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My god...mixer...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by XTREEMMAK, Nov 10, 2008.


    XTREEMMAK Active Member

    For a while now I've been faced with a dilemma towards my hardware upgrade. Ever since I had a chance to work on an Amek Rembrandt Analog console, I've been fighting to create a setup that resembles it. You know, pretty good headroom, mono summing, reasonable amount of busing, patching, ect ect. Problem is:

    A. Like I have $50,000 laying around lol
    B. Like I can maintain it...

    So I've been looking for a new mixer recently and I need a choice before December. Mainly all I'd need is:
    *16 in/out balanced or something like 16/16 4 unbalanced w/e
    *Bypassable pre's on every channel (I've never hooked up or used a light pipe or ADAT peripheral so forgive me if my intention is a bit skewed..)
    *Optionally control surface (not necessary but a plus if it's included)
    *Firewire interface
    *Anything at or above 48kHz recording quality
    *A reasonable amount of Aux sends
    *Mono summing
    *Good if not sort a great onboard pres
    *Reasonably good implemented world clock

    That's probably the least I'd want. Trying to stay within $3,000.00 and not exceed $6,000.00.

    Now it's also been brought to my attention that I may not need a mixer at all. Originally I was planning to get the RME Fireface 800. But then said why not get something a bit bigger that can at least give you some Aux sends for headphone mixes and higher headroom. Plus, I cant logically think of a way to hook up a patch bay without the mixer because I've never hooked up a patch bay before, though I know I will need one.

    Please help, It's been a daunting problem that I haven't been able to find a real reputable sollution that wont break me in the long run. I've looked at the new Allen Heath models, the Yamaha N12, the Toft ....Idk...I'm trying to get away from my Mackie and Mackie all together....

    I've been staying away from Tascam for a while and what's bugging me is, what's the real gripe that people have with their units? I mean I just ran into the DM3200 and it looks pretty sick. I just dont see why people dont really like Tascam all that much...is it there pres? Hardware reliability? What? Are they like Behringer or Nady or something?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Hey there! OK, OK, I got you covered.

    So you have heard now, what good microphone preamps can sound like. You have also seen the flexibility afforded you by multiple Aux sends, busing, analog stereo summation and for those that know how important it is to hear it this way? The Mono button! You only need Mono summing if you want to listen to it with a collapsed stereo image to Mono? Or you need to deliver something in Mono? Such as for telephone on hold, answering, messaging, talking books, etc.?

    You're talking $3000 not to exceed $6,000? And you want the best bang for the buck. Well as you mentioned, you looked at some fairly interesting digital consoles? Those TASCAM desks are cool. Work as advertised. Have all the features you find on SSL's. I've worked on those. All of those. I think you should go for it. The cheaper ones that is. Great little digital mixers. Quite versatile. Good TC & others effects built in. Parametric equalization. Full dynamics processing, gating, frequency weighting, etc.. And built-in microphone preamps that are well, underwhelming but 100% usable. Not necessarily 100% desirable. What I'm saying is, a set of quality outboard microphone preamps, for recording, will give you that Neve or, API or, that Amek like quality sound. The TASCAM preamps are just nothing to write home about. They are so neutral sounding, they're neutered sounding. That's not my favorite sound. Hopefully not yours either? I like my microphone preamps like I like my partners. Sexy sounding. And you only get that from quality preamps. Not the ones built into those mixers. But like I said, 100% totally adequate. So you also go get a pair of quality preamps with one of those consoles, won't you? Then you'll pick up another pair of another type at a later date, won't you? This will continue on, like sickness, until your control room sounds like a million bucks. Or, just cost that much?

    That crap about anything above 48kHz? That's crap. Unless you have some big ass contract with big ass bucks involved? 48kHz gets you where you need to be in 44.1kHz is perfectly adequate. Go 24-bit if you need that processing range? Generally, I don't bother. I continue on quite happily at 16-bit since I know how to set levels. Hint hint. Wink wink.

    You're still can have some kind of decent software that will enhance those digital consoles. It's your own baby digital SSL! So even though I don't personally own one, (Japanese digital mixer) I've mixed on them (and their British digital cousins). You'll love it (either continents). Except for the microphone preamps (the SSL's aren't great microphone preamps either). Which are 100% usable. But with good preamps, you'll definitely know the difference. Preamps that are "state-of-the-art" are not necessarily better sounding preamps. I mean they are better sounding preamps that may not have the recognizable character that older designs are known for. I'm old school & an old fool but I no longer drool.

