Mixer purchase suggestion questions-What is right for me

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Hugh Hugh 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #105695
    Profile photo of scott
    scott
    Participant

    First of all I am not well educated in this field. Looking for a mixer for my 17 yr old son who wants to start a small recording studio. He has almost finished his apprenciship with some band called 3-doors down He currently mixes his music at home with Pro tools and focusrite multi channel AI. I said maybe we need a mixer and he said for what. We record into the AI/Protools and I adjust the sound and effects as needed. What good is a mixer. He said a mixer is only if you want to record a band where
    all musucians are playing at the same time. I said well why do I see pictures of small studios with mixers. I thought maybe we get a analog mixer and a run it into your AI. Than I said well if in future need to record we may need more channels than have to buy larger AI so might as well get a digital one with built in multichannel AI-One unit that can plug in inputs and record all channels to protools. Currently only use protools plug ins and some we bought-all digital. Than goes my quest for knowledge-Well some mixers have multichannel but only can record X amount into protools at a single time. Some record only prefader to protools so what is use of mixer digital effects or what if you want to record post fader. He says but Dad cant change anything in protools if use post fader after you add effects. So I say well what did they do 40 years age I guess they already knew what sound they wanted. Apparently mixers main function is for live band recording and studio recording is next
    So I call several retail music stores, sweetwater, sam ash….only marginal info available form sales rep as not trained for all the wide variety of products they sell-than I email manufactyer for a qualified sales rep-no response From Berhinger, Midas and A & E…..
    Than comes the auto fader-do I need them-only good for recall. Why would I need to control mixer faders thru protools? There must be some reason as I see them a lot.

    Desire a mixer than can record at least 24 channels at a time, record pre or post fader and is around 4K dollars budget.

    Looking at Berhingfher X32, wing and A & H SQ.

    Any advice on best mixer, will it benefit my son in recording or books that can teach me what I need to know.

    Willing to pay someone for knowledgable advice

    Thanks so much

    Scott

    #105706
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    My answer for the OP will come as no surprise to the readers of this forum: with out any reservationI recommend the A&H SQ5 & a DX168 expansion stage box. The ability to facilitate world class processing thru the USB located on the rear panel of the SQ direct to your DAW is a no brainer for high end garage band rehearsals and you might even get a lucky keeoer recording at some point. This is the dream dust that is driving most of today’s project studio start ups and the good news is, The SQ5 & DX168 combo is an absolute quality/value leader in the entry level pro market and will likely maintain a strong secondary market future value.
    Hugh

    #105720
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    A mixer is best for live music but arguable not best for studio use. You can usually connect a digital mixer to a computer/DAW with MIDI commands (if the mixer supports it). This allows you to use the mixer’s physical knobs, buttons and faders to control software functions. It is rare that a studio engineer would pass audio through the hardware mixer however. Todays DAWs are just as good if not better than any mixer and allows for a single continuous workflow.

    Another less expensive option for studio use is to look at a MIDI control/fader board. These provide the same hardware buttons, knobs, and faders that a mixer would provide, but without all the components needed to make it work stand alone.

    #105721
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    I should note that my comments are really for a studio engineer that is mixing down source material that is already recorded. The first step is obviously capturing the raw sound and if you need to capture lots of inputs at the same time, this is probably best done with a mixer – just like a live sound. If you are only trying to capture a few inputs at the same time, there are plenty of audio interfaces available in leu of a mixer. But someone then takes those tracks and mixes them down on a studio DAW and that is when a live sound mixer really isn’t needed.

    #105727
    Profile photo of Mfk0815
    Mfk0815
    Participant

    Beside the amount of possible inputs of a mixer another benefit would be the number of possible sub mixes for monitoring. this can be relevant for recording more than one musician at the same time. And most audio interfaces have a poor support for creating a latency free monitor mix. there are mixing consoles in general better equipped.
    For me all three mixing consoles will do the job, especially for a 17 years old beginner. The SQ works at 96 kHz while the others are working at 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling rate. but for the given use case this makes not that big difference, I guess. The WING comes with more, and over all better, effects and a better studio integration (DAW control and studio monitor section) than the others. but for the WING you need an extra stagebox like a S32 or Midas DL32.
    I personally do not mix ‘in the box’ but use the mixing console for the mix down as well. I have Dante expansion cards for all my mixing consoles (the three ones which are mentioned here beside others) and this gives me the flexibility to add external plugins. But thats another story.

    #105789
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    It is very important to clearly describe the sequential steps that are involved with any recording.

    1) The initial recording step requires selection and placement of a mic to capture the performance with a pre-amp to amplify the mics output. At this point a digital desk or interface will convert the analog signal into a digital format, and most of us in both pro and project studios will keep it digital until a final distribution occurs.
    2) The talent in front of the mic will need some degree of head phone monitoring and this is where latency can become a very big issue. Another factor to consider is the importance of isolation the tracking Que from actually printing the performers desired monitoring embellishments on the printed recorded track. (most pro level gear can accommodate this process)
    3)The recorded track/tracks will then need to be “Two Mixed”: this is the post production phase of recording where some folks like to us their desk for mixing and most of us today will stay in the DAW box for all post production chores thru mastering.

    I have a studio One 5.5 DAW that provides all of the tools I need to professionally mix and master all of my A/V productions. The SQ5 delivers a wonderful live recording for my Atomos video recorder however the SQ5s USB multi track back up tracks often provide better audio for the final edited video. IMO the SQ5 digital mixer is a perfect tool to manage the initial capture of any recording: however from that point on a DAW is a much more efficient and better post production tool. Yesterdays analog recording desks have been replaced with digital options that are much better IMO.
    Hugh

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