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Please recommend me a better mixer, I made a mistake.
Old 6th May 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Please recommend me a better mixer, I made a mistake.

Hey,

I wanted a mixer to use as the center of my home studio set up, to use with hardware fx processors , pedals and Ableton Live.

The Soundcraft MTK 12 was recommended, however upon further inspection I read elsewhere the following statements:

Very happy with it but kind of disappointed it does not have proper AUX returns (effects loop) and that the signal gets sent to USB so early in the routing. I realized this is less of a unit designed for people who have a lot of hardware effects (me) and more for someone who has a lot of hardware instruments who wants to use software effects (perfect for that).”

“...the lack of insertion point for hardware”

What are the statements referring to? I don’t understand Mixer architecture.

Would this not be an ideal mixer for someone with a lot of outboard fx units, as is suggested in the above comments? What would be a better choice in that case?

Thanks fam, any and all help appreciated

I believe I would like a mixer that has returns or inserts for external FX processors - this is most important to me, as I’m trying to configure a workstation integration of my DAW and outboard hardware. What would be a better choice in that regard?
Old 6th May 2019
  #2
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It has aux sends but not direct aux returns...you have to use a mixer channel to route them back. There are no inserts on the board for plugging in hardware fx....but there are USB inserts for sending the signal through your computer on the channels.

Really just depends on your setup....if you like to move your FX around alot might not be good mixer for you. I kind of have dedicated chains for most everything so not a big deal for me. I use the Signature 22 and just rout stuff from the auxs and groups back through mixer channels.

There is probably a better mixer for your needs out there....I couldn't reccomend a specific one (well SSL SIX mixer has me intriqued for sure). At this price point and feature set there wasn't much out there which is probably why it is so popular.
Old 6th May 2019
  #3
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Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeTMEFINDOUT View Post
...it does not have proper AUX returns (effects loop)….
Use the channels to return from effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeTMEFINDOUT View Post
...and that the signal gets sent to USB so early in the routing.
Called 'pre-fader'. Look for 'post-fader' if that's what you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeTMEFINDOUT View Post
“...the lack of insertion point for hardware”...
Which are very useful for things like compressors, instead of going out through an AUX and back.
Old 6th May 2019
  #4
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The mixer has USB 14 x 12.

This should allow you to mix with hardware but I'm not real sure how much hardware you can use when mixing.

The Old school analog setup you'd normally use is to have Aux outputs sent to the inputs of the recorder, (digital or analog)
You could use hardware effects in the inserts, in and effects loop or between the aux send and recorder. Using a global effects loop causes channel bleed so you'd have to take that into consideration when tracking. If you only want the effect on a single track, you'd typically use an insert. If you bussed multiple instruments to an Aux, then fed it to an effect everything from that aux would be effected.

I'm not sure how soon in the chain the channel is sent to the computer. My guess is after the initial Trim, or right after the insert like most other stand alone recorders do it. You don't typically want or need the signal to pass through the channel strip and have it colored by the EQ and gain levels. When tracking you are normally concerned the meter doesn't run to low or high and the rest is all done with mic position nd capturing the best sound. Worrying about EQing the signal before its recorded is pointless when recording digital. So are most effects. You're way better off doing all of that when mixing when you have time to focus on what's already been recorded.

When you recorded analog it was basically the same but you could use certain tools to "push" tape to sound different. You could for example boost guitar mids and gain levels to add tape saturation at specific frequencies. All off that was made obsolete recording digital. You cant saturate a hard drive with oversized Ones and Zeros. You have to adapt using different techniques and tools that produce similar results.

Recording with effects simply becomes a choice, not a necessity. Guitarists for example use effects when playing which are an essential part of their music performance. You cant exactly remove the drive and expect him to play lead the same way as he would driven. The biggest problem of course, is you need to commit to the effects used because one recorded, there aren't many tricks that can be used to remove or limit them after the fact. Maybe EQ can be readjusted so long as the frequencies needed haven't be completely rolled off so all you do is boost noise. That's about it. Undoing compression with an expander is not very effective, and undoing drive, impossible.

The way I'd always done it is when effects are an essential to a good musical performance, use them. Everything else, use it when tracking and the results will usually be far better then tracking with them. The dryer the audio typically the higher the fidelity. Your dynamics levels are typically far more consistent too because you aren't using a crutch when performing and adding the compression to a part that had great dynamics to begin with can be made to sound that much better using less of the effect which preserves the original fidelity.

