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I have just purchased the following equipment (List below) as part of my studio upgrade and I have some funds left in my budget, the studio soundproofing is going to be less than i expected and i have €4,000 to play with. I use a mixerless setup with Cubase SX 3 and 3 dedicated Gigastudio machines routed back to the daw. I am considering buying a digital mixer (Tascam DM 4800) or a control surface with plenty of faders. Would the Tascam be overkill on my system, what are the pros and cons involved in having a digital mixer. Should i go with a control surface and if so which one would u recommend?

Lynx Aurora 16 Mastering A/D D/A Converter
Lynx LT-ADAT ADAT Expansion Card
Lynx AES16e 192kHz Multi-Channel AES/EBU Audio Interface (PCIe card)
2 x Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity Hybrid Mic Preamp & DI
Chameleon Labs 7622 Dual Channel Microphone Preamp
Power supply for Chameleon Labs 7622
A-Designs - MP-2A
Klark Teknik Square ONE dynamics
PreSonus Central Station
PreSonus Csr 1 - Central Station Remote Control
Adam a7monitors pair
Adam sub 8
Audio-Technica ATM250DE Cardioid Dynamic Dual-Element Instrument Microphone
Avensons Audio STO-2 Omni Electret Condenser Microphones
Cad Trion 7000 RIBBON MIC
2 x AKG C414 LTD

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and i look forward to any suggestions



RemyRAD Fri, 08/15/2008 - 02:21

Pros & cons of digital mixer versus DAW control surface? Well, you don't quite have enough preamps from your indications, to record or track a full band? But then, numerous control surfaces include microphone preamps such as the Digi design C24, which has 16 adequate microphones preamps. Plus, it's compatible with Pro Tools. Which may attract more clients for you? Every kid and his brother that takes a recording course these days seems to get taught that software. I don't like it or use it much but I have it. I like other software better. And that's because over the years, silly people have kept asking me if I have Pro Tools. It's only because it is got that moniker of "Pro" in the title. It seems to make all the uninformed folks think better of your capabilities. That really was a brilliant part of marketing that product. I know that I'm personally not impressed by folks that have TASCAM stuff. Sure, the stuff works & works reliably. Just not my favorite cup of tea. I still make killer recordings with that companies mediocre sounding consoles/mixers. But that's because I try to stay away from the equalizer's. They're horrible. Other control surfaces like Euphonics, Fairlight & others don't have microphone preamps. Well, that's a generalized statement and it depends on what products you're looking for.

I'm ready for an Irish coffee!
Ms. Remy Ann David

Sidhu Fri, 08/15/2008 - 05:20

For 4000 bux check out the euphonix stuff. It will implement the eucon protocoll for Cubase shortly, currently it is implemented for nuendo and others.

A cheaper and more common alternative is the Mackie control.

I really dont see much point in a digital mixer...

I guess pres and mics are application dependant. If u dont record too many channels simultaneously...


anonymous Fri, 08/15/2008 - 05:24

Hey Hally,

As Remy says, if you are intending to record bands, with multiple musicians tracking at once, with potentially multiple headphone mixes and sends, then a console makes a lot of sense as a front end (potentially some digital boards allow MIDI communication for HUI emulation, like O1Vs or 02Rs).

If you are mainly using VIs and then using your front end to do overdubs and doing a lot of mixing in the box, you'd do better with a controller for your DAW IMHO. Concentrate on learning how to mix using the automation system inside your DAW and accessing that from your controller. Makes a hell of a difference to mixing with a mouse, bucket loads faster, more creative and more intuitive.

hally Fri, 08/15/2008 - 06:02

Thanks for the reply's, I had to give up those irish coffees a few years back, they chewed me up and spat me out.
I didn't include in the list the gear i already have which includes 8 presonus preamps. So am i right in saying that the tascam is overkill in my situation, I have to admit i am sold by its aesthetics but don't fully understand how to incorporate into my set up. i would really just be using it as a glorified control surface...
So, any other thoughts keep them coming

hally Fri, 08/15/2008 - 06:10

thanks brent, i just read ur responce, i mostly record singer songwriters, jazz quartet/ sextet, vocalists and not too much 4 piece rock bands.

If i don't ask i will never know so what is HUI emulation and IMHO.

