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I Need a New Mixer for my Modular ... Modular Synthesizers
Old 5th April 2019
  #1
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void23's Avatar
I Need a New Mixer for my Modular ...

I wish I had room for a WMD Performance Mixer or one of those HexMix rigs from Befaco, but HP is too valuable for me and I've been pretty happy using a Mackie 1202VLZ wired via nw2s:io.

That was until recently ;(. The mutes on my Mackie are starting to die after only about a year, as are some of the pan knobs, so it's time to look for a replacement.

My requirements are pretty basic, at least 8 inputs, but I'd prefer 10 or 12 while sticking near the foot print of the 1202. Mutes and cues are also must haves. No need for effects given that I have a Space, nor USB (I've got a Yamaha 01v96i if I needed that stuff). I'd also love to have inserts on the master bus to simplify hooking up the RNC.

I'd love a more "playable" DJ style mixer but I just can't justify the cost of something like the PLAYdifferently: MODEL 1. The cheaper DJ-style mixers just don't seem to have the type of I/O connections I'd like (prefer balanced). The Allen & Heath ZED-14 looks pretty close, but it's starting to get too big. There's also the new SSL Six that looks interesting, but I'm not caffeinated enough to grok all it's routing capabilities to know if it would really work out for me until I got my hands on it.

Any other ideas or suggestions?
Old 5th April 2019
  #2
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Derp's Avatar
I'm no expert with mixers, but I will say that if you liked the Mackie, you're probably not going to like the Zed. Zeds are very clean with no mojo.

Why not just stick with Mackie, but get another one from them? They're hard to beat for the size/price.
Old 5th April 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
I'm no expert with mixers, but I will say that if you liked the Mackie, you're probably not going to like the Zed. Zeds are very clean with no mojo.

Why not just stick with Mackie, but get another one from them? They're hard to beat for the size/price.
I'm not really pushing the Mackie for character / distortion, nor do I have any attachment to it's sound.

I did some searching today and I think I'm coming down with a case of GAS for a Xone:96. Still damn expensive and I'd have to sell my balanced nw2s:io for the unbalanced version, but damn that thing looks fun. It also looks like it has a better routing than the MODEL 1 with master bus inserts and 4 stereo aux channels. I just wish some made something like the XONE or MODEL 1 without the expensive pre-amps that I'd never use.

I think the SIX is out though ... the way it routes the DB25 connectors (which would have been perfect for me) makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Old 6th April 2019
  #4
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mekanik's Avatar
 

i have a mackie 802 vlz4 and now just recently one of my stereo in channels started making weird sounds. basicaaly i only have sound in one speaker. so i had to rever to the other stereo in chan. to get clean sound, sounded very distorted in one speaker. so i guess something has gone wrong in on chan in about 3 years or use. dont get a vlz4!
Old 6th April 2019
  #5
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Ossicle's Avatar
Why not



+



?

Although personally I don't understand how anything with those tiny black knobs can be called "performance".

So maybe instead with Hexmix?
Old 6th April 2019
  #6
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It sort of sucks in every combination I have looked at. Eurorack mixers are tiny, expensive, lacking in features, or all of the above.

And having enough Eurorack output/input modules to use a regular sized studio mixer is as or more expensive than a nice mixer itself.

I want to interface several modular Ins and Outs, Sends and Returns, all that, with regular studio gear, and it seems like it will be very expensive.

