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Soundcraft Notepad FX12 - good interface?
Old 3rd June 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Soundcraft Notepad FX12 - good interface?

Hey good people,
I'm a live keyboardist/guitarist finally trying to get a home setup going for recording. Up until this point I've also always had someone else's interface available for getting my Mainstage signal out to the house when playing live, so I'm on the hunt for a flexible solution for both.

I accidentally tripped over the Soundcraft Notepad 12FX online, it first catching my eye as a possible mixer I can pull out of a bag for quick recordings to digital or whatever - maybe some quick down n dirty punk stuff to casette or who knows...

But it got me to thinking. With it having USB I/O, couldn't I also use this as my live interface, and as an interface for my home studio? Seems too good to be true with the reviews I've read on its sound and build quality that this could be a totally legit interface as well at that price point. Am I missing something?

My needs at moment:
Live:
Audio from laptop to house

Studio:
Audio in from a mic or two to DAW
Audio from DAW to headphones, monitors
If I can get all that with the bonus of a mixer I can pull out of my backpack for on the fly recording of that many channels...

not to mention (just thought of this) being able to mix my laptop signal with a hard synth that I've plugged into another channel on the mixer as what I'm sending to house as a single stereo channel when live (via XLR now, thus no longer needing a DI, on top of all the other benefits)...

this kind of seems more ideal than anything I can think of for anything anywhere near the price. Any advice appreciated.

Last edited by DSGN; 4th June 2018 at 12:02 AM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 5th June 2018
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Anybody?
Old 5th June 2018
  #3
Gear Nut
https://www.soundcraft.com/en/products/notepad-12fx

I think it's says it all there!
Old 5th June 2018
  #4
It's only stereo capture via USB. Not a true multi IO interface. If that's all you need - fine - but you can never eg capture all 4 sources and remix them later.
Old 5th June 2018
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Read all that... As someone inexperienced, it can just be hard to parse out how some gear will work real-world from what's implied in marketing. But I think I get it, thanks!
Old 5th June 2018
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Gotcha. But as a super entry-level alternative to something like a UA Arrow (I get that something like that comes with plugins etc I'm missing out on) or other 2-in desktop interface with the added bonus of a multi-channel analogue mixer, I'm not crazy to think this would work just fine yeah?
Old 5th June 2018
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
It's only stereo capture via USB. Not a true multi IO interface. If that's all you need - fine - but you can never eg capture all 4 sources and remix them later.
The real heart of my question/confusion is when I look at the desktop 2-in offerings from UA or Focusrite or whoever, and I see how much they cost... And then I look at this thing which also appears to be a 2-in interface plus 12-channel analog mixer, for $150... I'm wondering where the trade-off is (with UA I understand the added value of plugins...)

Is there any reason this is worse than any 2-in interface near the same price? Thanks for the input
Old 6th June 2018
  #8
The build quality of UAD stuff is well in advance, even before you get to things like the plugins or preamps.

The quality of something like an Apogee preamp has a lot more clean gain.

You’re right - for the pure cost, this sort of thing offers a lot and may be the best solution for you if you only need 2 recording channels. I don’t know how much the cheapest 2 channel interfaces are, I’d guess even less (and that’s the sort of circuitry you’re comparing to).
Old 6th June 2018
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Muchos gracias.
Old 15th December 2018
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
It's only stereo capture via USB. Not a true multi IO interface. If that's all you need - fine - but you can never eg capture all 4 sources and remix them later.
Sorry to raise this thread from the dead - but I wanted to set the record straight. The Notepad-12FX has 4x4 USB - so you can capture all four mic inputs as separate channels and remix them. They don't really say anything on the web site about that, but the available routing configurations are listed in the manual on page 39 (section 7.1): https://3e7777c294b9bcaa5486-bc95634...1_original.pdf. I spoke to a salesman about it today and he confirmed that (not that that necessarily means anything!). It's the return that is 4 channels mixed down to a single stereo. And the Notepad 5 and 8FX are only 2x2. I plan on picking one up tomorrow locally so if it turns out I'm wrong I'll post an update.
Old 20th December 2018
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGBB View Post
Sorry to raise this thread from the dead - but I wanted to set the record straight. The Notepad-12FX has 4x4 USB - so you can capture all four mic inputs as separate channels and remix them. They don't really say anything on the web site about that, but the available routing configurations are listed in the manual on page 39 (section 7.1): https://3e7777c294b9bcaa5486-bc95634...1_original.pdf. I spoke to a salesman about it today and he confirmed that (not that that necessarily means anything!). It's the return that is 4 channels mixed down to a single stereo. And the Notepad 5 and 8FX are only 2x2. I plan on picking one up tomorrow locally so if it turns out I'm wrong I'll post an update.
Hello did you get a Notepad-12FX? How is it, do you like it?
I'm considering to buy one myself.
Old 20th December 2018
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCB299 View Post
Hello did you get a Notepad-12FX? How is it, do you like it?
I'm considering to buy one myself.
Yes I got one. It's nice - does what I needed it to do which is just give me four mic inputs. I haven't really done any serious performance tests of the sound quality, but I haven't noticed any problems sound-wise.

