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I finally got the Nerve - So , Here goes...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by cubaseonballs, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Hi,
    I've been searching for threads on Mixers and how to use them, but everyone of them(threads) is not basic enough for my liking.
    Here's my scenario...
    I have Cubase SX and I am doing everything "In the Box" as the saying goes. Everyone seems to have an outboard Mixer but me. Why? Are they using it as a preamp for recording and then mixing in Cubase, or are they using it for Monitoring ? The whole thing (using Mixers) is still abit fuzzy with me. Sorry to be so naive, but I thought "If I don't ask, I'll never find out" .So here I am. Nice to be here !
    Please tell me all about Mixers and why I need it.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Some of us using DAW's have and use mixers and some of us don't. It is not a prerequsite like it used to be with stand alone recorders. One use for a mixer is as you mentioned is for monitoring while tracking. Some DAW programs do not have a way to monitor the tracks you are recording without latency, that is a slight delay between when you play or sing and when you hear it out of the speakers or in the phones. This can really be disconcerting. If you split the output of what you are recording sending one split to the recorder and the the other one to the mixer for monitoring, then you can monitor what you are recording without and delay or latency. Another use for a mixer is as pre amps for your mics.
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    While all DAW recording software has a digital mixer, you don't have to use the software mixer for mixing. As a working style, many still prefer to mix using knobs and faders as well as often prefer the sound of a real mixer and/or it's eq. You also need a mixer to interface and process any outboard gear that one might have durring mixing. In most cases, a real mixer is going to provide you with more options and flexability.
  4. Thanks guys
  5. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Do pure-digital mixers exist?

    Given: digital tracks are stored on the DAW.

    If one wants to mix externally to the DAW, it either has to be D/A, mix, A/D back to the DAW, or using a digital mixer to avoid conversion.

    I'd prefer to avoid the conversions in/out of the DAW to an analog mixer.
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Many digital interfaces and digital mixers have options for multiple digital I/O using the one or more of the formats of S/PDIF, AES, and ADAT optical for use in digital mixers.

    And even if you do have those conversions, there are still many times when doing so you get a better sounding result in the end. Just as in pro Mastering where often there is conversion to analog for processing and then back to digital. Just because you stay digital, that doesn't mean your getting better quality. Lot's of things can happen in the digital path that your completely unaware of that can do as much harm or more than the conversion process. I'd rather do the conversions and process with great analog gear than stay digital and deal with the degraded sound of a bunch of half ass plugs.


    Great question. I'm a relative newbie too and this is something I've been unclear about. In response to the replies given so far, it brings up another question for me. There are analog mixers and then there are digital work stations correct? Digital workstations are self contained and can basically multitrack recorders. Can they be used in the same way with a computer? If so, is there conversion required in order to mix?

    For analog, would one have to convert each track one at a time from the computer to the mixer? And then when one mixes with the analog mixer, how does it store the various audio tracks? Is it tape?

    Forgive my major ignorance, but I'm very interested to know how this works.


  8. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Some of us are not pro-grade recordists, and we will never have $20k mixers or $5k preamps.

    I'm currently using a RAMSA 20-channel console that has a $6,400 price tag still intact from Skip's Music in Sacramento. From what I've read, even this console isn't all that hot for quality of pre's and analog electronics. We invested $600, which is apparently all it's worth, plus that is what it is worth to us.

    My partner wants to toss the RAMSA and replace it with a Mackie 16-VLZ. That would be useful for our live PA support needs, but I question using it for quality mixing.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    If you toss that Ramsa, please toss it my way. That's a good mixer... it doesn't have as many aux sends as a Mackie but in every other way it is far superior. I just sold a 1604vlz a few months ago and now I wish I had kept it so I could trade you for your Ramsa..
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    $600 for what sounds like a WRT820....there is a God! What dont you like about it??These things rock!
  11. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    The RAMSA is the 20 channel version, with 8 bus groups.

    Jack and myself have been doing live recording with this console to an Alesis ADAT 8-channel recorder for demo work for our daughters' band, Aroarah. The demos opened a door in LA, and they are invited to two studios and some meet 'n greet time with execs at the end of January.