I have not figured out a solution yet.
Old 6th April 2019
  #7
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badmark's Avatar
I sacrificed actual knobbage for an ethernet but going from an original 1202 to the Midas MR-18 was quite a sonic step change
Old 6th April 2019
  #8
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You can run the hot modular levels straight into a modern Midas/Behringer digital mixer, without using a eurorack output module with no loss in quality?
Old 7th April 2019
  #9
DSC
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Iv'e begun to design my own. It will will NOT be in the 3U eurorack format. It will be external. I want large slide pots too and I also want 48 channels. I will update when I get it finished. Should be this year.
Old 7th April 2019
  #10
Budget? There's a very good classic small broadcast mixer for sale here in Europe. 8 channels 4 auxes. Very reasonable price. (about 1040 euros)
PM me if interested (not affiliated with the seller but found it on a private forum so a bit of discretion is good with me)

edit: long gone now

Last edited by Reptil; 10th April 2019 at 09:27 AM.. Reason: -
Old 8th April 2019
  #11
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSC View Post
Iv'e begun to design my own. It will will NOT be in the 3U eurorack format. It will be external. I want large slide pots too and I also want 48 channels. I will update when I get it finished. Should be this year.
Of course, you're going to come up with something made like beautiful unobtainium.

That said, got my thinking, could I rig the perfect mixer in a small skiff. Something HexMix based? I'll have to play with modulargrid.
Old 8th April 2019
  #12
DSC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
That said, got my thinking, could I rig the perfect mixer in a small skiff. Something HexMix based? I'll have to play with modulargrid.
I guess it would depend on how many features you 'want' as oppossed to 'need' That is what I am facing. I don't need 'sends' or returns, so that helps. I plan on having 4 buses with 12 channels each bus. I need easy access to mutes too.

What can you sacrifice?
Old 8th April 2019
  #13
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Just have to give a +1 to the Performance Mixer + 4MS Pod idea. It is expensive, but hear me out.

I was slightly skeptical about the PM when I ordered it. However, I find it to be an incredibly handy and useful tool that inspires creativity, more than just a standard mixer. Having essentially 12 mono ins that can play together and also be switched between individually is very nice creatively, as well as the stereo channels. Likewise, the AUX channels and send and return are great for routing and integrating other things. And having CV control over level and pan is something I didn’t think I’d use much at the time, but has since proven to be infinitely useful for creativity and to create a more dynamic mix. Seriously, I cannot state strongly enough how gamechanging I’ve found it to have CV control over a mixer.

The only hesitations I’d have in putting the PM and expanders in a POD are 1) while the whole setup is very skiff friendly, there’s a good amount of ribbon cable mess you’ll need to account for in that space (took me three tries with all the expanders to get it in my case without pulling something loose, but I was also putting it in a vertical case with sliding nuts and that made it harder) and 2) the 60HP Pod is still 2hp shy of fitting the PM in with the Mutes/Channels/DB25 expanders. You may not need the DB25...but since it’s had virtually no discussion online, I do find it to be very useful, at least for tracking to a DAW. The first two channels are the same stereo out as the PM, and the rest of the channels are the mono and stereo outs sans...well...pretty much everything. However, being a bit obsessive about multitracking everything after an important but botched recording some years ago, I really appreciate having the option in case I want to fix it in the mix with fresh ears. Again, it may not be something important to you, but if so it is nice to have the option of the stereo mix and the raw tracks.

It’s still may not be the option for you, but I think putting one in a small case you could throw in front of any eurorack rig/easily gig with has merit over a more traditional mixer.

As an alternative, you could always pick up a Koma Field Kit/Field Kit FX or two for eurorack mixing with some extra features without taking up HP.
Old 8th April 2019
  #14
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Derp's Avatar
I'm surprised @ slaughtrhaus isn't here to praise the merits of the Performance Mixer. From what I've heard from him and others, it is expensive, but it's worth the price.

Personally I like to stay in the rack, but that can be a mixed bag. The Blue Lantern BMX I have sounds absolutely terrible. Very muddy. The Pittsburgh System Interface has a much more clean and discernible sound, but you have to give up a few features from stuff like the BMX. If I weren't hellbent on staying in the rack, I'd probably get a small Mackie or use a Roland VS recorder of some sort as my primary mixer. Character outside of modular land is cheap.
Old 8th April 2019
  #15
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I want all the features of a classic analog mixer, that simply works with Eurorack level Audio, and, ideally, is DC coupled so it can mix CV too.

