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Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer?

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 07:05 PM

Anyone have any recommendations on a fully digital audio mixer with 4 channels and at least 2 XLR mic inputs with 48V phantom power?

I have been looking at the Behringer X Air X18, below, but am wondering about alternatives. I have been having problems with defective Behringer analog mixers. (I have 4 of their analog audio mixers and all eventually developed problems, including with overheating.)

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Serge88

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 07:14 PM

Why fully digital mixer ? You could get a good analog mixer for less.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 07:22 PM

Originally Posted by Serge88
Why fully digital mixer ? You could get a good analog mixer for less.


I've chewed up and spit out 4 analog mixers already since Feb 2018. Blame it either on bad luck or me being bad with my toys, but I'm done with analog mixers. mad
Posted By: Serge88

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 07:30 PM

Ok, I understand.
Posted By: Pianofortissimo

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 08:04 PM

Behringer digital mixers are totally different than analog devices. I had problem with Behringer analog mixers, too. Digital is at another, higher level. Also, as probably you know, Behringer changed management some years ago (they are together with Midas and maybe other companies) and we all saw that in short. I have experience with X32 and I can say it is a very great device, so in my opinion go ahead with X-Air 18.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 09:27 PM

I don't know how one chews and spits analog mixers.
As for problems ... I've never had any. Just stick to name brands.
Note also that analog mixers are free of digital artifacts.

As for Behringer ...
On all the audio boards the answer is a big NO.
There are the low-end forums where people say yes to Behringer. But these people are on a budget ... perhaps a tight budget. And those folks are Behringer's target market.
But, Tyrone, the low end is most definitely not your market space. So I would just say no to Behringer.
Posted By: Pianofortissimo

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 09:39 PM

Mac, I totally agree with you speaking of analog Behringer devices. But I assure you digital is another planet, particularly from the moment they changed management and their company organisation. I assure you that X32 (and all newer models) has nothing to see with devices built 10 or more years ago. Totally different, believe me, I just used both series.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 09:58 PM

There's this one ... and you'll have extra inputs "just in case" ...

[Linked Image]

Allen & Heath QU-32
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/21/19 10:02 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
There's this one ... and you'll have extra inputs "just in case" ...

[Linked Image]

Allen & Heath QU-32

LOL that's huge. And quite a bit of price difference from the Behringer digital! Allen & Heath is a good name, but you do pay for it.

I don't have any recommendations, but I'm also interested in what's in the sub-$500 price range for digital mixers.
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 03:03 AM

Were your reliability problems with 4 mixers because the mixers were analog or because they were made by Behringer?

Whether or not an analog or digital mixer is best has to do with your functional requirements, not reliability requirements. What do you want the mixer to accomplish?
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 03:17 AM

I'm guessing that the main requirement is that it must be expensive. smile That's why I suggested the Allen & Heath QU-32 ... for $3000.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Were your reliability problems with 4 mixers because the mixers were analog or because they were made by Behringer?
Whether or not an analog or digital mixer is best has to do with your functional requirements, not reliability requirements. What do you want the mixer to accomplish?
Posted By: redfish1901

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 03:58 AM

I know you asked for digital mixers, but I have been using a Yamaha MG10XU for a few years now and I’m happy with it.
Posted By: Abdol

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 04:41 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Anyone have any recommendations on a fully digital audio mixer with 4 channels and at least 2 XLR mic inputs with 48V phantom power?

I have been looking at the Behringer X Air X18, below, but am wondering about alternatives. I have been having problems with defective Behringer analog mixers. (I have 4 of their analog audio mixers and all eventually developed problems, including with overheating.)


What is your budget and what features are you looking for?

I'd rather stay away from Behringer.

Zoom L-12:
https://www.zoom-na.com/products/production-recording/live-sound-recording/zoom-livetrak-l-12
It goes on sale for about 50-100 less than the retail price.

and Presonus StudioLive AR series.

But with 500 you can't really get a decent digital mixer.

There are many more, but all of them are around 600-700ish but these are pretty basic digital mixers. You should specify your budget and the say what features you're looking for and where/how you want to use it. Around 1000, you can get a relatively acceptable digital miexer.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 06:33 AM

Originally Posted by Abdol
But with 500 you can't really get a decent digital mixer.

