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Need mixer for tracking and OTB mixing - lowest channel count w/ good EQ?
Old 27th October 2010
Gear Maniac

Need mixer for tracking and OTB mixing - lowest channel count w/ good EQ?

After doing a recent batch of mixes for my new project, I realized that I'd really like to mix OTB and incorporate more of my outboard into the mixing process. I'm currently mixing ITB in Logic 9, but using Logic's I/O plugin to incorporate hardware effects in the process - but I don't have that much outboard, just a few key pieces. My projects are pretty small (10-15 tracks maximum) and my setup is built around a MOTU 828 and 8pre (16 in, 8 out).

1. EQ's - A big goal is to use analog EQ on each channel during mixing that sounds better than Logic's built-in EQ's, while being hands-on (real knobs). It's 50% sound and 50% workflow, but either way the EQ's have to be GOOD (not terrific, necessarily, but better than Logic's stock ones).

2. I'd like as much routing/flexibility as I can get for the price range. I don't have much outboard, but I'm using almost exclusively line-level sources.

3. I have a few outboard pres that I really like, so I'd like to be able to bypass the pres on the desk for at least four or more of the channels. Ideally it would just have inserts.

So my ideal workflow would be to track and route most stuff through this board and a patchbay to my MOTU inputs, and then mix down 8 channels (some will be stems) through the board at mix-time, patching in outboard and using aux sends/returns on things like reverb and taking advantage of the board's EQ to sculpt tracks, with the final output going back into a stereo track in Logic.

The "I only have 8 outputs on my interface" thing is the main limiting factor, which will probably make this mixer skew smaller and therefore cheaper. But I still want the quality EQ/mixer sound/summing/etc., so I don't want to just pick up an 8-channel mackie or behringer or something.

What do I need?
Old 27th October 2010
Lives for gear
Vum's Avatar

My experience:

Mackie --> great bang for the buck. no "wow" factor. utilitarian.
Toft --> visually appealing, groovy eq. Some build compromise and unbalanced signals in older models.
Allen and Heath (live) ---> usable, large footprint. Personal choice above mackie. limited routing.

Allen and Heath (wizrd:Zed) ---> good bang for buck, small, no wow factor, eq compatible with Toft expecatation on higher end models.

Beyond that you could easily get patch happy and build a patchbay and collect outboard gear to accommodate your desires. That's what I do (did/am doing).

Large format consoles can be money-pits if you're not serviceable as a technician. I love them though!
Old 27th October 2010
Lives for gear
Vum's Avatar

Mackie, Allen and Heath, Behringer all make 8,12,16 channel models with varying features. Look at the Mackies.
Old 27th October 2010
Gear Maniac

Interesting points. The reason I ask is that I've been ITB for the past 10 years (because I was always a "track myself, mix somewhere else" guy) but I've been getting more and more into doing my own mixing and accumulating outboard processors. 10 years ago, even the Mackies were considered "poop." But I know they've gotten "way better" with their newer lines.

I'm open to something like the Zed R16 - the Firewire side looks pretty rad - but it's pricey and I've heard that they have all sorts of strange, uncorrected problems. Also, I really like my MOTU's and don't think that I have enough Firewire bandwidth for both on my iMac.
Old 27th October 2010
Lives for gear
The pres and eqs on a small midas desk are good- it has certain limitations as it is designed for live use but a small venice is a great tracking and summing option. A second hand one wont break the bank.
Old 4th November 2010
Lives for gear
e-are's Avatar
I have an onyx 1620 for sale. If you are interested pm me.
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