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The smallest high end mixer (with aux and direct outs)
Old 20th December 2009
  #1
The smallest high end mixer (with aux and direct outs)

Requirements minimal:

3/4 Tracks - no preamps needed (good preamps get connected before) with Level faders/potis
1 Aux Send, Stereo Return bus (for effects, need to be routed to headphone mix)
>=1 Direct Out(s) (minimal 1, usually 3/4)
1 Stereo Master Out
1 Headphone Out

High end in quality. Price = whatever (obviously small means cost saving, but without loss in quality).

This is used for tracking - as an DAW frontend. The stereo mix goes into track 1+2, the to be recorded signal goes into an external preamp and then into the 1 (2 in case of stereo) free track(s) of the mixer and then directly out into the DAW/Converter.

It's mainly used for recording vocals with zero latency effects on the headphone (and other stuff in mono, maybe with a little larger unit also stereo).

High end for the to be recorded signal. "Weird" solutions such as a high end splitter box and a Behringer mixing desk are also welcome. But no compromise in the recording.

Any suggestions?

Greetings,
Marky
Old 21st December 2009
  #2
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RonT's Avatar
 

Sounds like the API 8200A.

8 channels of everything you need plus a little!
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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The only other alternative that I can think of that includes everything you listed is:

SSL MYNX with Monitor card and a 4-line input card. You'd use the rec bus for your aux. Headphones are on the front. 4 stereo outputs. Direct out always present on insert. Additional aux ext input on monitor card. Mix insert. Total recall.

Quite a nice little rig. And, down the road, you can blow the system out with an Xrack and build a massive ssl mixing rig.

The api 8200a doesn't have the headphone jack on the front
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Here for the gear
 

i would go with an ssl xdesk, has all the features you need, plus a little more!

fully balanced and ready to kick it!
Old 21st December 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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RonT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post

The api 8200a doesn't have the headphone jack on the front
WTF! It dosn't........Thing would have been perferct for him! Arrrrgggg...

SSL XDesk is a sweet desk but might be overkill for him.

Mynx is just so damn ugly! LOL But would work perfect
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Hello,

Thanks everybody for this very nice input...

I have collected some information in list format, and if you want to read, check this out:
High End Gear
Feedback welcome.

One question to somebody who understands the Tonelux modular system: which modules would we have to choose to put together such a system as described in the requirements above?
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Deleted User
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The api 8200a offers direct out. However, it doesnt have a headphone jack.

The xdesk is a great solution. Maybe more than what you need riight now, but you might grow into it.
Old 3rd January 2010
  #8
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Kestral's Avatar
 

There's a huge gap in the market for this kind of product. Unless one spends over two and a half K, there really isn't much below that.

Either that or you end up with either very unergonomic solutions in terms of layout or just not very good quality.

For the ~$2.5K I said f--k it, spent it on two good preamp channels (BAE 1073MPF) and bought a little Mackie 1202vlz3 to monitor with and it is doing its job admirably.

If anyone has a better solution for a mixer let me know but so far the Mackie has done its job well.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Sure, I will also buy a larger desk, but the reason I want the smallest is not my budget, it's because I want a very small DAW frontend of the highest qualities for some occasions. Yes, I think too that there is a market for such a device.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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Player1's Avatar
 

Player1

Don't over look the Midas Venice, it's a pretty good sounding board!
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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studer....check ebay and make sure its in good condition. no way an ssl x-desk can compete :-)
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Please provide URLs to some pages describing small versions of these, I can't easily find them..
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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waxx's Avatar
 