There are many more, but all of them are around 600-700ish but these are pretty basic digital mixers. You should specify your budget and the say what features you're looking for and where/how you want to use it. Around 1000, you can get a relatively acceptable digital miexer.

Under $500 would be awesome if it worked and was reliable. (My personal experience has been that Behringer analog mixers are fails from a reliability perspective. As far as I can tell, all 4 failures of my 4 Behringer mixers have been reliability related - I tend to leave the mixers on and never turn them off.) Under $1000 would be acceptable but already sounds excessive. Around $1000 would be the minimally acceptable price as I think sounds unnecessary for mixing only 4 channels.

As mentioned, more than 4 channels is useless for me but I'm willing to live with these if they are the only options. Behringer X18 obviously has 18 channels and if it is the best option for me at my price point(s), it would be ok. For example, if there was some feeling I get from the feedback on this thread that I could leave a Behringer X18 turned on for months at a time without it eventually breaking down like my Behringer analog mixers all have done, then I would just get this since it is even sub-$500.

Only features I am looking for are 4 channels, 2 of which are XLR w/ 48V phantom power. Fully digital. Minimum of moving parts. Super reliable and can be left turned on for months and not break down. 100% standard mixer features (independent volume controls, balance, etc.). Either USB or optical output. Beyond this, additional features are just not very interesting, but I would accept a product with more features although I would just not use those.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 06:45 AM

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Were your reliability problems with 4 mixers because the mixers were analog or because they were made by Behringer?

My 4 analog mixers were all left on for weeks or months at a time and eventually stopped working (channel drop outs, etc). I'm a strong believer in always-on operation since I like to walk over at any moment and just find my stuff working without turning things on, waiting for warm up, etc. I assume the failures have been largely related to analog electronic parts overheating and having their electrical characteristics changing. When this cr@p happens, I don't investigate further. I just consign to the rubbish.

Have no idea if this is a Behringer issue or an analog issue, but I am just suspecting it is analog issue since I can't believe 4 of 4 from one manufacturer could all have a manufacturing defect. (Possible, but it stretches my incredulity.)

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Whether or not an analog or digital mixer is best has to do with your functional requirements, not reliability requirements. What do you want the mixer to accomplish?

Only features I am looking for are 4 channels, 2 of which are XLR w/ 48V phantom power. Fully digital. Minimum of moving parts. Super reliable and can be left turned on for months and not break down. 100% standard mixer features (independent volume controls, balance, etc.). Either USB or optical output. Beyond this, additional features are just not very interesting, but I would accept a product with more features although I would just not use those.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 10:31 AM

Given that nearly all electronic equipment in history has been totally analog, and that even in the digital world the reproduction is done with analog signals ... this surely cannot be true:
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Have no idea if this is a Behringer issue or an analog issue, but I am just suspecting it is analog issue since I can't believe 4 of 4 from one manufacturer could all have a manufacturing defect.
The Behringer experience is so frequently bad that this brand is shunned on the audio boards. They might turn up their noses given that you've had "only" four failed Behringer devices! smile

I can understand the "always on" mantra. And if an always-on heat issue was the underlying cause of failure, it speaks once again to product quality. Maybe those were CCC failures?

Also, revisit Sweeklinck's comment:
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Whether or not an analog or digital mixer is best has to do with your functional requirements, not reliability requirements. What do you want the mixer to accomplish?
Posted By: Kbeaumont

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 02:14 PM

Behringer's digital mixers are quite reliable. They had a bad reputation, but the quality of their products have increased significantly in the 5 years or so. Yes, they once produced a whole bunch of crap that much of their stuff was cloned directly from other manufacturers. Once you get a bad rep its hard to shake. Because people, pass that over boards all over the internet. And nearly every single one of them doesn't own the product they are dissing. I own two digital mixers an XR18 and a Soundcraft ui12. The Behringer is a much better mixer. That XR18 is highly rated. If you look at Sweetwater for example, there 248 reviews of the XR18. The rating 4.5 out of 5 stars these aren't bots , 248 people decided it was worth their time to comment on it. Sound on Sound and other publications rate them very positvely. The only issue these have and every single other digital mixer I have tested is wireless routing. If your in a venue with lots of wireless signals, when the house gets crowded the using an iPad or other wireless to connect is really hit or miss. The Soundcraft has the same issue, actually worse. Both companies suggest using a wireless router instead. I use mine constantly, I take it to gigs and every place I've used it I save the settings. This makes sound checks so much simpler when returning. The effects are very good, crystal clear. And I can record all 18 tracks to my DAW during the performance. Making blanket statements about the manufacturer and ALL their products is disingenuous. I have had bad products from nearly every single major manufacturer over the years. But right now I have 2 Behringer products, the XR-18 and a Deep Mind 12 and I like both of them a lot.
Posted By: Abdol

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 02:24 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Abdol
But with 500 you can't really get a decent digital mixer.

