What About the New Firewire Mixers: A&H R16, Yamaha n12, Mackie___?
I'm guessing a lot of us are looking at the new generation of Firewire mixers -- something that could be used as universal hardware -- a multitrack recording interface at home and a recording/live mixer as well.
This is what I'd like to see . . .
* 8 or 16, clean, low noise mic pres, outstanding converters. It would be dumb to scrimpt here
* 2-way communication with the computer on all channels -- optional mixdown on the board
* Robust construction, can survive gigs, outdoor festivals, recorded jam sessions in the woods, etc.
* Internal power supply, just my personal preference, don't like wall transformers
* Ability to monitor with EQ and optional effects, but record either wet or dry.
* Monitor with plugins.
* At least two aux feeds for foldback monitors; four would be better.
* At least two outputs for control room monitors; three would be better.
Here are some units I've either owned or am considering. If you know of something new and amazing coming up in the next few months, post it here. Thanks!
Now that the Mackie Onyx is discontinued, will the good folks at Mackie release a new generation firewire mixer at the January NAMM show? Maybe. It's a military secret. I've owned the Onyx for about 4 years; mechanically it's solid, but the firmware has always been flaky. Curious to see if Mackie can improve on its weak points and come up with a winner. All the Onyx models force you to mix in the box, which I personally don't mind, but that omission left a lot of people asking "Why God, Why?. I'm planning to keep my old Onyx as a drum submixer, or as a stand for a potted plant.
The Yamaha n12 looked promising. I ordered one but sent it back because the build quality just didn't cut it in my opinion. The buttons, knobs, and connectors especially. When you can actually deflect the main surface with your thumb, that's not a good sign. C'mon Yamaha, a little more beef!!! With due respect to Yamaha, the n12 was never meant to leave your home studio. I'm not crazy about the idea of a single reverb running across all channels, although it's great to have it in pinch. With all the amazing plugins available these days, I'd rarely use the built-in effects for mixdown, although they would be really handy for gigs. Only two aux feeds without using another mixer. Controls optimized for Cubase; if you're not a Cubase guy, the n12 becomes less compelling. If you are, sweet, and for $1,200, it's an excellent deal, just not quite what I'm after.
The Allen & Heath R16. Just hitting the shelves. Hey . . . this could be the answer. Pricey, but does it all. 16 channels. Mix out of the box. Robust. 4 aux feeds. Multiple MIDI controllers. Anybody actually used one of these? The R16 will be trotted out for all to see at NAMM.