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mixer or soundcard? Audio Interfaces
Old 17th September 2011
Lives for gear

mixer or soundcard?

so i just been building up my studio a little bit an got a voyager RME / DX7 & TG33 so after buying all the fun stuff I realised I gotta buy some boring stuff to make it all work nicely.

I currently have an edirol FA66 soundcard & was thinking about getting a mackie 1202 mixer to plug everything in, but then one of my mates said that increasing the stuff in my signal path might not be the best for getting a good sound as its not the best soundcard & instead said it might be better getting a bigger soundcard with more inputs / outputs

could anyone give me some pros an cons for either method & recommend some good soundcards?

also the DX7 is the only one with a keyboard, the rest are rack / desktop so I need to get some sort of midi going on, I have a midi keyboard too, but im guessing I need to get some sort of midi module thing..... im new to all of this as used to work ITB, so any advice is very valuable to me

thank you in advance!
Old 17th September 2011
Lives for gear
m.o's Avatar

I guess it depends on a few things.

Are you going to use your gear without your computer? (if so + for mixer)

Does your current sound card have enough in/outputs for your gear?
If it does and you'll not be using your gear without computer, I see no point in getting a mixer.

Also remember most small mixers aren't very flexible if that's what you're after, I mean they basicly just sum all the inputs to one output (possibly providing some aux / effects sends) - so routing flexibility isn't so great (maybe get a patch bay or two instead).
Old 18th September 2011
Lives for gear

I wont be using the gear without a computer, but my soundcard only has one input....

so I guess that means its better for me to get a soundcard with more inputs?
Old 18th September 2011
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m.o's Avatar

Oh, from my quick-googling it looked like it had 6 in/outs...

I'd go for another sound card with more inputs/outputs (my opinion).
Do be carefull when checking soundcards info about ins and outs, often they include SPDIF or ADAT (digital) channels in their channel count...
Old 18th September 2011
personally i wouldn't get a big mixer. unless it's something amazing, your gonna have a hell of a time dumping it off when the time comes.

you could easily flip even some of the worst soundcards.

if its a small format mixer, it'll be easier to get rid of.

but it all depends what your needs are.
Old 18th September 2011
Gear Nut
jeffspc88mx's Avatar

Don't get a mixer. You're not sure you need it, so don't get it. You won't be SOL mixing ITB, and you can change your mind later.

FYI, I have an RME AIO card and it's super nifty (though a bit pricey) and might be what you're looking for.
Old 18th September 2011
Lives for gear
Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
There are six inputs on your audio card, four analog and two digital, so you have enough for now.

You can connect the DX7 and the Voyager in mono, and the TG33 in stereo.


DX7: Input 1 on the front

Voyager RME: Input 2 on the front

TG33: inputs 3 & 4 on the rear (you need to use 1/4" to RCA cables)

You can control the RME and the TG33 from the DX7 (just take a MIDI cable and go from DX7 MIDI OUT to the Voyager RME MIDI IN. Then take a second MIDI cable and go from the Voyager RME MIDI THRU to the TG33 MIDI IN.

However, remember that the DX7 keyboard is famous for not outputting the full scale of MIDI velocities, and it sends a maximum of 100 velocity instead of 127, and so it's not the best MIDI master keyboard out there to use, but if that's what you got, it should be fine for now
Old 18th September 2011
yeah dont bother buying a cheap mixer as you can go straight into your soundcard and monitor through there at low latency...(keep it around 128 buffer in your DAW for tracking/composing and 1024 for mixing)...

Later you might want to sell the Edirol and buy a slightly better soundcard as they are a crucial part of your system. Something like a M Audio Profire or even better a Stenberg MR816 or Fireface UC....

But you are fine as is go make music!
Old 19th September 2011
Lives for gear

thanks everyone for all the advice, some really good points here, it is greatly appreciated!!!

I think I can make do for the moment just switching jacks when I need to swap synths / mics etc etc & I guess I'll look into getting a better sound card in the near future & midi wise Im Daisy chaining midi from my old midi keyboard as opposed to using the DX7

@ Mr Varaldo when I am using the 3/4 line in, in the back of my FA66 is that a digital line in? will it colour the sound in anyway as opposed to using the inputs on the front?

thanks everyone again!
Old 19th September 2011
Lives for gear
Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Originally Posted by getmethough View Post
@ Mr Varaldo when I am using the 3/4 line in, in the back of my FA66 is that a digital line in? will it colour the sound in anyway as opposed to using the inputs on the front?
Nop, the 3 & 4 line inputs are also analog inputs

Actually , it would be the opposite though.... usually analog "colors" the sound a bit, whereas digital is a more pristine, "photo-like" translation. At least in theory.
Old 19th September 2011
Lives for gear

ah yeah I see what you are saying

nice one for that matey Im gonna go plug that little badboy in right this second.

much appreciated!
Old 19th September 2011
Lives for gear
tvsky's Avatar
im going to go against the flow

if your planning on getting more gear , particuarly hardware efx and processors , get a mixer .

you sub mix everything into your soundcard , you can route audio around your studio for efx treatment and processing and to your soundcard as required

you can expand your setup by quite a lot and still be reletively affordable (although 24channels of analog I/O on an interface is still cheap these days a mixer is cheaper)

you can mix on the mixer if you feel like , with faders , pots , real eq .

dont get a cheap little mackie though , save up and get something a little better , 16 channel , 4 bus , 6 aux at a minimum. plenty of room for expansion and lots of routing functionality.
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