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Can't find any mixer that does what I need, are my mixer req's really that weird ?
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Pygmy
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#1
11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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Unhappy Can't find any mixer that does what I need, are my mixer req's really that weird ?

I quit working ITB and I'm having a lot of fun making electronic music using old, cheap hardware, but I run into the problem where I can't find an affordable mixer that does what I need. To me it looks like all mixers are aimed at working with a band with lots of mono instruments, not with stereo electronic equipment ?


What I have :
- multiple synth-modules / drum-modules (stereo outputs)
- multiple effect units (reverbs / compressor / multifx)

So what I want in a mixer:

- plenty of stereo inputs ( >4 preferably )
- stereo aux sends(!!!) and returns ( >2 preferably ), I don't want the effects to work on mono-versions if the original signal is stereo !
- maybe one or two mono inputs for mono-synths, but definitely not 10

What I don't need / use :
- vocals
What I don't want :
- hooking up stereo equipment to 2 mono tracks - I don't want to have to continually match 2 volumefaders, aux-sends etc.
- anything computer based. I feel really strong about this - I don't want to have to have a laptop or PC around, I really like working OTB.

But all affordable mixers ( <= 750 euro ) seem to focus on having like 6 or 8 mono inputs, have maybe 2 or *at most* 4 stereo inputs, use mono aux sends, and have *at most* 1 bus / extra aux group.
(The Allen & Heath ZED14 is a good example of a mixer in my budget - once again 6 mono inputs, 4 stereo, and to have a stereo aux send you have to combine aux1 and aux2 so 'losing' one aux..)

So are there really no 'budget' mixers that focus more on stereo than on mono ?
Or is there something else I'm missing why it seems like I'm the only one troubled using multiple stereo synts/modules ?
#2
11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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I don't think your requirements are all that weird, but to get them all - particularly the stereo aux sends/returns - you're probably going to have to increase your budget. Possibly a lot.
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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Line mixers for keyboard

have you searched for keyboard or line mixers.

i used to have one of these and it's great for that purpose:

Mackie - lm3204 ( 2 mic ins, 16 stereo ins, and a few stereo auxs )

theres also ton's of older options.

Yamaha MV802

Roland M160

I sold my mackie and had a yamaha promix-01, i actually wish i never sold it

They are digital but actually sound decent and have 2 fx boxes built in.
Pygmy
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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@adrianww - I don't see why making a send stereo instead of mono should raise the price of a mixer by a big amount. I understand it currently does, I just see no technical reason for it.

@NewAllianceEast! - Cheers, I have some reading up to do now !!
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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I use an Allen & Heath WZ3 14:4:2 MixWizard. It does not have enough of inputs so I use three 96 point bantam patch bay's to patch in different equipment.

It only has two stereo channels but it's no problem for me. If I need to connect more stereo synths I just use two mono channels and pan hard L/R.

The 14:4:2 MixWizard doesn't have any stereo aux sends but that's no biggie since it has 6 Aux sends. I just use two aux sends e.g. aux1 and aux 2. Aux1 patched into the effects left and aux 2 patch in to the right. The return is then sent to e.g. the 14:4:2 stereo channel or two mono channels.

Buy a used 14:4:2 MixWizard. Great HW quality, pre-amps, EQ's.

Kind regards
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#6
11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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Speck Xtramix, if you can find one used. Although it may be more expensive than what you want.

It was made for this, it has 20 stereo inputs.

It is also rack mount and has no eq's (which may not be what you are after). It was designed to have as much as possible in the least amount of space.

Pretty expensive too, but high quality, purpose designed. Its no longer produced, so you'd have to get one on the used market.

Speck Electronics XTRAMIXcxi: ULTRA-COMPACT 40x8x2 SYNTH/LINE MIXER



Also, many digital mixers have linkable channels, so you can do stereo easily.

matt
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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ALLEN&HEATH MIXWIZARD WZ3:20S should have more than enough stereo channels.

One stereo aux costs approximately the same as two mono. Two mono sends give you more flexibility, besides that almost all reverbs (even the boxes with L and R input) are mono in - stereo out.
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Pygmy
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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@ Demokid - I think you've missed the essence of my post, I explicitly DON'T want to use 2 mono channels for a single instrument and then need to keep the faders / sends in sync manually.

@matt thomas - the Speck is hot but I'm afraid way above budget, as are most digital mixers (they usually start @ around 900 euro if I'm correct, my budget would max out at around 500 euros).

@jetam - the A&H WZ3 is still around 1000 euros on ebay which is about twice the 'budget' price I had in mind..
mono-in reverbs destroy the stereo-image.