As far as what kind of mixer you need, you don't even need one recording digital. You could simply have a multichannel interface with multiple mic preamps. you want to use hardware mixing make sure it has multiple outs so you can loop the tracks through a hardware buss then back to the recorder as new tracks.

The other/older option is one I've used since I got into recording. I used multichannel interfaces which were all line level in's and outs then used a board with multi busses to feed the interface line inputs. Eventually I found I could get much better fidelity dumping the mixers all together. I used multichannel preamps instead for things like drums and others I recorded direct like bass.

It all boils down to this. Unless the "Console" has some really good mojo, its probably sucking more fidelity then its enhancing. PA mixers for example, are designed to minimize feedback when performing live. Used recording they can not only rob you of fidelity but increase, noise and hiss while its low quality filters produce unnatural cuts and boosts in places you typically don't need them when using high quality studio mics. You aren't concerned with feedback when recording because you use headphones recording vocals. Frequency shaping becomes a matter of targeting parts to fit in a mix.

I realize many like recording with hardware. When I first switched to digital I did too, but over time, using a process that used countless A/B comparisons, I cut back on allot of things that seemed good in theory but simply didn't pan out in the real world as much as I had hoped. I still keep an open mind on things, but I don't have many bottlenecks keeping me from getting great recordings besides the performers, their instruments, and whatever electronics those instruments may use. Even then a great musical performance playing a well planned and well executed musical composition can typically make even most low budget gear sound amazing.
Old 6th May 2019
  #5
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Thanks y’all. I’m really just trying to send samples from my computer through hardware ring mod, t-resonator, Sherman Filterbank, Eventide Orville etc.

I have a MOTU AVB that I could use, but I was hoping a mixer would be a better solution, one that I could learn the basics of, and use for my hardware.

What do y’all say?

Should I keep the MTK 12 or return it
Old 7th May 2019
  #6
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Anyone?
Old 8th May 2019
  #7
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grasspike's Avatar
IMHO for what you want to do a 12 channel mixer with limited effects sends is not a good tool for the job.

I would instead invest in an interface that offers you lots of ins and outs. For less than the cost of the MTK you could get a Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 and the ADAT expander. The midas pres would also sound as good if not better than the MTK.

This would give you 16 ins and 16 outs from your mixer giving you 8 stereo pairs. Meaning you could hook up 8 stereo external effects all easily controllable right from your DAW.

I used to go that route, but now I use a Behringer X32 rack. I have 2 SD16 stage boxes also. That gives me 48 inputs and 24 aux sends. I can use them as a digital patchbay to send up to 32 channels of audio to and from my DAW at once. Its a sweet system
Old 8th May 2019
  #8
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Soundcraft EFX
https://www.thomann.de/de/soundcraft_efx_12.htm

also Allen & Heath Zed 14 has inserts and 4 sends.
https://www.thomann.de/de/allenheath_zed14.htm
Old 8th May 2019
  #9
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Thanks yo! That’s what’s up, thank you everyone for sharing the knowledge
Old 10th May 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8ttila View Post
Soundcraft EFX
https://www.thomann.de/de/soundcraft_efx_12.htm

also Allen & Heath Zed 14 has inserts and 4 sends.
https://www.thomann.de/de/allenheath_zed14.htm
Do you guys think these would be easier to use with outboard fx hardware and pedals than the Soundcraft MTK 12?
Old 13th May 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeTMEFINDOUT View Post
Do you guys think these would be easier to use with outboard fx hardware and pedals than the Soundcraft MTK 12?
Sorry i meant to link to the EPM form soundcraft, not the EFX, added bonus it's very affordable.

https://www.thomann.de/de/soundcraft_epm_12.htm


Both are definitely better than the MTK for working with outboard effects because you have inserts on every channel and you don't have the internal effect engine taking up valuable aux channels. Also i know the EPM has pre/post fader buttons for the sends, so you can have the channel essentially muted except for when you send it out, very nice if you are doing lots of outboard effect stuff. A&H probably has this as well but i don't know. EPM has smaller faders and pots but I owned it and I found it a pretty solid and felt fine for the money... sound was also surprisingly nice.

I think the MTK stands for multitrack, as in you can input all channels into your DAW seperately via USB and record "multitrack". But I am pretty sure it's pre-fader which is pretty dumb, plus I don't know what kind of conversion it's doing. You probably already have a soundcard so I would go with the more basic analog mixers.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
I don't know how many channels you need , but the Audient interfaces have inserts for external fx.
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