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Topic: Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?

  1. #1

    Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?


    What are the benefits of using a hardware mixer
    *(analog or digital) today?
    As we all know, computers are getting faster and more powerful every month and can easily be used for virtual mixing, processing, mastering, etc...

    With good mic pres, good AD/DA converters, do we still need a hardware mixer?

    Especially when working with a sampler centered application like Gigastudio and large orchestral libraries, what are the pros and cons at your opinion?

    What make sense for large orchestra mockup works?

    What are your recommendations for a good workflow?
    What about midi control surfaces? Are they practical for this type of work?

    If you guys don\'t mind sharing: What are you using in your own studio setup?

    (alright, alright... I\'m done with my questions!)

    Thank you very much in advance for your inputs.

    JHanks [img]images/icons/cool.gif[/img]

    *P.S Please understand that it is not my intention to start a flamming war about digital vs analog mixers...(that\'s another post altogether!)

  2. #2

    Re: Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?

    I\'d be interested in hearing arguments as well. If you\'ve got a good sound card with plenty of ins and outs (I\'ve got the Echo Layla), and plenty of software (Sonar, Vegas, Giga, etc..), what benefits do you get from an outboard mixer? I wanted to go cheap, the Behringer series does look pretty nice (and I love my V-AMP2), I\'d get one of the more.. vanilla mixers, without effects.

    BUT, if I don\'t need a mixer, I can buy other things instead. I\'m getting ready to buy a house, and I\'ve already started thinning out my rack gear (I\'ve got a Roland JV-1080, Korg O1R/W, Korg NS5R, and Alesis Quadrasynth Rack all up on E-Bay right now.)

  3. #3

    Re: Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?

    Primary benefits of an outboard mixer:

    HANDS-ON, make changes quickly and intuitively (though if you do it on the xcomputer long enough, that\'s intuitive too, but you can\'t quickly grab two controls with one mouse.

    FASTER: Generally, I can set up a quick and mix for a client in under 5 minutes, much faster if I\'ve been paying attention during trhe session. In DP, it takes me twice as long, as I can\'t work back-and-forth comparisons as quickly or easily.


    Really, I don\'t need the mixer-just a few great preamps for mike ins. WHat I need is the control surface: HUI, Control24, EZBus, etc...


  4. #4

    Re: Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?

    Anybody else have any thoughts on this? Speed and ease aside, wouldn\'t it make sense to keep things internal and digital rather than outputing to an analog hardware mixer with respect to sound quality? For sake of argument, let\'s say all instruments are midi.

    I know the other option is to use a digital hardware outboard mixer. But maybe we could first talk to sound quality of internal digital verses outboard hardware analog.

    Maybe adding a component of analog adds some needed warmth?


  5. #5

    Re: Benefits of using a hardware mixer today?

    The issue of using a digital mixer vs internal mixing can come down to a question of speed and ease. I use a small Yamaha O3D (small footprint) with ADAT input from Giga. Separating 4 stereo outs from Giga. At some point I render to audio on the Mac (Logic Audio) for final mixdown and don\'t use the Yamaha except as a volume control.

    For those who sometimes do music outside of the sampled orchestral world, an external mixer is still necessary, in my view. It\'s just a question of ease during recording.

    For those with multiple Giga PC\'s, an external mixer can prove invaluable. But for a simple system, no mixer is required anymore.

    Also, I have a background as a recording engineer, so it is more comfortable for me to have the tactile feel of a mixer sometimes. If I were starting from scratch today, I might opt for a software controller instead. Something like Logic\'s Pro-Control. These things really do speed up the process and give you more real-time control of things like EQ, FX sends, and panning. Mouse clicking and dragging can be a real pain sometimes...especially when you are tired, or stressed out with deadlines.

    That\'s my opinion. Are mixers still needed? No. But then again, do new cleaning agents and paper towels really get your kitchen counter-tops cleaner than Ajax and a sponge?

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