this is a Studer 169 (8ch with mic pre and eq - 2 aux) that is recently sold by Funky Junk France and should be what you're looking after. Other brands like Neotek, D&R, Neve, ... have similar stuff but you need to be on the outlook for these cause they are sought after. Basicly you're looking for a small hi end broadcast console from the 70's or 80's (Studer made these for the german media, others like Calrec, Neve EMI & Audix made some for the BBC, and so on ...)
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #15
I really meant mini more than medium the size of a shoe box, maybe... or 1 or 2 rack units. Sort of near mobile. Limited in what it can do, but unlimited in quality. Just ok to record a stereo field choir (a school class of children pink floyd style) while listening to other tracks from the DAW, and having some effects on the phones. Sure, I would carry extra high end preamps and DA/AD along.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyGoldstein View Post
I really meant mini more than medium the size of a shoe box, maybe... or 1 or 2 rack units. Sort of near mobile. Limited in what it can do, but unlimited in quality. Just ok to record a stereo field choir (a school class of children pink floyd style) while listening to other tracks from the DAW, and having some effects on the phones. Sure, I would carry extra high end preamps and DA/AD along.
I can't see a better product for your needs than the X-Desk. Though you could add a headphone amp to the APi as well.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyGoldstein View Post
I really meant mini more than medium the size of a shoe box, maybe... or 1 or 2 rack units. Sort of near mobile. Limited in what it can do, but unlimited in quality. Just ok to record a stereo field choir (a school class of children pink floyd style) while listening to other tracks from the DAW, and having some effects on the phones. Sure, I would carry extra high end preamps and DA/AD along.
well, if its just for monitoring dont go hardware! get a cheap ass rme card with total mix and you're set. rather spend your money on mics and pres then.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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bi-tonio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
well, if its just for monitoring dont go hardware! get a cheap ass rme card with total mix and you're set. rather spend your money on mics and pres then.
I agree, even more if you don't want to mix OTB...

I am also looking for a good and small mixer since a few month, to track and mix-down every where i can go with a small car. i wanted a kind of studer169 under 3000โ‚ฌ (BTW, every 169 doesn't have any stereo bus, neither pan on chanels !!!).
what i'm gonna buy next tuesday is a Calrec Minimixer mkII, with 4 mono mic/line in, 4 stereo lines in and a master chanel with bus comp, 2 mono aux and a st aux. full balanced.
this is small, but it's 2000โ‚ฌ.
and i'm pretty sure it's gonna feet with my good old pre's, comps, fxs and the RME's.

Tonio
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bi-tonio View Post
what i'm gonna buy next tuesday is a Calrec Minimixer mkII, with 4 mono mic/line in, 4 stereo lines in and a master chanel with bus comp, 2 mono aux and a st aux. full balanced.
this is small, but it's 2000โ‚ฌ.
now that's a great price! go for it. it's a very cool little console.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Did I mention I want zero latency on the phones? Zero, not 1.5 ms , with effects, but not the Steinberg MR816 style (digital direct monitoring with effects)... too complex for my current taste... looks good on paper, but I run Apogee for quality and there this does not work (I actually also own the Steinberg device) - I now go analog. Real analog zero latency effects monitoring with a high quality direct out signal. I am fed up with fiddling with digital devices... real analog is so much simpler and easier to use and the signal can be pure. It's really important that you hear exactly what you are recording and really in real time.

I also think maybe SSL X-Desk or maybe Tonelux modular, but I still don't fully understand those modules and connections (maybe too complex?). It seems like I can't get below 2500.- $, but over 3500.- $ is too much...

I think such a device could be sold for 2500.- $, maybe less, in very high quality, built for this purpose, sort of an 4 channel X-Desk, no much simpler just some channels, sends, direct outs / splitter, summing for the phones,
or portable Chandler DAW frontend device could be built by Chandler - sort of a quadro channel strip with 2 super channels and 2 cheap ones...

Thanks
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #21
I would recommend Tonelux for sure.
Old 3rd January 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyGoldstein View Post
Did I mention I want zero latency on the phones? Zero, not 1.5 ms
total mix is way lower. if its just for monitoring you are about to waste a big amount of money.
Old 4th January 2010 | Show parent
  #23
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littlenemo's Avatar
 

If you want few channels, high quality and mobility, just get a field mixer. Sound Devices are great, insanely good preamps with lundahl transformers and one of the best transparent limiter I've ever heard. I have a 302, it's a 3 into stereo mixer, I use it all the time on location recording with an edirol portable recorder, and I also frequently use it as a simple preamp in the studio.
Old 4th January 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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littlenemo's Avatar
 

Sonosax also makes absolute high end small format mixers.
Old 5th January 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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The Midas Venice is indeed a great mixer/summing solution. I picked up a Venice 320 primarily for the EQ, which was reputed to be great - and it is great!! What was striking is the summing quality. I still had my 16 channel *api 8200 system in place and had just sold my xtramix csi version 5 and ssl mynx summing. With the api 2500 on the venice mix bus my mixes were better than with the 8200, xtramix and ssl. *

I attribute this to the channel count, eq, filters and excellent overall sonics.

