Mixers and audio interfaces

If you like the portable recorder format, upgrading to an H6 will allow you to go standalone without a computer or with a computer (use line out for monitors and headphone out for headphones). MOTU ultralite mk3 or mk4 (and some of their other interfaces) can be configured ahead of time to work well with or without a computer, though if your rig isn’t very complicated (e.g. stereo outs from the modular) it’s probably not worth the more complicated setup process and expense. Also a dedicated Interface like the motu can’t record without a computer. Another option is a mixer with usb audio in/out, which may be bulkier but gives you hands on control and some have sd recorders built into them.

I’ve been using a MixPre 6 for the same purpose. Sometimes I mix down in my modular and record 2 channels into the MixPre, but I also occasionally send up to 6 channels into it. It lives semi-permanently at the end of my signal chain in the studio and for performances. So far, it’s been fantastic—the pre’s are beautiful, as is the analog limiter. It also has the best headphone amp of any mixer/field recorder I’ve tried.

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If they are anything like the ones on the USBPre2, they are truly good!

Currently using an H6 for light field recording / onsite duties, but have been interested with the MIXPRE6 also

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@Dogma - I’ve been looking at the SSL SiX for a while. There’s a good thread about it over on elektronauts forum, if you’re interested. I go back and forth thinking it’s either the perfect mixer or overkill for my modest setup.

@Hovercraft - Seeing your post made me google up the MixPre again, and I discovered that they revised the line later last year (e.g. MixPre 6 II). These have been off my radar, but could creep back in. It definitely looks like a solid piece, with a lot of features packed into a small package.

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I bought one for the studio I work for, opened the box yesterday.
First impressions : it’s extremely small, the build quality is generally nice though pots are not panel mounted, led bars alignment are to be desired, and the long fader aren’t as smooth as I would have hoped, but… it sounds absolutely amazing!
I only tried the line inputs for now (plugged in a shared system), the EQ on first two channels are perfect, I especially like the low band when switched to a bell curve, bus comp sounds really nice, I can’t wait to have some time to explore this little beast.
The routing options are near-endless, one small caveat though is that the inserts sends and returns are only available on 2x Sub D 25 connectors, which is fine in a studio but less than desirable in a live situation (if you need them).

The studio is part of a fine art school in France and all schools/universities are gonna close next week here for an undecided amount of time because of coronavirus, I may take it home during quarantaine to spend more time with it, I’ll report back soon if I do :slight_smile:

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Yes! It’s incredible and perfect as far as I’m concerned.
I wrote more at length about it here:

My SSL Six is meant to arrive tomorrow. Are the cables you mention (2x Sub D 25 connectors) custom built? I was pokling around online to see if I could find what is needed (Sub D 25 to dual 1/4"?)
Many thanks

The DB-25 ports combine connections for 8 balanced signals into 1. There are cables called “snakes” that have a DB25 on one end and 8 balanced (TRS) 1/4" cables on the other end. Here’s an example: https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/daddario-planet-waves-modular-snake-8-channel-breakout/334008000043000?cntry=us&source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3qzzBRDnARIsAECmryq_7w6JwRWUdmfjCp9hwDRLSzHjPaACqG4aJwfJHMvaLzFUwAMs-c8aAjgYEALw_wcB

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got it. Thanks!
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Well, I found a good deal on Reverb for an SSL SiX. I figured going for a workflow enhancement is never a bad thing. I don’t have any kind of mixer / summing, so I imagine this will prove extremely useful. It was tough to resist considering all the bells and whistles and flexibility in routing.

UAD Apollo x8p

I lucked into two B-Stock units at Vintage King. They have been performing beautifully in conjunction with my 2019 iMac.

The ‘p’ stands for ‘preamp’. So 8 preamps; one for each input.

Experience has led me to value having a preamp for every signal being recorded. The Apollo’s preamps do the job.

Other big pluses are DSP for UAD plugins and the choice of recording them in realtime.

In my particular setup, a Focusrite Clarett OctoPre is connected to one x8p via ADAT. UAD’s frontend mixer program ‘Console’ allows UAD plugins to be applied to the OctoPre.

Proving its savvy, UAD will release soon a free DAW-like program called ‘Luna’ that is integrated with Apollo Thunderbolt hardware.

Happy camper :slight_smile:

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Is there such a thing as a high quality AD/DA converter with SPDIF at a lowish cost? Looking for something high quality enough to never have to justify replacing but don’t need USB, TB, or FW. Also, only looking for stereo i/o (or just a stereo ADC for now). Used is great. Looking at options somewhere between an RME ADI-2 and a Burl. If DIY is a thing (which I don’t think it is for ADCs) then I’m game as well. I’d like to deploy the SPDIF connections on my MOTU for analog mix-bus stuff.

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Most SPDIF interfaces either come on things like DAT decks and digital mixers / multi-format interfaces, or as outputs from various devices.

You could pick up a used FF400 or UC and use it as a standalone format converter only, and it’ll be as high quality as you’d ever need unless you’re into absolute scientific archival quality needs territory. Reasonably compact and an excellent little interface too. It would also let you break out the ADAT outs from your MOTU into analogue and back as well.

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Basically, just looking for high quality line to SPDIF conversion. Can only support stereo so no need for any more channels than that. Unfortunately I have an Ultralite mk3 so no ADAT.

I do have an Apollo Twin so hoping for converters of at least that quality or better. I hear good things about the RME stuff. Being SPDIF, I don’t need the latest greatest just something that still holds up. Thanks for the suggestions - I’ll check them out.

Anyone have any experience of the Cymatic Audio LP-16 live player as a basic 16 out audio interface:
https://cymaticaudio.com/lp-16-productpage/

With the current situation, I’m looking at the possibility of installing a 16 speaker ambisonic system into a garden office room. Studio grade monitoring is not essential, so I’m thinking about one of these, a 2nd hand multi-room amp and a bunch of larger home cinema surrounds or domestic speakers for size/cost efficiency.

Here is a review of their other interface:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/cymatic-utrack-24

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(Cranborne Audio 500 ADAT) I just picked up one of these, and although the outlay wasn’t insubstantial - $1500 - I think it will ultimately save me time and $$. It’s wonderfully thought out. Build quality seems excellent. Their Mic Pre / DI is great, too.

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Interesting unit… what do you plan on putting in the 500 slots?

Thinking of changing my approach a little and hoping for some advice - i have a very unremarkable but bulky 12 chan mixer that i send main out to my Fireface UC but i’m missing the days when I routed directly to the interface and mixed ITB. The challenge is that i enjoy send/returns and would rapidly use up the inputs and outputs with need for quite a few more, at least.

So if i was to get rid of my mixer and go ITB, whats a nice way to expand my interface? I used a Focusrite Octopre years ago as an expander and it worked alright, but I need some extra outputs too.

I bought a used FF800 and use it as a 10-channel I/O expander to use all 36 of my UCX’s internal channels. Full TotalControl routing matrix across any to any and the 10 channels on the FF800 versus the 8 typical elsewhere is a nice bonus. Plus a second pair of headphone outs, with independent volume and their own mix is a nice bonus.

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That sounds like a very good way to go and should cover my requirements perfectly - the two connected via ADAT I presume?