There are many more, but all of them are around 600-700ish but these are pretty basic digital mixers. You should specify your budget and the say what features you're looking for and where/how you want to use it. Around 1000, you can get a relatively acceptable digital miexer.

Under $500 would be awesome if it worked and was reliable. (My personal experience has been that Behringer analog mixers are fails from a reliability perspective. As far as I can tell, all 4 failures of my 4 Behringer mixers have been reliability related - I tend to leave the mixers on and never turn them off.) Under $1000 would be acceptable but already sounds excessive. Around $1000 would be the minimally acceptable price as I think sounds unnecessary for mixing only 4 channels.

As mentioned, more than 4 channels is useless for me but I'm willing to live with these if they are the only options. Behringer X18 obviously has 18 channels and if it is the best option for me at my price point(s), it would be ok. For example, if there was some feeling I get from the feedback on this thread that I could leave a Behringer X18 turned on for months at a time without it eventually breaking down like my Behringer analog mixers all have done, then I would just get this since it is even sub-$500.

Only features I am looking for are 4 channels, 2 of which are XLR w/ 48V phantom power. Fully digital. Minimum of moving parts. Super reliable and can be left turned on for months and not break down. 100% standard mixer features (independent volume controls, balance, etc.). Either USB or optical output. Beyond this, additional features are just not very interesting, but I would accept a product with more features although I would just not use those.


But you didn't say what features you're looking for. I would not make conservative decisions when it comes to the number of inputs. You can use fewer but once you need more you can't add them!

When I go after a digital mixer, I look for a few things (for a live performance). Digital mixers are more compact and can do things that require a big rack of hardware to them (if possible). Multichannel USB audio in/out to PC, more than one AUX send line, multiple effects, compressor, presets, master effects etc. usually exist only in high-end digital mixers.

With your budget Zoom L-12 is a good entry-level mixer which does almost everything you need. It basically a Yamaha mixer. It has 8 mono inputs (which is 4 stereo). You might be able to use the 5 headphone monitor outputs as AUX but it is an experimental concept. It has individual compression effect on each channel which is great.

This mixer is great for a small live performance. It is 12/10 Out/In (I guess) audio interface! and you can record each instrument individually.

A good review:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/zoom-livetrak-l12

Please note that at this price range the mixer's body is usually plastic. Did I say that Zoom L12 is also an audio interface?

By the way, you can also get an audio interface. These days most of the audio interfaces are also digital mixers but they don't have the control surface of a digital mixer but usually very capable! This is what MOTU offers in its audio interfaces:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Jaime Morera

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 06:05 PM

Absolutely agree with the Behringer XR18.
Two years that I have it without any kind of problem and it has solved all the problems of audio and midi connections in my home studio.
At Thomann he has been number 1 in sales of digital mixers for several years and is currently number 4 in sales of any product.

XR18 at Thomann

It has Midas preamps and wonderful effects, equipped with the same FX engines as the X32 Digital Mixing Console, (4 times more expensive).

XR18 at Behringer
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 08:15 PM

The benefits of a digital mixer are the much greater selection of effects and that you have analog-to-digital conversion built-in if what you want is digital output. There are a lot more components that have to meet your quality requirements than with an analog mixer, so if what you want is just basic summing of channels, pre-amps to provide gain for inputs that need to be brought up to line level, and analog output to monitors or amp, then you are likely to get better audio quality at a given price point with an analog mixer.

Many audio recording interfaces also support basic digital mixing, but you usually have to boot a computer to run the control app.

