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16 channel mixer suggestions wanted

Discussion in 'Recording' started by evhwanabe, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Hey guys, I am curently in the market for atleast a 16 channel mixer for recording purposes only. Want something with decent mic pre's, direct outs, tape in's, atleast 4 aux sends. Not sure if I want to go digital, might not be in my budget. Looking to spend 1k to 1,500.
    I read a previous post about the 16ch mix wizzard from A&H and this looked like it would be fine for me, but just curious as to what else is out there.
    Thanks
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Not much else really. What you are asking for really doesn't exist. Anything in that price range is basically going to be a Mackie, which is not really that bad. Great, or for that matter even decent mic pres will not be on the menu.

    Good pres can often run close to $1500 (or more!) apiece!

    A real recording console is;
    1. Very large, needs a lot of "real estate" to keep. 2. Very heavy.
    3. Expensive to keep maintained unless you can perform the maintenance yourself.

    This is why so many people (and even pro studios) are turning to DAWs and doing their mixing in the computer.. Aside from all the benefits of random access, editing, automation of all parameters in a mix, full recall of mixes, they can get by with an inexpensive mixer to handle headphone cues and monitoring chores and keep the real mix "in the box". Then they will purchase, as they can afford, great mics, mic pres and front end gear like compressors and Eq’s.

    My feeling is that there are a lot of small mixers that are more expensive and sound a bit better than your garden variety Mackie, like the Midas and the Allen Heaths ... but in practical use, the improvements they yield may not be as significant than if you were to follow the route I suggest.

    As in all things, in audio you only get what you pay for. Yes, there are some small improvements with the Midas and the AH boards over the Mackie types but I submit that you would get better results by experimenting with mic placement and selection, tuning up your performances and working on squeezing out a better mix out of something like a 1604 ... they really aren't as bad as many of us make them out to be and any benefit you may receive from using a more expensive small format mixer really will be pretty negligible.
     
  3. strngpkr

    strngpkr Guest

    I'm thinking of getting the new Mackie Onyx mixer. I think it comes out around april. Here is a link:
    Mackie Onyx Press Release

    around $1500 for the biggy model 1640.

    [ February 03, 2004, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
     
  4. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Thanks for the replies guys.
    Kurt, I already own a Mackie CFX-20 (well its my bands) but its more based for live sound although we are curently using its Pre's and then inserts out to my Motu828. The problem with that is it bypasses the eq and I would like to eq a little before going into the PC. I once owned an Alesis Studio 32 and wasn't happy with the quality of it but it did have some pretty extensive i/o options. Just looking for something that will alow me to tweak some knobs and actually get my hands on something. I curently use Sonar 3.1 Pro and do most of my mixing in the box, but I guess I want a little better front end, with say 16 or so Pre's and eq's, and still alow me to do all my monitoring and stuff like that.
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    That's a tall order. The 1604 gives you 8 direct outs, and then you can also use the bus's (aux and subs).. that will give you another 8 ... but the EQ in Mackies really sucks.. the mid sweep is so wide it is essentially unusable.. Perhaps if you were to add a few channels of outboard eq’s you could get by.

    In regards to the new Mackie ONYX, the press release states that it is "the next generation in low-noise microphone preamp circuitry based on the XDR mic pre found in Mackies compact mixers."

    For me, this does not inspire confidence it will be a substantial improvement. With the addition of Firewire and a (hopefully) more expensive 4 band eq, at basically the same price point as a 1604 mixer, I don't see how it really could be a significant improvement over the existing product line. Mackie is really good at reinventing their products and saying to the consumer, “This time we are serious”. This is about the fourth upgrade to a mic pre they have claimed all along to be “studio quality”.
     
  6. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Yeah I guess that I should look at maybe a rack of 4 or so decent mic pre's and then another rack of 4 or so eq's. Then use the CFX for extra pre's and headphone monitoring. Thanks guys
     
  7. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Kurt, I found 3 Amek 501 channel strips on ebay. Do you know if these are any good? The owner says that they would need to be rack mounted, is this expensive/hard?
     
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Brett, Can you post or send me a link to the auction so I can look at them? Kurt
     
  9. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Yup sorry
    Amek Modules

    [ February 03, 2004, 02:47 PM: Message edited by: Kurt Foster ]
     
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Brett,
    I am not familiar with which console those came out of. Racking modules can get expensive. besides racking them, you need to have a power supply built. I recommend these two 9098 mic pre eq's. I have a pair of them and I think they are very versitile and have a great EQ section.

