Mixer/Audio Interface Question

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Coldhardmac, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Coldhardmac macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2006

    I really want to start a home recording studio. I have a lot of decent preliminary recording equipment. Just a small list to show what we've collected so far.

    TC electronic Intonator Voice processor.

    Groovetubes GT55 condensor microphone.

    2 Shure SM57

    M-audio Firewire 410

    As far as software goes, I'm using Logic Express 7.2 on a Macbook 2.0 ghz.

    Right, now thats about it. Now my question is, what would be the advantage of buying a mixer? I've looked at various, such as the Alesis Multimix. Would it just be for adding more channels or what? And another question, using logic express, could multi-track mixing work using a mixer through the Firewire 410? Thanks a lot you guys.

  2. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    at record-time, a mixer can give you additional inputs for mics and line level instruments. but your track bottleneck will be the number of conversion channels on your interface.

    you could, for example, mix down 8 tracks of drums to a stereo pair, but by then feeding that into 2 channels of the converter, you wouldn't be multi-tracking.

    at the moment, you've got more converter ins than you have mics. how many simultaneous input channels do you need?
  3. Nweeks14 macrumors newbie


    May 17, 2006
    Hey Zimv20, could you expand on that just a little bit, like how would you have the setup done if you wanted to record a band through this guys equipment ( FireWire 410, macbook) doing multitrack at the same time through logic express. Thanks
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i'm currently running a mixerless setup. i can record a maximum of 18 distinct channels at a time (though i don't have that many mics or preamps :)

    my typical chain:

    mic -> preamp -> rosetta 800 converters -(ADAT)-> digi002r -> p'mac

    now, i have some friends whose stuff i mix sometimes. they live out of town and record themselves with an mbox, giving them only 2 channels at a time. they track one instrument at a time, but for drums, they use at least 4 mics.

    so what they do is run the 4 mics into a little yamaha mixer, mix it down to 2 tracks, and record that.

    this is suboptimal. they're making critical mix decisions at record time, without the benefit of a good monitoring system. it limits me a lot at mix time. so i do not recommend this route, unless it's the only way to record something.

    another option is to buy a mixing board with direct outs and use those to record. i.e. using the mixer for its pre's and EQ's, but not its mixing section. i use to run a mackie board in this fashion, taking the channel direct outs into a digi001. (guess what -- the mackie sounded like crap, and i ditched it and started buying dedicated preamps).

    that last option reflects many years of studio workflow, the big difference being replacing the tape machine with a computer.

    for cold's purposes, determine how many simultaneous channels you need. this will be dictated by the micing techniques for each instrument, and if the parts will be layed down one instrument at a time, or with the band playing together.

    for example, let's say we're recording the typical drum / guitar / bass / vocalist band -- four members, four instruments. we can get away with 8 channels of conversion with this scheme:

    1. kick
    2. snare
    3. drum OH L
    4. drum OH R
    5. bass
    6. guitar
    7. scratch vox
    8. (empty) or room mic

    working backwards, we see we need anywhere between 6 and 8 preamps (bass could be direct, 8th channel could be empty) and therefore between 6 and 8 mics.

    and to get those preamps, you either buy a number of dedicated pre's (my route) or a mixer, using the direct channel outs (a popular choice).

    with that 410, you're a little stuck, because it can take only 2 mics. for starters, you're going to want at least 4 on drums. your option here is to either buy a new interface (with 4 or more channels), or buy an external preamp and use that on the line ins (caveat: make sure the 410 can truly handle 4 simultaneous inputs; i'm not certain that the front and rear inputs are available at the same time).

    a very nice starter pre is the FMR RNP. very capable pre, inexpensive for what it does, and its tracks stack very well with each other. those pre's are miles better than what you've got in the 410.

    hope that helps.
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    btw -- you'll probaby get some value out of reading the primer.
  6. cschreppel macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Are you looking to have the mixer for it's faders or for the preamps?

    If you're looking for a mixer to have fader control when mixing, just get a control surface. You can get the Behringer BCF for $200. It's got 8 faders and works great with Logic, Pro Tools, etc.

    If it's for the preamps, I would suggest selling your interface and getting another one with more inputs to feed your software. M-Audio makes some great stuff.

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