    The RAMSA is ill-suited for live venues due to its size and weight. Jack is searching for a Mackie or Soundcraft 16 channel mixer and then offing the RAMSA. Now that I have a 2nd Aardvark Q10, we can do multi-tracking without the RAMSA.
  12. malcolm123

    malcolm123 Guest

    Basically you have digital mixers (workstations) that you can record to that have internal hard drives for storing audio. Then you have digital mixers that send or receive audio signals through different types of digital interfaces. IE Tdif, Adat, Spdif, etc. These type of mixers do not record the audio ( like my Tascam DM24). My mixer is connected to my computer through a digital interface like the Motu2408. The mixer has 16 micpres, faders, eq, dynamics, etc all built in. SO If I hooked a mic to my digital console and wanted to record I would have to have some type of software on the computer waitng to recieve the audio signal. In my case Sonar XL. Once I record the audio in Sonar I then take that audio track and give it a output source that routes it back to the digital mixer for mixing. I can record up to 24 channels of audio and route each one back to the digital mixer on seperate channels for mixing. Then you have like control surfaces that are mainly just a hardware control center to control your software in the computer. some have micpres, and other inputs and outputs to simulate what a analog console mainly does, but it only does it using a digital signal. I hope this makes sense.



    Thanks Malcolm! That's just what I was looking for. A basic, clear explanation. Can I ask, do some digital mixers double as control surfaces too? Or would that be redundant?

    Also, I want a simple set up. Starting with a computer and sound card of course, would you recommend a mixer or could I get away with just a mic pre going into the card (A/D) and then mix "in the box"? Which is preferable? I usually record only 2 trks at a time. Therefore I was thinking a top quality 2 channel pre would be better than a mid-level mixer for the same price.


  14. teleharmonic

    teleharmonic Guest

    Not necessarily redundant. Digital mixers like the Tascam DM24 mentioned can also communicate with DAW software and be used as a control surface. You would have to check the specs of individual digital mixers and the software that you use to see what the depth of their control of the software is though... they MAY not be able to perform all the functions of a dedicated control surface.

    Other than workflow, as AudioGaff described, people use Analog boards because of the sound they impart to the mix. Since you are not getting this with a digital mixer it may make more sense to use your digital mixer as a control surface and mix in the box (or just get a control surface)as then the automation data is saved out with the song file and is more portable. On the other hand... using the digital mixer for some of these functions will take strain off your computer's processor. It is really something you'd have to weigh yourself.

  15. malcolm123

    malcolm123 Guest

    When I think about it the purpose of my console is mainly to give me outboard gear options, 16 micpres, Ins / outs, the ability to physically touch faders, automation outside of the computer,etc. This is why when dealing with audio and Sonar, I only use sonar to record the audio. I do not use any plugins with audio in sonar. I just play sonar back and tweek everything in the console.

    If you are used to mixing In Box, then I dont see a problems with that. My console is really just a computer with a bunch of different connections for this or that. I tried mixing in Box a long time ago when PCs werent as powerful and had bad experiences. But nowadays ,, I dont think it makes that much of a difference if your computer is fast enough and your familiar and used to it. Im talking digital now. I think analog consoles would serve a much better purpose when playing back audio from a computer.



    Thanks again!

  17. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    as teleharmonics says, many people go out from a daw to an analog boards because the sound of the board and what it ads to the mix-

    yet another school of thought says that if you have enough DA converters (digital to analog) you should go out to a quality board with as many channels as you have, either in stems or as a complete mix (if you have enough channels) The reason for this (so the argument goes) is that there isn't enough resolution in todays computer to mix inside the box and not lose audio quality. Thus some pro houses go out to a great board, mix in analog and then AD the mix back in to the daw- I don't have a great board so I do mix inside the box and thus can neither prove or disprove the argument-

    I have Digital Performer and what I have noticed is that when you bounce (a mix) to disk you do lose some clarity and top end and I end up eq'ing some hi end to my mixes tryin to try and recapture
    the sound that I had achived in my mix prior to bouncing to disk. Most of the time I can get it pretty close to it but still you lose a little bit-

    supossedly when computers advance some more we can get over this bottleneck and the only reason to mix in analog will be because you like what your board does to your sound-


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