Mixers and audio interfaces

Does anyone here have experience with the Tascam Model 12/16/24 line?

I’m looking for something that will allow me to record easily without turning on the computer but will still be helpful when it’s on. The Tascam seems like it’ll do this well. Right now I’m using a Motu Ultralite Mk4 which sounds good enough to me, works (kind of) as a mixer when I have the computer off but doesn’t allow easy recording, routing, eq/mixing, etc. I guess my primary question is whether the Model 16 would be a big drop-off in terms of sound quality or build quality somehow. It seems like a lot of features for not that much money (but maybe that’s just a positive!). Any advice would be very welcome!

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This is appealing to me.

What was the use case for the LP32? (I’ve never used ADAT). Thanks!

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I’m going to upgrade my original Ultralite with an Apogee Element 88. I use mostly Logic, but am spending more time in Ableton lately.

I work on a mix of sound design, singer/songwriter and some foley. I’d love to have a mobile rig so I could book a church for a one off session with ensembles.

I’m similar to @eesn - i7 4370k, 16 gb ram, ssd for os and hdd for data, with dedicated firewire card and an maudio profire 610 interface, Radeon r9 290 because why not ease the load on the memory and cpu a bit? My studio pc is still on windows 7.

Works very well but I am currently waiting for a profire 2626 so I could have more simultaneous inputs. I actually had a bit of driver frustration trying to get my old profire drivers to work and didn’t want to try something incredibly different.

Works well right now, pretty stable. Actually I have the opposite issue that you do: audio is fine. But if i tried to also connect an old external firewire hard drive the audio would occasionally start breaking up, and less fun was getting blue screen of death. If I skipped the hard drive everything runs great.

Since I don’t do anything too intensive this old 2015-ish pc runs great. I’m actually gonna skip worrying about a new pc for a while and just beef this one up a bit: have another 16 gb ram and internal ssd on the way. Going to attempt to move all of my plugins and samples to the ssd. Hopefully that combo will help make things even more seamless than they already are.

I dont game very much anymore, but I can still play skyrim and fallout 4 with solid performance if I feel the need. Those are really the only games I start up, and thats pretty rare.

This seeeeems like the right topic to post this. If not, sorry. Variations on this question have been asked a bunch of times, though the answer still isn’t clear to me. So, again, apologies.

I am trying to figure out what I need, interface-wise, to use CV Tools and maybe VCV with Eurorack. I currently have a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. It has an ADAT input and an SPDIF input and output. Most of these seem pretty useless for any combination of Expert Sleepers modules that I know about. Unless, maybe (though I’m not sure), I get an Octopre. If I did get an Octopre, would an ES-3/ES-6 combo be useful? Feels like I’m stepping into the territory of just spending the same amount as I would on an ES-9 in this case.

Lots of people recommend picking up an old Motu for cheap. This seems like a good idea, though as I understand it, I would be able to send CV out, but not take it back in. Is this correct? In practice, I am unsure of how frequently I would want to bring CV in rather than audio. I imagine this is down to how hybridized one’s setup is.

Finally, in researching all of this… it kind of seems like all of these setups are kind of a hassle. Is it as bad as it seems? Is it worth it? I’m so fluent with Ableton that I’d really like to be able to sequence from there and use cv tools, at the very least.

Thanks for any help at all.

My experience is that ADAT through the ES-3 “just works”. Totally hassle-free. But you do need to have an interface with ADAT out (and you need to be content with 44.1k or 48k). Going the other way is adding on the ES-6, which you could do later. You could go the ES-8 or ES-9 route, but swapping out your interface sounds like the best plan if your modular is not the only thing in your studio.

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I will echo mdoudoroff above. The ES-3 and ES-6 with ADAT has been hassle free on the hardware side of things. It’s very much plug and play. The software side has been more mixed in my experience. No technical issues. It’s just some software is more fiddly to use than others.

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Any recommendations for a eurorack mixer with at least 4 channels and panning, ideally some stereo inputs as well?

Thanks!

With your existing interface, you can use the SPDIF output to attach an Expert Sleepers ES-4 or ES-40. From there you attach expanders like the ESX-8CV / ESC-8GT to get CV / gate outputs. The distinction between this setup and a setup using ADAT into an ES-3, is that the ES-4 / 40 multiplex all of the expander data over the single stereo SPDIF connection, so you need to encode it appropriately, and each output doesn’t run at the full sample rate of the connection. Expert Sleepers has a VST plug-in that does the encoding in a normal DAW environment, and a VCV rack module to do that in the VCV rack environment. But I’m not sure how it would work in CV tools. The ES-3 on the other hand is just a standard ADAT audio output that is DC-coupled and outputs at Eurorack levels, so no special encoding is needed and anything that can output audio will work with the ES-3.

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I picked up a Doepfer A-138s and it’s wonderful. Clean and simple. Four channels and panning, stereo out. Compact and easy, and only about $100. I have it sitting next to a Make Noise xoh which offers another stereo input and headphones / line out. That’s also pretty cheap. (You can get the Doepfer in black and they make for a handsome pair.)
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If you need stereo inputs, the 4MS Listen Four has two mono inputs with panning and two stereo inputs.

