Line Mixers

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by Catch, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Catch

    Catch Analog>Digital Converter

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    One reason my rack is out of mothballs is that I am manipulating more sounds concurrently than ever before. I have split my signal to accomodate the production of loops and drones along with my main parts.

    I am experimenting with an old Roland Line Mixer but am not convinced it has the best headroom or even is fully functional. Who can recommend a line mixer for me? Right now, 4 inputs is the minimum though I can see that expanding.
     
  2. cbm

    cbm Silver Supporting Member

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    I've used:
    Rane SM-82
    Art MX822
    Samson SM-10

    The Samson is the one that I'm currently using. It has a great feature set.
     
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  3. Catch

    Catch Analog>Digital Converter

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    I've looked at those, definitely the kind of product I'm interested in. I am nkt familiar with Rane or Samson as companies--are they quality products or meant more for the budget conscious.

    Also, should I be looking for something with faders--does anyone here use a hardware mixer to mix on the fly or has this moved to something like Ableton? I'm open to all options. Perhaps this is a question for the loopers here too.
     
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  4. quilsaw

    quilsaw Supporting Member

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    I've looked at the SM-10, but have defaulted to Rane gear (always chuckle when I say that for some reason). It started with building an acoustic rig based on the AP-13 and then later adding an SM-26 for signal splitting. Now have several of each, and lately adding an SM-82 and one of their headphone distribution amps.

    The one weakness with them is the present (un)availability of their proprietary RS-1 power adapters, which most of the older units use. They are somewhat available, but getting more expensive by the day, with eBay sales running as high as $85 each. I've (sort of) turned this weakness into a strength. For one thing, these adapters can be daisy-chained to power multiple units. (PM me for details if you need to know how.) Second, you can get these excellent rack units for pretty cheap without the power adapter. Lots of sellers can't even test them to assure buyers that they work...so, do the math, as it were. Of course, I do grab RS-1's whenever it makes sense to do so and have plenty of backups.

    The SM-26 is their so-called "swiss army knife" splitter/mixer, even combining those duties, though without an FX loop, which you'll find on the SM-82. Here's a link to their "discontinued product" list which provides good (and typically humorous) owner manuals and even schematics.

    Hopefully @italo de angelis will chime in here as he's often made the point regarding the importance of good quality mixers with these rigs. I can't recall the model he typically uses, but it's not a rack-mounted line mixer as I recall.
     
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  5. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Rack mounted mixers are fine IF they fit your needs.
    To me they don't as I need more AUX SENDs to be able to route signals to more units than most rack mixers are able to.
    The mixer I'm using is a desktop MACKIE 1642 VLZ-Pro and I like what I can do with its 4 AUX SENDs.

    There are work-arounds though...
    A rack line mixer mostly offers 2 AUX SENDS. You can expand each one to 3 so it will become a 2x3 = 6 AUX SENDs mixer.
    How?
    Just add a RANE SM26 and use it as a dual splitter 1X3 + 1X3.
    Each Aux Send will be split to 3 and you'll have Send levels for each too.
    In two rack spaces, one for the mixer and the second for the AUX splitter, you'll have a mixer of "x" channels AND 6 AUX SENDs.
    Not bad, uh?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  6. quilsaw

    quilsaw Supporting Member

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    Exactly right...I'll continue to use the SM-26 along with the new SM-82 to do just that!
     
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  7. Funky Claude

    Funky Claude Member

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    That SM-26 looks great. Thanks for that, I didn't know about it.
     
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  8. quilsaw

    quilsaw Supporting Member

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    At the moment, I'm using it like a mixer, but doing a 2-way split off the expansion out circuit to 2 different mono FX loops and blending them back via channel 1 and 2. As noted by Italo, adding the SM-82 for mixer duty will allow me to do a six way (or 3-stereo) split and then mix back in the SM82, still having global FX loop there for my PCM-80. I've been wanting to use 2 mono and 2 stereo splits, so this should work out well.

    I've been tempted to go back to a desk mixer like Italo....which, truthfully, can be much more flexible (depending on the mixer, of course) and may well do that at some point. But, racks can be cumbersome enough (they grow!!!) and I'm trying to limit the external bits or, otherwise, the complication of integrating a desk mixer into a mobile rig.

    Either way, the SM26 is what cemented my decision to "go rack". It is, IMHO, the most powerful and affordable splitter available anywhere. Of course, I've found that the same rules apply to the many studio quality FX as well.
     
