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Compact mixing desks - what are you using?


Al Krow

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11 hours ago, 51m0n said:

XR18 handles a 7 piece funk band admirably.

 

Used a Spundcraft ui24R the other day, nice kit, not as good an interface as the Behringer IMO.

 

Seriously looked into an x32 rack plus 8 channel stage box. Shame there's no native android tablet app for it. 

 

Mixing Station is great - it was that much better than the official apps that they hired the developer to make the official XR-series mixers Android app. 

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Just now, mike257 said:

 

Mixing Station is great - it was that much better than the official apps that they hired the developer to make the official XR-series mixers Android app. 

I never knew that.

 

I agree though, Mixing Station is a great app. I like the common theme across a number of different manufacturers and it's good to be able to make your own custom layouts.

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On 04/09/2022 at 10:43, Al Krow said:

Any of you come across Soundcraft gear or, if not, be interested to hear what you're using and how well you rate your desks?

I went through this process a few months back. I decided for me I wanted a tool for the job I had in mind rather than a mass of bells and whistles I wouldn’t use.

 

I play in two bands, a four piece and a duo and I’ve never played in anything bigger than a five piece. We play small venues and mix ourselves so it is set and forget. We rarely tweak front of house once we’ve got a reasonable mix. Space on stage is always an issue.

 

Going digital was the first decision. A small footprint stage box solves a lot of space issues and speeds set up. Being able to save settings for the next gig is brilliant and I have saved settings for both bands and for rehearsals where we have a different set up. With a four piece we needed four vocal mics, three instrument mics and we rarely mic drums but would use a three mic technique if we did. Spare channels are great but I’d never used the ten channels on my old analogue mixer in six years. Biggest issues for me were convenience, reliability and ease of use. We also wanted to go in-ears so plenty of aux channels were must haves.

 

I went for the RCF M18. It’s tiny, has a great router unlike rivals and stunningly intuitive software. More features than I’ll ever use at a gig and it sounds good. It’s not as versatile as the Behringer, only recording in stereo but there is almost no learning curve to operate it. The software is seamless, no glitches and the things you need to hand are just where you need them. The menu structure means nothing is more than two clicks away.

 

I looked at the Behringer X18, sound raft and Zoom as well. They all have pluses, the Behringer is seriously flexible and I liked the physical controls on the Zoom but for functionality with a small live band the M18 is a great practical solution. I like things that just work.

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3 hours ago, dave_bass5 said:

I've been using a Behringer Xeynx X2222USB for years. Its fairly simple, as in you don’t need anything to control it,  but does have 2 sends per channel and an FX send (FX built in).


I started out with a Xenyx 1024FX but it had to go back as the preamps and the effects were so noisy it was pretty much unusable. Unfortunately that’s been my experience on a number of occasions of using Behringer analog mixers live (and also Mackie ones - Behringer aren’t the only culprits) but thankfully whatever the issue is wasn’t carried over into their digital mixers. 
 

In my experience Yamaha and Soundcraft analog mixers do the job well, and as I posted above the Behringer XR18 was/is a game changer for me. 

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7 hours ago, Jakester said:


I started out with a Xenyx 1024FX but it had to go back as the preamps and the effects were so noisy it was pretty much unusable. Unfortunately that’s been my experience on a number of occasions of using Behringer analog mixers live (and also Mackie ones - Behringer aren’t the only culprits) but thankfully whatever the issue is wasn’t carried over into their digital mixers. 
 

In my experience Yamaha and Soundcraft analog mixers do the job well, and as I posted above the Behringer XR18 was/is a game changer for me. 

Not my experience at all. Ive had this desk since about 2014 and it’s done loads of gigs (well over 100), plus i use it at home for my keyboards connected to my computer. Dead quite.  I do find the USB to be a bit noise as there is no pre amp/EQ on it, but ive only tried it a couple of times. 

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42 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Not my experience at all. Ive had this desk since about 2014 and it’s done loads of gigs (well over 100), plus i use it at home for my keyboards connected to my computer. Dead quite.  I do find the USB to be a bit noise as there is no pre amp/EQ on it, but ive only tried it a couple of times. 

 

Glad you had a better experience than me then! As I say, it's only been my experience but I have used a lot of desks in lots of different situations, and those are the two brands I've always noticed issues with.