Also, check out this page: https://doudoroff.com/mixers/

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Thank you (and also @raytracer and @DMR). Seems like ADAT would require the least adaptation of my current setup and yield the greatest benefit.

Apologies if this isn’t the right place for my question.

I recently picked up an older Allen & Heath desk (Mixwizard 20:8:2) and I tested all of the inputs before racking it in my studio setup.

I’ve got quite a few pieces of hardware routed in and out of the board (via patchbays), but now that I’ve got things set up to my specifications, I seem to have a good amount of feedback/noise/hum coming out of the main outputs and going into my audio interface.

For a week I desperately tried to track down the source of the noise, perhaps a bad mixer channel, a bad cable, or something grounding-related maybe? Well, when playing around with things last night one moment I was hearing the buzz and the next moment, it’s as though a switch flipped inside of the mixer and all was quiet and pristine!

This lasted for about 5 or so minutes before the buzzing “clicked” on again. This is strange behavior and I’m really curious what might be going on here. Is this an indication of a bad power supply? Over the course of the evening I observed this switching behavior (going from noisy to no noise anywhere) twice and nothing specific seemed to prompt it.

Hoping someone can help me understand what might be the issue here (and how to fix it permanently!)

I assume this hasn’t happened before – have you used other mixers in the same place prior to this one?

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Correct, before the Allen & Heath was in this configuration I had a Mackie LM3204 hooked up to all the same equipment, running on the same power conditioner without any noise whatsoever. Seems like it’s definitely something with the new mixer and not my home wiring or rack equipment.

It’s hard to troubleshoot someone else’s setup over a forum, so let me give you a couple general pointers…

Since you have already tracked the problem to your mixer, you don’t have to follow the signal backwards from the speakers to each and every sound source, but I mention this as it’s a good way to track down an unknown problem.

You should think the same way with you mixer - methodically going through every stage, one by one. Start with the main fader and turn it down. Does the noise go away? If yes, you know the problem probably lies downstream from there. Keep going through each channel by turning down the fader and unplugging cables to see if you can isolate the source.

If what you hear is hum, like what happens then you short a jack cable with your fingers, there could be a short somewhere, or it could be a ground loop. Since you are using a power conditioner, I would say it’s not a ground loop, but I’m not an expert. Ground loops can be frustrating because they are difficult to isolate by following the signal back in a serial troubleshooting way, but they are possible to eliminate.

It could also be a loose contact somewhere. If you shake the mixer, or at least tap it and it happens, that’s a dead giveaway.

Hope you figure it out! It’s a great mixer, very versatile and useful in a synth context with all those stereo inputs and 8 buses. :slight_smile:

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It’s definitely something inside of the mixer from what I can tell. I am guessing a loose connection, maybe one of the ribbon cables, but the cutting in and out had me worried that it might be related to the power supply in the unit. Plan at this point is to unhook everything (which will give me an opportunity to trace any specific bad channels) and open her up. The doctor is in.

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I just got SUPER lucky and managed to pick up an ES-9! Do you guys use it as your primary eurorack audio interface. I’ve really wanted to multitrack, and my interface only has two inputs, so I think this is gonna be amazing. The added benefit of vcv rack integration is going to be amazing! How do you guys use your es8/es9s?

ES8 here. I love using it with VCV as it really feels like the racks extend each other. Just works the way you’d think it would. I use it for multi tracking to Ableton Live too, easy to setup and works like a charm. Another nice work flow is using an iPad with AUM as a mixer with effects, accompanied with a usb midi controller (Novation Launchcontrol XL here) to steer AUM channels and FX.

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Used to have a multi channel interface and 16 channel mixer setup 90s/2000s, loads of outboard synths and effects etc.

These days I prefer just one very high quality stereo channel for recording, minimal outboard gear/instruments, and do all the mixing and most of the effects in the box. I actually get way more stuff done/finished than I used to with the maximal setup.

I have more than enough “analogue mojo” with the original recording chain, then sometimes running it through again individually or busses, then mastering it through the same chain at the end. Definitely works for me and I prefer it to my old way of working. All REAPER here the last few years.

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ohhhh i like that idea a lot. I haven’t really thought much about using it with an iPad, but it could be a lot of fun. I’m definitely looking forward to getting VCV rack integrated into my workflow, or even CV tools or something. At the very least, it will be nice to always have that last extra thing I need to tie my patch together. I’m also excited at the idea of using ableton as my primary sampler :smiley:

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After marinating on what my ideal synth/modular/Elektron setup would be (as far as monitoring/live use), I finally bit the bullet.

My goals were as follows:

-outside of “the box”. I don’t want to have to turn on my computer, turn on the interface, load a DAW, plug in whatever I want to use into said interface, hope I have enough inputs on that…etc.

-LOTS of inputs. I’ve got a Shared System, 2 Mother 32s, 2 DFAMs, Subharmonicon, Sub37, Rev2, Grandmother, Digitakt, Analog Rytm, and a Octatrack…and growing! By the time I plug everything in, I need a break. I want to set it up once, and FORGET it.

