Analogue mixers

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Analogue mixers

Post by eggnchips » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:21 pm

Hey guys,

What can you tell me about analogue mixers and mixing OTB?
I am toying with the idea of getting one for my next purchase, and was looking at the Soundcraft M series.
To me the appear well built and out there in the the middle range of mixer world.

What I don't understand, is that Soundcraft also offer other mixer series with similar features at a much cheaper price, such as the EPM series.

I hear Mackies are the ones to get, but they are expensive in comparison.
Is the quality of them so much better?

Would love to hear your opinions on the world of mixers.


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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by Android » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:09 pm

summing is much better in OTB mixing

esp coming back out of the computer through the board then to adat / reel to reel

I've been using a mackie 16 ch for a bit, it sounds like sh!t when over loaded

my soundtrax desk has much warmer distortion when over driving the inputs,
but its in the shop, probably from me overloading it :green:

whatever you get make sure it has 4-8 buss' and at least 4 if not 5 EQ's per channel

and if you can afford a Toft, damn you, I'm jealous (-)

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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by hydrogen » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:12 am

Android... i thought you picked up a toft? was I mistaken?

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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by steevio » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:35 am

i have two soundcraft mixers, a ghost (which is my main studio mixer)and an old racpac, and permanent use of a mackie onyx for live work, and i've previously had other mackies and soundcrafts.

the soundcrafts have always been warmer, and the mackies are generally crisper and colder.

but for overdriving everyone has had different characteristics, the soundcrafts overdrive comes on suddenly and there is small sweet spot before it breaks up, but some cheaper soundcrafts ive had have been a little mushy sometimes.

the best overdrive characteristics ive had was from an old mackie 16/4 from the mid 1990s, before the VLZ opamp series. it had a wide band of gradual overdrive so it was easy to dial in just the right amount, i got some amazing smooth fat kickdrums with that mixer, but the onyx is not as good (i'm actually on the look out for an old mackie just for fattening percussion)

the only way to tell with a particular mixer is to try it out.
one model from a particular make can vary from other models.

busses are not as important to me as auxilliaries and parametric EQs, i could get away with a 4 buss, (L/R masters + L/R effects) but would always want as many auxilliaries as possible (minimum 6), and most people would want at least a 4 band EQ with two swept mids.
an 8 buss will give you more options for mix down, but i tend to mix in stereo and find grouping less useful for our kind of music, however more useful if youre a compression junky which i'm not.

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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by tsankip » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:09 am

Any other suggestions? Is A&H ZED R16 a "proper" analog mixer? Thinking of getting it next Summer. Any alternatives?

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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by lem » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:18 am

hydrogen wrote:Android... i thought you picked up a toft? was I mistaken?
We have a ATB at work, I had a play with it once and was very impressed on first listen. Lush Eq's and Pre's. The staff that use it say it has no PFL which isn't great for education. I always viewed it as one of those things a console should have.

tsankip wrote:Any other suggestions? Is A&H ZED R16 a "proper" analog mixer? Thinking of getting it next Summer. Any alternatives?
As far as I am aware it is a "proper" analogue mixer. I got a chance to play around with it before it was released and thought it was great for the price.
One good thing you could do with the old desks was swap the Op-amps with higher quality ones. Newer desks will have SMD components and they are pretty freakin hard to swap without screwing up the board.
I am not sure what would make the ZED R16 not a proper analogue mixer, but am willing to be told otherwise.

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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by Opuswerk » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:05 am

I recently bought the ZedR16, actually just received it 2 weeks ago. Seeing it's my first mixer, i can't really compare to anything, but here's my 2c:

I got it for 2 reason, because i needed more ins on my soundcard (as i got myself a few synths this year) and i wanted to get a more hands on experience. So instead of buying a mixer and a soundcard, i shopped around to find the best compromise. The other contender in the analogue mixer + soundcard was the Mackie OnyX-i series. But after reading reviews, and checking out the Zed at a friends place, i decided to go with it.

I won't go on about the specs of the mixer, as you can find them elsewhere, but here's what i really like, and what i kind of like not so much about it:
EQs: compared to soft EQs, i find they sound really good, and allow me to get much better instant good results. Mixing a track down, all of a sudden doesn't take a whole day :o.

Stereo image: getting a wide stereo image of a mix is much easier. For some reason, it really sounds larger than any mix i was doing ITB.

Audio interface: I've been re-mixing my latest projects with it, sending each individual track to a channel of the Zed and using the analogue EQs as well as driving the channels and again, it really opened them up, and allowed for a much better mix, at least to my ears.

Sends/Aux: this is imho one of the weak points of the mixer, you get 4 sends, but you can't send audio to them from your daw, so you need to "sacrifice" a channel on the mixer, only to send stuff to your analog fxs. The first 2 are pre-fader (which it seems can be switched to post-fader when opening the mixer), the others are post-fader.
There's no proper aux returns as well, instead you get four stereo channels, and 2 of them are with Low and Hi EQ. This where i return my reverbs and delay to. Those can also only be heard on the master out, otherwise you'd have to dedicate a channel (or two if it's a stereo fx) to your send fx.

Routing: the routing is imo where this mixer is really good at and the main reason i bought it for. You can virtually send stuff from and to your Daw to any of the 16 channels and this with very little fiddling with the latency compensation. I now have a setup, where some channels are coming from outboard synths sequenced from Ableton Live, some are VST going out through the mixer, and i even can use VST sends (both on analog channels, and virtual ones). Seeing as i don't have much outboard fxs, this really was an important selling point.

MIDI: all the faders can become MIDI controllers, which is pretty handy but i haven't used it like that yet... One thing it doesn't do however for some strange reason is send MIDI thru messages, ie you can't send the clock/MIDI cc from your DAW to your synths using the ZEDR16. So you'll need a dedicated MIDI interface for that.

this is quite a lot, maybe to much and a bit messy :) i got quite a fever here. Anyhow if you got specific questions about the Zed, i'll gladly do my best to reply.

All in all i'd say getting a mixer definitely changed my way fo making music for the better. I'm now forced to play the music rather than compose it, jamming with the mixer, the machines and recording take after takes of the same track until one is good.
Opuswerk is now Hendrik van Boetzelaer
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Re: Analogue mixers

Post by Barfunkel » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:07 am

I have a Mackie VLZ-series desk. It's definitely NOT recommended. My old Behringer desk sounded better, especially when overdriving the gain. There's absolutely no analogue mojo anywhere to be found.

Allen & Heaths are good desks, but they have quite a modern sound, in lack of a better term. Don't expect them to turn your track into sounding like a 90's techno track. They're far too clean and precise for that. I'm still thinking of getting the Zed R16 (or it's bigger brother, if I can afford it) though, it's pretty much perfect for my needs.

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