Thanks for thinking with me ! You've given me some new angles in my search
So far the Mackie LM3204 looks to have the features I want and seems to be affordable IF I can find one second hand somewhere...
There's also some deprecated Samson line mixers (LP2404, LP1602) with almost the same features as the Mackie except their aux-send is mono..
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
@adrianww - I don't see why making a send stereo instead of mono should raise the price of a mixer by a big amount. I understand it currently does, I just see no technical reason for it.
Haven't a clue - that just seems like the way it is. Most of the mixers that I've heard of that had a bunch of stereo aux sends/returns were larger desks and consoles (sometimes very large!) intended for studio use, so their price reflects that.

Having said that, it looks like folks have been able to come up with some possibilities out there so good luck!
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11th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
@ Demokid - I think you've missed the essence of my post, I explicitly DON'T want to use 2 mono channels for a single instrument and then need to keep the faders / sends in sync manually.

@matt thomas - the Speck is hot but I'm afraid way above budget, as are most digital mixers (they usually start @ around 900 euro if I'm correct, my budget would max out at around 500 euros).

@jetam - the A&H WZ3 is still around 1000 euros on ebay which is about twice the 'budget' price I had in mind..
mono-in reverbs destroy the stereo-image.

Thanks for thinking with me ! You've given me some new angles in my search
So far the Mackie LM3204 looks to have the features I want and seems to be affordable IF I can find one second hand somewhere...
There's also some deprecated Samson line mixers (LP2404, LP1602) with almost the same features as the Mackie except their aux-send is mono..
I often see the WZ3 for € 750 or less, but don't expect any great deals on the Ebay.

Could you please tell me which reverbs are you using?
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
I often see the WZ3 for € 750 or less, but don't expect any great deals on the Ebay.

Could you please tell me which reverbs are you using?
I have a cheap Behringer V-verb for example.
I agree that for a slight reverb in loud music it usually doesn't matter if the reverb works on the mono signal, but with ambient soundscapes with big reverbs and wide panning it does make a difference I think.
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11th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
I have a cheap Behringer V-verb for example.
I agree that for a slight reverb in loud music it usually doesn't matter if the reverb works on the mono signal, but with ambient soundscapes with big reverbs and wide panning it does make a difference I think.
Well, I have never used the V-verb, but e.g. Lexicon 224 and (most of) the PCM series, Yamaha SPX and most of the TC's algorithms work as mono in - stereo out. Many of them have 2 inputs, but the reverb programs are mono in.

Digital reverb units usually simulate reverberation of a space. Even if you put a relatively large instrument (e.g. piano) into a reverberant room, the instrument will still act pretty much as a point source and you'll hear the reverb relatively evenly distributed around the room. Some ambience/ER programs are "true stereo", but it's really rare to use a "true stereo" reverb.

Of course you can use stereo sends if you wan't, I'm just trying to save you some money.
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11th December 2013
Old 11th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
Well, I have never used the V-verb, but e.g. Lexicon 224 and (most of) the PCM series, Yamaha SPX and most of the TC's algorithms work as mono in - stereo out. Many of them have 2 inputs, but the reverb programs are mono in.

Digital reverb units usually simulate reverberation of a space. Even if you put a relatively large instrument (e.g. piano) into a reverberant room, the instrument will still act pretty much as a point source and you'll hear the reverb relatively evenly distributed around the room. Some ambience/ER programs are "true stereo", but it's really rare to use a "true stereo" reverb.

Of course you can use stereo sends if you wan't, I'm just trying to save you some money.
It's not just about reverbs, for example the V-verb can also be used as a stereo single- or multiband compressor (think parallel compression) and for other effects. Ofcourse you can question how much you'll notice it in the end, but that can be asked about a lot of stuff.. I just don't like the idea of throwing audio information away because some manufacturer decides I'm not going to be needing it
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11th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
It's not just about reverbs, for example the V-verb can also be used as a stereo single- or multiband compressor (think parallel compression) and for other effects. Ofcourse you can question how much you'll notice it in the end, but that can be asked about a lot of stuff.. I just don't like the idea of throwing audio information away because some manufacturer decides I'm not going to be needing it
Absolutely. For compression, and many other effects, stereo is the way to go.

Anyway, maybe you can find a used Crest XR20 for a good price. It has 4 stereo channels and 12 mono and a stereo aux send and 4 mono.
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12th December 2013
Old 12th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
It's not just about reverbs, for example the V-verb can also be used as a stereo single- or multiband compressor (think parallel compression) and for other effects. Ofcourse you can question how much you'll notice it in the end, but that can be asked about a lot of stuff.. I just don't like the idea of throwing audio information away because some manufacturer decides I'm not going to be needing it
...except a digital processor can't really be used for parallel compression can it, if you're mixing it in the analogue domain? That's the whole latency issue.

