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gosh

where should the mixing happen?

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Hi,

So ive come to the realisation that whilst VST's can make good sounds, clicking around them is too much like my job. So im gonna get some hardware. Also my mate jsut bought some el cheapo electronic drums, and we are gonna start "band practise" with another mate that plays guitars.

So my questino is, before i start spending money on the wrong things, where should i Mix? As far as I can tell I can either get a hardware mixer and run the output back into a simple audio interface. or get something with many in's such as a motu ultralite, and mix inside the lappy.

what do you guys rekon? my main issues are price, not having to constantly plug things in and out, and expandability which means my impending plan of buying a firbox is out the window, what about those alesis firewire multimix things?

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Depends on how many outputs you want... but typical electronic production and the occassional band mix down means 2 will be more than adequate. That now being said, something like a Mackie Onyx or one of its competitors would be best of all worlds. You'll get a hardware interface, a bucket load of mic pre's (and the Mackies are quite reasonable for the cash!) as well as line inputs and a firewire audio card. A mate of min picked up the 16 Onyx with FW card for about $2k a year or so ago from the states. That's expensive compared to an ultralite, but that's 16 inputs as well as a desk you can run 100% as a hardware desk. Not bad value, IMO.

They also do 12 channels and the like, so maybe one of those would fit your budget better... but i 100% know what you mean about getting out of the box, and a real HW control surface is hard to go past. You can integrate things like Mackies HUI with the Motu DSP mix... but all of a sudden you're talking $$$'s for what you'd comparibly get using the firewire mixers about now.

CT will have some options beyond Mackie ;)

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Yeah, I'm kinda thinking along the lines of Jester here.

Having a mixing desk is great for immediate hands-on control. While I could run all my synths straight into my multi-channel interface, I prefer to tweak gains, rough EQ, draft mixdowns via a standalone mixer, rather than fuss about with a mouse on-screen. I'll then later record all parts (over multiple passes) onto individual tracks in the DAW.

As you'll be working live (rather than sequenced), and you don't have a full time mix engineer sitting at the console, the idea of sending a multitrack feed to the DAW would be the better option over recording a 2-Track 'hope it's ok' mixdown with no opportunity to tweak after the fact. If you were sequencing synths with just the odd overdub, then a stereo input interface would get you by.

As for the Onyx Mackie desks, I too am a fan. Just note that the FireWire feed to the computer is taken pre-EQ, unless you get a modification done. This means any EQ tweaks you do aren't recorded. Can be useful though, depending on your needs. You could also go separate mixer + audio interface and link the two via the mixer's direct channel outputs. However, add up the cost of the two units and the ONYX w/FireWire card is a bargain.

So are you looking at kitting yourself out with hardware compressors and effects racks too?

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^I thought the current Onyx desks were fitted with a switch for pre/post EQ recording, and only the original desks need the 'upgrade' done??

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has anyone used or heard of an alesis multimix being used?  330 bucks from the US for a 8 channel firewire interface with onboard effects. 4 channels have pres. also has asio 2 drivers.

there must be a catch.

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I'd like a hardware compressor, but do guitar pedals and a kaoss pad count as effect racks???

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Nah, Alesis was one of the other brands i was thinking about. Go check one out at a local retailer...

Yeah, pedals and kaos pad do count as effects, though i'd drop the rack part :P Difference is they're generally more noisy and less flexible than 'proper' effect units. Still, they'll do the job to make some wikkid tunes!

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^I thought the current Onyx desks were fitted with a switch for pre/post EQ recording, and only the original desks need the 'upgrade' done??

Maybe they've come to the party?

From the Mackie site:

http://www.mackie.com/products/onyxseries/onyxfaq.html

Q. Where do the Recording Outs and Firewire output take their signal from in the channel strip? How about the Firewire output from the Mains?

A. Both outputs (Recording Out and Firewire) are Post-Gain, Pre-Insert, Pre-EQ, Pre-Mute, Pre-Fader. The Main Out tap is Pre-Main Mix fader. This allows for the greatest possible flexibility in both live and recording studio scenarios. When you're using the mixer for live sound, you can record your show without having to worry about changes to the FOH system showing up on your recording. In the studio, this configuration allows you to record the cleanest signal possible while allowing you to apply EQ, compression, and effects during mixdown.

Hmm... maybe not. Bummer. :)

Also, noted it says the FireWire expansion gets you 18 channels into the computer, but just a stereo pair back out. Pretty reasonable but may cause dramas with running hardware effects loops with the PC DAW. Need to check if there's any more outputs, if that sort of thing matters? I know I couldn't live without my hardware reverb permanently routed into my DAW.

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