The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Acoustic Amplification

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-11-2019, 08:34 PM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 336
Default Mixer Talk

I'm contemplating a small PA, and have settled on a pair of 8" or 10" powered cabinets (QSC or the like). I thought that choice was hard, but now I'm looking at mixers... the choices are mind-boggling!

Requirements: mostly for solo gigs (mic, 2 guitars) so smaller/lighter is better, but sometimes I'll have a guest or two sitting in (1-2 more mics, 1-2 more instruments), and the possibility of running a small open mic/jam session occasionally. So probably 8 channel minimum.

Another "high want" but maybe not absolute requirement is the ability to record multi-track off the board (or even on-board). Those special nights with guests tend to be the shows you want to capture, and often the stereo master mix just isn't that great.

Models I've considered:
Soundcraft Notepad-12FX
A&H ZEDi-10fx
Soundcraft Signature 12MTK
QSC Touchmix 8 or 16
Zoom L12 or L20 Rack
Behringer XR18 or X32 Rack
Soundcraft Ui24R
A&H Qu-SB

I keep going round and round--all have advantages and disadvantages. By the time you add in any controller tablets, add-ons or a recording laptop if necessary, the price is kind of a wash. So...

It'll be horses for courses, but anyone want to chime in with your experience (good or bad) with any of these, or other options I haven't considered? Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-11-2019, 10:30 PM
B. Adams B. Adams is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Vermillion, SD
Posts: 216
Default

I primarily use the M32/X32 line, which is usually my recommendation if someone has a reasonable level of technical ability. I'm also a Midas dealer, which might bias my opinion somewhat, but I've been using X32's since long before I was with Midas. I'm not a Behringer dealer but I do own and use a few X32 Racks. The cost to performance ratio can't be beat, in my opinion.

Here are my comments on your choices:
Soundcraft Notepad-12FX - Very small, limited features. I've never used the USB version of this line, but I haven't found previous generations to have the best longevity. They sound OK, but the lack of linear faders is a disadvantage.

A&H ZEDi-10fx- Again, small and limited, and no linear faders, but they sound OK for what they are.

Soundcraft Signature 12MTK- A nice step up from the smaller versions. Not a ton of bells and whistles, but it would get the job done better than the previous choices, assuming an analog mixer is what you're looking for.

QSC Touchmix 8 or 16- I've never liked the touchscreen on these, but it's gotten slightly better over the years. Very limited routing options, but the fact that it's digital makes it heads and shoulders better than anything analog. I don't love the way cables plug into the top, but it keeps the size to a minimum. I also don't love the analog gain knobs, or the fact that they're so exposed. It's easy to move them slightly when setting up and tearing down.

Zoom L12 or L20 Rack- Interesting hybrid analog/digital mixer. I haven't seen these before. It looks very basic in terms of digital mixers, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the user. The analog components might be a reliability concern. The large number of 1/4" outputs doesn't scream "quality" to me. I haven't kept up with Zoom in recent years, but I was never super impressed with their sound quality in the past.

Behringer XR18 or X32 Rack- Not a direct comparison, but somewhat similar. The XR18 is a fairly fully featured digital mixer, with comps/gates on every channel, lots of FX options, and a lot of control, although the routing is fairly basic. It takes a lot of hops to get around on the Ipad app, but everything is there and it's laid out fairly well with only one or two things in slightly weird places. It seems to take at least one more touch than it should to get anywhere in the app, but it's a small sacrifice for as much mixer as you get for the money.

The X32 rack is much more fully featured than the XR seris, with loads of routing options and tons of useful features, but due to all those options it can also be the most complicated mixer on this list and a novice can easily get in deeper than they're comfortable with. The X32 has the most fully featured and easy to use Ipad app of pretty much any mixer, and that alone might be a reason to choose it. The third-party Android app is very nice as well. You can also add an X-Live card to it and multitrack right to an SD card, which is a nice addition. There are also far more X32 series mixers in the world than anything else, so you're pretty much guaranteed to be near someone who knows how to run them really well if you ever get in a bind.

Soundcraft Ui24R- I'm not super familiar with this mixer, but if it runs like the rest of the Soundcraft line it's probably pretty fully featured. Maybe not quite as many options as the X32, but sometimes all those extra options just get in the way.

