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Mixer questions for techno music
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Mixer questions for techno music

I've been thinking about this for some time. I wanted to hear what others think...

A bit about how i work... I make techno for fun, using only hardware. I only use the computer as a glorified 2 track recorder. I use analogue and digital machines. My favorite way of working is to have everything running and do everything myself in realtime. I tried many times to use the computer for music making but it doesn't work for me most of the time.

Muting/Unmuting, knob tweaking, pattern changing all done in realtime. No multi tracking.

I once thought of going with multi tracking but it seems very complicated to integrate this in my current workflow.

My questions are :
1. Can you overdrive the channel of a digital mixer without having harsh digital clipping ? I overdrive channels on my mixer often. Sometimes just a bit, sometimes a lot.

2. I thought of getting an A&H mixer. Mixwizard, Zed or GL2400. However that new StudioLive digital mixer from Presonus looks like it would provide me with a lot for the price... Yamaha have the 01v96vcm... Any suggestions for a mixer ? Has to be brand new, under 2500$, i don't use any microphones but need EQ. 16 channels is the minimum but i'd really want something with more channels or something i can expand later (like when i have more money). I love the feel of anything analogue but digital mixers have so much for the same price.

3. How do you work ? What kind of music do you make ? I'm genuinely curious. In any synth forum people can talk about their synths for ages but not much is written on their mixing/recording. I mix everything live through an analogue mixer and record the main output into the computer or a synth workstation.

I'm not really knowledgeable about recording techniques, it is an area i'm working on. My songs sound better than they used to but i don't aim for pro quality anyways.

I don't want to start a flame war or a digital vs analogue war. Everyone has their opinion, that's what i want to know. No need to bash someone that has a different opinion.

Thanks!
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
mullet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xonox View Post
i've been thinking about this for some time. I wanted to hear what others think...

A bit about how i work... I make techno for fun, using only hardware. I only use the computer as a glorified 2 track recorder. I use analogue and digital machines. My favorite way of working is to have everything running and do everything myself in realtime. I tried many times to use the computer for music making but it doesn't work for me most of the time.

Muting/unmuting, knob tweaking, pattern changing all done in realtime. No multi tracking.

I once thought of going with multi tracking but it seems very complicated to integrate this in my current workflow.

My questions are :
1. Can you overdrive the channel of a digital mixer without having harsh digital clipping ? I overdrive channels on my mixer often. Sometimes just a bit, sometimes a lot.

2. I thought of getting an a&h mixer. Mixwizard, zed or gl2400. However that new studiolive digital mixer from presonus looks like it would provide me with a lot for the price... Yamaha have the 01v96vcm... Any suggestions for a mixer ? Has to be brand new, under 2500$, i don't use any microphones but need eq. 16 channels is the minimum but i'd really want something with more channels or something i can expand later (like when i have more money). I love the feel of anything analogue but digital mixers have so much for the same price.

3. How do you work ? What kind of music do you make ? I'm genuinely curious. In any synth forum people can talk about their synths for ages but not much is written on their mixing/recording. I mix everything live through an analogue mixer and record the main output into the computer or a synth workstation.

I'm not really knowledgeable about recording techniques, it is an area i'm working on. My songs sound better than they used to but i don't aim for pro quality anyways.

I don't want to start a flame war or a digital vs analogue war. Everyone has their opinion, that's what i want to know. No need to bash someone that has a different opinion.

Thanks!
pioneer djm 800 - tha shhhit!!
Old 11th November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
chrisrnps's Avatar
 

If you overdrive channels on your analog mixer "often", and that's an important part of "your sound", you probably don't want a digital mixer. Depending on the design, you might be able to clip an analog input stage without digital clipping (or hitting a digital limiter or something) but that's not the same sound as the several possible stages of an analog mixer that can be overdriven.

What are you using now? Are you using a less expensive mixer that begins with the letter "B", "M", or "Y", and you're looking to upgrade to something "famous name", or are you looking for more channels or other features that you don't have now?

