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Need mixer for a lot of synths
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Need mixer for a lot of synths

Hi, so I’ve decided to forego my computer and record my synths with only my iPad which is hooked up to an Apogee Duet (the newest one) So the Apogee has only a single stereo in .. and I have a bunch of analog synths and half a dozen 90’s digital synths. I cannot afford a digital mixer setup with that many inputs, so I was thinking maybe a new 32 channel analog board from Mackie or Soundcraft which are around US $1500.00, or I have a local shop with a Midas Venice 32 that was a floor demo. Any suggestions? I’ve been using an original USA made Mackie CR1604 for 28 years now and it sounds great .. just not enough channels. Thanks
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudswimmer View Post
Hi, so I’ve decided to forego my computer and record my synths with only my iPad which is hooked up to an Apogee Duet (the newest one) So the Apogee has only a single stereo in .. and I have a bunch of analog synths and half a dozen 90’s digital synths. I cannot afford a digital mixer setup with that many inputs, so I was thinking maybe a new 32 channel analog board from Mackie or Soundcraft which are around US $1500.00, or I have a local shop with a Midas Venice 32 that was a floor demo. Any suggestions? I’ve been using an original USA made Mackie CR1604 for 28 years now and it sounds great .. just not enough channels. Thanks
I have a similar configuration, and did for years: several synths going into a mixer, with the stereo outs going into my audio interface. This worked fine, but once I moved to an audio interface with 6 inputs, I was able to record more synth tracks at once (instead of one synth at a time), and I was able to use the inputs and outputs of the interface with external effects boxes.

I'm fairly sure you're not looking to replace your Apogee, but before you lock yourself into a method of recording, it might save you some time and trouble if you think about other options. (That said, I'd love to have that Midas, or even the Soundcraft!)

Steve
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Yea, i agree with Shadows point. That is definitely the way I would go about it
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post
I have a similar configuration, and did for years: several synths going into a mixer, with the stereo outs going into my audio interface. This worked fine, but once I moved to an audio interface with 6 inputs, I was able to record more synth tracks at once (instead of one synth at a time), and I was able to use the inputs and outputs of the interface with external effects boxes.

I'm fairly sure you're not looking to replace your Apogee, but before you lock yourself into a method of recording, it might save you some time and trouble if you think about other options. (That said, I'd love to have that Midas, or even the Soundcraft!)

Steve
Hi Steve, thanks for chiming in. Yeah I too have interfaces with multiple ins for my computers, but they won’t work with my iPad .. though I do have an RME Babyface Pro hooked up to an iPad Pro in my other room that is expandable with its adat in/out .. It would cost a bundle to buy the hardware to get all the 1/4” inputs, plus I’m not really into the synths in that room much right now (it’s all my 90’s synths and romplers) So I’ve unplugged the computers, monitors, and interfaces from my main room and have them in storage now, and am going back to the simple way I worked in the 80/90’s which was a room full of hardware synths, a Mac SE30 running Opcode Vision, and recording all in one shot via analog mixer to tape or Panasonic SV3700 DAT machine, so this Apogee and iPad are what I’ve decided to stick with .. a self imposed limitation as such that sorta mimics that old work flow .. all for giggles. USA made Mackie CR1604’s are the only recording mixers I’ve ever known (before that it was Tapco and Peavey powered mixers for live use), so my first inclination was to check out what they make nowadays .. but then I saw I could get the UK made Soundcraft 32 channel for only about a hundred more .. then the same guy that sold me my first Mackie almost 30 years ago said he has this Midas Venice 32 that was always only in his shop for demos .. and I could get that for a few hundred more than the Soundcraft (it’s supposedly in mint’ish condition.) The only other mixers I’ve ever used are big Neve’s in the studios I worked in back in the day, I really know nothing about mixers other than how to patch into them. Hence I need some mixer advice from other keyboard players who know mixers. When you were using a big mixer what brand were you using? If I get the Mackie 32 or Soundcraft LX7ii 32 I can make no interest payments at Sweetwater, if I get the Midas I have to come up with almost 2k cash which won’t be easy. Are there any other mixers I may be overlooking? Again it’s only going to be analog and digital hardware synths plugged in .. no vocals, no guitars, no bass, no drums. Thanks man
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Ah, sorry--I missed the part where you were only going to use the iPad for everything, and might not need external effects (or any mic inputs, really).

