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Old 01-14-2021, 07:35 PM
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Default I'm holding out…

Hi all…

With the recent changes to computer interfaces, mixers, preamps etc. I'm holding out for some company to develop a Prosumer 4-6 XLR input with USB capability, Midas quality preamps, built like a tank, that can be powered from the computer, or even a USB-C Power Bank. With CES upon us - tech companies are 'unveiling' plans and gear. I want someone to begin pulling the recording interfaces, mixers and streaming gear all into a single unit for more nimble use.

It feels we are on the verge of companies stepping up their designs but most are just throwing in USB-C into existing interfaces, with slightly better preamps. I want a more capable unit for small recording situations, and online broadcasting of my music (mobile recording, teaching, playing live, collaborating etc)

I'm hoping for a single unit streaming interface for online and in-person use (simultaneously).
I want it in a single 3 pound unit…(with no compromises in quality)
  • Built in processor power to lift the load from the computer…
  • Physical knobs with visualization of the mix - no need to interface with phone/ipad to change settings.
  • Pushbutton easy/simple and intuitive to operate…
  • Low Latency…
  • Sync adjustment for adjusting audio/video frame rates when streaming…
  • USB-C 3 or 4, gigabit Ethernet, bluetooth connection and USB power or battery power, interface for streaming and recording…
  • High quality, low noise preamps with above average gain (enough to power a Shure SM7B with headroom left over)
  • 4-6 XLR (with scalable phantom power) plus equal number of line-level & high impedance inputs…
  • Built in monitor screen for adjustments (smart phone sized)
  • Price point $450-600 USD

I know I'm asking for the world…and the world I want to use it in is Online, instant connect, with short attention spans.

At this point we could assemble all the digital gear to do it…but it would not be:
  • Affordable…
  • Within reach of average players…
  • Easy to understand and operate…
  • Quick to hook up, breakdown, move, setup elsewhere…under 15 minutes and pull a sound/video check.
  • In a simple 3 pound, half-rack package.


I'm just dreaming, because the technical capability is there, the need is there, and the audience is there on YouTube, FaceBook, Zoom etc.

Thanks for letting me share my dream…




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Last edited by ljguitar; 01-14-2021 at 07:42 PM. Reason: dreaming…and speeling
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Old 01-14-2021, 08:02 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Does something like the Zoom Livetrak L8 do it for you?

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...mixer-recorder
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:07 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Thanks for letting me share my dream…
You left out the pony.
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Old 01-15-2021, 01:31 PM
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I think that's a nice start at a wish list. You seem to be talking about video streaming, tho, and I don't see much about video itself. A nice portable unit sounds great, but starting adding in cameras, mic and camera stands, mics, cables, etc, and things get a bit less portable fast.

I'd think you'd come pretty close to your goal with something like an Apogee Quartet into an iphone, tho. The phone provides the camera, the internet/streaming connection, UI, etc, the quartet provides your 4-channel input. Way past your price point, tho. But there are cheaper interfaces that could work with a phone with the right adaptor. Even a Zoom H4N. Velcro it to your phone, and you're getting close!

Going the other direction, something like a QSC TouchMix8 combined with an ATEM Mini Pro gives you audio mixing, video switching, direct streaming. Again, way behind your price point, and you still need mics, cameras, cables, stands, some way to monitor.

I imagine we'll see streaming-oriented all-in-one solutions coming. If BlackMagic added XLR inputs to the ATEM Mini, they'd be close, and they do have larger (pricier) units that probably come closer already to the features.

But I doubt if anyone will hit your price/quality/features specs this year. I'd keep an eye on both BlackMagic and Zoom, tho, as well as apps that basically provide a complete streaming control room (with some hardware audio interface).
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
…I imagine we'll see streaming-oriented all-in-one solutions coming. If BlackMagic added XLR inputs to the ATEM Mini, they'd be close, and they do have larger (pricier) units that probably come closer already to the features.

But I doubt if anyone will hit your price/quality/features specs this year. I'd keep an eye on both BlackMagic and Zoom, tho, as well as apps that basically provide a complete streaming control room (with some hardware audio interface).
Hi Doug

I'm just dreaming. I doubt they would hit my whole list at the price point I listed too, at least with the level of quality I'm shooting for.

I actually have the ability to do decent-quality audio and video out now, a full set of lights, great mics, and an audio interface. I'm still missing easily accessed Ethernet out. But setting it all up results in a table-top being cluttered with inputs, computer, interface, tripod, cables, and a couple other components all being used.

I'm really wanting a 4-6XLR in…USB-C out capability, and since I'm currently functional, I'm holding out for a better and more unified solution. If nothing happens, but opportunities to perform arise, I'll likely look for a USB mixer.

But at present I only have 2 XLR inputs so it limits the ability to do 2 musicians out at the same time (if one of them also sings). I could switch to using an omni-directional mic as long as I don't get too much room sound.

Yes - I'm amazed Black Magic didn't include XLR in on the ATEM mini (all three). At their price points, it would seem a given - they are not giving (so far).

Thanks for the interaction and additional ideas.




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Old 01-16-2021, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Does something like the Zoom Livetrak L8 do it for you?

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...mixer-recorder
Hi Rudy
It sure ticks-off a lot of my wish list. Thanks for the link (I already had it on my list "To Consider"). I need to know how good the preamps are, and how the sound-out is, quirks, and have they updated the firmware etc.

