Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by Joshua Hanks, Dec 4, 2002.

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  1. Joshua Hanks

    Joshua Hanks Guest


    What are the benefits of using a hardware mixer
    *(analog or digital) today?
    As we all know, computers are getting faster and more powerful every month and can easily be used for virtual mixing, processing, mastering, etc...

    With good mic pres, good AD/DA converters, do we still need a hardware mixer?

    Especially when working with a sampler centered application like Gigastudio, what are the pros and cons at your opinion?

    What are your recommendations for a good workflow?
    What about midi control surfaces? Are they practical?

    If you guys don't mind sharing: What are you using in your own studio setup?

    (alright, alright... I'm done with my questions!)

    Thank you very much in advance for your inputs.

    JHanks. :cool:

    *P.S Please understand that it is not my intention to start a flamming war about digital vs analog mixers...(that's another post altogether!)
  2. llornkcor

    llornkcor Active Member

    May 8, 2001
    Brisbane, Australia (originally Boulder, CO, USA)
    Home Page:
    I still have my analog mackie mixer. Software is nice. But I wouldnt give either up for anything. Well, except a digital mixer :) but I am old school.

  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Latency in DAW is still an issue and will be for a while longer. Stand alone analog mixers are a great solution for this. Many feel that the summing in a DAW is inferior to summing in an analog device and that is another reason to keep an analog mixer around. I feel that if it's a Mackie or other cheap desk, the only thing it's good for is to monitor, send phone mix's and prop open the door (and the occasional sacrifice to the freeway gods). Crest is releasing a small mixer, that is receiving rave reviews. Crest has been making quality gear for some time now, although they were recently bought by Peavey. This seems not to have had any ill effects on the products they are releasing. The pres and eq's on this desk are supposed to be excellent. TL Audio makes a nice compact 8 channel tube console designed just to use with DAW's and is reported to be excellent also.
    ….. Fats
  4. ratbot

    ratbot Guest

    There's a few reasons I wouldn't be without my trusty Mackie 1202:

    - Connectivity. I record mostly track at a time to a 2-channel sound card. Every input on my mixer has something plugged in, ready to go.

    - Preamps. I get great sound with my AKG 535 mic, plus it needs the 48V supply.

    - Multitracking. Perhaps there's a digital equivalent, but the Mackie's alternate bus allows me to control previous tracks I hear while I record fresh.

    - Output flexibility. I've got outputs running to my computer, my amp, my tape deck, my phones and anywhere else I want!
  5. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I use a cheap analog mixer with my setup too, but as Fats mentions, nothing that gets recorded goes through the board. I have outboard mic pres that I lightpipe into the computer, but then I take the analog outs from the mic pres into the mixer. I can then create a monitor mix for each channel that is being recorded, blending each channel from the mic pres with the main L+R outs. All this while not effecting the signal going to tape, and all without latency issues.

    Since each new track has its own channel on the mixer, I can actually create *multiple* monitor mixes using the aux sends on my board (pre-fader monitor mixes). I take the aux sends out to my headphone amp's aux ins. (My headphone amp allows me to blend in a separate aux send to each of the four headphone channels.)

    Using this technique, I can create a different headphone mix for each member of the band, and give each of them "more of me in the cans, please".

    I am looking at a new mixer now that has better mic pres, and has four pre-fader sends (I only have 2 now). This way I will be able to create 4 unique headphone mixes instead of 2, and also give me some other options for adding in more mics. My budget is very limited (home project studio), and I am considering the Allen & Heath Mix Wiz 16:2. I can get one new for less than USD 1,000 (about the same price as the Mackie 1604), but it has 6 aux sends, 4 can be pre-fader, it has 16 direct outs to the Mackie's 8, plus the mic pres are getting much better reviews, 100mm faders rather than 60 mm, etc. From what I understand it is a better sounding recording board than the Mackie. The Mackie has 4 submixes, which could be useful, but other than that...
  6. suspec57

    suspec57 Guest

    Having hardware mixers with your set up is always a plus in my book because it gives you better i/o and routing capabilities. Plus if you have a digital mixer, its so much nicer to be able to move faders, pan, and eq something with real nobs and faders verses a mouse. And automation is a big thing for me. Plus its more impressive to the consumer's eye.

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