A&H Qu-SB- I don't love the QU series, but they work fine. The routing is fixed and the EQ and FX are adequate. I've only worked with the models with faders and I hate the lack of scribble strips and the layer layout, but I suppose that prejudice of mine doesn't apply here. The Ipad app is a little better laid out than some though.

If you're not used to running digital mixers there's going to be an adjustment period, but if you're well-versed in analog operation you'll have no trouble. Even the most basic digital mixer is much more capable than analog, and I think you'll appreciate having those extra features down the road. If you think you'll feel comfortable with a digital mixer I'd definitely steer you in that direction.

If you only take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: With any of these mixers that don't have a physical surface and require a tablet or computer to run, you either need to be hardwired or have an external router or access point (with a password, of course). You NEED to do this. Everything would probably work fine with the built-in wifi during rehearsal and sound check, but it will definitely drop out once the venue starts filling up or in the middle of your show. It might not happen the first time out, but I can pretty much guarantee that it will by the third time and it will be a nightmare. Even the cheapest router Wal-Mart carries will be a vast improvement over the built-in access point of any of these mixers (or any others not on your list). Plenty of people have made the mistake of trusting the built-in wifi, don't be one of them.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-12-2019, 04:59 AM
philjs philjs is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 1,767
Default

Hate to add to your mind-boggling (no, really I don't) but you might also want to consider a Presonus AR12 USB. Very nice with excellent software. The Bose T4s and T8s are also often omitted when one searches "mixers" at major retailers, though I don't think they offer live recording.

Full disclosure: I have/use a QSC TM16 but would happily downgrade to a TM8 (the 16 is "left over" from doing live sound for others...it's way overkill for my own shows). Love the tiny size, the scene recall, the easy included networking that actually works without adding a router, the remote iPad mixing capability (though that may not be as important if you're mixing from the stage) and that I can just plug in a small USB-powered external SSD drive to record rather than hauling my MacBook to shows.

But I may be just a teensy bit biased...

Phil
__________________
One Size Does Not Fit All

Asturias: '17 GS Custom (Euro spruce/mahogany) Crosby: '10 FSE (redwood/black walnut), '10 Bouzar (spruce/maple),
'12 JE Baritone Multiscale (redwood/black walnut), '19 Cittar (Lutz spruce/mango) Furch: '17 S22CMc (cedar/mahogany)
Larrivée: '89 J-09 (spruce/rosewood) Lowden: '10 O23c (cedar/Claro walnut) Timberline: '19 T30HGc (all mahogany)


Solo or Trio
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-12-2019, 05:48 AM
guitarman68 guitarman68 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Bavaria, Germany
Posts: 90
Default

I'm happy with my Touchmix 16 and would buy it again if stolen...
Great sound quality and everything said above.
__________________
Guitars:
Merrill C 28 (UltraTonic), Merrill OM 28 (Dazzo / DPA 4061), Merrill OM 18 (Schatten HFN passive), Martin D 18 (1948) (Dazzo / DPA 4061), Martin 017 (1934) (K&K trinity)

Preamps:
Grace Felix, Tone Dexter, RedEye, Fishman Platinum, Pendulum SPS-1

more stringed instruments:
mandolin, mandola, mandocello, bouzouki, dobro, weissenborn, lap steel, 5-string banjo
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:22 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Allentown, PA
Posts: 2,891
Default

I have the Soundcraft Notepad 12fx. It works well enough and I find it indistinguishable from its Yamaha and Mackie predecessors for live performance. It is a very compact product and the power supply is also small and light (unlike the Yamaha and Mackie).

As a Windows USB audio interface I find it useless. Their drivers are unsigned and to get them to load you need to boot your PC in recovery mode.
__________________
Jon Fields

RainSong CH-PA1100NS, TKL 8975
RainSong CO-PA1100NS, TKL 8975
RainSong H-DR1100N2, TKL 8910
All 3 taped Schatten Passive HFN & Elixir PB11

One QSC CP8 (21 lbs) high/behind
Duo gigging no mixer two SM58>Y>CP8, HFN>HelixStomp(Cuki79 IR)>TRS>CP8 3.5mm
Notepad-12FX (unsigned Windows 10 Drivers )

www.justsoduo.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-12-2019, 06:58 AM
KevWind's Avatar
KevWind KevWind is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Edge of Wilderness Wyoming
Posts: 11,771
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle View Post
I'm contemplating a small PA, and have settled on a pair of 8" or 10" powered cabinets (QSC or the like). I thought that choice was hard, but now I'm looking at mixers... the choices are mind-boggling!