Among tabletop analog mixers, I generally prefer Mackie because their multibus architecture generally solves all routing problems without having to move patch cords around. With a Mackie 1202-VLZ4 I can mix multiple instrument sources, and route the output to monitors, headphone amp, or recording interface. When using the recording interface, I can simultaneously monitor the mixer output with monitors, or route the output of the recording interface to the same monitors monitors so I’m monitoring what was actually recorded while playing. No patch cord changes are required to do any of that. Certainly, other brands of analog mixers may support that, and it would be required of any digital or analog mixer I would consider. Someone I spoke with recently described Mackie mixers as the Swiss Army knife of mixers.

Reliability while running 24x7 may be nice, but is that the most important requirement of a device with a 1 second power on and warm-up time?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 08:24 PM

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Reliability while running 24x7 may be nice, but is that the most important requirement of a device with a 1 second power on and warm-up time?

It is super important to me since there is nothing more annoying that for me to "record" a good take of a piece, only to realize on playing it back that my mixer was off! mad

In fact, this always-on reliability is a "feature" I would pay at least $500 for alone.
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 08:28 PM

Put your keyboard and mixer on the same power strip/surge protector and use the switch on that to power on and off. Also plug your headphones and monitors into the mixer. No mixer power would mean no sound.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 08:33 PM

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Put your keyboard and mixer on the same power strip/surge protector and use the switch on that to power on and off. Also plug your headphones and monitors into the mixer. No mixer power would mean no sound.

I certainly have thought of that. Unfortunately, I cannot ever turn my piano off since some settings on the Yamaha Avantgrand N1X such as reverb are not saved in non-volatile storage. My piano must necessarily remain on 24x7 or else an elaborate setup process is required. I've gone so far as to put my piano on a small UPS to ensure a passing storm doesn't cause it to lose its mind!
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 10:51 PM

I purchased a Shure SCM262 mixer on eBay for next to nothing... about $75 for a $220 unit. It must have been new and never used... keep looking and you will find one. Fabulous little unit that sounds very good. Simple. Works. Love it.

2 mics (I don't use these inputs)
3 line level inputs
1 - Roland RD-2000
2 - Benchmark DAC USB1 (my computer USB out goes here)
3 - Cheapo CD Player
Out 1 unbalanced - Adcom stereo amp to B&W speakers
Out 2 balanced - unused (but I could hook them to my Grado headphone amp to Focal Clear headphones, but I have this amp hooked directly to my keyboard for now)

This simple but powerful little mixer allows me to play music from my music server via my computer and then play along with the music all mixed to my amp/speakers. Nice.

Peace
Bruce in Philly

https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/mixers/scm262
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 11:44 PM

I have one of those, too. I like it because it's uncluttered. It has all the connectors on the back (out of sight). And it was cheap on Ebay ... only $35.
I've had it for seven years ... and no problems.
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/22/19 11:52 PM

I went back through my eBay history... I paid $60 for it.... again, it appeared never used.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 12:05 AM

Here's what I mean about it being clean and uncluttered:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 04:09 AM

Be advised that the three stereo inputs on the Shure mixer pictured are unbalanced consumer line level -10dBV. This is the standard line level of consumer audio devices like the output of CD players. This mixer is designed to mix microphone input with the output of consumer audio devices.

Pro-oriented keyboards often have a hotter output at +4dBu, and may be balanced or unbalanced. This is too hot to route to an input expecting a line level of -10dBV, and may clip easily and/or damage the mixer from some internal components being overspec’d. Consumer-oriented keyboards may often have the less hot -10dBV output line level so that they may be amplified with a home stereo. But if you are selecting a mixer for keyboard inputs, a more pro-oriented mixer that accepts balanced +4dBu inputs is recommended so it will work with any keyboard you may have now or in the future.

Some examples of keyboard output line levels:

Roland Jupiter-50 — balanced +4dBu
Kawai MP7SE — unbalanced +4dBu
Nord C2 — unbalanced +4dBu

None of these would be recommended as inputs to the Shure mixer in question.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 06:37 AM

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Be advised that the three stereo inputs on the Shure mixer pictured are unbalanced consumer line level -10dBV. This is the standard line level of consumer audio devices like the output of CD players. This mixer is designed to mix microphone input with the output of consumer audio devices.

Pro-oriented keyboards often have a hotter output at +4dBu, and may be balanced or unbalanced. This is too hot to route to an input expecting a line level of -10dBV, and may clip easily and/or damage the mixer from some internal components being overspec’d. Consumer-oriented keyboards may often have the less hot -10dBV output line level so that they may be amplified with a home stereo. But if you are selecting a mixer for keyboard inputs, a more pro-oriented mixer that accepts balanced +4dBu inputs is recommended so it will work with any keyboard you may have now or in the future.

