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Shrinking studio...upgrade signal path? Mixers (Analog)
Old 19th September 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Shrinking studio...upgrade signal path?

I've been in the process of selling off my unused/unloved synths and outboard of late, mainly to fund my furniture-making exploits, but my clear-out has got me thinking about cleaning up what remains...I'll explain.

The weakest link in my studio is the Soundcraft Spirit M8 I bought a while ago to cope with too many synths for my interface. This has served it's purpose and I've not had any major gripes but it has a cloudy sound to it which doesn't do my synths justice.

The second weakest link would have to be my Fireface 800. Again, it's been a sturdy, fuss-free piece of gear for a few years but I have a little nagging voice inside that says I should use something better.

I'm reducing my gear list to my 3 most used synths which currently hit a FMR RNLA on the Soundcraft's bus insert if needed, then into the FF800. I also have a stereo bus compressor taking up 2 ins and 2 outs full-time on the FF800 which I always route through when it comes time to bounce a project.

So my thoughts are......

1.Sell the Soundcraft and plug my 3 remaining synths directly into the FF800, plugging/unplugging the RNLA to whatever synth I'm using as I go (not the end of the world).

2. Sell the Soundcraft and the FF800 and upgrade to something with better converters and enough ins/outs to patch my 'good' compressor full-time and my 3 synths (plus a pair of outs for monitoring of course...a minimum of 8 line level analogue ins and 4 outs), using the RNLA as in 1. above.

3. Keep the FF800 and upgrade the Soundcraft to a better quality summing mixer (I really don't need eq's or mic pre's), stick the RNLA on it's output and use that as my line-level synth mixer (or find one with a bus insert).

4. ITB with a pair of ipod ear buds. (kidding) heh


Any thoughts about the best plan of attack before I start undoing rack screws would be much appreciated.

p.s. if this helps I'm not actively seeking 'character' in converters or mixers but I'm also now completely adverse to subtle amounts of it.


Thanks for any input!

mb
Old 19th September 2011
  #2
IMHO sell the Soundcraft, get a Speck Xtramix. it's a whole different thing from a static summing box.
I kept my FF800, was looking at something better, but settled on running it on 96 KHz (it really sounds a lot better (open) that way) and added a Mytek DAC and ADC.
I still have other multichannel mixers (4) of which I'm going to sell 2. leaner and meaner.
heh
Old 19th September 2011
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

I was actually looking at the Speck a while ago. I need to revisit that option.

It never even occurred to me to run the FF at 96 KHz....I will definitely give it a go.

Did you add the Mytek's for your mix bus chain? If I added high end two channel ad + da it would only be for that.

Cheers
Old 19th September 2011
  #4
yes, for the master bus (ADC)
the 8 Fireface inputs live on the 8 bus outputs.
the DAC was on the aux input of the Xtramix, but now I'm using it for the outputs of my EMU MP-7. (a bit "overkill", I know hahaha)
I have a bunch of transformers to balance the insert on those busses.
I put the Fireface outputs on regular channels (2 stereo and 4 mono), but you can put these into the tape return inputs of the Xtramix busses.

Audio quality is pristene, with a nice punch when pushed into higher volume.
Old 20th September 2011
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
IMHO sell the Soundcraft, get a Speck Xtramix. it's a whole different thing from a static summing box.
I kept my FF800, was looking at something better, but settled on running it on 96 KHz (it really sounds a lot better (open) that way) and added a Mytek DAC and ADC.
I still have other multichannel mixers (4) of which I'm going to sell 2. leaner and meaner.
heh
So am I right in thinking that I can connect the Mytek ADC to the SPDIF IN on the Fireface, and, logically, the DAC to the SPDIF OUT? I'm working primarily on an imac so I only have the usual firewire 800/ USB connections......no room for any cards in there (sorry if this is a daft question, I've only ever used interfaces not stand-alone converters). Otherwise, the only high end converters that act as a computer interface too seem to be the Benchmarks and they get a little pricey. heh

Thanks for all the help Reptil....I'm getting closer!
Old 20th September 2011
  #6
yes... or ANY other SPDIF capable interface or machine. reverbs, samplers etc. included.
there's going to be an "Expert Sleepers ES-3" on one of the toslink outputs as well. I used to have an ADI-8 AE (8 ch i/o) on those toslinks, all plug and play. The Mytek ADC is now clock master, works like a charm.

heh
Old 21st September 2011
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Fantastic!

Thanks again Reptil.

I think the Xtramix is slight overkill for my needs so I'm going to have a look at the X.Sum as I think it's got enough connectivity, plus those Mytek converters look like great value (the Stereo 96 units). A trip to Awave coming up I think!

All in all it looks like a hell of a step up for not a crazy amount of dollars.....now I just need to sell the rest of my unused stuff and it's a real spring clean
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