Interface and Analog Mixer, or Interface Mixer Combo

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cpyatak
Posts: 379
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:44 pm
Location: Vermont

Interface and Analog Mixer, or Interface Mixer Combo

Post by cpyatak » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:08 pm

Hi All,

I'm going to be making a substantial upgrade to my home studio in the relatively near future, which will involve adding a Hardware analog synth (Prophet 6), and an Analog Drum Machine (either the DrumBrute or the MFB Tanzbar... leaning DrumBrute). Currently my production is all inside the box, with the exception of Controllers (APC 40, Beatstep Pro, Novation ReMOTE 61SL, and some others that don't get a ton of use). I use Ableton 9.6 Suite, and sometimes Reason 7 rewired. I have no other soft synths, but make pretty heavy use of Analog, Collission, Operator, and several other included instruments within Suite. I will also be getting Yamaha HS8 monitors so I can get out of the headphones. I am really looking forward to getting more out of the box in my music making, but don't want to give up some of the tools in Ableton that I really love, nor my ability to multi track record as I create. I'm working on a 2013 MBP, which will probably be upgraded within the next year or two.

That's the background that brings me to my interface/mixer question. I'd like to use a mixing console to bring the inputs from the Prophet (and any future synths), and at least SOME of the individual drum outs from the Drum machine, be able to send them per track to ableton, and also have playback from, say 4 instances of the ableton synths. I understand that with the list of new gear above it would seem that money is no object, but that's not the case. So I'm looking at interface mixer combos, or a standalone mixer and a standalone interface. I'd also like to be able to eventually add inserts/sends for hardware effects, and have some open slots for new hardware synths in the future.

Current options I'm looking at include:
Behringer UFX 1604 (I'm not thrilled with the idea of getting a Behringer, but it has everything at a good pricepoint to get me started).
Soundcraft 12 or 22 MTK - 12 isn't enough and 22 seems big, but I've also heard that people have been disappointed with these for the purposes I'm trying (and maybe failing) to describe.
Allen & Heath WZ4 16:2 MixWizard with USB Audio option -- more than I really want to spend but I'd consider it.
Allen & Heath Zed r16 -- kind of the holy grail of what I want (I think), but really big and way more than I want to spend.
MOTU 828x with a non interface mixer? -- not enough physical analog I/O on the 828.
MOTU 16A with a non interface mixer -- plenty of I/O (I don't need mic pres), but more than I want to spend.

I want it all, and I want it perfect, and I want it cheap. That's reasonable right?

Does anyone have any guidance for the kind of setup I'm looking for?

Thanks in advance.

CP

Richie Witch
Posts: 880
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:10 pm
Location: Space Coast, Central Florida

Re: Interface and Analog Mixer, or Interface Mixer Combo

Post by Richie Witch » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:53 am

cpyatak wrote: Current options I'm looking at include:
Behringer UFX 1604 (I'm not thrilled with the idea of getting a Behringer, but it has everything at a good pricepoint to get me started).
Soundcraft 12 or 22 MTK - 12 isn't enough and 22 seems big, but I've also heard that people have been disappointed with these for the purposes I'm trying (and maybe failing) to describe.
Allen & Heath WZ4 16:2 MixWizard with USB Audio option -- more than I really want to spend but I'd consider it.
Allen & Heath Zed r16 -- kind of the holy grail of what I want (I think), but really big and way more than I want to spend.
MOTU 828x with a non interface mixer? -- not enough physical analog I/O on the 828.
MOTU 16A with a non interface mixer -- plenty of I/O (I don't need mic pres), but more than I want to spend.
Two comments on the A&H mixers.

1) According to Sweetwater, the Zed R16 has been discontinued. If you're looking for that one, you'll need to look for a used one. Most of the ones I saw in the second-hand market were going for $1,900. Guess they were well-loved.
2) The WZ4 does not offer multitrack recording out of the box. According to the owners manual, you have to buy an optional "USB2 kit". There is a blank panel on the back of the unit where this kit gets installed. I found the kit for $300 from Parts Express or eBay.

In my own studio, I'm using a Mackie Onyx 1620i, which perfectly suits what you're talking about, but it has it's own set of problems, namely that there are no Windows drivers beyond Win7, and an optional Firewire kit that only gets you to Win8. So there is that. :roll:

Based on a similar thread from a couple weeks ago, I'd go for the Soundcraft 22. You'll be surprised how quickly you run out of inputs. :D
Win7/Intel i7 rig | Live 9.7.5 | 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

cpyatak
Posts: 379
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:44 pm
Location: Vermont

Re: Interface and Analog Mixer, or Interface Mixer Combo

Post by cpyatak » Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:33 am

Thanks for the reply Richie.

Yes, when I tried looking up the A&H r16 at sweetwater it was no longer. The WZ4 with the USB kit is also enticing -- I think that brings it up to around 1300-1400. Looks like Sweetwater is also not carrying the Mackie 1620i, but it is on the Mackie page. I have only Thunderbolt and USB -- could maybe get around it with an adapter. But the board itself looks really nice and I instinctively trust Mackie more than Behringer. But at the price point, that Behringer is looking mighty attractive. Then again, so is the Soundcraft MTK22. Again. I've been going in circles on this.

Thanks for pointing me to the other posts -- I had done a forum search before but I guess I was too specific. Clearly I'm not alone in this struggle.

Right now, front runners:
Soundcraft MTK 22
Mackie 1620i
Behringer UFX 1604

I guess my conundrum now is footprint vs inputs, as the pricing of all of these is between 700-1000.

I'd love to hear any more thoughts from people using these boards this way. Though it looks like a lot of that has already been said.

Thanks!

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