Thanks for this info! I never considered issues of input levels in mixers. Now I have something else to research. How can I determine the keyboard output line level of my Yamaha Avantgrand N1X? I may be looking in the wrong place but it doesn't appear in the manual.
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 06:59 AM

It is not always easy to figure out. If the output is balanced, it almost surely is +4dBu. But output can be a tad low on unbalanced outputs claiming to be +4dBu, sometimes even falling to the level of -10dBV. Keyboard companies can be quite negligent in publishing the spec of their output, which makes it safest just to get a mixer supporting pro line level. In some cases the keyboard vendors do not wish to publish that output is below spec so they don’t publish the spec.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 09:44 AM

Yes, the audio feed from the piano is louder than from the computer audio interface. But the solution is simple.
I have the level control on the latter is at around 2 o'clock. The piano feed level control is at around 10 o'clock.
Simple.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 10:00 AM

Anyone know what the difference is between the Behringer X12 and XR12? I see the XR12 is a bit more expensive and doesn't have the LCD display. But perhaps it is more accurate/precise?
Posted By: Kawai James

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 10:29 AM

Is the LCD display an important/necessary feature for you?

Is there not an added risk of LCD displays burning-in/dying if the owner is too lazy/wasteful to does not turn the device off after use?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 11:35 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Anyone know what the difference is between the Behringer X12 and XR12? I see the XR12 is a bit more expensive and doesn't have the LCD display. But perhaps it is more accurate/precise?

Behringer X12:

[Linked Image]

Behringer XR12:

[Linked Image]

I have found the differences here. pp. 32-33 of the manual also compare these two versions.

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Is the LCD display an important/necessary feature for you?

It appears I was wrong. Neither X18 more XR18 has a built-in LCD display. What I took for the LCD display was a tablet (not included) shown as docked on the X18 in the first photo above. This is misleading advertising, obviously. I wonder how many people received their X12 and were expecting an LCD display on it. The differences between the X18 and XR18 appear to lie elsewhere, largely in form-factor and areas that are probably less of a concern for an amateur music maker such as myself. Therefore, I may be safe in just getting the cheaper one (X18).

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Is there not an added risk of LCD displays burning-in/dying if the owner is too lazy/wasteful to does not turn the device off after use?

"Laziness" is irrelevant if the cost (from all perspectives) is minimal. Burn-in of LCD is a cost however, and I thank you for raising that issue. But if the display is a tablet as it appears, this probably won't matter since the tablet will simply turn its screen off after 1+ mins, averting burn-in.

"Wastefulness" is almost irrelevant as both the X18 and XR18 draw 30W max, which even if it were always max, is 263 kWh/year or $31.50 in electricity per year and 157 kg of carbon. Are you so carbon-neutral that you bemoan 157 kg of carbon? Just eat 12kg less beef per year and save the environment from cow farts.... wink
Posted By: Abdol

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 01:38 PM

If your setup is so delicate and you do care about the audio quality why are you so interested in Behringer and stageboxes in general? You can type in almost any brand + stagebox mixer in google and see what each brand offers. But as its name suggests, it is designed for stage and not studio...
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 02:08 PM

Originally Posted by Abdol
If your setup is so delicate and you do care about the audio quality why are you so interested in Behringer and stageboxes in general? You can type in almost any brand + stagebox mixer in google and see what each brand offers. But as its name suggests, it is designed for stage and not studio...

Forget about Behringer, digital & stageboxes for the moment. For the absolute best audio quality/fidelity, with a minimum of 4 channels where 2 of them being mic, what would you recommend? May be analog.
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 02:30 PM

There is nothing wrong or damaging to leave equipment on all the time. Nothing wrong at all.

My Shure mixer does not even have an on off switch. Further neither does my Benchmark DAC. My PS Audio DAC manual states to leave on all the time.

You may have noticed that electronics sound more natural when warmed up.

Old engineers understand that powering up causes "surging"... that will wear out equipment.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: Groove On

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 03:18 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Forget about Behringer, digital & stageboxes for the moment. For the absolute best audio quality/fidelity, with a minimum of 4 channels where 2 of them being mic, what would you recommend? May be analog.