Busses, Sends and Returns, Direct Outs, all of it.

I have no interest in mixing my modular any differently from how I mix anything else. And I certainly don't need an entire other mixer solution, especially one that costs even more than a typical mixer costs. It's a F-ing Mixer, FFS.

Really, I just want something like a modified Ghost or Mackie 8bus desk, that at least handles modular levels and adds CV to the channel Pans.

I don't yet know enough to understand why modular levels are so different from regular studio levels, or whether or not they have to be, but I find it annoying and want a work around.

In my mind, it should be just as easy to route a VCF out through an Eventide H3000 and back into a Eurorack VCA as it is to route a Synth through the Eventide and then to a Mixer. Patch it in, easy.

I guess I need to find the least expensive, DIY, module that compensates for the levels and make a bunch of them to bridge this gap, maybe built into a Patchbay that also converts between 3.5mm and 1/4".

It's like having to build or buy 50 DI/Reamp boxes just to Mix sh!t. I already have a fair amount of interesting outboard gear, and do not want to duplicate the same things in modular.

Ugh.
Old 8th April 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post
...

Ugh.

Befaco Hexmix System is available both DIY and ready made. that's a pretty cool mixer on a small space. multiple auxes.

Interfacing with a balanced studio the input isn't too difficult. If you're coming from a synth sometime you need some extra volume. Check out Ladik modules for cheap amps for level matching. No frills, no hip engraving but it works. A-520 4ch line preamp (4HP) – ladik.eu

Balancing the signal on the way out is generally a good idea.

You could get a Mackie or a ZED mixer to pair with the modular. No one will look at that funny. You might have some loss of headroom though. I like how the ZED sounds, it's EQ got a character of it's own. A bit muddy but sweet.
Old 8th April 2019
  #17
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post

Befaco Hexmix System is available both DIY and ready made. that's a pretty cool mixer on a small space. multiple auxes.

Interfacing with a balanced studio the input isn't too difficult. If you're coming from a synth sometime you need some extra volume. Check out Ladik modules for cheap amps for level matching. No frills, no hip engraving but it works. A-520 4ch line preamp (4HP) – ladik.eu

Balancing the signal on the way out is generally a good idea.

You could get a Mackie or a ZED mixer to pair with the modular. No one will look at that funny. You might have some loss of headroom though. I like how the ZED sounds, it's EQ got a character of it's own. A bit muddy but sweet.
Remember, I have a balanced DB25 module, the ultimate in modular output modules ... nw2s::o16 balanced. That said, I never had any really issues attenuating modular signals down the line level on a Mackie prior to getting the nw2s.
Old 8th April 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
That said, I never had any really issues attenuating modular signals down the line level on a Mackie prior to getting the nw2s.
This is why I call snake oil on these things. I use eurorack output modules for the convenience of not having to run 1/8" to 1/4" cables all over my system, but with or without them, audio coming out of modular works just fine for me on everything from mixers to interfaces to recording systems.
Old 8th April 2019
  #19
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That is very encouraging.

Thank you all.

Sounds as though the situation is not as problematic as I was expecting.

Now my ranty post seems dumb.
Old 10th April 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Remember, I have a balanced DB25 module, the ultimate in modular output modules ... nw2s::o16 balanced. That said, I never had any really issues attenuating modular signals down the line level on a Mackie prior to getting the nw2s.
I'm thinking DIY when I see their prices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post
...

Now my ranty post seems dumb.
I don't think so. I've asked myself the same question.
Old 10th April 2019
  #21
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Those Ladik modules you suggested are an excellent solution, by the way. Thank you.

Works out to be about $25/pair of I/Os. I can work with that. I will add a couple of those to this case I'm putting together, maybe even 3-4 of them, and that will handle all of my needs for that case, and cheaply. Outs, Sends, Returns, whatever I need, to my regular mixer and outboard hardware.
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