I appreciate your calling my attention back to it. It's been around and I need to do some research on it. It's sure a compact unit with lots of power right at one's fingers, and an additional person to manage it during an online session would be easily understood and managed.

<EDIT> I remember my concern with the unit. I think there is a shared USB port with power and computer interface. So if I wanted to power this from a lithium-power-bank I think there is no other USB port to interface with the computer. I'm going to check that out. <EDIT>










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Last edited by ljguitar; 01-16-2021 at 10:01 AM. Reason: added thought
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
You left out the pony.
Hi jim

I'm smiling…





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Old 01-16-2021, 09:41 AM
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Interesting concept the all in one box has been around in one form or another at least the since phono record player of the late 1800's and then 45 player and the Stereo Receiver of the 50's and 60's comes to mind also
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:25 AM
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Interesting concept the all in one box has been around in one form or another at least the since phono record player of the late 1800's and then 45 player and the Stereo Receiver of the 50's and 60's comes to mind also
Hi KW
The powered mixers we still use for PA systems (oft used for small groups, solo performers, and small bands) is an all-in-one device. And they come point-n-shoot to highly-adjustable levels.

It's not as high tech as component systems, but it has many positives including quick and repeatable, easily understood setup and operation and portability.

That's what I'm hoping for in the access-to-online for average musicians and others who want a simplified but better than just-the-computer-camera-mic solution.




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Old 01-16-2021, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
[size=2]
I'm really wanting a 4-6XLR in…USB-C out capability
There are tons of those these days, of course.

Quote:
Yes - I'm amazed Black Magic didn't include XLR in on the ATEM mini (all three). At their price points, it would seem a given - they are not giving (so far).
The audio support seems a bit like an after-thought on this box - tho it does have 6 stereo audio inputs, 4 that come in via each camera's HDMI, then 2 analog inputs. And the control software has EQ, mixing, etc. The box isn't tall/thick enough to have room for XLR jacks. A digital input would have been a nice solution. They have lots of different boxes, tho, maybe some of their pricier ones have more audio support. But it's not terribly important - every video software I use lets me specify the video and audio sources independently, so I can just use my audio interfaces directly.
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
The audio support <edit> on the Black Magic ATEM mini Pro <edit> seems a bit like an after-thought on this box - tho it does have 6 stereo audio inputs, 4 that come in via each camera's HDMI, then 2 analog inputs.
Hi Doug
I'm familiar with Black Magic interfaces/boxes/cameras etc. and they are very component oriented, and out-of-reach-expensive for the average home user.

Black Magic are responsive to customers, and update designs on a regular (frequent) basis. You pay for that when you buy into their system…which is part of their design/strategy. They are very much a system.

But my "I'm holding out…" thought is geared to a simple rig for players who have average tech-skills and want a rig to use online.




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Old 01-16-2021, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi Doug
I'm familiar with Black Magic interfaces/boxes/cameras etc. and they are very component oriented, and out-of-reach-expensive for the average home user.
The Mini of course breaks out of that a bit, which is why it caused a bit of a stir when it came out. $295. Not free, but in reach of a hobbyist who wants live multi-cam. For single cams that need an HDMI to thunderbolt, they have boxes for around $100.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
The Mini of course breaks out of that a bit, which is why it caused a bit of a stir when it came out. $295. Not free, but in reach of a hobbyist who wants live multi-cam. For single cams that need an HDMI to thunderbolt, they have boxes for around $100.
Hi Doug

And I'm guessing OWC (Other World Computing aka macsales dot com) has a lot of that category of gear as well. Black Magic create build-out parts which work well with their gear. OWC have a little wider reach.

The M1 Macs will bring a new wave of interface needs, I'm sure. So while I'm 'Holding Out' I'm also 'Waiting-Patiently' since my MacBook Pro (July 2015 model) is not on it's last legs, but technologically it's lagging behind.

It may end up in the hands of homeschooling grandchildren.

I bought my wife a new a new MacBook Pro this fall (she had a 5 yr old MacBook that just gave-up-the-ghost this fall). Who knew (really, who did?) the new M1 processor line were around the corner? It's fine for her - way more computer than she'll ever put to serious use. She loves and is probably using it 4-6 hours a day (as she did with the little MacBook).

New needs, new direction, new trends, new skills…it's kind of exciting!





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Old 01-16-2021, 10:51 PM
phcorrigan phcorrigan is offline
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Some digital mixers will do most of what you want. The Behringer XR18 has sixteen Midas preamps and will output all channels separately, pre or post effects and faders, via USB, although not USB-C. There is a bit of a learning curve, however.

$549 at Sweetwater: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-digital-mixer
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:36 PM
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I have an XR18. You can even get the Midas version (MR18) with even better preamps and an 18/18 in/out USB interface. I've used mine to record live before, it's really nice.

But it's still just a mixer with USB interface capability. You still need a computer and DAW or streaming software to stream, plus the whole video portion.

Honestly, right now the closest thing is your phone. While it doesn't have a multi-channel mixer, it does audio, video and streams all in one package you can hold in your hand. It does video very well; the audio less so.

I think what you really want is a phone with a mixer, rather than a mixer that connects to the internet.
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