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HELP - Best Multitrack/Mixer for under 450$

Discussion in 'Recording' started by freakyfranck, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. freakyfranck

    freakyfranck Guest

    I want to start by saying in sorry to be another recording newbie asking almost the same question.

    I want to record demos with my band. Instead of doing all the layers one after the others, it would be awsome to record rehearsals and tweak all the track in the DAW (cubase). It would hopefully sound better than recording with a tape cassette recorder.

    Our setup is pretty straight forward:
    Vocal (1 mic)
    Guitar (1 direct input for guitar rig and sound from amp)
    Bass (1 direct input or sound from amp)
    drum (6-7 mics)
    IPod (Is it possible to connect an IPod if we want to play a mp3?)

    So what I had in mind is something like a 16inputs and 16outputs(or a bit less). I don't really need effects on the interface/mixer, i would do my tweak in cubase. My band is mainly black metal so i might not need the best compressor or preamp. Could be firewire or USB2. I am on window7.

    I did my homework and here is what I have found:
    Allen & Heath ZED-14 USB Mixing Console(14in 10out) 400$
    Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 (20in 20out) 500$
    Alesis MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 (16in 18out) 600$
    PreSonus FireStudio(26in 26out) 600$

    Most of my research is busting my budget. But I could wait a bit to buy something that really worth it. Am I considering at least the right piece of gear?

    Ofcourse if i had the money I would maybe go with:
    MOTU Traveler-mk3
    Onyx 1620i
    etc etc
  2. jg49

    jg49 Distinguished Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    "The ZED-14 and its larger siblings (the ZED-420, ZED-428, and ZED-436) are designed primarily for live sound; their USB 1.1 implementation allows for sending two tracks to a computer for recording and monitoring two return channels simultaneously" This is live mixing stereo recording and will not allow you tweak the individual instrument tracks as they will have been mixed "live." The company itself claims this is a mixer designed for live use.

    The Alesis MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 (16in 18out) is much more what you are looking for when you say "I want to tweak the tracks in cubase." It is important to understand that this as well as the Presonus unit have only eight preamps all other inputs are adat or line level. This basically and very simply means that you can only use eight miced sources as nearly all mics require some type of preamplification. You may be able to send your guitar or bass amp in direct if it has the proper line level output but one would have to know the specifics of the amps being used.

    The Presonus unit is IMO a better unit having better preamps and a/d converters but I am prejudiced I use presonus equipment.

    I frequently record three piece bands live (which is basically what you are trying do) with eight channels, one vocal, one guitar, one bass, four drum channels. In fact many many drum recordings are made with only four mics professionally.

    If you get a presonus unit you can daisy chain it with another later and add more channels, though the Alesis might do this a well.

    THe Presonus units can be had on ebait for about half of the new cost, and you really should allow at minimum $100 per channel for mics and that is the low budget plan.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Don't go for a cheap mixer that won't do what you want. The function you are describing is really that of a multi-channel interface rather than a mixer, but there are mixers such as the A+H Zed-R16 that would exactly fit your requirement, but at a price.

    It's a great concept to record the band playing together, as that way you get the tightest and most cohesive sound, but unless you have a really good recording space, you will find that bleed between instrument microphones creates a big problem.

    My recommendation is to compromise on the number of drum microphones, so you can fit everything into a single 8-channel audio interface to start with. You don't need more than kick, snare and two overheads to mic a drum kit for this level of recording, and even the snare is dispensable. That would bring you to selecting from a wide choice of interface units, and if you get one that is expandable, you can add another box and move up to more drum mics or more instruments when funds allow.

    PS You are not the drummer, are you?
  4. freakyfranck

    freakyfranck Guest

    You got a point there, the bleeding between mics is going to be a problem, we have a 12X8 pratice space (The drum is mount of a 3 feet stage). The vocal mic is going to take sound from the drum and vice versa.

    Your 2 comments really helped me narrow it down to the conclusion that Alesis MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 would do the trick but might have to many knobs just to pass the sound to my computer. On the other hand PreSonus FireStudio might be a little bit expensive and features to many inputs, so unless I get a good prize for a used one i will continue to look for the right interface(I've seen some for 300US$).

    Do you have any 8inputs(6mics and 2 instrument inputs) and 8 outputs interface to recommend me? I looked at the Presonus DigiMax D8 or the PreSonus FP10( dont see the difference between them) which is quite what I would need at 400$.

    I am composing all the music(solid guitar/bass and some basic drum parts) and then I play my songs with the band. The other musicians improved there part. Live/Recoding I will be on guitar duty.


    Thx you are really helping me creating something unique and vintage just like all the band were doing in the late 80'/early 90'
  5. freakyfranck

    freakyfranck Guest

    I just bought a used firepod for 300$CAN :) Looks amazing! Now im gonna have to fully read the manual. Thx a lot!
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    It was a steal at that price. Well done!

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