If you're sure the iPad will do everything you need, and if you're not interested in iPad-ready audio interfaces that offer more inputs and flexibility, I'd simply look at whichever mixer has the cleanest sound and the best re-sale value. Of the three you've mentioned, I'd look at which ones allow you to turn off EQs, sends, entire channels--and keep them completely out of the signal path and overall mix. Other than that, you'll know best which mixer(s) offer you the flexibility you might need if you decide you want to record your other synths. And of the three you've mentioned, I can't say which might be more useful (and thus, valuable) to you between the Soundcraft and the Midas. Mackies are traditionally quiet, but I don't know if a new Soundcraft might be better for you than a "mint-ish" Midas.

Steve
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post
Ah, sorry--I missed the part where you were only going to use the iPad for everything, and might not need external effects (or any mic inputs, really).

If you're sure the iPad will do everything you need, and if you're not interested in iPad-ready audio interfaces that offer more inputs and flexibility, I'd simply look at whichever mixer has the cleanest sound and the best re-sale value. Of the three you've mentioned, I'd look at which ones allow you to turn off EQs, sends, entire channels--and keep them completely out of the signal path and overall mix. Other than that, you'll know best which mixer(s) offer you the flexibility you might need if you decide you want to record your other synths. And of the three you've mentioned, I can't say which might be more useful (and thus, valuable) to you between the Soundcraft and the Midas. Mackies are traditionally quiet, but I don't know if a new Soundcraft might be better for you than a "mint-ish" Midas.

Steve
Hey Steve, well for sequencing and recording my hardware synths I really see no reason to set the computers back up .. the iPad with the Auria Pro or even Cubasis DAW’s work just as well I’m finding as my computer DAW’s (mostly Reaper these days). I will miss all my Kontakt Libraries, Omnisphere, etc., but I find the iPad is a lot quicker, and with the VST synths I never seem to finish songs . like a lot of others I’ll spend entire days just flipping through thousands of presets or playing with virtual knobs all day .. I finish more songs on the iPad and hardware synths due to the lack of zillions of VST options I have on my computer, and I can work on songs in bed or kicking back on the chase lounge .

I did look at the other iPad ready interfaces at Sweetwater, but beside the RME which has 12 inputs (which I already have) there is only the MOTU which has 18 inputs .. so I’d still need almost twice as many inputs. From my limited research .. even for full fledge computer interfaces .. it seems you have to spend some serious cash in expansions to get that many inputs in the digital world no?

Another thing I’m wondering about that you mentioned quote “ I'd look at which ones allow you to turn off EQs, sends, entire channels--and keep them completely out of the signal path and overall mix” Thing is right now .. say for instance I plug my Minimoog or Oberheim straight into the Apogee’s (or RME) inputs they sound kinda dull and lifeless, if though I run them into my Mackie CR1604 and run the Mackie’s outs to the Apogee’s ins it sounds alive .. warm, punchy, and I can make small adjustments in the hi and low eq on the fly depending on the patch as needed on the board. I’ve spent hours trying to get that sound running the synths direct into the interfaces with my Waves and Fabfilter plug-ins but it just doesn’t sound as good to me as just running the instruments through the Mackie and adjusting it’s eq. I’m assuming you made that recommendation so you can do all the EQ’ing ITB? I guess what I’m really asking is which mixers these days have really good sounding channels and EQ’s? I know the large frame series 80 Neve I used at Ocean Records sounded really good with my stuff plugged in, and my old Mackie does too, is there a ‘Soundcraft sound’ and a ‘Midas sound’, and how do new Mackie’s sound compared to the vintage USA ones? None of my local shops have any of these sitting on the showroom floor to check out and listen too .. everything is digital there, so that’s where I’m at a loss I guess .. argh
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudswimmer View Post
Hey Steve, well for sequencing and recording my hardware synths I really see no reason to set the computers back up .. the iPad with the Auria Pro or even Cubasis DAW’s work just as well I’m finding as my computer DAW’s (mostly Reaper these days). I will miss all my Kontakt Libraries, Omnisphere, etc., but I find the iPad is a lot quicker, and with the VST synths I never seem to finish songs . like a lot of others I’ll spend entire days just flipping through thousands of presets or playing with virtual knobs all day .. I finish more songs on the iPad and hardware synths due to the lack of zillions of VST options I have on my computer, and I can work on songs in bed or kicking back on the chase lounge .

