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 Post subject: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:31 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm
Posts: 5
Hello,

I have been looking into getting a USB Mixer to use in ableton for recording and basic mixing. I have done some research but haven’t been able to find much information on the subject. My question is what will i need, (cables and such), how do i wire it to my computer, and how do i set it up in Ableton so that i am able to record and do basic mixing on the board.

Any tips, help or insight it greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Jacob


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm
Posts: 5
Also:

Are there certain mixers that do work with Ableton and certain ines that dont? Please let me know

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 846
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
There's a lot to consider when deciding to add a mixer to your set up.

A lot of USB mixers only allow you to send a summed stereo mix to your DAW, rather than the individual channels, so shop carefully and avoid the lower price ranges where this is typical.

Are you thinking a digital or analog mixer? Any mixer will let you record into Live, but not so many will let you bring the channels back out of Live for mixing on the hardware. Digital mixers are easier to find with this feature, but expect this feature to increase the price as well. For analog mixers, it's even more expensive. There are also USB devices that allow you to control Live for mixing, so if you're just looking for the mixing experience and you're happy with your current audio interface, you could look at something like that.

Are you going to need groups, inserts, or aux buses? How many of each? One of the big advantages of hardware mixers is all the routing options it opens up for any other hardware you own (or plan to own).

When you find the right mixer, a USB cable is all you'll need in regards to cables--aside from whatever cables you need to connect your microphones/instruments to the mixer. A USB mixer will replace your existing audio interface, so you probably have all the cables you need.

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Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.4 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Posts: 2263
Great advice there.

There is the option (that I use and prefer) of using an analogue mixer and decent multi I/O interface.

The reason I prefer this is because i'm old school and like to have "component" based solutions instead of all-in-one solution. This allows easy upgrade of a single component as time goes on and tech changes.

I would suggest as Richie has eluded to of making yourself a list of everything you need in your setup (number of channels in/out, bussing, routing, external fx etc...) then start looking at the options that will cater for that.

Does your digital mixer also need to work as a MIDI mixer (mackie) to control the faders within Live?

Then of course it is one thing to have all this, but it may be geared more towards recording and could have a big latency when trying to use it in a live situation. The cost can skyrocket as you start adding more things you need it to do.

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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:44 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 846
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
jestermgee wrote:
There is the option (that I use and prefer) of using an analogue mixer and decent multi I/O interface.

Totally agree. When the last of the back-order capacitors arrive in February, I'll be finishing that Tascam mixer refurb and doing the same thing.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Yqzo8jmTALIyUm5b2

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Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.4 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2


Last edited by Richie Witch on Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Posts: 2263
You are probably showing your age there like me :). That is the kind of mixer I would have killed for 15 years ago (even now... I love analogue VU meters and a button-for-each-function layout). I just run a crusty old Mackie 1402 but it's been solid and clean for over a decade not to mention for the $100 I bought it for it has so much I/O routing for it's class, does everything I need and nothing I don't.

Contract to how it keeps kicking after every year, the old Presonus Firebox I used for so long simply needed replacing because Presonus decided they didn't want to make drivers for Win10 and though I managed to hack the Win7 drivers, it never worked as it did under Win7 so I was forced to upgrade a perfectly working interface which I now keep in a box as I cannot even really sell it. One of the reasons i'm very reluctant to do an all in one digital mixer because chances are in 10 years time it may not be supported and i'd have to replace everything.

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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:11 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 846
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
Yep, old guy too.

Funny, because Mackie didn't make drivers for the Onyx-i series past Win7 which has pushed me to go the analog mixer+interface route too.

Replacing over 350 capacitors in that Tascam has brought my soldering skills back up to aerospace-grade level after decades of disuse, so all the better for my Eurorack kits. :lol:

Talked the pawn shop down to $200 for the mixer because of a funky meter bridge problem on group 3 that will be an easy fix and doesn't effect the audio signal coming out of group 3 in any case.

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Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.4 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm
Posts: 5
I was thinking more along the lines of an analogue mixer yet i am open to using a digital. My main concern is being able to mix and control my levels on the hardware. I want to have to use my mouse the least amount possible. I’d like to have at least 16 channels and at least 4 busses but i am willing to fluctuate. Can anyone give me some names of specific mixers that would work for this or any that you might even think think would work? Analogue or digtal. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:39 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 846
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
Jacobgat4 wrote:
I was thinking more along the lines of an analogue mixer yet i am open to using a digital. My main concern is being able to mix and control my levels on the hardware. I want to have to use my mouse the least amount possible. I’d like to have at least 16 channels and at least 4 busses but i am willing to fluctuate. Can anyone give me some names of specific mixers that would work for this or any that you might even think think would work? Analogue or digtal. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks

What's your budget? Are you willing to switch to Firewire or Thunderbolt?

I'm not aware of any analog mixers that can mix inside Live that are also USB. The ones I know of are Firewire and lack any drivers beyond Win7. Several others are no longer manufactured. Maybe someone else here has some ideas.

As for digital mixers, I took a quick look at the Presonus StudioLive line, which would do what you're looking for, but appears also to be Firewire or Thunderbolt as well.

The problem is that you want *both* recording *and* mixing. :lol:

I've had the feeling for some time that what you (and I) would like to do isn't really in vogue now with the manufacturers. I wait with bated breath for each NAMM show, hoping someone will create a USB3 analog mixer/interface with DAW mixing control, but so far, no luck. Maybe this year will be the year....

