advertisement
Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 16, 2021 02:36PM
My radio show is recycling pre-recorded Generic Hours (I call 'em) because I've been exiled from the Harvard building where WHRB is, because covidiocy. Those hours are getting old, though, and I need to start creating some new content.

I bought a new Sennheiser e935 microphone (I had an old one, which I posted about here), but it had a hum problem, so I got a new one), and a PreSonus Audio Box USB 96 interface. The box has two combination inputs, but the line input from my CD-player deck is too high for it. If I want to do anything like my live air, I need something like a miniature broadcast board, with inputs controlled by faders (or pots) that can handle CD players or turntables, plus my mic.

I could just digitize CD tracks and string them together with announcement breaks, but I like to be able to talk over intros (and themes), making for much tighter air. I can't figure out how to do that without a mixer, using Audacity or PreSonus's free Studio One 5 on my iMac. So I'm wondering about a decent-quality, low-price, basic mixer that will handle the mic and two or three other inputs.

Recommendations and thoughts welcome. I don't have a band, and I am not going to create new music, just radio-show segments that I can upload to the automation server at WHRB. How about this one, only $39?

Behringer Xenyx 502 Premium 5-Input 2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamp and British EQ
[www.amazon.com]

/Mr Lynn



"Hillbilly at Harvard"
Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at [www.WHRB.org]
Be there!

The HAH weblog: [hillbillyatharvard.wordpress.com]

Topical weblog: [walkingcreekworld.wordpress.com]

On the river in Saxonville.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 16, 2021 03:02PM
I'm not far from you, i have a simple mixer you can borrow. I also have a nicer Behringer with about 8 channels. That one I'll need in a couple of months for a gig. Both have mic channels.

I'll add: the simple mixer is really a 2 channel DJ mixer with crossfader.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2021 03:03PM by mrbigstuff.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: RE:up
Date: February 16, 2021 03:38PM
On the Amazon page you linked the Behringer looks OK and will do most* of what you need.

If it were me I'd go with the Mackie for $20 more.

*Keep in mind you won't be able to go directly from a turntable phono cartridge without a phono preamp. If you have a stereo receiver you could run your turntable though it and use the receiver tape (line) out to feed the mixer.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2021 03:40PM by RE:up.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 16, 2021 05:56PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
I'm not far from you, i have a simple mixer you can borrow. I also have a nicer Behringer with about 8 channels. That one I'll need in a couple of months for a gig. Both have mic channels.

I'll add: the simple mixer is really a 2 channel DJ mixer with crossfader.

Many thanks for the offer, mbs! :-)

Not sure about borrowing, as prices for basics are low. I'll PM you if interested.

/Mr Lynn
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 16, 2021 06:00PM
Quote
RE:up
On the Amazon page you linked the Behringer looks OK and will do most* of what you need.

If it were me I'd go with the Mackie for $20 more.

*Keep in mind you won't be able to go directly from a turntable phono cartridge without a phono preamp. If you have a stereo receiver you could run your turntable though it and use the receiver tape (line) out to feed the mixer.

I have a receiver (also tried running the CD player through it and using Tape Out to feed the interface box—that too was too hot. But maybe the mixers can handle more line level input?

I just picked the Behringer as an example of something that looked possible for the (low) price. What do you like better about the Mackie?

/Mr Lynn
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: RE:up
Date: February 16, 2021 07:22PM
I haven't done any audio work in several years, so my opinions are based on not current information.
I've use mackie gear a lot and am very familiar and comfortable with it. I have heard that Behringer gear is less reliable than Mackie, though that may have changed over the years.
Here is a youtube review of two similar Mackie/Behringer mixers (not the models you are looking at) but still indicative of some of the differences in the brands. He doesn't like the reliability factor of Beheringer either.

[www.youtube.com]

By the way, any modern board should handle a line level output, as from a receiver, with out overloading. Make sure you are going into a line input on the board, NOT a mic input.

Good luck with your project, sounds like fun!
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: February 16, 2021 07:58PM
See if Marco Arment says anything about this.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: February 16, 2021 09:13PM
You mentioned needing to use a CD player or a turntable. Keep in mind that a turntable output is much lower than line level out from a CD player or other line level source. You usually need a preamp to boost the turntable signal.
If you need it, this is helpful:

[vinylrestart.com]



JoeM
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: February 16, 2021 10:15PM
[www.sweetwater.com]

I have always heard bad things about Berehinger.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 16, 2021 10:28PM
Quote
RE:up
I haven't done any audio work in several years, so my opinions are based on not current information.
I've use mackie gear a lot and am very familiar and comfortable with it. I have heard that Behringer gear is less reliable than Mackie, though that may have changed over the years.
Here is a youtube review of two similar Mackie/Behringer mixers (not the models you are looking at) but still indicative of some of the differences in the brands. He doesn't like the reliability factor of Beheringer either.

[www.youtube.com]

By the way, any modern board should handle a line level output, as from a receiver, with out overloading. Make sure you are going into a line input on the board, NOT a mic input.

Good luck with your project, sounds like fun!

Well, that fellow basically panned the Behringer. I'm convinced. Is the Mackie Mix5 the one you were talking about?
[www.amazon.com]

No USB output. I'm assuming that I can just run to one of the two inputs on my PreSonus AudioBox 96 Interface and that will take me into the computer. Is this right?

Do you know if these mixer pots have a Cue position so I can cue up an audio source without feeding it into the mix? All radio broadcast pots/faders do, of necessity. If not, don't know how I'd work.

JoeM: I know about turntables and Phono inputs. Can run turntable to receiver and then via Tape Out ports to mixer. Need to be able to audition/cue though.

