Old 03-28-2007, 04:48 AM   #1
polar69
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So I've been playing with Reaper for a bit now and have decided its about time I started recording guitar and vocals, what I'd like to do is get my acoustic miked up and me mked up so I can sing n play. I realise that to do this I need a mixer but there are so many out there, I dont need 20 odd channels just 3 or four. So what do I need to look out for ? I'd like to say money is no object but that's a lie ! ( I'm UK based btw )
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Old 03-28-2007, 05:52 AM   #2
sinkmusic
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If you're after cheap, the Behringer mixers are nice.
The Soundcraft have a good reputation, and have some mixers with 2 stereo in and 2 mono in for less than 100 euros (http://www.thomann.de/fr/soundcraft_compact_4.htm).
I remember some years ago that yamaha had really nice blue mixerdesks (cheap, bundled of features, and might be a little better than the Behringer ones).
http://www.thomann.de/fr/behringer_xenyx_1204.htm
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Old 03-28-2007, 06:14 AM   #3
tspring
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The answer depends a bit on what you mean by channels. Many inexpensive mixers have many inputs but only output 1 L/R stereo pair. So, if you mean that you need four input channels that you want to mix together to send two output channels to your DAW you can use practically any mixer. The main concern in this case is to select a mixer that has good pre-amps. This is by far the most important feature in selection. I once owned a Behringer mixer. Did not like the preamps on it. Mackie, Yamah, and Alesis pre-amps all sound good to me - can't say about others for lack of experience with them.

You would think that it would work best to just pass signal through the mixer without EQ to the DAW and do all EQ after recording. However, I've found it very useful to use the EQ on the mixer prior to passing signal to the DAW. So if you can, find a mixer that has at least three band EQ for each track. My mixer has a -20dB pad that you can use to prevent really hot signals (e.g. drum mics, DI bass guitar) from overdriving preamps. Highly recommended. Also if you think that you might be using condenser microphones make sure that it supplies +45 V phantom power, as some inexpensive mixers don't provide the full +45 V. Most condenser mics will work with less than full voltage, but... This is usually OK but not always.


But returning to my question about what you meant when you said you needed four channels:
If you meant that you want to pass four channels to your DAW, then obviously this presents a problem for mixers that have only stereo output.

If the mixer has plugs for hardware inserts for each channel, you can tap the signal from each channel via the insert. Basically, you are just using the preamps from the mixer and bypassing the regular ouput buss. Depending on the configuration of the mixer, the inserts can be pre-fader or post fader, or pre-eq or post-eq.

Alternatively, some of the less expensive mixers have more than one signal buss. If the mixer has two busses you can pass four independent signals to your DAW. My own mixer can be used this way - I'll use it as example.

I bought my Yamaha mixer used off E-bay for $50. It was in near perfect condtion, just a bit old and heavy - all analog. It has eight input channels, real mechanical v/u meters, and two output busses (each of which has its own stereo pair output). I love the old beast. It has good preamps and just works. To pass four independent channels through EQ on the mixer to my DAW I can set up as follows:

channel 1 to bus 1 and hard panned left,
channel 2 to bus 1 and hard panned right
channel 3 to bus 2 and hard panned left
channel 4 to bus 2 and hard panned right

To get more than 4 channels to my DAW I have to tap into the mixer's channel inserts, which on my mixer are pre-fader. So I am really just using the mixer's preamps, and bypassing everything else when I set up this way.

T
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Old 03-28-2007, 06:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback guys, I guess I meant I wanted 4 inputs,


ie 2 mike, 1 guitar and one spare for my guitar amp output ( for example)
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Old 03-28-2007, 06:24 AM   #5
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Ook
So the advice above applies : guitars and voice are not line-levels, and the preamp quality is primordial.
I will let more expert people give you advices, as until now i was only recording synths and drum machines, and don't know anything about preamps.
Maybe also an alternative is to buy a dedicated preamp (depending on how much you need at the same time), like the Art Tube Mp (40$), and then the quality of the mixer's preamp may be less important.