Yamaha MG or Mackie VLZ4 series analog mixers - both have decent pre-amps for the mics.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 03:56 PM

Thanks for the dose of common sense.
Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
There is nothing wrong or damaging to leave equipment on all the time. Nothing wrong at all.
Now all that's left is to convince the rest of the world.
But now is not the time ... because the non-believers are still busy disproving the moon landing. smile
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 06:51 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Yes, the audio feed from the piano is louder than from the computer audio interface. But the solution is simple.
I have the level control on the latter is at around 2 o'clock. The piano feed level control is at around 10 o'clock.
Simple.

You can mitigate the risk by keeping your keyboard gain low, but there are three downsides. First, the +4dBu line level standard tops out at 1.23V. The -10dBV standard tops out at 0.773V. If the volume control is set to allow a higher voltage and you play something fortessimo you may overspec the mixer and damage it.

Second, you compress dynamic range by only using 0 to .773V of the 0 to 1.23V range, and even that assumes you have a way to set the keyboard gain to allow precisely 0.773V as the peak output. This may not matter at individual listening levels, but your range from pp to ff may be lessened at some settings, particularly if you set the keyboard gain conservatively to mitigate the first issue. It appears that the clipping level of the Shure mixer inputs is +5dBV per spec sheet. From that you could work backwards and figure out the max voltage level of gain at the keyboard to leave adequate headroom, but you would not know what volume level achieves that max voltage.

Third, to some extent, it defeats the ability to do gain staging between the two devices and audio amp, which I won’t describe as it would dominate the posting but is the least important of the three issues for individual listening. But it still is a downside of the setup.

If you are happy with your existing setup, that’s what matters, but if someone is looking for a new keyboard mixer, I would not recommend one with only consumer audio inputs. Such a mixer is optimized for karaoke or DJ usage with mics, CD players, and other music players.

But if the OP wants an uncluttered mixer without complex effects, panning, and routing features, a line mixer is the solution:

https://www.sweetwater.com/c1014--Line_Mixers

Of which the Denon DN-312X looks reasonable:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DN-312X--denon-dn-312x-rackmount-mic-line-mixer

It has 3 stereo channels for consumer audio, and 6 mono channels that have a switch to set for a mic level or pro line level. You would just use two of them for the left and right output of a keyboard if the keyboard has stereo samples, or one channel if it is a mono keyboard (despite having left and right outputs).

But I find the routing features of a small studio tabletop mixer to be worth the extra complexity of user interface.

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 07:35 PM

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Yes, the audio feed from the piano is louder than from the computer audio interface. But the solution is simple.
I have the level control on the latter is at around 2 o'clock. The piano feed level control is at around 10 o'clock.
Simple.

You can mitigate the risk by keeping your keyboard gain low, but there are three downsides. First, the +4dBu line level standard tops out at 1.23V. The -10dBV standard tops out at 0.773V. If the volume control is set to allow a higher voltage and you play something fortessimo you may overspec the mixer and damage it.

Second, you compress dynamic range by only using 0 to .773V of the 0 to 1.23V range, and even that assumes you have a way to set the keyboard gain to allow precisely 0.773V as the peak output. This may not matter at individual listening levels, but your range from pp to ff may be lessened at some settings, particularly if you set the keyboard gain conservatively to mitigate the first issue. It appears that the clipping level of the Shure mixer inputs is +5dBV per spec sheet. From that you could work backwards and figure out the max voltage level of gain at the keyboard to leave adequate headroom, but you would not know what volume level achieves that max voltage.

Third, to some extent, it defeats the ability to do gain staging between the two devices and audio amp, which I won’t describe as it would dominate the posting but is the least important of the three issues for individual listening. But it still is a downside of the setup.

If you are happy with your existing setup, that’s what matters, but if someone is looking for a new keyboard mixer, I would not recommend one with only consumer audio inputs. Such a mixer is optimized for karaoke or DJ usage with mics, CD players, and other music players.

But if the OP wants an uncluttered mixer without complex effects, panning, and routing features, a line mixer is the solution:

https://www.sweetwater.com/c1014--Line_Mixers

Of which the Denon DN-312X looks reasonable:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DN-312X--denon-dn-312x-rackmount-mic-line-mixer

It has 3 stereo channels for consumer audio, and 6 mono channels that have a switch to set for a mic level or pro line level. You would just use two of them for the left and right output of a keyboard if the keyboard has stereo samples, or one channel if it is a mono keyboard (despite having left and right outputs).

