February 25, 2006

In Defense Of My Mixing Position..

by Chris Randall
 

I get a pretty healthy dose of letters regarding posts on this site, and the most common one I get usually reads something like this:


Okay. I get it. Mackie and Behringer mixers blow. What the fuck _should_ I buy if I'm on a budget, then? Huh, tough guy?


Let me make one thing clear right now: if you're just starting out, or you're a hobbiest with no intention of ever actually releasing anything, a Mackie or Behringer cheapie is going to be fine. In this business, you get what you pay for, and while a $199 mixer will, in actual fact, mix, there are trade-offs, and the main thing you're going to lose is definition, due to the low-quality op-amps.


When you see me repeatedly make fun of people for having Mackie and Behringer mixers, it's because they have several thousand (or hundred thousand) dollars worth of synthesizers, the best of the best, and they still submix with a $199 mixer. That's what I don't understand. If you can afford to buy four Jupiter 8s, you can afford to drop a grand on a mixer that doesn't blow.


My writing methodology is somewhat different than the normal synthesizer-based musician, so I'll grant that my opinion isn't of vast appeal here, but I'm of the firm opinion that any mixer at all is a bad idea. If you have an audio interface with 8 inputs, you should have 8 mic pres of reasonable quality, 8 eqs, and 4 stereo compressors. These should all go to a patchbay. There's no need for a mixer to submix at all. My own method only involves a pair of mic pres, two eqs, and no analog compressors in the signal chain.


But I tend to record things one at a time, rather than having all my synths chugging away simultaneously, so that method won't work for everyone. But for god's sake, if you're going to spend $10K on your synths, don't send them through a 3-cent op-amp. Please.

 
 
 

34 comments:

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Feb.27.2006 @ 10:13 AM
penzoil washington
6 days a the week i end up working on something new, building up an arrangement while monitoring stereo outputs thru my Studer desk. Towards the end of the process, I assign each sound to an individual output / channel. Things immediately get twice as enormous-sounding and I'm struck for the millionth time that summing ITB blows no matter what console-haters say.
 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 2:47 PM
disconnector
I can't imagine CR not posting something about this, but in the event that one of you missed it, Behringer is in some hot water in the US:

link [www.fcc.gov]">link [www.fcc.gov]

This via Music Thing:

link [musicthing.blogot.co...]">link [musicthing.blogot.co...]

Cheap electronics AND not FCC approved AND pretty much ripping designs off of other major gear manufacturers. Behringer is starting to look somewhat (more) like those dudes who sell knockoff purses and watches on street corners.

 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 6:10 PM
giantm
It's a good thing I am planning to scrap my Behringer compressor (which, yes, I regret having ever purchased) for a 1176 clone (Gyraf?) . I wouldn't want to be using things not approved by our generally well thinking government. I wonder how contraband status is going to affect pricing?
 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 7:49 PM
benji
i know i'm going to sound like a dumb ass for asking... but what does ITB stand for?


link [www.mus-ok.com]">link [www.mus-ok.com]
link [www.mus-ok.com]">link [www.mus-ok.com]

 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 7:57 PM
boobs
ITB = in the box :)
 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 8:29 PM
benji
well, its good that i'm looking to get out of the box... i don't think i need a mixer though. any thoughts on analog summing boxes. there's a bunch out there but i'm looking to stay in the $5k or less range.
 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 9:15 PM
Jeremy Cox
benji
all of the mixers mentioned in this artical would do a great job. Also.. APi makes some great rack mount mixing/summing gear. Even still, it is important to consider your audio interface... what are you using?
 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 10:18 PM
boobs
someone did a shoot out of a bunch of summing boxes on gearslutz w/some reviews of each one and who what when where why etc... w/5K you are in a pretty damn good range ;)

here's some links

link [gearslutz.com/bd.php...]">link [gearslutz.com]

link [gearslutz.com/bd.php...]">link [gearslutz.com]

 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 10:29 PM
benji
i have a motu hd 192. it is serving me fine but i forsee its death coinciding with my dual g5 tower. last i checked motu hadn't said anything about their pci cards...

my last track:
link [mus-ok.com]">link [mus-ok.com]

 
 

 
Feb.27.2006 @ 11:22 PM
Chris Randall
Yeah, for $5K, the world is your oyster, as far as summing goes. Pretty much anything but the Manley or the Chandler. I think you could score the Geoff Tanner 8-channel mixer for that, even, which would probably be the way to go if you only needed 8 channels.

If _I_ had $5K to spend on summing, let's see. I generally mix to stems, so I'd only need to sum 4 stereo pairs, so I'd probably get the API 8200/7800 combo, and hope I won the lottery a second time to get the 2500 for some 2-buss squishin'. That combo is cool, because it is expandable. You can add another 8 channels, or a couple 7600s, or whatever, and you get sends and what-not.

I'm of the firm (and obviously correct) opinion that everthing sounds better if it goes through an API 2520 discrete op-amp. Because it does.

-CR

 
 

 
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