In terms of super mini setup that meets all of your stated needs: ssl mynx with 4 channel card.

You stated:
3/4 Tracks - no preamps needed (good preamps get connected before) with Level faders/potis
1 Aux Send, Stereo Return bus (for effects, need to be routed to headphone mix)
>=1 Direct Out(s) (minimal 1, usually 3/4)
1 Stereo Master Out
1 Headphone Out


You might, however, get more mileage out of something like the metric halo 2882.
EDIT: I meant ULN2!!!! But maybe not.... I think the SSL Mynx system is it.
Old 5th January 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
You might want to add the APB Dynasonic ProRack to that.

Once Midas is assimilated into the Dark Side, these guys will be making one of the best pure analog desks.

Pro audio review has reviews on their site, or www.apb-dynasonics.com.

Yes, they are friends of mine. But I didn't write the review, which is stellar.
Old 6th January 2010 | Show parent
  #27
sonosax without any doubt !!
Old 6th January 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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jmikeperkins's Avatar
The world could use more reasonably priced mixers without mic pres and eq, but with faders and with 1-2 Aux sends and a headphone jack. There is not much out there like that and it seems a shame to pay a lot for a mixer with pre-amps and eq that you will never use. You could spend a lot of money buying a high end mixer for just summing, or a very expensive high end summing box (with limited features, no aux sends and rotary knobs) and find they don't sound a lot better than a Mackie for summing. Its the eq and the mic pres on the Mackie that are not so good, but just for summing line level inputs, they really sound OK.

None other than the legendary Allen Sides of Ocean Way states (interview link below) "...spending a fortune on this stuff isn't necessary. A Mackie is a pretty simple device, bunch of 5534s (op amps), not very much in the signal path, it sounds fine and its relatively inexpensive. You can buy a high-end box that does that and spend $10,000, or you can spend $600 (on a Mackie). But the difference in the sound coming out of Pro Tools is greater than either of those two amounts."

TASCAM

Shocking comments for Gearslutz Mackie haters, but who can argue with Allen Sides, the man who has every piece of gear in the world?
Old 6th January 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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If this is simply so you can monitor fx at zero latency, then the easiest and cheapest option is to simply half-normal/mult (assuming you have a rackmount patchbay) your preamp-outputs so that you can retain your inserts, but use the mults for aux / monitoring duties - these mults can be hardwired to a very small mixer that doesn't have to be great quality if it's only for monitoring.

I do this in my setup, except my mults (reverbs and delays for vocal tracking mainly) are simply patched back intop a spare input on my audio interface - i use the interfaces mixer to set monitoring levels on fx rather than a hardware mixer.

Works great.

If you are looking for a mixer to submix 3/4 tracks into a stereo recording then the above still holds, you just need a high quality 4-channel line mixer - which does seem to be a difficult proposition - the SSL X-Desk appears to be one of the smallest that ticks all the boxes.

The following will tick all the boxes in a single rack space, but it's not exactly high-end, plus it's more channels than X-Desk:-
Rolls Corporation - Real Sound - Products RM219 Stereo Line Mixer
Old 6th January 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

sounds like you're looking for something a film sound mixer would have. these ones come to mind.

Design and Manufacturers of Professional Sound Mixers

definitely seriously high end, sound fantastic and are built like a tank. i've seen them survive serious abuse. they've been industry standard at the top end of the sound-for-film market for a while

if the specs work for you and you're happy to meet the cost, you won't be disappointed
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