I did look at the other iPad ready interfaces at Sweetwater, but beside the RME which has 12 inputs (which I already have) there is only the MOTU which has 18 inputs .. so I’d still need almost twice as many inputs. From my limited research .. even for full fledge computer interfaces .. it seems you have to spend some serious cash in expansions to get that many inputs in the digital world no?
You'd still need a mixer even with those interfaces, but maybe not as "large" as the ones you're considering now. And again, those interfaces will offer additional outputs you can use for monitoring or effects sends. This is just a suggestion on "breaking out of the box" a little bit, to give you some flexibility. It's by no means the only way to work, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudswimmer View Post
Another thing I’m wondering about that you mentioned quote “ I'd look at which ones allow you to turn off EQs, sends, entire channels--and keep them completely out of the signal path and overall mix” Thing is right now .. say for instance I plug my Minimoog or Oberheim straight into the Apogee’s (or RME) inputs they sound kinda dull and lifeless, if though I run them into my Mackie CR1604 and run the Mackie’s outs to the Apogee’s ins it sounds alive .. warm, punchy, and I can make small adjustments in the hi and low eq on the fly depending on the patch as needed on the board. I’ve spent hours trying to get that sound running the synths direct into the interfaces with my Waves and Fabfilter plug-ins but it just doesn’t sound as good to me as just running the instruments through the Mackie and adjusting it’s eq. I’m assuming you made that recommendation so you can do all the EQ’ing ITB? I guess what I’m really asking is which mixers these days have really good sounding channels and EQ’s? I know the large frame series 80 Neve I used at Ocean Records sounded really good with my stuff plugged in, and my old Mackie does too, is there a ‘Soundcraft sound’ and a ‘Midas sound’, and how do new Mackie’s sound compared to the vintage USA ones? None of my local shops have any of these sitting on the showroom floor to check out and listen too .. everything is digital there, so that’s where I’m at a loss I guess .. argh
If the Mackie is somehow coloring the sound, then go with that. I was just suggesting keeping the sound as "clean", pure and unaltered as possible, since you'e doing everything ITB, and since it appears you're not incorporating some of your older synths. I don't really know what you're trying to achieve with the productions, so I'm guessing a bit here. But yes, the cleaner and purer the sound is coming into the interface, the more options you have with your EQ, compressors and other effects within your DAW. But if the Mackie gets you closer to that sound due to its own EQ, compression or distortion, then go with that and save yourself some time and trouble!

Unfortunately, I can't comment on how new Mackies sound compared to the older ones, or how Soundcraft sounds compared to Midas with the boards you're considering. Could you at least bring a synth and your iPad to the Midas to "test drive" it? If it gives you a similar sound to what you get with your Mackie at home, it might be worth the money Of course, it'll be quite a beast compared to the Mackie, and you might want to consider air flow in the room, but if it gives you the sound you want, and if you can't test drive a newer Mackie or the Soundcraft, at least you'll have some idea of what you're buying.

Steve
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