Requirements: mostly for solo gigs (mic, 2 guitars) so smaller/lighter is better, but sometimes I'll have a guest or two sitting in (1-2 more mics, 1-2 more instruments), and the possibility of running a small open mic/jam session occasionally. So probably 8 channel minimum.

Another "high want" but maybe not absolute requirement is the ability to record multi-track off the board (or even on-board). Those special nights with guests tend to be the shows you want to capture, and often the stereo master mix just isn't that great.

Models I've considered:
Soundcraft Notepad-12FX
A&H ZEDi-10fx
Soundcraft Signature 12MTK
QSC Touchmix 8 or 16
Zoom L12 or L20 Rack
Behringer XR18 or X32 Rack
Soundcraft Ui24R
A&H Qu-SB

I keep going round and round--all have advantages and disadvantages. By the time you add in any controller tablets, add-ons or a recording laptop if necessary, the price is kind of a wash. So...

It'll be horses for courses, but anyone want to chime in with your experience (good or bad) with any of these, or other options I haven't considered? Thanks.

If it were me I would seriously consider the Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK.
Great pres, great EQ, and limiter, and multi track to USB connection for direct record to DAW .

$50 off right now at Sweetwater https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Sig12MT--soundcraft-signature-12-mtk-mixer-and-audio-interface-with-effects?gclsrc=aw.ds&&mrkgcl=28&mrkgadid=123369242 9&rkg_id=0&campaigntype=dsa&campaign=aaDSA&adgroup =1233692429SA%20-%20Analog%20Mixers&placement=google&adpos=1t1&crea tive=282276643087&device=c&matchtype=b&network=g&g clid=EAIaIQobChMIlYLd7KnL5AIVih-tBh1qfALZEAAYASAAEgL6S_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
__________________
" Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." Albert Einstein
Enjoy the Journey.... Kev...


KevWind at Soundcloud
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-12-2019, 08:32 AM
buzzardwhiskey buzzardwhiskey is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,091
Default

Eight channels and the ability to record them all on the board narrow your choices considerably.

I just bought a Zoom L12 and I'm pleased so far.

It has eight clean preamps and two stereo line inputs for a total of twelve channels which can all be recorded at once on the mxer itself.

It interfaces well with a DAW, if that's your bent.

It has five stereo headphone Aux channels (this is quite unusual) with enough umph to drive headphones and completely seperate mixes.

It's quite light, and it costs $600.
__________________
Website: http://www.buzzardwhiskey.com
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-12-2019, 08:59 AM
AuntieDiluvian AuntieDiluvian is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 124
Default

I have the X32 for my mains and a XR12 for my guitar rack.

The X32 is great - I would gladly buy another and give it a solid recommendation. It's small, it's light, and it just plain works. I also let people load the mobile app and control their own monitor mixes, which has made life much easier (and makes soundcheck faster) in several different settings. The ONLY thing that annoys me is that the main levels get reset to 0 when the unit powers up, which can be a pain in the rear if you have a power fail or blip during an event.

The XR12 is a slightly different matter. It has an integrated WiFi router that isn't up to the task. It nearly always works well at setup and soundcheck, then takes a nosedive and refuses to connect when people start to fill the room. This really caught me out the first time it happened, as I had one of my acoustic instruments (mandolin) muted and couldn't get my phone to connect to unmute it. Now I set everything up with external controls so that I don't ever have to rely on being able to change mix or settings during a show.....which sort of defeats the purpose of having a mixer in your onstage rack.
__________________
Under construction
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:27 AM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 336
Default

Thanks for the comments so far. One other related question: who has used a separate laptop/DAW for live recording? How much trouble is it to set up, especially if you don't have someone else to run it? The ability to track straight to a flash drive at the push of a button is very appealing, but of course comes at a price.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:50 AM
B. Adams B. Adams is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Vermillion, SD
Posts: 216
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle View Post
Thanks for the comments so far. One other related question: who has used a separate laptop/DAW for live recording? How much trouble is it to set up, especially if you don't have someone else to run it? The ability to track straight to a flash drive at the push of a button is very appealing, but of course comes at a price.
I've connected laptops to M32's to multitrack, using Garageband and Audition at various times. It works great, assuming you have a decent machine that's up to the task. If you have your project set up in advance that will save you a lot of time on-site, and you'll save a lot of time if you have templates built and aren't starting from scratch each time. It's pretty easy, but it's one more thing you have to carry around and set up.