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2 hours ago, Jakester said:

 

Glad you had a better experience than me then! As I say, it's only been my experience but I have used a lot of desks in lots of different situations, and those are the two brands I've always noticed issues with.

I guess sometimes it the luck of the drawer. Before that we were using a nice Yamaha desk but after a couple of years the power connector fell out. For a few months before that it was intermittent. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 04/09/2022 at 17:30, skidder652003 said:

Zoom LiveTrack L-20.

Looks and acts a little like an analogue desk but also doubles up as a 20 discrete channel input DAW, recordable on usb drive, memory card or direct to laptop via usb cable. We record all our gigs and play with them later in Reaper or Harrison mixbus.

Also has bluetooth to tablet for wandering about mixing.

Great preamps and fx, gates, 16 standalone compressors, 3 band mid parametric eq etc..

scene setting for recalling each venue so less messing about in regular venues.

6 monitor mixes with each one an individual mix

Yes I am a fanboi!

only downside so far is the power supply is a bit flimsy

https://zoomcorp.com/en/gb/digital-mixer-multi-track-recorders/digital-mixer-recorder/livetrak-l-20/

 

Just come across its junior sibling, which I'm really liking the look of:

 

LIVETRAK L-8

FEATURES

8-channel mixer (6 combo, plus 2 TS)

12-track simultaneous recording, 10-track playback

Mix-Minus function preventing audio feedback from dial-in guests

TRRS connection and included TRRS cable for phone connectivity

6 assignable Sound Pads, with 13 preset sounds

4 headphone outputs, consisting of 3 custom monitor mixes, plus one main mix

3-band EQ and a low-cut function

7 scene memories for storing mixes

12-in / 4-out USB audio interface

Class-compliant mode (for iOS compatibility)

Battery operated with four AA batteries or a USB power supply

Record up to 24-bit/96kHz, record up to 48kHZ to computer and SD card simultaneously

 

This could be ideal for a 4-piece band to combine with IEMs without the need for a separate tablet and wireless router as an alternative to, say, the highly recommended RCF M18. At £333 (DV247) it's decently affordable, too.

Being able to tailor the custom monitor mixes is going to be key: e.g. more vox for the vocalist, bass for me, guitar for guitarist and the drummer can have full main mix. Plus having scenes to get settings stored for particular venues - perfect for our pub residencies. Add in the ability to record gigs onto an SD card (guess we would need to use an overhead mic for the drums, as this doesn't have enough inputs to individually mic up the full drum kit) and it's looking like a super useful piece of kit.

@skidder652003 how much customisation do the "custom monitor mixes" allow? E.g. can you cut the reverb to the vocal monitor out whilst having it present in the main monitor out and/or apply hpf (low cut) to the main monitor out but absent in the custom monitor mix?

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On 24/10/2022 at 07:28, Al Krow said:

 

Just come across its junior sibling, which I'm really liking the look of:

 

LIVETRAK L-8

FEATURES

8-channel mixer (6 combo, plus 2 TS)

12-track simultaneous recording, 10-track playback

Mix-Minus function preventing audio feedback from dial-in guests

TRRS connection and included TRRS cable for phone connectivity

6 assignable Sound Pads, with 13 preset sounds

4 headphone outputs, consisting of 3 custom monitor mixes, plus one main mix

3-band EQ and a low-cut function

7 scene memories for storing mixes

12-in / 4-out USB audio interface

Class-compliant mode (for iOS compatibility)

Battery operated with four AA batteries or a USB power supply

Record up to 24-bit/96kHz, record up to 48kHZ to computer and SD card simultaneously

 

This could be ideal for a 4-piece band to combine with IEMs without the need for a separate tablet and wireless router as an alternative to, say, the highly recommended RCF M18. At £333 (DV247) it's decently affordable, too.

Being able to tailor the custom monitor mixes is going to be key: e.g. more vox for the vocalist, bass for me, guitar for guitarist and the drummer can have full main mix. Plus having scenes to get settings stored for particular venues - perfect for our pub residencies. Add in the ability to record gigs onto an SD card (guess we would need to use an overhead mic for the drums, as this doesn't have enough inputs to individually mic up the full drum kit) and it's looking like a super useful piece of kit.

@skidder652003 how much customisation do the "custom monitor mixes" allow? E.g. can you cut the reverb to the vocal monitor out whilst having it present in the main monitor out and/or apply hpf (low cut) to the main monitor out but absent in the custom monitor mix?