But I find the routing features of a small studio tabletop mixer to be worth the extra complexity of user interface.

Wow. I'm in awe. thumb

Now I have to digest this new info - with my dessert! laugh
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 07:42 PM

This is an excellent mixer:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 07:54 PM

I would add that if all you want to do is switch between instruments and not layer the sounds from different instruments together, then all you really need is a passive switch box.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/23/19 08:07 PM

Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I would add that if all you want to do is switch between instruments and not layer the sounds from different instruments together, then all you really need is a passive switch box.

I need layering.
Posted By: Kawai James

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 12:12 AM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Thanks for the dose of common sense.
Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
There is nothing wrong or damaging to leave equipment on all the time. Nothing wrong at all.
Now all that's left is to convince the rest of the world.


Well, I expect this might simply be a generation and/or nationality thing.

I was raised to turn electrical appliances off after use, so the notion of leaving something switched on all day 'just in case I might wish to use it immediately' is a little strange.
Posted By: Bruce In Philly

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 02:36 AM

Actually, you turn a unit off "just in case" such as when there is a storm. It is not about if you use it.... it is about possible damage from electrical surges from storms. "On" should be the normal state... usage is not a factor.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 04:58 AM

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Thanks for the dose of common sense.
Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
There is nothing wrong or damaging to leave equipment on all the time. Nothing wrong at all.
Now all that's left is to convince the rest of the world.
Well, I expect this might simply be a generation and/or nationality thing.

I was raised to turn electrical appliances off after use, so the notion of leaving something switched on all day 'just in case I might wish to use it immediately' is a little strange.

Perhaps it was just a "your parents" thing.
Posted By: Abdol

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 05:05 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I would add that if all you want to do is switch between instruments and not layer the sounds from different instruments together, then all you really need is a passive switch box.

I need layering.


What are you exactly looking for Tyrone? What instruments are you connecting to it? Do you need aux sends? Do you need per channel EQ? Do you need multi-channel IO with PC? MIDI IN/OUT? Are you looking for something suitable for live performance or studio recording? Do you need per channel effects? Compression? etc.

There is simply no good answer to this until you specify your needs. I don't know any good quality mixer with only 4 inputs BTW. But there is an audio interface with 4 inputs that are fabulous.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 05:33 AM

Mackie VLZ mixers are very popular with audio engineers who need small but decent mixers without paying too much.

Mixers can get rather expensive. If I had a spare €750,000 this is what I'd like.

https://ams-neve.com/88rs/

grin
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 05:39 AM

Originally Posted by Abdol
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I would add that if all you want to do is switch between instruments and not layer the sounds from different instruments together, then all you really need is a passive switch box.
I need layering.
What are you exactly looking for Tyrone?

4 channels of audio mixing with 2 of them mic. Output either USB or optical (e.g., TOSLINK). I want the noise floor to be at the lowest possible level with the highest signal to noise ratio (SNR).

Originally Posted by Abdol
What instruments are you connecting to it?

1. Digital piano - stereo
2. another track of accompaniment - stereo (could be anything musical, even just a metronome, click track, or similar)
3. Left mic - mono (XLR w/ 48V phantom power)
4. Right mic - mono (XLR w/ 48V phantom power)

Originally Posted by Abdol
Do you need aux sends?

No idea.

Originally Posted by Abdol
Do you need per channel EQ?

This would be nice, mainly for #2 above.

Originally Posted by Abdol
Do you need multi-channel IO with PC?

No idea.

Originally Posted by Abdol
MIDI IN/OUT?

Don't think so since I assume MIDI on a mixer is for controlling the mixer itself? Or can MIDI be some sort of input a mixer processes from an audio perspective?

Originally Posted by Abdol
Are you looking for something suitable for live performance or studio recording?

Enthusiast level home-recording.

Originally Posted by Abdol
Do you need per channel effects?

This would be nice.

Originally Posted by Abdol
Compression?

Nope.

Originally Posted by Abdol
etc.

There is of course, "etc." For example, I already mentioned I want 24x7 reliability and no overheating.

