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ANOTHER Small-Format Digital Mixer Thread!!!

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Randyman..., Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member


    I'm looking for some recommendations and advice on picking up a USED small format digital mixer. x'scuse me while I ramble out loud:

    First off, my bands practice at the "Jam Room". We use a crappy Behringer MX-8000 for the PA, and for "Rehearsal Recordings". I also track our demos in the "Jam Room", but I mix at home. I usually track directly into the Roland VS-2480 24 track, and take the 2480 home with me, and export Waves into the PC for mixdown/plug-ins in Nuendo. My recording set-up needs to be portable for now, thus the VS-2480 (the PC is way too heavy!). The "PA" system will remain in the "Jam Room", but tracking device is portable.

    I will be replacing the Behringer MX8000 (Mackie 8-Bus clone) with a small format digital mixer. The main application will be for the practice room's PA (rather intense PA), and for FOH/Monitor at small shows (full band mix w/live drums). 16 analog ins are needed. We will also have an 8-track recorder for rehearsal recordings, so direct outs are needed (or at least an 8-bus architecture). With the Behringer 8000, it has a "Mix-B" bus that I curerently use as a Cassette 2-track mix send for rehearsal recordings (even has it's own dedicated 2-band EQ) - and I would like to keep that functionality on-top of the 8 Direct/sub outs and an isolated PA mix (the PA mix is obviously NOT be the same as the Cassette 2-track mix). The cassette mix is for grabbing "on the go", and the 8-track is more for a later-mixdown for critical review of specific movements in the songs, etc. Both the 8Track and Cassette may be rolling at the same tme.

    A 4-band EQ is a must, and filters are a HUGE plus. At least one effects processor would be cool, but not 100% required. Channel dynamics are also wanted.

    I have done some research over the past year or so, and there are quite a few in my price range. I'm looking towards used mixers, as the mixer will not be in the best of climates (we don't leave the A/C on 24/7, and we smoke heavily - so I don't see the need to ruin a brand-new unit! :) ).

    My budget will be $1000-$1500 (used), and so far I am looking at the DM1000, 01V, Pro-Mix 01, DM-24, Rasma DA7, old 02R's, and even the Roland VM-7100/VM-7200.

    The mixer's digital I/O will likely be used to interface to my VS-2480 for tracking via ADAT or TDIF (I export WAVES from the 2480 into Nuendo for mixing).

    As I mentioned, I also have a Roland VS-2480, and I really love the functionality and flexibility this lends me as a PA board (it is ideal for my requirements) - BUT I don't leave the VS-2480 in the jam-room, so a dedicated mixer is needed. I may even add a second 2480 to my prospective list, as the prices are coming down quickly (Used ones start at about $1800). I really want something with more real-world interconnectivity (what the Roland lacks), but every other feature of the 2480 is just about perfect for my needs. This would also negate the need for the extra 8-track, as the 2480 would be able to record upto 16 tracks at once for later mixdown (for rehearsals).

    Maybe I sould consider dedicating the Roland 2480 to the Jam Room, and instead look at the DM-1000 to run via FireWire with my PC for tracking/interface? My PC is heavy, and not very portable. I track at the Jam Room, and Mix at home. That is why the 2480 is so appealing for my current Tracking duties.

    As you can see, I know what I need, I just wanted to pick your brains for any other models I am forgetting. Any suggestions or recommendations on my odd application? In another year or so, I will have my own house w/ studio, and a "permanent" studio will change all this crap! Then, I will surely record direct to PC, and scrap the 2480 (or dedicate to the Jam Room).

    Thanks for reading my scatterbrained post :cool:
  2. johnny16

    johnny16 Guest

    I'd say the DM-24 would be the better choice. Its got much more features and would be more flexible. Plus, its newer and have much more power than the other ones you mentoned.

    ~ Johnny :wink:
  3. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Johnny!

    Could you compare the Yamaha DM-1000 (current model) to the DM-24? Sonically and functionality? Is there a Firewire card for the DM-24? (Not 100% required, but a good future possibility once I end up with a "permanent" studio and tracking directly to the PC).

    So far, I am leaning towards the DM-1000, but it is a bit out of my price range. It retails for like $5500!!! I have seen a few go for below $2000 used.

    As far as the "eventual" use as a DAW front-end, does the DM-1000 fair well against the DM-24? I actually thought the DM-1000 was more of a "pro" unit than the DM-24 - but I don't know tons about either mixer. I may not ever use the mixer for the DAW (may just go straight to a Roseta 800 instead), but it is a good option to have.

    Thanks again! :cool:
  4. johnny16

    johnny16 Guest

    Hey Randyman,

    The Yamaha would definitely sound much more better than the Tascam but you said your budget was around $1500. I have not use the DM-24 but I would assume it is no different than its big brother TM-D4000 which is a 32 channel digital board with a few more feature than the DM-24. I believe tascam will release a firewire option for the DM-24 so you can also use it as a control surface. I paid $5500 for my TM-D4000 when it came out and that was the worst piece of equipment I have ever bought. Why ? Cause the preamp sucks and i do all my mixing on the computer. If you want quality, you should look into the O2R boards. They go for around $2000. The reason why I told you to look for the DM-24 is because they are around $1200. I don't think you should spend that much money on a digital board because in the end, you will sell it and get an analog board instead. My Mackie 8 Bus, and Soundcraft 8 bus blow the digital board away. I think that digital mixing was a flop and many manufacturer went under or lost a great deal of money. If you can't afford the really high end digital boards, you are better off mixing your computer or use an analog board.