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1447242859089045/?hoisted=false&ref=search&referral_code=null&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp%3Ac9f10295-a5e0-414d-8db2-5c131b7cc2fd

 

Im not sure how much customisation there is TBH as I don't do the desk tuning so to speak (drummers job). I know I can ask or more guitar or vocal etc but beyond that Im not sure.

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I was looking at about the same time as @Phil Starrfor me the need was for a mixer that could take everything that a five piece could throw at it, so 4 vocal Mics, two guitar and one bass amp, 5 drum mics plus at leats 4 AUX outputs. For me, that was the Soundcraft Ui16. In fact, I found out after I bought it that the headphone out could be re-arranged to be Aux 5 and 6. So I have 14 Mic/Line inputs and up to 6 Aux outputs. Each output has a 31/32 band graphic and each output has feedback suppression. If I had not needed the extra mic inputs, I might well have gone with the RCF M18. The real benefit of the Soundcraft however is that it does not need an App. Control is via a web browser.

 

I had already had experience of a Behringer XR12 and was not too impressed. That being said, I have and have had various Behringer products in the past.

 

Finally, the Wi-Fi router in ALL these small format mixers are very poor, and the Soundcraft is no exception. The XR12 was particularly bad, but the User groups on all are full of horror stories. You do need an external router. I also use a PC as the main control as it is a rock-solid wired Ethernet connection.

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54 minutes ago, Chienmortbb said:

 

Finally, the Wi-Fi router in ALL these small format mixers are very poor, and the Soundcraft is no exception.

Not true of the M18, the router is excellent, I've never had problems even when I've forgotten to connect the external antenna. The range is better than our household wi fi. That was a crucial deciding factor, I didn't want an external power supply either. The band have all gone in ears now and mix their own monitors with their phones. their tech fear is dissipating :)

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On 26/10/2022 at 06:59, skidder652003 said:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1447242859089045/?hoisted=false&ref=search&referral_code=null&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp%3Ac9f10295-a5e0-414d-8db2-5c131b7cc2fd

 

Im not sure how much customisation there is TBH as I don't do the desk tuning so to speak (drummers job). I know I can ask or more guitar or vocal etc but beyond that Im not sure.

 

I've done a bit more research online and it seems that you can indeed customise exactly what each of the 3 aux out gets and have those as saved settings. I think the Zoom L8 will be ideal for smaller bands (3 or 4 piece) and the Zoom L12 for 5+ piece bands

Btw, thanks for the eBay link although he's wanting £290 posted, so I suspect I'd still go for a new one from DV247 at £333 and have benefit of the warranty.

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Just come across this - StudioMaster Digilive 16. Does look good, if a bit more spendy. Combines many of the benefits of the RCF M18 without needing a separate tablet to control. Going to be more than what my 4-piece crew currently will need, but may be of interest to others on the forum.

 

image.png.5d6e5d9e9eb987b327b074b0f34d9943.png

 

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14 hours ago, Al Krow said:

@EBS_freak@Phil Starr with something like the Zoom L8, as the outputs are headphone-out rather than aux out, would I be correct in thinking the band could dispense with something like a Behringer P2 for wired IEM amplification? 

You might struggle for volume Al, they aren't headphone outs they are balanced line but just use TRS jacks instead of XLR's, I have a set of six short jack to XLR leads that I use to convert to XLR. They do have enough signal to make a sound through the headphones but the P2 gives you more volume, a better impedance match and better sound.

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On 26/10/2022 at 06:59, skidder652003 said:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1447242859089045/?hoisted=false&ref=search&referral_code=null&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp%3Ac9f10295-a5e0-414d-8db2-5c131b7cc2fd

 

Im not sure how much customisation there is TBH as I don't do the desk tuning so to speak (drummers job). I know I can ask or more guitar or vocal etc but beyond that Im not sure.

Damn you Steve, that's just down the road from me :)

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On 28/10/2022 at 09:17, Al Krow said:

Just come across this - StudioMaster Digilive 16. Does look good, if a bit more spendy. Combines many of the benefits of the RCF M18 without needing a separate tablet to control. Going to be more than what my 4-piece crew currently will need, but may be of interest to others on the forum.

 

image.png.5d6e5d9e9eb987b327b074b0f34d9943.png

 

And now you are at it Al at a quick look I might have gone for this, four more mic pre's and proper sliders. Where's the drooling emoji :)

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