Why does it "have to be" new? Credit card burning a hole in the ol' pocket? "Gotta have a warranty" paranoia? Other? If you can consider used, you can get a lot more value for money.
Old 11th November 2009
  #4
Gear Head
 

i can vouch for the A&H mix wizard, awesome for live techno.
Old 11th November 2009
  #5
Sorry but the djm800 is not a suitable recommendation, and definitely not 16 channels like the OP is looking for. More importantly it sounds like shit when overdriven, like all digital mixers.

You need an analog board, the Allen & Heaths are very nice, I've used both Mixwizard and Zed series, have a Zed14 now for connecting my synths, nice eq, well built. The new Zed16r would give you 16 channels of ad/da as well if you wanted it.


.
Old 11th November 2009
  #6
Gear Nut
 

chrisrnps : I am using a 16 channel Behringer. I think it is great for the price. It hasn't blown up from all the things i did with it and it still works well enough after 4 years. I thought Mackie would be a nice upgrade but most people seem to suggest avoiding them.

I need more channels, and better quality. My XBase 999 has so many outputs and i only use the stereo output and an extra output. Hence why i would like more channels but i could settle with 16 channels on a really good mixer board. I liked digital mixers because you can chain them or add inputs to them.

Overdrive is crucial to the way i work. I didn't think of it before you wrote that but indeed, i think i overdrive different parts of the mixer when i boost frequencies with the EQs (i know, it's not a recommended way of working but using this on one or two channels can really change some sounds) or just overdrive the preamps.

I want a new mixer because i want to buy locally. Dealt with all shipping companies over the past years and i am fed up of dealing with their crpapy service and expensive prices. Also, i got rid of all my broken used gear last year because it was really difficult finding someone to fix them. I want to buy something that comes with a warranty, too Local used ads aren't so great for music gear buying, either.

aftertouch : i want to know more. Anything you dislike about it ? Are the effects decent ?

msl : Thanks for the information. Have you tried other models of A&H ?

I'm also curious about Soundcraft. Are those decent enough or should i avoid them ? Other brands i should consider ?

Thanks to everyone who replied. It's really helpful
Old 11th November 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by msl View Post
You need an analog board, the Allen & Heaths are very nice, I've used both Mixwizard and Zed series, have a Zed14 now for connecting my synths, nice eq, well built. The new Zed16r would give you 16 channels of ad/da as well if you wanted it.
i think the Zed 24 would be better as he only uses the computer as a 2 track recorder. you don't need the firewire interface in the Zed r16, which makes it a lot more expensive.
Old 11th November 2009
  #8
Yep agreed, zed24.

OP haven't used other A&H models, out of my price range unfortunately! But they have a good reputation. I was also considering Soundcraft, but was convinced on here about the A&H, the eq really is musical. I mean its all about how much budget you have. If I had the money I'd like a Midas Venice, a mate has one in his studio, real nice board, fantastic pres.




.
Old 11th November 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I vote for a mix wizard 16:2 wz3.

I thing the zed mixer is too much a budget thing.
Old 11th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
d1rtynyc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
I vote for a mix wizard 16:2 wz3.

I thing the zed mixer is too much a budget thing.
I'd agree. Much more solid construction and better sound on the Mix Wizard series. They can also be found on the used market for a very reasonable price too.
Old 11th November 2009
  #11
Gear Addict
 
Konketsu's Avatar
 

+ 1 on the A&H MixWiz series for analogue mixers. The nice thing about these (at least with the older ones, dunno about the newer ones) is that they're modular under the hood and any competent electronics tech should be able to diagnose and fix if needed. Also consider the Soundcraft M-series if you want to buy new and need the warranty. Great sounding compact mixers with nice features like a digital clone of the two buss on SPDIF, but they are only available with up to 12 channels.
Old 12th November 2009
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Because you are doing all your mixing OTB and because you are driving the gains I think that you need analogue desk with a great sound.

Midas Venice could be exactly what you need here. Great analogue desk for the price.

If you can go vintage then an old AMEK BC2 would be sweet. They are old modular broadcast desks.