    ~ johnny
  5. baboon

    baboon Guest

    DM 24

    The DM24 is acually a worderfull sounding board (especially when clocked to bigben). Much, much better than Or2 though have not tried newer yamaha boards.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    One of the mixers you mention, the Ramsa DA7, is one of the "sleepers" on your list. It is one of the best small-format, digital mixers ever. Not only are their converters and preamps the best out of all the mixers you mentioned here, they have a very extensive automation capability and a fabulous eq. If you can manage to find one of these, snatch it up - it's worth the money!

  7. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Cucco!

    I have heard many good things about the Rasma, and you can come across them once a month or so on eBay. How does the Rasma DA7 compare to a Yamaha DM1000 (not considering 96K operation)? Quality of pres, conversion, EQ and dynamics algorithms, control surface, etc...

    Speaking of eBay, I just picked up a RME AID-8 for $527! I can use it with the Roland 2480 for now (bypassing the 2480's analog section), and also use it down the road once I dedicate my PC to audio.

    I think I'm going to lean more towards the PC-based tracking setup, and dedicate the Roland 2480 for the jam-room's PA (and rehearsal recorder). I'll still need portability until I get a studio/house, so I'll have to pick up a laptop soon $$:roll:$$. I can sell the Behringer MX-8000 for a couple hundred (replaced by the Roland 2480), and I have some other gear I can auction off to help fund a Laptop purchase.

    How is the Rasma as a control surface/front-end? Was there a firewire option for it? If not, ADAT would do the trick. I'll likely hold off on picking up a digital mixer until I have an acual "control room" to house it, but the Rasma is high on my list.

    Rock on :cool:
  8. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    my experience with the DM24 has been anything but satisfactory. I work with this board everyday. And while it is rich in features...

    The gain structure on it's pres is such that unless uve tweaked the trim pot all the way up, ull hardly get any level in. And this is on moderate level voice and other such stuff. And it's equally bad with condensers. U can forget micing a foot away. Will not work.

    I thought it was just this board, but i had another tascam analog lying around and there too we had a similar story to tell. Now yamahas are different. There fun.

  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Personally, I think the Ramsa compares quite favorably to the Yamahas - despite their 96k implementation. I think their pres have far more character. (That's not to say they are unuseably colored, but quite pleasant in their presentation). They use very good converters for a digital board. Don't forget though, this sucker's heavy!!!

    As for the portability/pc issue: don't discount a "desktop" yet. Laptops are quite appealing, but the issues are - no PCI slots, limited Firewire/USB implementation and you're stuck with the hardware "til death do you part!" Every 2 years or so, you'll find yourself sinking BIG $$$ into a new laptop.

    Instead, consider a rackmount PC. You can build it yourself and save BIG. Plus, every couple of years, make some minor upgrades... (New processor/new board - only a few hundred $$ versus thousands!)

    You can make these super quiet nowadays and they'll fit in 3 rack spaces. Go to ebay and pick out a nice rackmount lcd (there are some really cool ones that take up 1U and slide out of a drawer.)

    You'll be set for far less than a laptop...

    Just a few thoughts,

    J... :cool:
  10. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    I was considering a rack-mount PC, but I have been itching to get a laptop, and I will likely get a Firewire interface or the RME laptop PC interface (like the digi-face or multi-face) to incorporate the AID-8 via ADAT optical. The laptop would be a multi-purpose computer, but would see lots of audio tracking.

    Would anyone care to compare the RME Multiface versus a MOTU 828 FireWire unit? I will always default to the AID-8's AD and DA via ADAT optical, so the AD/DA's on the Firewire unit will be secondary. With the RME - I know I would need 2 PCI cards (one for PC, one for laptop), and the MOTU I could use Firewire on both (no cards needed on laptop or PC).

    I really need extreme portability for now, so a 10U rack with a PC and monitor is a bit much. Once I buy a house, I will be doing the control room/live room with a dedicated control surface (possibly the Rasma DA7) and a tower PC. I will only use the laptop for tracking (temporarily at that), and I would actually mix on my tower PC at home.

    So, how is the DA-7 as a control surface for Nuendo? MIDI or RS-422, or how does it interface?

    Sidhu, thanks for the feedback on the DM-24. I have an older Tascam TM-D1000 that I paid $450 for brand-new, and it is a good "utility" digital mixer, but that is about all I use it for. The DM-24 seems cool (and functional like you said), but if the real-world applications reveal extreme limitations, I will stay clear...

    Thanks! :cool:
  11. Sidhu

    Sidhu Active Member

    I forgot to mention that after uve turned up the trim pots all the way, to get that halfway decent level into ure recorder, if the tallent were to decide to get a bit louder... the pres clip.

    It's very tedious to try and get the pres to work proper, not that u cant, but IMO, not worth it. Get a yamaha instead. The O1V96 seems good too.

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