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Old 14th July 2009, 03:50 PM   #1
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Arrow Live Electronica Mixing Gear/Setup

Got a few questions regarding audio equipment…

I've been learning to produce electronica/dance music and I'm looking to get some equipment with the goal of being able to mix my self-produced beat loops, drum loops, and melodies together in a live set-up using a multi-channel mixer that receives its audio from a computer through an external audio card.

To be more specific, I'm looking to be able to mix in the loops/melodies on individual mono and/or stereo channels and progressively swap in and out new audio loops to keep the mix going (ie. mix a beat in on channel one, a drum loop on channel two, a melody on channel three, then a second beat on channel four as I fade out the first beat, a second drum loop on channel five to add onto or replace the first drum loop, etc.)

And, while in search of good-while-cost-effective equipment to do this, I’m also in the market for a new external audio card to replace my piece of crap that I'm sick of using (M-Audio Firewire Audiophile).

Among the features I’m looking for in a new external audio card include it being Firewire capable, for it to have ¼” or XLR inputs and outputs (would be nice to have one RCA in and/or out, but I’d prefer the majority of the in’s and out’s be ¼” or XLR) And I’d prefer it to have more emphasis on multiple outputs than multiple inputs, but as some audio interfaces come, if I have to settle for a box with a bunch of inputs to get a bunch of outputs, I’d be ok with it. And, if I had to put a number on how many outputs/inputs I’d like, it would probably be around at least 8 outputs and at least 4 inputs (just in case some buddies need some help recording something). (And, although the features I listed above I'd prefer to have in an external audio card, if you have any input as to why I should get something else different instead (ie. USB instead of Firewire, or RCA outs instead of ¼” or XLR) then please speak up and let me know if and why you'd recommend something else.)

So, basically I'm looking for a multi-channel mixer with 8 to 12 channels and an external audio card with at least 8 outputs. (Oh, and by the way...one thing is that I don't mind a lower-end mixer, but I don't want each channel's main audio level to be controlled by a knob, definitely looking for faders when it comes to volume control. :-P )

While keeping in mind that I want both the mixer and audio box, I tried looking around online and stumbled across the Alesis Multimix 12 Firewire (http://image.rakuten.co.jp/waxmusic/...06/al-12fw.jpg). This mixer not only is analog capable but it also has a built in audio interface that connects via Firewire. This mixer was actually discontinued by Alesis and they now only sell the 8-channel Multimix Firewire that uses knobs for volume control on each channel, but although it was discontinued, I have managed to find some online retailers that still have it in stock. Now, even if it doesn't have 8+ direct outputs, it essentially might be able to handle the live mixing I mentioned wanting to do above. I just don't know and couldn't figure out online whether or not I could send a different audio signal out from the computer to each channel (so I could control the volume and EQ it) or if the channels only allow manipulation of analog inputs. But, if it would be possible to assign a different audio stream from the computer to every channel and mix them together live, this would suffice for my needs and it's $400 or less price tag for that whole bundle makes it enticing...

But, unsure about whether the Alesis Multimix 12 Firewire can do all I'd want it to do, and also unsure if the audio card built into it took a hit on sound quality because it was made to be cheaper and put in a mixer, I decided to continue to look around. While doing more research online, I came across Mackie's Onyx 1220 Firewire capable mixer, which looks sleek, sturdy, sexy and might be the ideal setup I'd get, but it's too expensive for me @ $400 for the mixer and an additional $500 for the insertable Firewire card. So, I kept looking...

After surveying many 12 channel analog mixers and even more Firewire audio interfaces, I settled on one of each that I thought might suit my needs best while not being too expensive. For the mixer, I thought I might go with a Tapco Mix 260.FX (http://www.tapcoworld.com/products/m...X260FX_Top.jpg) which I found online for around $150-175. And for the external audio interface I thought I'd go with an Edirol FA-101 (http://www.intermusic-pro.com/upload...1-viewrear.jpg) which I found online for around $280-300.

As of now, I've done a lot of research and I'm almost ready to settle and get the Tapco mixer and the Edirol audio interface, but it's definitely an expensive venture to embark on and I do not want to screw up...

So, does anyone know if the Alesis Multimix 12 Firewire would be capable of handling what I'm looking to do? And if not, should I get the FA-101 and Tapco Mixer? Or, does anyone have input or recommendations on other equipment that I should get instead that would be a better value and/or more useful for what I'm looking to do?

Thanks!
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Old 14th July 2009, 04:51 PM   #2
infinia is offline infinia  United States
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Default live music creation

Most of the stuff you want will be done in software instead of external hardware. Seems you should determine the software first. Then soundcard, Are you gonna provide the PA mixer with amps/speakers?
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Old 25th August 2009, 01:35 AM   #3
CBRworm is offline CBRworm  United States
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I was looking at the motu 828 mkii. It is almost what you want.

Currently I have an M-audio 1010 which has 8 analog outs (and one digital) and a halfway decent on board mixing ability. I have used reason and ableton with kind of success. I realized though that I have little musical ability and sold my midi keyboard when I needed some money.
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Old 25th August 2009, 02:03 AM   #4
imix500 is offline imix500  United States
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The 828 is a good unit. We use a bunch of them at work.
I cast my vote for doing mixing in software if you can. With Protools, as an example, you can add on a control surface at a later time. Or you can use a controller like the Behringer B-Control pods with your software of choice. Believe it or not, they work well and are very affordable. We've used them on mission critical shows and had great success.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 12:13 PM   #5
zog666 is offline zog666  Australia
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As I have an older rig I still tinker with hardware, as I already have the synths (havent produced any tracks for a while.. been fiddling more with DIY hifi recently!)

If I was starting from scratch I would get a grunty laptop, learn Ableton (software), get a good quality outbooard soundcard for performance, and whatever USB control surface met my needs and budget (there are HEAPS out there).

my 2c.

Most of the great "live" techno I have seen done on laptops where I've known what package they are using seems to be done using Ableton

Last edited by zog666; 3rd September 2009 at 12:18 PM.
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