    Amek 9098

    Amek 9098
     
  11. Fruition2k

    Fruition2k Active Member

    You might be able to find a "B" stock or a used Tascam DM24 digital mixer which has alot to offer in the upper price range you mentioned. Just came out with a firewire option as well...dont know if thats of interest, but its a thought.
     
  12. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Thanks Guys, I will look into your suggestions!
     
  13. Kurt,
    How much experiance do you have with the A&H or Midas to make that comparison?
     
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Robert,
    Thanks for bringing that up. I have heard projects recorded on both these boards at various times. They are fine but are absolutly not of the quality of a large format recording mixer like an API, Trident, Neve or even an old MCI. I have worked for years on these types of large format consoles and I recognize the difference between their performance and the preformance of all the smaller table top mixers like the Mackies, Tascams, AH and the Midas. Cost of a 16 channel mixer that costs $1600 breaks down to $100 per channel and were not taking into account the master sections, buses, aux's, power supply, etc. These pres for the largest part, use monolithic chipsets with surface mount construction and are fed by "barely good enough" type power supplies. It is unrealistic to expect a pre from such a product to perform to the level of a Great River, API, Sebatron, JLM Grace, Millennia, etc. Even a 16 channel mixer that costs $3000 breaks down to only $200 per channel .... I don't see how anyone could realisticly expect these pres or the consoles they come in for that matter, to perform like a "real" recording desk.
     
  15. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Kurt, what would be a "real recording desk" that I should look at? Or can't I afford any of them LOL. Anything for under 5k? How bout under 10K?

    Thanks
    Brett
     
  16. Clueless

    Clueless Guest

    I will totally concede the point to Kurt that $1600 for 16 channels is $100/channel. I will further observe that that's 2x the street cost of Mackie and 50% below the street cost of 16-channel Midas Venice. To my ears, and I have done the A-B-A-B comparison, the 3x cost difference between Mackie and Midas in the tabletop format is *easily* a 3x difference in sound quality. In fact for me, it was the difference between "unacceptable" and "really sweet".

    I also have several outboard preamps (Avalon, Focusrite, etc.) that I feed into my Venice, and I think that even moreso in the high-end space you're going to find that peopel want "this pre" with "that mic". Thus, spending $1000/channel on a mixer just because each channel has a Neve or an SSL pre is perhaps overkill.

    If I had to boil it down, I would say that what the Mackie lacks, and what the Midas offers in spades, is the ability to take 16 (or more) channels of input, sum them beautifully, and moreover not destroy your sound when you touch the EQ. Clearly, you're going to get more flexibility and functionality and character from a $1500 outboard pre then you will from a Venice (or for that matter, a Mackie), but drawing from other threads on this list, you cannot afford to have that much character across all 16 tracks. So buy 2-8 channels of outboard pres, plug them into a Venice, and enjoy making great recordings and mixes!
     
  17. My beef with the Mackie is its inability to handle both tracking and monitoring duties at the same time. If I am monitoring only 4 or 5 prerecorded tracks, and have a mic plugged into an open pre on the Mackie for over-dubbing, the pre distorts long before I can get the gain up to an acceptable level. If the Mackie is handling no other input, and only being used as a preamp, than the headroom is quite good, but this is a useless situation for me.

    So, I bought an outboard pre, and have been quite happy to track with the outboard, and use the Mackie for monitoring/mixing only. Then a desire for a better EQ came along so I started looking at the Venice. I was hoping the Venice would have the power to handle both tracking and monitoring, because I'd have to sell my outboard pre to afford it. Sounds like I'd be better off sticking with my current setup, but replacing the Mackie with a Mix Wizard for the better eq section.

    Thoughts?

    Robert
     
  18. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    Sounds kinda like my problem, my mackie just isnt flexable enough for what I want to do with it. I have all my inserts used up as outputs to my Motu 828 (so I am bypass the eq section), using my (2) aux sends for headphone mixes (but the aux sends are post eq so what I hear isnt always what gets recorded). I have the headphone output of the motu going into an empty channel on the mackie and send this to the headphones as necessary (this is how we do overdubs).
    Maybe I am just not doing something right haha, I am by no means and expert, do you guys see anything wrong with what I am doing.
     
  19. evhwanabe

    evhwanabe Guest

    I guess what I really want is 8 post EQ sends from a mixer to my motu 828....... I don't believe I can do this with the mackie (CFX-20), and still be able to do any monitoring.
     
  20. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Here's one for less than 5k, but be prepared for maintanance.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3700505917&category=23785&sspagename=STRK:MEBWA:IT&rd=1

    or one for 6k

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3701987965&category=23785
     

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