today?
Old 10th March 2005
  #10
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
I actually had the same thought today: why would I wanna buy some OLD piece of gear? (the 01V came out more than 7 years ago!).

Since I can't afford a 01V96 or any other contemporary digital mixer, I decided to either get an Allen & Heath Mixwizard or a Soundcraft M12 with an outboard AD/DA conveter. That should give me a good sound in combination with the RME, I guess.
Old 16th March 2005
  #11
Gear interested
 

Rather than start a new thread, I am also in the same 800 - 900 US. Can anyone comment on the Korg D1200 mkII? I know that Yamaha makes a similarly priced unit. Both have cd burners, 12 channel, 20 - 40 gig HD, etc.
Old 16th March 2005
  #12
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
In case you are interested:

I ended up getting an Allen & Heath MIxwizard 16:2, and RME 9636 lightpipe card and an AD/DA converter. I realized that digital mixers in the sub-$1000 range just don't cut it soundwise.

I think that the combination of analog board and digital gear (converter, lightpipe card) will give me the best of two worlds ("warm & fat" analog sound converted to a crips & clean signal).
Old 16th March 2005
  #13
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Albert's Avatar
 

Let us know how it works out for you.
Old 17th March 2005
  #14
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
In case you are interested:

I ended up getting an Allen & Heath MIxwizard 16:2, and RME 9636 lightpipe card and an AD/DA converter. I realized that digital mixers in the sub-$1000 range just don't cut it soundwise.

I think that the combination of analog board and digital gear (converter, lightpipe card) will give me the best of two worlds ("warm & fat" analog sound converted to a crips & clean signal).
Would you also say the Korg D1200 mrkII would not cut it for the basement hobby that is mine. I am thinking about this unit, but local stores for now have a no return policy on digital mixers. The unit costs 850 US.
Old 17th March 2005
  #15
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bent-Halo
Would you also say the Korg D1200 mrkII would not cut it for the basement hobby that is mine. I am thinking about this unit, but local stores for now have a no return policy on digital mixers. The unit costs 850 US.
I'm not familiar with that model, but I think for $850.- you could get a more versatile model.
Old 17th March 2005
  #16
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
First test with new setup

Hi guys --

I thought I give you some feedback how my new setup sounds like.

First off, hooking up the new Allen & Heath 16:2DX mixwizard + Alesis AI3 + RME 9463 Light was a breeze. Didn't encounter any problems at all, installation of the ASIO2 drivers was easy, Logic instantly recognized the new soundcard and the setup was ready to record within a few minutes!

Next I did a quick test:
just before I sold my "old" Roland VM3100Pro + RPC-1 I recorded a demo song from one of my synthesizers. As soon as I had the new gear installed, I recorded the same demo song. Identical setting & levels, all done at 24/44.1. No EQ/PRE on the mixer, just the direct outs. I monitored the two recorded files in Logic 5.5 with my BX-8 studio monitors and AKG 240 studio headphones.

The bottom line: I can hardly hear any difference at all! The only difference I notice is that the lower frequencies sound slightly better. With the old VM3100Pro the basses sound kinda boomy & boxy; with the new setup the basses are clearer & crispier. Apart from that I can't hear any difference at all, which surprises me.

The story would be different if i had recorded many channels at once, I guess (so effects and noise can add up, plus different summing circuitry, etc), and if I had used EQ or on-board pres, coz that's where the Allen & Heath really shines: one of the cleanest pres and fine sounding EQ I've ever heard (which I didn't use during the test recording because I used the direct outs straight into the AD/DA interface and into the RME lightpipe card).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disappointed because overall it sounds just FANTASTIC. But I would have expected to hear a more noticable difference. In the future I won't believe ANY "high-end" hype here and on other boards anymore (except for mics and pres). Differences in mixer/sound cards seem to be very subtle, and a major investment has to be carefully judged if it really improves the sound enough to justify that investment.

Anyway ... hope you find that interesting.
Old 17th March 2005
  #17
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
I'm not familiar with that model, but I think for $850.- you could get a more versatile model.