Good luck!
Old 12th November 2009
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Also, I think for your way of working you would benefit some outboard rack stuff, compressors (fmr rnc for a budget), effects etc.

Why not get a 2 track reel 2 reel tape to mix down onto. You can drive that for nice effect
Old 12th November 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donpepperoni View Post
If you can go vintage then an old AMEK BC2 would be sweet. They are old modular broadcast desks.
Yeah I have one of these and they do sound stella. I don't know about yours but my mute buttons click a little bit too much for me do do any real live mixing, but the EQ is so so good I can forgive it almost anything.

Cheers
K
Old 12th November 2009
  #15
Gear Head
 

I use a A&h zed-r16 for making techno, it sounds fantastic!
Old 12th November 2009
  #16
Any experience with D&R Vision mixers anyone?
Old 12th November 2009
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Do mute buttons click on A&H mixers ? It's really annoying on my mixer!

I'm also looking at buying outboard, but it's not going to be very soon. I'd rather buy only one other mixer in my life.

What kind of difference is there between a Midas Venice and an A&H mixer like the GL2400 or MixWizards ? Is it a huge difference or just so very slight. The Midas are twice the price of a GL2400 and 3-4 times the price of a MixWizard...

I'm having a blast reading all this info. It's very appreciated
Old 12th November 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
d1rtynyc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xonox View Post
What kind of difference is there between a Midas Venice and an A&H mixer like the GL2400 or MixWizards ?
From my experience the MixWizard series are a great bang for the buck. Great sound, great sweepable EQs, Solid Pres, 100mm faders.

With the GL series you are getting more routing as well as some better components as far as the guts. They are considered a upper mid-range live console, and many people use them as a good recording console as well. The overall sound is better (pres, eqs, line ins, summing, ect.), how much better I can quantify since I have never heard them both side by side. A GL series is a great choice if you have that to spend and need further routing.

The Midas stuff is on the high end live consoles, again people use the in the studio all the time. Again... better pres, better eqs, summing ect. Some people love em' & swear by them. Myself I think for the price there are MANY better recording consoles out there for a little more money. A Toft, a used Trident, and more we could go on for days...

What I always go by is maxium budget & channel needs. Perhaps that should be your 1st thing to decide on.

Average Prices:
Mix Wizard: $1000 - 1400 new, - $500 - 800 used
GL2400: $1700 - 3200 new (depending on how many channels), used around 60-80% of that
Midas Venice: $3000-4500 (depending on how many channels), used around 60-80% of that
Toft: $5000-6900 (depending on how many channels), used around 60-80% of that.
ect, ect, ect.....


Also.... I saw this earlier today & thought of you:
Pro Audio Recording Studio and Live Sound Gear For Sale at Rogue Music Store

they have a Allen & Heath MixWizar 20:8:2 for $550. That is a pretty nice used price for a fantastic board, perfect for many synths and drum machines with the many stereo channels.

Good luck brother.
Old 13th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 
shaft9000's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADVATECH View Post
I use a A&h zed-r16 for making techno, it sounds fantastic!
+1

the fully parametric EQ w/ adjustable Q-width is outstanding...and the instant re-routing for mixdown is such a huge timesaver. not what the OP wants, though it CAN be used fully as a standalone w/ no computer; the MIDI stuff and A/D can be ignored.
A&H contends that the R16 has their best pres and EQ's they've ever put into a small-format console. I'd be eager to A/B it w/ an early MixWiz....

they're selling for under $2k now. I bought a UK built one only a month ago.


BUT if you can muster the extra dosh you might be even happier w/ a Midas. Those are amazing boards.
Old 13th November 2009
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Yeah, Midas, Midas, Midas! I got one (upgrading from 2x 01V's) and I would say that it's made a huge difference to my mixes. Ok, it's no Neve but it's really amazing sounding!

I think when you are buying a desk it's no time to try to save money, buy the best you can possibly afford. You don't want something that you will want to upgrade later. Good luck with your choice!
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