It feels that the tascam would potentially suit my set up, are there alternative digital boards in or around or less than my price range, thanks

Sidhu Fri, 08/15/2008 - 07:34

HUI sands for 'human user interface'. It's a mackie protocol and implemented by various others to give controller support to DAW's implementing the same.

Developed by mackie and digidesign, digi has since moved on to more indepth implementation of its own proprietary interface.


AudioGaff Fri, 08/15/2008 - 18:15

It is scary deciding on a digital mixer. Value drops quickly, it may not be updated or have the bugs worked out when you get it, it may never get any promised updates or bugs fixed, it may hinder your working style, it may just flat out not meet expectations.

I myself just bought my first digital mixer. While like Remy, I was leary of the Tascam, I have been wathing them mature over the years. I went with the Tascam DM-4800 (with expansion options) as being the first one worth buying that had the features, quality and price value that I was willing to pay for. This is replacing a 48x8x2 analog desk I have been using for my home setup. Time will tell if I made a mistake or not.

In my case, I WAS just planning to mostly use it like I did my analog console with an Aleisis HD-24 or the rare times I still use 24-track tape. If that is all I used it for, it would of have been over overkill, but now that I have used it a little and re-thought out on how to use more as digital audio tool, it has not only made me more productive, saved me from having to use, wire up and interface 4, 48-Ch patchbays, has reduced frequent routine mouse use, reduced the footprint for space, freed up 4-5 racks spaces (for other gear of course) has made experimenting with things more enjoyablem and just overall completely changed the way in which I work.

Now one single product gives me:

6-layer 24-fader, 48-main ch, 24-bus mixer (with 98 total inputs - all being used!)
Speaker selector for 2-sets of monitors
Talkback mic/ with Slate and auto output attenuation
Two decent effects engines,
Analog & digital patchbay/signal router
Digital sample rate converter
Digital audio format converter
MIDI controller
DAW controller with MMC functions,
RS422 machine controller
32-Ch firewire audio interface

Even if it is overkill, so what? I would much rather have and use a product that has more capability than I need than a product that has less or that is limited from the start, or that barely meets my needs.

hally Sat, 08/16/2008 - 02:22

Hi AudioGaff,

Thank you for your detailed reply and I think I am sold but just a little confused on how I will incorporate the Tascam desk into my set up.
The signal flow as I understand it will be...

Mic - preamp - Lynx Aurora 16 Converter - channnel on Tascam - Lynx AES16e 192kHz PCIe card - Cubase SX and returned to Tascam desk with all the other channels for mixing...

This is how I visualize it and I may be way of the mark, what are your thoughts...

So what becomes redundant in my rack after the introduction of the tascam desk, the presonus central station for monitoring can possibly go, what other items did u loose from ur rack.
How is the channel compression on the tascam and the TC electronic reverb.

Thanks for your help

AudioGaff Sun, 08/17/2008 - 10:13

If you use the Lynx PCIe card, than you would not be able to use the Tascam Firewire option or at least not be able to use at the same time.

If you don't need to mix while recording, I would likely not use the mixer. Just go mic-mic pre-Lynx-DAW software.

You can only use the Mixer features such as the effects, eq, compression if the audio is going through the mixer and most of the time all the mixer features except the analog inserts are all post A2D.

I have not spent much time with the eq or compression or effects as I have only had the mixer for a few weeks and I also have a lot of high end outboard that I would rather use, but from what little I have fooled with it, they all have surprised me as being decent and useable that is also pretty quick/easy to use.

So in addition to freeing up rack space from the non required patchbays, I also removed my two RME Digifaces and Alesis AI-1,

What you need to decide is if you wil be mixing audio in the PC or in the mixer. Or both, which is an attractive option to be able to have in my mind

Using a digital mixer as a DAW/MIDI/MMC controller for mixing in the box ignores most of the mixer features (because it is a mixer first) which may bother some people for paying for more than what you need. It used to bother me enough to not buy one until the Tascam showed up. Even then, I waited more than a year to see what issues and updates it had. The outcome was that I thought it was worth taking a chance on.

If the digital mixer has everything that you need as a mixer and/or a controller for the price your willing to pay, as in my case, then the exra features that you do not plan to use it for are a bonus. You may never need to use them, but I think you will find down the road that having those features available to you, you will soon find ways to make use of them.