_________________
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.4 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm
Posts: 5
Thanks a bunch Richie. I too took a look at the presonus and was wondering if that would do the trick for me. To answer your question, yes i am willing to switch to firewire or thunderbolt. I also am currently using a mac so i dont know if that would change anything since you brought up windows7. If the issue is recording AND mixing, is there any that i would be able to use for just the mixing aspect and i could use different means of recording?
Please let me know your thoughts

Thanks,
Jacob


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:25 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Posts: 2263
It really depends on your budget and actual needs.

As we have discussed a decent quality external analogue mixer connected to a decent interface with some I/O capabilities would allow you to connect gear and rout it to tracks via the mixer/interface.

For example, I have simple needs and really only need to record a single thing at a time but I have a number of devices I may wish to record without having to plug/unplug things and reset levels etc. I have a Roland OctaCapture which has loads of I/O for a USB interface and I then have a Mackie 1402 14ch mixer. It basically has a master out and a "recording buss" which I have created using the mute routing so I can rout any device (including outputs from my PC on other channels of my interface) to the record inputs and to Lice at the press of a button. Basically anything connected to the mixer can be recorded.

If I needed to record a mmic + instrument separate then I can connect a mic to the interface directly and instruments via the mixer (or however).

For mixing within the box I have a Mackie MCU which is purely digital (no I/O) but it controls the Live mixer perfectly and is the perfect solution for digital mixing. The motorised faders mean it is ready with the load of ANY project. You also have similar devices as the Mackie (Behringer X-Touch or the el-cheapo BCF2000). Downside with this setup is space, you need desk space.

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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:20 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 846
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
Yeah, my thoughts would echo jestermgee's. It all comes down to budget and space--and I'd probably have two devices if I had the desk space.

The analog/digital mixer interface I was referring to is was the Mackie Onyx 1640i. For reasons I've never understood, this is the only mixer in the Onyx-i line that can handle mixing in Live. The others just record. Not sure about the driver situation for Mac's. Maybe someone else here will know. I've heard that the Midas Venice F32 will as well, but has been out of production for years, and those that own them guard them jealously. :lol:

My workflow is similar but different from jestermgee's. I like jamming out a chord progression on one synth, and them maybe layer that with a pad, then set up a bass line, and build a beat around everything. So I'll record just the MIDI of each instrument as I go along, so that Live is playing my chords and pad, while I work out the bass line. Once I've used up all my channels to monitor everything playing all at once, then I will record the audio to separate tracks in Live. So I have two stereo buses for synths, a stereo bus for Eurorack, another for the drum machine, and a couple mic pres for microphones (just in case).

The real reason I got into mixers is because I love outboard gear, and mixers offer lots of routing options for outboard stuff that audio interfaces just do not. And playing with faders is fun too.

The mixer I'm moving to (probably next month) has direct outs on 12 channels and 4 groups, so the idea is to connect most of those to a USB interface. Each channel also has tape inputs, so I could conceivably send everything back out of Live, and mix on the mixer, except I wouldn't really be mixing in Live at all anymore; I would be treating Live like two tape machines, and mixing 12 tracks down to 4. I doubt it's worth the effort, even if numerous conversion cycles weren't an issue.

Because this new mixer takes up most of my studio desk, I'm going to content myself with continuing to mix in Live (although I recently added a second screen, so that should help). If I had the space to add another device, I would get one of the USB mixing devices that maps faders and knobs to the controls on Live's mixer.

_________________
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.4 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:26 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:44 pm
Posts: 5
I also forgot to mention i was looking at the behringer xenyx UF1604 and was wondering what your thoughts were on that seeing that is has midi connections and claims to be a remote control center for your DAW via midi. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that


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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:35 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Posts: 2263
Jacobgat4 wrote:
I also forgot to mention i was looking at the behringer xenyx UF1604 and was wondering what your thoughts were on that seeing that is has midi connections and claims to be a remote control center for your DAW via midi. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that


Behringer to me is a "good product at a fair price" type of company. They use to be "A cheap product for a povo musician) but some of their gear now is pretty damn good for the price (muych of my mobile setup, EQ/Amps are Behringer).

But that mixer is an analogue mixer with inbuilt audio interface. It will do the job of mixer and audio and allow recording but from what I can understand it allows some MIDI transport control but will not offer control over a DAWs mixer, only the input recording mixer.

Would be a good unit for recording a small band or gig with low costs.

Concern I would have is it's ability to do recording and playback of multi-tracks of audio with low latency as that relies on good audio drivers and i'm not really sure of Behringers ability to run all that audio cleanly. Could be wrong.

If you need digital mixing tho, I don't think that one would offer that, just mixing of levels during the recording phase.

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 Post subject: Re: How to use a USB Mixer in Ableton
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:42 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Posts: 846
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida
Sound On Sound did a pretty thorough review of that Behringer mixer. I looked into it when I was trying to figure out what to do about my driver situation.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/behringer-ufx1604

_________________
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.4 | Yamaha, Korg, and Novation synths, and 12U of Eurorack | Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer/interface | various outboard gear | Dune 2, Circle2, Enzyme, Kontakt |
current studio pic -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/svVvXwLuCSjVJG8c2


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