No offence, but if you are not familiar with the model, how can you say for the money I can do better?
Old 17th March 2005
  #18
Lives for gear
 
sleepwalker's Avatar
 

Honestly. If you recorded a stereo file through each, you're not going to notice much of a difference at all. I'd go as far as saying that your mixwizard and an SSL would sound similar if you're not using any EQ and going into the same AD. I've always though digital mixers sounded very good with 1-4 tracks or so.

If you try the same test with individual outputs on your synth(at least 8). I think you'll notice more of a difference.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova
Hi guys --

I thought I give you some feedback how my new setup sounds like.

First off, hooking up the new Allen & Heath 16:2DX mixwizard + Alesis AI3 + RME 9463 Light was a breeze. Didn't encounter any problems at all, installation of the ASIO2 drivers was easy, Logic instantly recognized the new soundcard and the setup was ready to record within a few minutes!

Next I did a quick test:
just before I sold my "old" Roland VM3100Pro + RPC-1 I recorded a demo song from one of my synthesizers. As soon as I had the new gear installed, I recorded the same demo song. Identical setting & levels, all done at 24/44.1. No EQ/PRE on the mixer, just the direct outs. I monitored the two recorded files in Logic 5.5 with my BX-8 studio monitors and AKG 240 studio headphones.

The bottom line: I can hardly hear any difference at all! The only difference I notice is that the lower frequencies sound slightly better. With the old VM3100Pro the basses sound kinda boomy & boxy; with the new setup the basses are clearer & crispier. Apart from that I can't hear any difference at all, which surprises me.

The story would be different if i had recorded many channels at once, I guess (so effects and noise can add up, plus different summing circuitry, etc), and if I had used EQ or on-board pres, coz that's where the Allen & Heath really shines: one of the cleanest pres and fine sounding EQ I've ever heard (which I didn't use during the test recording because I used the direct outs straight into the AD/DA interface and into the RME lightpipe card).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disappointed because overall it sounds just FANTASTIC. But I would have expected to hear a more noticable difference. In the future I won't believe ANY "high-end" hype here and on other boards anymore (except for mics and pres). Differences in mixer/sound cards seem to be very subtle, and a major investment has to be carefully judged if it really improves the sound enough to justify that investment.

Anyway ... hope you find that interesting.
Old 17th March 2005
  #19
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bent-Halo
No offence, but if you are not familiar with the model, how can you say for the money I can do better?
By looking at the specs of the Korg D1200 mrkII I was not particulalry impressed, but you're right, of course.
Old 17th March 2005
  #20
Gear interested
 

Thanks Gigman, I can see you have spent the time and probably would not invest the money such a unit. Myself, having little more than $1500 to spend I figure on gear this year would probably be impressed with the ZOOM digital mixer. I have a friend who has one and while he has made some decent demo cd, it looks like it is made from recycled McDonalds cups. Best to you and your music.
Old 18th March 2005
  #21
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepwalker
Honestly. If you recorded a stereo file through each, you're not going to notice much of a difference at all. I'd go as far as saying that your mixwizard and an SSL would sound similar if you're not using any EQ and going into the same AD. I've always though digital mixers sounded very good with 1-4 tracks or so.

If you try the same test with individual outputs on your synth(at least 8). I think you'll notice more of a difference.
Agreed. But if there is no audible difference using one track, the different using, say, 8 tracks is "noticable" at best. When an end-consumer pops in his CD in his home or car stereo, the difference is gone again.

Just look at more modern music genres like HipHop/R&B/Dance Music: lets say an average song has 30 tracks. How many of these tracks are actually going through the mixer/converter/sound card? The vocals, of course, maybe a synth here and there. However, the vast majority of all sounds are prodced within the computer on VSTs these days (drums, synths, pads, etc) and never see a mixing console/converter/sound card! If you listen to a song by Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Britney Spears, 50 Cents, Black Eyed Peas, etc -- I wonder how many of the tracks never see a mixing board!?

Are mixers/converters/sound card highly overated?
Old 18th March 2005
  #22
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sleepwalker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giganova

Are mixers/converters/sound card highly overated?
YES.

You need a decent AD if you're recording anything. But these days, $300 will get you a decent ADDA so it's not that big of a deal. I'd even argue that a good DA isn't even that important.