    All Neve & API, so I know the difference.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    XTREEMMAK Active Member

    So from what I understand,
    The TASCAM's are great units, built well, wont fail on you like a MOTU but is really, really more advisable to use external pres than the onboards (obviously). Hmmm...the preamp replacement step could take some time before it could happen considering I need to get something for all channels then..... I just hope they dont sound less or duller than the pres I have now (Mackie Onyx 1220...Not entirely garbage pres but yeah). I would get a lunch box but I think that's also beyond me at this point. Probably the first pre I want after I find my new mixer solution (which is leaning TASCAM) is the Great River. IDK I just loved how it sounded whilst running through a Neuman TLM-103 (yeah I know everyone swears by the U87 but hell I love this mic too damn it! Either way, it'll be a step up from the $99 mic I have now lol).

    So you say the pres are usable, but would there be a pre you'd recommend off the bat that I could get for all channels as a stand in (I probably shouldn't have asked his lol. I think the obvious answer would be, why bother)......Well then I should say this, do you see these onboard pres as more of a hindrance?

    Yeah I still record in 48kHz 24bit. I just put the above statement just so I have the option, in case something changes in the audio standards blah blah blah.

    Ohh just thought about something! What about the standard pres off the Digimax?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Really, your Onyx preamps are the ones to use. I mean I recorded rock-and-roll with the TASCAMs. They just leave me cold. And I'm the only person I know that can get headroom out of those things. Although there is really nothing that replaces a good microphone transformer input. There's a reason why the transformer costs $100. And you think you're going to get a better sounding preamp out of $10 of cheap chips? You're already at the midrange. So the Mackie along with a Great River & your 103 sounds like a winner! Get some more Mackie's for your tracking. Pick up a couple of API 312 or a 3124 of any flavor. See those 1272's floating around? Get a couple. Push the input gain hard, turn the output gain down, on any of those. And then you'll know. You'll know. You already know.

    I know that I know
    Ms. Remy Ann David I know

    XTREEMMAK Active Member

    The only real problem with the Mackie Onyx series is that you cant bypass the pres on it. It has No ADAT support, no light pipe, and any insert you run through it goes post firewire card and there is no pre/post switch...grrr. That's another reason why I'm trying to get rid of my Mackie aside the fact that my master left channel is dying. My spare Mbox is the only thing that's saving my ass right now lol. I'm trying to stay away from Mackie all together though since they stiffed an entire community on driver updates. But now I'm scared of the Tascam now as well lol. I figured since it was a digital console that it wouldn't sound nearly as warm as any analog console (which compared to the Onyx 1220 strikes me as a bit wired), so I dont know. The next reasonable thing I've seen is that new Allen Heath ZED 4 bus, and then from there, the Toft ATB 16 which doesn't even come with a firewire card or the meter bridge which alone will set me back about 6,000... wow I just dont know. I'm still leaning Tascam for all I'm getting with it, but if I go that rout, it'd probably be best to get that at the same time with the great river. That way, I'll at least have two (or was it one ??? ) good channels.

    I hear what you're saying about the circuitry though. The if that's the case, what about using a better analog console and something like the RME 800? I'm pretty sure going that rout would also give me a better world clock yes? Sure I'd be loosing a control surface, but at least I'd get some really good out of the box pres that I can at least work with until I have enough to get more pres. I'm sure they wont have me hanging by a flag pole in the winter like a Tascam pre would lol.

    You see what I'm trying to do also right? Send the mix or some of the mix to be mixed through the console and outboard processing on bounce?
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I'm not clear whether you are wanting an analog console or a digital desk. You won't get automation in an analog desk in that price range, and only digital desks can operate as a control surface for a DAW.

    In analog consoles, I don't know which A&H model you were looking at, but you can get a 16-channel Midas Venice for under $3500. Of all the desks I have worked with, I still believe the Venice has the the best sound in this price bracket - really nice preamps, good headroom and great EQ. I know it's sold as a live sound desk, but I would not hesitate to use one in a studio.

    For a digital desk, the Yamaha DM1000VCM falls in your price range. The mic pre-amps are OK to good, but can be by-passed by going in via the insert returns if you want to use external pre-amps. In terms of other makes, I have to say I'm still suspicious of Tascam build quality and reliability after a few incidents over the years.
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I used to have a pair of Tascam DM24's. I had some issues with them. The mic pre's were so-so and the gain pots were twitchy and JUMPED towards the end of their travel. Headroom was marginal at best. The moving faders developed a peculiar slugguishness and required multiple power-up reboots to reset them to "home". The tech support at Tascam was of no real assistance, either. Overall, I did not think that the DM24 held up well against its' chief rival, the Yamaha 01v96v2 that a peer of mine still has a pair of. Sold mine, now I am eagerly awaiting my own 01V. Live and learn...

    XTREEMMAK Active Member

    What about the Presonus StudioLive 16:4:2 ?
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You keep lowering your standards...LOL!
  10. Robak

    Robak Active Member

    What do you mean? No line inputs?
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There are TRS input jacks labelled "line", but they just feed the mic pre-amps via an attenuator. It's common practice in this level of equipment.

    The (unbalanced) insert returns are a direct route into the mix section.

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