Good & Cheap Mixer-to-Computer connection?

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by Pace, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. Pace

    Pace Guest

    Hi (again),

    I've managed to buy a Soundcraft Folio SX mixer for not too much and am now trying to find the best possible way to connect it to different computers.
    The thing is that not all have a soundcard with a line-in that isn't the mic-line input…

    So I've started looking at the idea of USB/Firewire sound interfaces.

    What is a good and cheap choice for connecting my mixer to the computer then?
    I have had a look at the Lexicon Omega, at the Edirol UA 1 EX, at the PT Mbox (1 and 2) and such other interfaces, but I really can't make my mind up, especially not after reading such different opinions on the subject.
    There is also beside this the question of software. The Mbox comes with PT LE, while the Lexicon comes with Cubase LE and most others don't come with anything…

    What is thine opinion?
  2. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Check the M-Audio interfaces as well. Good bang for your buck.
  3. Pace

    Pace Guest

    And are they compatible with Cubase LE?
    What I really mean is the following: if I've got twelve channels used on my mixer, and I connect the mixer to for example a Firewire Audiophile, will Cubase LE recognise the twelve channels or only two?
  4. GregP

    GregP Guest

    Cubase will only recognize what it's being fed via the soundcard. The Audiophile only has 2 analog inputs (and 2 digital, but I didn't check to see that the Folio can output digital) which means that no matter your mixer, it will only recognize 2 analog and 2 digital inputs for a total of 4 inputs (probably only 2). I would take advantage of your mixer's multi-out capabilities to make the best possible match right from the beginning.

    Although the mixer sports "18 outputs", only 8 of these are mono outputs for multi-track recording. I say "only", but that's actually really good considering many of us still use a simple wee little mixer with a stereo pair for output. ;) Still, the question was, can you use all 12 channels, and the answer SEEMS to be 'no'. You can have up to 20 inputs, but only 8 of these output directly to individual channel outputs. The rest will end up being some sort of mix which may or may not bring up your total number of outputs... it's too late for me to think straight or read all the literature. :D

    In any case, a card like the M-audio Delta 1212 would be a better match because of its multiple ins and outs. Then if you add a dedicated mic preamp later or somesuch thing, you still have a few spare inputs and your studio will grow seamlessly.

    Does the Folio SX have microphone preamp with phantom power? I'd imagine it should, for the price, but the quick bit of literature I saw on it doesn't seem to indicate so.

  5. Pace

    Pace Guest

    Not sure if it has digital, but it has preamps with phantom power.

    Hm… Now a few questions about cards and mixer setup:
    I have an Etek AD-1823 on top of this Spirit Folio SX. So what I could ultimately do is put a few of the drum mikes (5 of them) together on the AD-1823, and send that sound back to the Folio. I could then have 8 used tracks on the Folio.
    This would mean that I can use the 8 multitrack idea, no?
    But what could I then use to record those 8 tracks separately? Could I send them to one of the interfaces I mentioned before?
    And if I buy an M-Audio 1010 as you suggested, how should I connect the mixer to the card? More importantly, is the M-Audio 1010 compatible with the old G3 iMac?

    Thanks again for any answers.
  6. GregP

    GregP Guest

    I personally feel that routing the Etek into the Folio is adding an unecessary and complicated element to the mix.

    If you use the 1010 (whoops! 1212 is EMU <yuk!>) or something similar, I would use the two mixers seperately. The Etek mixes down to a stereo pair (2 outputs) and the Folio has 8 independent outputs. That's your 10 spots on your M-Audio card all perfectly used. Maximum efficiency. ;)

    I'd have to look at the Folio's manual to know exactly how to use the 8 outputs, but basically, as far as I know, the first 8 channels of the mixer can be treated as separate outputs by using some sort of submixing system... again, I'd have to read the manual to know for sure.

    You'd literally have 8 cables coming out of the Folio from the appropriate spots, plugging directly into 8 of the inputs of the 1010. Once it's set up, it's literally that simple. Then in Cubase, when you see the audio device "Delta Input #1" (or whatever it's called) it would correspond to channel 1 of your mixer and whatever you've plugged into that channel.

    If you're doing drums with 5 mics, you'd have 5 microphone cables going to 5 seperate channels of the Folio (say, channels 1-5) and then 5 cables going from the Folio to 5 inputs of the 1010. All very linear and very easily managed.

    As for compatibility, it IS compatible with the Mac, but a G3.. hmm... that many simultaneous audio inputs might cause CPU and HDD hiccups. I don't know for sure, but I'd definitely research more if you're using a G3.


    The M-Audio was just a quick suggestion off the top of my head, though-- 8 of its inputs aren't balanced, which means you may want to look at another multi-in/out solution anyhow.

  7. Pace

    Pace Guest

    For another multi-in/out solution, would the Terratec Phase 88 firewire Rack be a good choice?
  8. GregP

    GregP Guest

    Looks better than the M-Audio. I don't know what the Terratec drivers are like, but the data sheet for this looks like a better solution for your needs.

    You'll have a few less inputs at 8 instead of 10, but I think it'd be worth it for the balanced ins and other features offered by the interface.


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