Originally Posted by Abdol
There is simply no good answer to this until you specify your needs. I don't know any good quality mixer with only 4 inputs BTW.

Well, I am not hung up on having only 4 channels. Only saying that is all I need. For example, I am still considering the Behringer X18 and XR18 which each have 18 channels. If the mixer has more than 4 channels, then those channels will simply be unused. That's acceptable too.

Originally Posted by Abdol
But there is an audio interface with 4 inputs that are fabulous.

I will have an RME Babyface Pro being used for another purpose. I'd rather the mixer be standalone and not mix in with my audio interface. Otherwise, the audio interface will be doing too many simultaneous things, and it only has one DAC/ADC. I also don't want to get a second audio interface. That would be excessive.
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 06:33 AM

A Mackie 802-VLZ4 would meet your requirements. The multibus architecture would enable it to be the central control device for your home studio.
Posted By: Abdol

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/24/19 03:05 PM


- AUX send is for when you want to send a channel's out to a DSP (external effects). Usually, professional/expensive mixers have more than one AUX sends which you can loop it back to one of the inputs of the mixer.

- Multi channel IO with PC is nice. Each input/output of your mixer can be monitored, recorded separately! It was a feature for very expensive mixers but now you get it for mid-level or even entry-level mixers! So in your DAW you will have access to every channel of your mixer individually. I'd say get one with this feature.

- Low-end mixers usually come with one shared effects. You need an AUX-send to add your own effects through the method I explained.

- Compression is an invaluable addition to any mixer. Especially if you are doing vocals with MIC or acoustic instruments. Also, you can add compression to your Master/Main out, do a bit EQ which is almost like mastering your work live.

- MIDI is also really great because you can send commands from your keyboards to recall presets etc.

There are many more but not many mixers actually have all these features. Behringer stage box models that are mentioned here have most of these settings. I have not had any experience with Behringer but there is the exact same model from MIDAS which seems to have better pre-amps. It is MIDAS MR18 bot these stage boxes don't have a control surface. You need to remotely adjust their parameters. Also, My humble guess is that it will only sound better when you crank the gains to high values. So you should check if it is worth spending more money on better pre-amps or not.
Posted By: cphollis

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/27/19 12:58 AM

I have owned maybe 15 different small-scale mixers over the last decade. You don't mention your use case, so I'll just have to guess?

The XR-18 (no control surface) is freaking amazing in the bang for buck department. As are its siblings. A lightly used one is short money. Add an external router if you're going to gig out. As a simple audio interface it's worth the price of admission.

Add mixing, effects, etc. and I think it's an INSANE value. Too much functionality like most Behringer products these days. I'm thinking about a recent fling I had with a Deepmind 12 which made me learn that I don't have enough time in my life to learn all of my toys.

I've been buying the more recent Behringer products. Zero quality issues, period. People who rag on this should try some of their more recent stuff. Really.

If simple and analog is your thing, I've got a few of the Yamaha MG series. Short on features, long on quality. Can't go wrong with those.

Another super cool product of note? The Radial Key Largo. Insane build quality, ridiculously clean sound. Like, you won't want to use anything else ever after you hear it through good amplification. Also an audio interface.

I've had reasonable experiences with Presonus and a few other brands. I'm not aware of anything that really sucks in this category.

What might you be looking for?
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Recommendations for me a digital audio mixer? - 07/27/19 05:09 AM

Regarding the Shure mixer above, I wrote:
Quote

It appears that the clipping level of the Shure mixer inputs is +5dBV per spec sheet. From that you could work backwards and figure out the max voltage level of gain at the keyboard to leave adequate headroom, but you would not know what volume level achieves that max voltage.

The dBV scale is a decibel scale for voltage where 0dBV is calibrated to 1V. Because decibels are a log[10] scale we get +5dBV = 20*log[10](V) or V = 10**(1/4) = 1.78V (rounded).

So the Shure mixer is spec’d not to clip until an input well exceeds 1.23V, the max voltage of the +4dBu standard. This would be encouraging that running a keyboard into it would not cause a problem. The caveat is that the input is still spec’d at -10dBV which means that internal electronic components do not have to be spec’d for higher inputs in order for the device to meet its spec. It is odd that they did not just spec it fully for +4dBu and even have a switch to toggle the sensitivity between +4dBu and -10dBV.
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