/Mr Lynn
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: August West
Date: February 16, 2021 10:48PM
The PreSonus accepts Mic and Instrument level inputs, not line level inputs. Most likely your CD is a consumer line level output, which is higher than the Presonus expects. You will probably need to transform the line level to a much lower instrument or mic level. Line transformer/Direct Box. Not sure if a little mixer will be doing that.

Maybe rip audio CD's into the mac, put them into audio program, then record voice with mic & interface, and mix in the box.



Apologies to the anonymous forum member affected by my previous sig pic. It was my personal pic of a country expressing great grief as their leader, one of the most recognized people in the world, lay on his deathbed 8 years ago, days before he died. Like a naif, I did not realize it was offensively political, I considered it an expression of deep emotion and a reminder of the mortal coil's nature; that we all, great and small, can only hope to make a difference in our short time here, no matter the personal cost.

I'll post another pic from my work in South Africa that is, hopefully, apolitical.

Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: rich in distress
Date: February 16, 2021 10:55PM
Hey mrlynn!
I’m aware you have a radio show, but honestly I’ve never tuned in.
I just asked Siri to remind me next Saturday, hopefully I’ll be able to catch a nice chunk of it.
There are many ways you can approach this. Traditionally you would need a mixer, but it’s no requirement these days.

You definitely have the presonus’ input set to instrument level.
Figure out how to change it to line level. Look for settings on a related app, driver interfase or audio/midi.
But then you hook up the CD player, and where would you plug the mic in? A mixer would be needed in this scenario.

I would import the tracks and arrange them like Tetris blocks on the time line of an audio work station.
I’ve heard presonus one is capable. But I’d give garage band a good try.
Have you thought recording your interventions on voice memos for iPhone, and shuffle them into the DAW?

Sorry, I know I’m not helping. There are just too many scenarios this could pan out. You’d basically be producing a Podcast.
This I will say: Beringher is feature rich, but Mackie’s preamps are beefier, so I’d prefer those for the mic.
Then again, you already have preamps with the presonus; how do you like those?
Anyway...
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 17, 2021 09:01AM
Howdy Rich and August—

I'm basically looking the record some new content, hoping to replicate how I work in the studio, basically programming on the fly. May have to pre-program some, but in radio we normally are cueing up a new song while one is playing, which is why I asked about Cue positions on pots (or faders). Broadcast boards have them, but I don't see them mentioned on ads for these little home-studio mixers.

I really would prefer not to rip songs from CD or records, which adds a whole 'nother step and a lot of time. I also like to talk over instrumental intros, so being able to control mic and music inputs separately is essential. I think this can be done in Audacity, but has to be preplanned. I like to work on impulse.

It really would be nice to have a genuine broadcast board, but they are expensive (even used), and in the short run I just need to find a small, workable mixer. Do they make them with cue settings?

/Mr Lynn
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: rich in distress
Date: February 17, 2021 09:42AM
Notice the tape input near the rca connectors. Two assign buttons:
To headphones and to main.
I think this is as far as cueing that these lil’mixers go.
You may be needing something else for the MO you are going for.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: btfc
Date: February 17, 2021 10:06AM
Call Sweetwater! Their service is excellent, they will steer you in the right direction, and answer all your questions.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 17, 2021 10:41AM
Sometimes "cue" is called pre
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Computer Music Gurus: Basic Mixer?
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 18, 2021 09:25PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Sometimes "cue" is called pre

And sometimes called 'Solo'. I just found out today. Called Sweetwater on btfc's advice, and described my problem to a 'Sales Engineer' named Nick. He said there were some Mackie and Yamaha units, in the $200 range, that might offer workarounds (involving the Effects panels, I think—not sure). Then I suggested broad- or pod-casting, and he pointed me at a rather elegant unit called the Rodecaster Pro Podcast Production Studio. It has Solo and Mute buttons together on each fader. It's pretty cool, really, but costs $600. Kinda pricey for what may be a temporary need (I might get back in the studio by summer):
[www.sweetwater.com]

Anyway, a little research turned up this useful Wikipedia paragraph:

Quote

Cue system
The cue system allows the operator to listen to one or more selected signals without affecting the console's main outputs. A sound engineer can use the cue feature to, for instance, get a sound recording they wish to play soon cued up to the start point of a song, without the listeners hearing these actions. The signal from the cue system is fed to the console's headphone amp and may also be available as a line-level output that is intended to drive a monitor speaker system. The terms AFL (after-fader listen) and PFL (pre-fader listen) are used to describe respectively whether or not the level of the cue signal for an input is controlled by the corresponding fader. Consoles with a cue feature have a dedicated button on each channel, typically labeled Cue, AFL, PFL, Solo, or Listen. When cue is enabled on multiple channels, a mix of these signals is heard through the cue system.

So I did a little browsing and found a couple of less expensive mixers with one of the listed buttons: PFL.

- Pyle PMXU67 (6 channel), $134 at Amazon.
[www.amazon.com]

- Audio2000 AMX7332 (6 channel), $151 at Amazon.
[www.amazon.com]

Sweetwater doesn't carry these brands. Amazon reviews are mixed. Rather buy from independents, but. . .

Did I say I need USB because my PreSonus AudioBox 96 doesn't accept line-in (just voice and instruments). Too late to return it. Anybody need one?

Well, I'm learning something.

/Mr Lynn

CORRECTION: The relevant buttons on those two units are 'PFL' not 'AFL'; the former stands for 'Pre-Fader Level'.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2021 12:58PM by mrlynn.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 141
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 5122 on October 03, 2020