In my case, it's also an obviously very expensive, portable, and attention grabbing piece of equipment just sitting out, practically begging to get damaged or stolen. I prefer to record straight to a card when possible.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-12-2019, 11:06 AM
KevWind's Avatar
KevWind KevWind is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Edge of Wilderness Wyoming
Posts: 11,771
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardwhiskey View Post
Eight channels and the ability to record them all on the board narrow your choices considerably.

I just bought a Zoom L12 and I'm pleased so far.

It has eight clean preamps and two stereo line inputs for a total of twelve channels which can all be recorded at once on the mxer itself.

It interfaces well with a DAW, if that's your bent.

It has five stereo headphone Aux channels (this is quite unusual) with enough umph to drive headphones and completely seperate mixes.

It's quite light, and it costs $600.
The wording in the manual is kind of confusing but It appears that the USB connection on that unit is only 4 channels out ( which may or may not be enough ) depending on how many separate channels the OP wants to be able to go into the DAW at once.
__________________
" Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." Albert Einstein
Enjoy the Journey.... Kev...


KevWind at Soundcloud

Last edited by KevWind; 09-12-2019 at 11:19 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-12-2019, 11:14 AM
gfa gfa is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,575
Default

I can only comment on the Touchmix, and I'm very pleased with mine. You can do your multi-track recording from the board into an SSD drive.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-12-2019, 12:24 PM
buzzardwhiskey buzzardwhiskey is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,091
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
The wording in the manual is kind of confusing but It appears that the USB connection on that unit is only 4 channels out ( which may or may not be enough ) depending on how many separate channels the OP wants to be able to go into the DAW at once.
This is true!

The Zoom L12 can record all twelve channels onto its internal SD card and send all twelve channels to a DAW via its USB simultaneously (very handy for safety back-up), but the unit can only accept 4 channels from the DAW back into itself.
__________________
Website: http://www.buzzardwhiskey.com
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-12-2019, 02:44 PM
KevWind's Avatar
KevWind KevWind is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Edge of Wilderness Wyoming
Posts: 11,771
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardwhiskey View Post
This is true!

The Zoom L12 can record all twelve channels onto its internal SD card and send all twelve channels to a DAW via its USB simultaneously (very handy for safety back-up), but the unit can only accept 4 channels from the DAW back into itself.
Humm Interesting and confusing because normally (the way I understand signal flow in and out) is, an "interface" that states it is 14 in /4 out means if can bring in 14 channels at once, and output 4 channels at once. But you are saying the reverse is true So it seems to me the manual is stating it backwards
"combines a digital mixer with 12 total input channels (8 mono and 2 stereo), a multitrack recorder that can simultaneously record up to 14 tracks, and a 14-in (should say out) /4-out (should say in) USB audio interface. because the in and out should be from the interface perspective, not the DAW perspective. At least that is what I think
__________________
" Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." Albert Einstein
Enjoy the Journey.... Kev...


KevWind at Soundcloud

Last edited by KevWind; 09-12-2019 at 03:05 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-12-2019, 03:22 PM
buzzardwhiskey buzzardwhiskey is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,091
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Humm Interesting and confusing because normally (the way I understand signal flow in and out) is, an "interface" that states it is 14 in /4 out means if can bring in 14 channels at once, and output 4 channels at once. But you are saying the reverse is true So it seems to me the manual is stating it backwards
"combines a digital mixer with 12 total input channels (8 mono and 2 stereo), a multitrack recorder that can simultaneously record up to 14 tracks, and a 14-in (should say out) /4-out (should say in) USB audio interface. because the in and out should be from the interface perspective, not the DAW perspective. At least that is what I think
You might be right about the nomenclature being backwards. I don't have enough experience. To sidestep things:

The L12 mixer can "send 14 channels to the computer" and can "accept 4 channels from the computer".

Here's a helpful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ainrUiyohAk
__________________
Website: http://www.buzzardwhiskey.com
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Acoustic Amplification

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=