One important question is : do you use external hardware efx ? If so, take into consideration the number of aux, sends, inserts on the mixer.
If you don't need that, then you know you just have to focus on preamps. Everything else (except, as mentionned above : good 3 band eqs, and, best, a mid freq parametric eq) might be "bloat" for your usage.
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Old 03-28-2007, 07:58 AM   #6
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yammie mg mixer fer cheap ?? 90 buks.
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:07 AM   #7
mahasandi
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try this:

http://musical-instruments.search.eb...Z1QQsofocusZbs


i think

spirit folio or notepad is the best small inexpensive currently made mixer.



I would stay away from Behringer as they are very cheap don't

sound as good as other comparable options though they are the most

inexpensive as well.

Last edited by mahasandi; 03-28-2007 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 03-28-2007, 04:35 PM   #8
Alistair S
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Polar, you don't say what soundcard you are using, whether you have microphones etc.

If you don't have a soundcard designed for audio, then you may want to go for an audio interface with the right number of inputs. A firewire interface will let you see each input as a separate channel.

Of these, the new Alesis ones (IO26 and IO14) sound interesting, though I am waiting on more feedback from early users.

I use a Phonic Helix FW 12 and it is OK. Whatever you go for, I would get more inputs than you think you need (your "needs" may grow) - though 4 preamps should be fine. When you look at kit, don't let the descriptions confuse you - "14 channels" does not mean 14 preamps and they may not all be useful to you.

I don't know where you are in the UK, but I have found these guys to be OK. http://www.dv247.com/search/2970/0/P.../Ascending//1/
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:56 AM   #9
polar69
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Managed to "win" a Behringer UB502 on ebay, in my defence I only bid because it was at £5 with 10 minutes remaining on the clock, nearly pipped at the post by some joker who pushed it up to £15 but hey ho I was going to pay that for one of those boxy 3 input micro mixers.

Best start tuning the old vocal chords :P
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:58 AM   #10
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No need to defend your purchase. A lot of people badmouth Behringer, but I really don't think you can beat their gear if you're measuring by cost/performance ratio.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb0...hringerusb.htm

I have several Behringer units in my rack, and they hold their own just fine. My Bass V-Amp Pro in particular is a strong performer.

The UB502 does lack phantom power though. Might not be an issue for you if you're using an SM58 or something similar. Personally I use a Studio Projects C1 for vocal work and an SM57 for mic'ing amps.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:41 AM   #11
polar69
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MAy not be a problem anyway, the seller seems to have gone underground, I think he's sulking cos I won it at £16
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:59 PM   #12
polar69
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Note to self........



Never ever bid on anything in ebay form a first time seller

Especially if they don't do paypal and have never bought anything themselves

Scratch £21


And start the search all over again !
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:05 PM   #13
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Ah that's shit man.

For my money, I can recommend the Soundcraft compact series. I can also recommend Yamaha and Alesis mixers.

Bear in mind though that if you want to record individual tracks, you'll have to do it on a track-by-track basis, or get a soundcard with multiple inputs.

Maybe look at one of the new M-Audio firewire mixers? Best of both worlds.
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:25 PM   #14
polar69
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Okay so I had to write off £21 and take it as a lesson learnt. now waiting for delivery of another Behringer Xenyx 502, lets face it the quality of the goods is proportional to my questionable singing / playing ability

Thing is how do I conntect it to my soundcard that has the grand total of 2 input , mike and line in ?Do I take the phono out for cd/contol room (!) or the headphones or one of the master L R 's ?
I was rather stupidly expecting one stereo out amongst the various sockets !!
I need a mike stand next, am eyenig up the clothes airer and a roll of gaffer tape as I type
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:45 AM   #15
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Check these out:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ce?sku=701385X
Getting some sort of digital audio interface will allow you to mix all sorts of inputs and then route it into the computer using USB or Firewire, and will keep each channel separate so you can record and edit multiple tracks.
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:20 AM   #16
polar69
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Got my mixer today, realised that "line in" is stereo - so two mono into one stereo , job doen ( at last )

Now wheres my guitar ??
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