  9. tazzboy

    tazzboy Supporting Member

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    Some on the listed are pretty good

    The CAE Bob Bradshaw makes is good choice too
    Roland m-120 is another good choice
    and if you can find one Voodoo Lab/Digital Music Corp System Mix or System Mix+ is another good choice.
     
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  10. Jerry

    Jerry Supporting Member

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  11. JMMP1

    JMMP1 Supporting Member

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    I have a LX-308 and a system mix plus (listed for sale because of the Ashly). If I was running effects with unbalanced outputs, I would use the SM+, but I have this stupid peeve that because my effects output is balanced, that my mixer must have balanced inputs. That's also why I will likely be getting the Samson for my planned W/D/W rack.

    I will say this: I have not yet had a mixer that I was unhappy with. That list includes: RJM MLM, Suhr MiniMix, DMC System Mix Plus, Ashly LX308, and of course, a Rane SM26.
     
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  12. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    The CAE is a good one but has big routings limitations. IF its typical routing is what you need, fine.
    Roland M-120 is not a line mixer. Better for keyboards.
    System Mix+ is another good one.
     
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  13. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Yep... I forgot to mention that...
    those 6 AUX can also work as stereo pairs... so you end up with 3 stereo or 6 mono or combinations of them... which is another major added value to these 2 RANE units in a rig.

    For those who are not familiar with the SM26:
    http://www.rane.com/sm26s.html

    And the downloadable "The SM26S Swiss Army Mixer" tech note is a must_read piece of info with some very good ideas for any rig:
    http://www.rane.com/note108.html
     
  14. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    i mix my rack FX, "loops" et cetera in real-time, have done so for decades.

    used various line-mixers (passac, roland) until i got one of the first Rane SM26 models, which my friend dan pearce (then of pearce amps) modified for me.
    i introduced that mixer to andy summers, warren cuccurrullo, etc, who had bradshaw use them in their racks.

    i've now been using the older Rane SM82 (not SM82S!) for many years, which are modified to offer 2x pre-fader sends; in some situations, i'll split a single send in order to have 3x pre-fader sends.

    also have an ashly 3u rack mixer, which i actually prefer over the Ranes (& Mackies, Rolands etc), but i have space issues for my working racks (due to travel), so i still mostly use the old Rane SM82 (not SM82S!).

    my priorities are sound-quality, routing flexibility & reliability; balancing the routing flexibility necessary to me with sound-quality has always been an issue when choosing a 1u solution, ime.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  15. Blix

    Blix Member

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    Thanks, I'm so getting a SM82S :D
    Btw, those Pearce amps were killer.
     
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  16. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    you might find me somewhere.
    still have one!
    an "R".
     
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  17. MereImage

    MereImage Member

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    +1 for the Ashly LX-308b. It has 8 stereo inputs (16 total). Unity gain is easy to set (channel gain at 12 o'clock). It has 4 outputs: sub out (stereo), main outs (stereo), mono out and headphones. All of the outputs have their own volume control. Each input pair can be turned off. All of the inputs and the main outputs are balanced. The Ashly is one rack space in size. The controls are rotary, no faders. Oh yeah, it's clean, clean, clean. I route electric guitar, acoustic guitar and MIDI modules through the Ashly. The sub outs can be used for monitoring and the main outs for PA.

    Dave
     
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  18. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Hey David

    do you remember which Ashly model is that 3 rack spaces one you have?
    Thanks....
     
  19. Catch

    Catch Analog>Digital Converter

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    Thanks everyone for your knowledge.

    David, I was hoping you would offer an opinion, I've always been impressed by your playing and setup.

    Question--With multiple inputs (perhaps multiple stereo inputs) is there a risk of phasing? If so, how does one address/solve the phasing?
     
  20. JMMP1

    JMMP1 Supporting Member

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    There is a risk, if you don't run each effect as "kill dry." On some units, it is a setting, on others it is a level control, on eventides you just don't put a dry through in the sig file. Basically, you want each effect to only be the effect, not dry sound bleeding through. Then, when everything is combined in the mixer, you have sound +effects, no phase issues.

    Italo, wouldn't the System Mix Plus have the same routing limitations as the Bradshaw mixers? I was under the impression they worked the same way (the SM+ just having a lot of cool, extra features). I guess if you used some external splitter, it could be used as a giant (6 input, plus dry signal) mixer.
     
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