One minor thing I have noticed is that the mic gain knobs are a little touchy when you get above +50. Also - there are no on-off switches for phantom power and main power.

It's very solidly built - metal body - has a nice weight to it. Nice size - not too big or small.

It's a bargain I think for getting 4 quality mic inputs via USB - plus you have a little mixer if you ever need one. I suppose the technical drawback is that it only does 44.1 sample rate - manual says 48 too but I can't figure out how to change that.

Note that the driver that is linked from the 12FX web page is not the one you want to use - I installed that and it didn't do 4 ins. I had to download and install the Firmware and Control Panel Setup v1.09 (even though my firmware was already at v1.09) which is also linked from the 12FX page.

Last edited by GGBB; 21st December 2018 at 12:15 AM.. Reason: fix mistake
Old 20th December 2018
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGBB View Post
Yes I got one. It's nice - does what I needed it to do which is just give me four mic inputs. I haven't really done any serious performance tests of the sound quality, but I haven't noticed any problems sound-wise.

One minor thing I have noticed is that the mic gain knobs are a little touchy when you get above +50. Also - there are no on-off switches for phantom power and main power.

It's very solidly built - metal body - has a nice weight to it. Nice size - not too big or small.

It's a bargain I think for getting 4 quality mic inputs via USB - plus you have a little mixer if you ever need one. I suppose the technical drawback is that it only does 44.1 sample rate - manual says 48 too but I can't figure out how to change that.

Note that the driver that is linked from the 12FX web page is not the one you want to use - I installed that and it didn't do 4 outs. I had to download and install the Firmware and Control Panel Setup v1.09 (even though my firmware was already at v1.09) which is also linked from the 12FX page.
Ok thx for your reply, very helpfull.
There aren't that many good user reviews of the Soundcraft at this moment on the Internet.
I think I will get one myself.
I want to use it for some homerecording.
Old 21st December 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by GGBB View Post
Sorry to raise this thread from the dead - but I wanted to set the record straight. The Notepad-12FX has 4x4 USB - so you can capture all four mic inputs as separate channels and remix them. They don't really say anything on the web site about that, but the available routing configurations are listed in the manual on page 39 (section 7.1): https://3e7777c294b9bcaa5486-bc95634...1_original.pdf. I spoke to a salesman about it today and he confirmed that (not that that necessarily means anything!). It's the return that is 4 channels mixed down to a single stereo. And the Notepad 5 and 8FX are only 2x2. I plan on picking one up tomorrow locally so if it turns out I'm wrong I'll post an update.
Useful to know.

FWIW changing the sample rate would usually be done from the DAW software, with all class compliant software when you open a session with a different sample rate, the audio interface follows.
Old 21st December 2018
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Useful to know.

FWIW changing the sample rate would usually be done from the DAW software, with all class compliant software when you open a session with a different sample rate, the audio interface follows.
Thanks! Strange thing is that I can select higher sample rates. I tried 96 and sure enough the resulting wav is 96. I guess Cubase 6.5 automatically converts? If that's true then I can't truly be sure what rate is actually being used by the Notepad, except for the the control panel indicating 44.1. Does that make sense?

Also, I was wrong about the 4 returns being mixed down to a single stereo. Two get sent to mixer channels 9 & 10, and two are sent to the master .
Old 30th December 2018
  #16
Here for the gear
 

About to pull the lever on one of these right now...
Old 17th January 2019
  #17
Gear Head
 

So I completely understand inputs 1-4 and how 3-4 can be configured. I currently use 3-4 as the Stereo L/R so that I can easily record from any channel plugged into the mixer.

But would someone help me out with the digital/USB returns? The manual reads:

"USB return will come into the input channel 9+10, which is the channel where the USB-B connector is attached. This signal is summed with signal coming in the RCA 9+10 jacks, before proceeding down the input channel strip."

This sounds to me like, my computer sounds will come into 9/10, so if I want to be able to hear my softsynths, for example, I would need to have channel 9+10 turned up. Fine, I understand that I think.

How is the delay when recording? I.e. if I've recorded a drumloop into Ableton, and am listening to that via 9/10 > Master XLR (or Headphone) OUTs, can I reasonably record into another channel in Ableton and still play in time? Am I doing all of my monitoring through Ableton, is that the best practice?

What are people using USB Return 3&4 for? I understand you could use it as a second FX send... but otherwise?


Ultimately, I'm wondering how people are going about integrating this as a mixer/audio interface while recording live and what tips you may have as far as reducing delay to the maximum potential... sorry, my head is starting to spin. Any help highly appreciated.
Old 2nd February 2019
  #18
spf
Here for the gear
 

Hi,
Has somebody some deep knowledge about this console ?
I would like to know if it is possible to record inputs 9/10 and 11/12 as regular stereo inputs.
If not, is there a way to record the main stereo outs without also recording the USB return but being able to hear it however ?
Regards
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