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Old 19th May 2006, 07:54 AM   #1
wxn is offline wxn  Lithuania
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Default Sound quality of small commercial mixers?

I'm in a need for a control surface of some kind for my pc. Not just preamp with source selector but a mixer with good volume control, with a high quality headphone amp and some kind of loopback for recording.

I've got some PGA2310's laying around, a couple of AD's solid state audio switches. Could make a simple mixer/volume control. If done correctly, sound quality should be very good but the whole thing would not be as flexible as any commercially available solution. For example Compact 4 from SoundCraft:

http://www.soundcraft.com/product_sh...product_id=121

The thing is ideal all-round control panel. It has plenty of mixing options, has headphone outputs and even a high-Z input for recording guitars directly (this is very convenient).

But having said that, any signal going through that thing will pass multiple gain stages, tone controls etc. Im having a real hard time finding serious reviews on the internet. Does anybody here have any experience with such devices?

kipsus
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Old 21st May 2006, 07:22 AM   #2
wxn is offline wxn  Lithuania
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Anyone?
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Old 21st May 2006, 08:14 AM   #3
AndrewT is online now AndrewT  Scotland
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Maybe, we have all assumed, rightly or wrongly, the quality is beneath us, resulting in zero experience.
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Old 21st May 2006, 08:21 AM   #4
wxn is offline wxn  Lithuania
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Well IIRC some folks here have long-time experience working as sound engineers
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Old 21st May 2006, 08:28 AM   #5
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Sound quality of commercial mixers is usually extremely good, I would use one without hesitation - particularly as you're feeding into a PC, it should far exceed the PC audio input specs.

Obviously these days many professional recordings are recorded and processed digitally - but in the past (and still quite a lot now as well), analogue mixers are used. Many 'audiophiles' won't have an opamp in their system at all, but many of their recordings have probably already been through many hundreds of opamps during recording and mixing?.

People are paying BIG money these days to be recorded using the old crappy valve gear used on the old Beatles recordings - far more than it costs to use top professional gear.

Sound Craft have a good name in mixing desks, but you might consider the Behringer ones? - they are a lot cheaper, and have a good reputation as well.
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Old 21st May 2006, 08:48 AM   #6
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Well my choice of that SoundCraft model was based more on its features - instrumental input and separate buses for play/rec. And the price is (surprisingly) not any higher than similar models from Tapco, Behringer etc.
Sadly, Behringer does not provide block diagrams for their products. And they're not readily available here. Though I saw a Wharfedalle mixer at a local shop. Looks like a Behringer clone. The price is good but no reviews, no extensive datasheets, manufacturer's site boasts about their high quality products and years of experience but who trusts such claims anyway?
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Old 21st May 2006, 09:27 AM   #7
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My usual comment I'm afraid.

Do you want to spend your time building a mixer, or making music? If its the former, fire up your soldering iron, and in six months you might have a cracking mixer that does what you want. If it's the latter, go out and buy the mixer. Good music will always shine through despite the quality of the recording, the reverse is definitely not true.
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Old 21st May 2006, 09:35 AM   #8
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Have a look at small OB mixers (often available second-hand on eBay etc.). Most are of superb build and sound quality, and avoid the unnecessary EQ and such which you probably don't need, and which is where the sound is most likely to be mangled.
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Old 21st May 2006, 06:35 PM   #9
wxn is offline wxn  Lithuania
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pinkmouse:
I want the flexibility of a mixer and the sound quality of a good preamp, all in one. This is true for the more expensive mixers but my question was about the cheaper ones. Quite probably I'll end up using the thing as a sophisticated external volume control. If so, I might be better off with a simple diy volume control. But if a mixer doesn't trash the sound more than eg buffer+PGA2310, then I choose mixer (not to mention cool professional look).

dnsey:
Haven't heard about them. Google doesn't seem to give a clear answer either. Could you tell more about them? Btw ordering from eBay here is problematic and expensive...
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Old 21st May 2006, 09:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by wxn
Well my choice of that SoundCraft model was based more on its features - instrumental input and separate buses for play/rec. And the price is (surprisingly) not any higher than similar models from Tapco, Behringer etc.
Sadly, Behringer does not provide block diagrams for their products.



Behringer provide block diagrams for many of their mixers, check their website for instruction books!. Unfortunately they don't provide one for my PHM880S mixer/amp, because like yourself, I find block diagrams very informative.

Quote:

And they're not readily available here. Though I saw a Wharfedalle mixer at a local shop. Looks like a Behringer clone. The price is good but no reviews, no extensive datasheets, manufacturer's site boasts about their high quality products and years of experience but who trusts such claims anyway?
I haven't seen any Wharfedale mixers, but the name is used on cheap rubbish in the UK these days - which is a shame, because they had a name for quality speakers years ago. I have seen a few Wharfedale mixer/amps though, they look like cheap copies of Behringer or Phonic models.

However, if Soundcraft is a similar price, and easily available, there's no reason not to go for that?.
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