-easy way to route effects. I just have to admit it. I need effects on just about everything. An interface with plugins seemed like the only way I wasn’t going to have to bring 6 separate guitar pedal setups to any synth gig I might have…ouch. I still plan on integrating my pedal/modular effects arsenal, but even if I do, I’ll end up short. So some built in effects would be SO helpful from time to time.

-portable. As I said, I mainly want it for messing around, coming up with ideas, but, I don’t want to have to spend an hour to break it down/pack it up for a gig.

-versatile. I want it to work just as well for my Elektron stuff/keyboard synths/modular.

-decent pres, but no need for high end studio quality. I’ve already got 15 channels (and of many persuasions) of quality pres/EQs/Comps, so if the pres I get from this are decent, that’s good enough for me. I’m not stressed about them being as good as what I already have. Just stay clean enough to play live!

So…Been reading a lot of stuff online about what people use. Thought about getting a RME ultra lite, as they seem like the cheapest/best way to get a decent amount of inputs/great interface as well. But again…laptop necessary. And don’t need them interface.

I have always been a bit phobic about always needing to bring a computer to a live gig. Plus I already have a nice interface (UA Apollo 8x) and dont really need/want another one (or want to learn the ins/outs) for recording (muchless only live) purposes.

This got me thinking about another mixer. I had a cheap Mackie a year or so ago. But when I plugged all my stuff in it just couldn’t take it. Never figured out what was wrong exactly, but it just sounded overloaded. Muddy. Lifeless.

So I read up on other brands of mixers. I knew I wanted something with a good amount of inputs and better pres. More headroom. Theoretically I’d like to be able to hook up every synth, all my Elektron stuff, modular, etc, and just leave things plugged in and ready to play.

For a while I was leaning towards an Allen & Heath. Seemed like a step up from Mackie. Thought about the SSL 6, don’t doubt it’s quality, but it’s just not enough inputs for all my stuff and seemed just too much like spending big bucks on recording quality pres/comp/EQ that I already have in spades just for a live mixer that’s expensive enough that I’d be worried about it.

Asked my engineer friend (who doubles as FOH for my band) and he immediately recommended a Behringer.

I was skeptical. But after reading up on the X32 I was intrigued. Seems Behringer (which I had always assumed as even worse than Mackie) has admittedly stepped up their game lately. Not crazy about some of their tactics obviously, but…I’m just not seeing that many options out there for what I’m trying to do.

Ended up going with a step down, getting a Behringer XR18 mixer. Didn’t need the 32 ins, and it shares many of the same features. And so far, I have to say I am very pleased. It does require I use my iPad as a simple interface, but that’s WAY more portable than my MacBook Pro, and WAAAAY less worrisome to bring to a gig. And it has its own modem for connecting to the iPad. Maybe not as quick as some easy EQ, faders, etc. but…

18 inputs! No way was I getting all my stuff plugged in (with channels to spare) without spending about $1000 or more on the high number of inputs I needed for all my stuff.

Also…,and not insignificantly,…Always HATED dragging a mixer to a gig. No easy way to pack them. The XR18 I got from Sweetwater came with its own gig bag. Weighs about 5 lbs, and it’s super portable.

And…it’s very simple. Downloaded the app, and 5 minutes later I’ve got up to 18 instruments plugged in, each with its own separate effects!

Also…has very decent effects. For live, and demoing ideas, this is a big plus. No…it’s huge. You can save all the effects as well. Theoretically could put a whole set list’s worth of different effects chains and have it ready to go. No more worrying about what effects I have in my effects loop/bleed/etc. This alone was well worth the price of admission.

Obviously the effects are not as good as my UA plugin stuff, but for demoing/live use where I might want just a touch of hall verb/simple delay, they are 100% usable and very similar in layout to the UA stuff actually.

Verdict…Pres seem totally legit. 6 outputs I can also easily route out to my Apollo if I want to quickly record into my patchbay/DAW with good pres/EQs/Plugins/hardware etc.

Anyway, just wanted to say, I’m LOVING not being reliant on my computer anymore. It’s as close as I’ve gotten so far to the old PLUG AND PLAY days (like in my guitar years) when I just want to turn on my synth, patch some cables on the modular, and mess around, maybe come up with some ideas QUICK.

I obviously haven’t (and don’t expect anytime soon) taken it to a gig yet. But I also splurged on another QSC K10.2, so I’ve finally got stereo monitors, which sound amazing. Well worth it.

Added BONUS…I’m back in control of my stage volume levels. It sucks not being able to turn your synths up on stage if you’re using the club monitors. Finally I’ll just be turning myself up midsong without the dirty looks from everyone else on stage. Worth it for that alone.

So all in all, I’d give the XR18 a peak if you are looking for an AFFORDABLE way to plug in everything you have and get to playing. It’s better than I was hoping and I didn’t have to spend a lot, which is always a plus.

Honestly, I’m kind of puzzled as to why none of the big synth companies haven’t really gotten into THIS game of monitoring!!!??? It’s obviously very personal as to what each person wants/needs, but these days there really aren’t a TON of options that don’t seem somewhat daunting.

I feel like I took the easy way out. But so far I haven’t found anything I overlooked.

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