I've got the Benchmark DAC-1 and ADAMs monitors at work so I do have a good monitoring chain. That said, I think I could mix on home stereo speakers as long as I had at least 3 sets I could conveniently switch between. It would take longer, but even with the ADAMs I find the car ride home pretty darn illuminating.

If you're in a hurry, good monitors are a must. If you're doing it for a hobby, save yourself the pain and $$ and just mix ITB. Then check your mix anywhere and everywhere. It's amazing that we have total recall of an entire mix. Amazing.

As much as it pains me to admit it(I've done my share of buying gear), experience and talent go a long way. For the most part you can make a very very competitive recording with equipment that costs less than $1000. Good mics are a must, pres to a lesser extent. Everything else there are passable software emulations.

That said, there's some things that I haven't found a good cheap alternative. I've got an Eventide H-3000S and I haven't found a replacement for that yet.
Old 18th March 2005
  #23
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
That makes a lot of sense what you say.
Old 18th March 2005
  #24
Gear maniac
 
Phunkeman's Avatar
 

You might want to look into The DA7 MkII mixers. They are very good and some guys over at DA7.com are selling a couple. You can get them with different cards and they are inexpensive and pretty cool. They are very powerful pieces.
Old 18th March 2005
  #25
Gear Head
 

Hi
I suggest you have a long hard look at staying in the box.
You can buy some nice converters and money preamps and a (here we go ) Behringer ADA8000 for the scratch tracks and less important tracks and also have 8 outs for cue mixes.
good luck
Roly
cheers
Old 18th March 2005
  #26
Gear maniac
 

I'm beginning to appreciate motorized faders... that's a plus for the dig mixer. plus that they don't cost a lot anymore.

So sleepwalker, what do YOU consider bare minimum for decent sounding gear (mic;s , ofcourse, not included)?
Old 21st March 2005
  #27
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Old 21st March 2005
  #28
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sleepwalker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by clan

So sleepwalker, what do YOU consider bare minimum for decent sounding gear (mic;s , ofcourse, not included)?

It depends on what you're going for. An analog 8 track and a decent mixer will get you great results if you like the sound of those pieces of gear. It won't be super hi-fi, but you can turn the mixes up loud and it won't hurt your ears.

If you want a more modern sound then you'll need to go digital. Mix in the box because there's so much power and you need to spend $$$ on a mixer to really hear a difference. I bought a soundcraft ghost and it did sound a little better on mixdown, but I couldn't recall my settings(eq) etc. so in the end, ITB was better.

get a PIII 1 gig or higher and a UAD card. Add a Layla 24 type soundcard and you're pretty much there. The rest is your learning curve and diminishing returns(sonically) on your gear investments.

If you're doing electronic that's all you need. For rock music I recommend at least tracking your music at a studio with a good drum room, but no one will take my advice anyway. I'm recording htem in my basement with 7ft ceilings..
Old 21st March 2005
  #29
Gear maniac
 

My thoguhts exactly. i nail guitar and vocals the way i want em cuz i can f*ck around long enough till i get what i want. But drums , man , that's a whole seperate science. And we did some studio drum recordings which were simply kick ass. But ofcourse i wouldn't mind being able to record drums myself

Anyway, you didn;t mention any mic pre brands. (This IS gearslutz) . Was that intentionally or ?

Thanks!
Old 11th April 2005
  #30
Gear interested
 

cheap digital mixers - Behringer

I've been using the Behringer for a few years now (got it late in 2002) and would've to say the following about it:

The first one I got failed completely when I powered it up for the second time (I think the uC crashed or something). The dealer agreed to send me a new one right away - since then, no failures. One of the buttons has started to act up recently (does not always work every time I hit it).

Apart from that, I'm really happy with the thing. Most of it is due to the huge flexibility in its routing. I use it mainly for live mixing/recording, and e.g. ducking the low frequencies of the bass guitar with the bass drum is not something many "low-range" acts can do live. I also do like its sound - although most people would call it "sterile", but I like sterile

The fan is quite noisy (don't know how it compares to other digital mixers, though), which might be a problem.

Rainer
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