if you need to do parallel compression, generally speaking most small boards won't have the facilities to do that, if you're also intending to do the mix in the analogue domain (as opposed to mixing digitally and using the board as a glorified summing mixer).
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12th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
...except a digital processor can't really be used for parallel compression can it, if you're mixing it in the analogue domain? That's the whole latency issue.

if you need to do parallel compression, generally speaking most small boards won't have the facilities to do that, if you're also intending to do the mix in the analogue domain (as opposed to mixing digitally and using the board as a glorified summing mixer).
Great point. I think you just saved the OP from a lot of headaches down the road right here.
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12th December 2013
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I record synths with stereo out in mono if the sound doesn't have any stereo modulation going.
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13th December 2013
Old 13th December 2013
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Originally Posted by mdoelger View Post
Great point. I think you just saved the OP from a lot of headaches down the road right here.
It is a good point but it was just an example to indicate there *are* effects that actually use stereo information.
Thing remains I don't like manufacturers deciding for me I don't need stereo information. That should be for me to decide.
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15th December 2013
Old 15th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
It is a good point but it was just an example to indicate there *are* effects that actually use stereo information.
Thing remains I don't like manufacturers deciding for me I don't need stereo information. That should be for me to decide.
Absolutely not.

But you're not really going to be doing much parallel processing on a small desk - it's just contrary to the requirements - parallel processing requires extra channels, lots of outboard etc. And you're certainly not going to be doing it with a digital unit as you suggested, so it's irrelevant if your behringer thing does compression, you can't use it in parallel.
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15th December 2013
Old 15th December 2013
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Here's what I'd do in your place, knowing what I know now: buy a Yamaha AW4416 or AW2816 off eBay. They are hard-disk digital recorders from ca. 2000, but they are built off the template of Yamaha's O-series of mixers and, as digital mixers, have a ton of routing/bussing options. The inputs can either be configured as balanced mono or as linked stereo pairs (whereby either fader moves both faders). You'd essentially have a badass digital mixer for ca. $450 USD for the 4416 and ca. $300 for the 2816 (with significantly lower prices available if you're willing to wait/look for a deal).

Not to mention that they are still very capable hard disk recorders, should you have a need for one, or should you want a "sketchpad" in addition to whatever you're using to record now.

Seriously, check out the specs b/c it seems to me this would meet your needs at the price point you're looking for.

Last edited by code green; 16th December 2013 at 07:34 PM.. Reason: add'l info/clarification
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#21
16th December 2013
Old 16th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Absolutely not.
You don't think I should be able to decide for myself whether I want to downmix stereo source signals to mono ?

Quote:
But you're not really going to be doing much parallel processing on a small desk - it's just contrary to the requirements - parallel processing requires extra channels, lots of outboard etc. And you're certainly not going to be doing it with a digital unit as you suggested, so it's irrelevant if your behringer thing does compression, you can't use it in parallel.
I guess you missed this part of my post :
Quote:
it was just an example to indicate there *are* effects that actually use stereo information.
And saying "it's just contrary to the requirements - parallel processing requires extra channels" - well, that was exactly why I started this thread - because I want a mixer with less mono-channels, more stereo-channels and preferably stereo sends.
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16th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygmy View Post
You don't think I should be able to decide for myself whether I want to downmix stereo source signals to mono ?



I guess you missed this part of my post :


And saying "it's just contrary to the requirements - parallel processing requires extra channels" - well, that was exactly why I started this thread - because I want a mixer with less mono-channels, more stereo-channels and preferably stereo sends.
No, you're misreading me. I was saying of course it's not for me to say what you do! That's what my response said.

Yes, I know it's an example. But the example you have would cause problems. Most people would be grateful to be set straight! Digital hardware isn't generally very useful for parallel processing....

Look, you seem resistant to help so I'm going to leave it at yes - your requirements are a little on the leftfield. Good luck in your search.
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17th December 2013
Old 17th December 2013
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Yamaha 01v. Most Versatile board for the money. I have 2, didn't pay more than 400 each. Fully digital board with flying faders, multiple effects banks on each channel, dynamics processing etc. The beauty of this board is you can route it pretty much any way you want. Pair channels together to work as stereo and share processing, as well as single fader operation. Look into it.
#24
17th December 2013
Old 17th December 2013
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There's tons of used Sony MXP mixers floating around. At one time they were in every video editing suite i worked in.
They are professional, small, and come in many flavors.

Sony MXP
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18th December 2013
Old 18th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mintaka007 View Post
Yamaha 01v. Most Versatile board for the money. I have 2, didn't pay more than 400 each. Fully digital board with flying faders, multiple effects banks on each channel, dynamics processing etc. The beauty of this board is you can route it pretty much any way you want. Pair channels together to work as stereo and share processing, as well as single fader operation. Look into it.
Good point - a digital board is really the only cost-effective small format solution if the OP wants to avoid computers.
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