Line Mixers

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


  1. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Considering you want to add more processors, I'd go for a 4 Aux Sends mixer.
    Problem is that 4 Aux are only available on 14/16 channels mixers, not on smaller ones.
    So any 16 channels Mackie/Soundcraft/Allen & Heath are good sounding mixers.
    You'll get a lot of options with any of them.
     
  2. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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    Thanks Italo. I will check them out

    I am interested to know how Michael Thompson hook up his rack gear with the SM82 mixer =D
     
  3. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    I don't know how he connects the gear... but likely he uses some kind of splitting to feed dry and the H3000 to the mixer in parallel... then adds the Eclipse with the Stereo AUX of the Rane.
    Or he might just use the stereo Aux to feed the Eclipse and H3000 in parallel (mono in) but I'm not sure this would make sense.
    As for mixers in general, this post has pretty nice examples of what you can do:
    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/23010129/
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  4. markoswald

    markoswald Member

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    Just adding a little bit of relevant information, with an update on my journey of "experimentation and learning" with regards to Line Mixers, particularly the SM82 and SM26 (splitter)...

    I've gone the route of splitting a dry Amp signal via the Rane SM26B. Changed the internal jumpers so that I basically get 4 stereo splits:

    1) The "mix output" maintains my dry signal
    2) Channels 1 and 2 mono outputs (panned hard left & right) route to an Eventide H9 (in another rack drawer)
    3) Channels 3 and 4 mono outputs (panned hard left & right) route to a Strymon Timeline
    4) Channels 5 and 6 mono outputs (panned hard left & right) route to a Strymon Big Sky

    I bring these into my Rane SM82 on stereo channels 1-4 of that mixer. I also have audio from my iPad and Mac coming in on channels 7 & 8.

    While I was having fun and learning about the signal flow, I discovered that I could double the number of split signals by chaining 2 SM26's together. The SM26B's are dirt cheap on eBay right now, and I scored a 2nd one for about $90. Interesting note - as you can see in the photo below, some of the SM26B devices have a different front panel and knobs. The power switch is on the opposite side, and they have a different style of know for the level control. I don't like the knobs on the top unit (from the photo), as I pull them off all the time. Also, the internal jumpers on that unit are a little harder to locate. Functionally, they are equivalent.

    In the end, I decided that I didn't need the additional splits from my dry Amp signal. I preferred a little more flexibility and wanted to be able to do some serial routing in addition to the parallel split/mix. So - I took the Send output from the SM82 and ran it into the second SM26 splitter. That 2nd splitter has the following configuration:

    1) Channels 1 and 2 mono outputs (panned hard left & right) route to a pair of EDP loopers. Then back into my SM82 mixer on channel 5.
    2) Channels 3 mono output (pan center) routes to a Lexicon PCM42 (the 20 second modded version), which then connects in serial to a Lexicon PCM81. Then back into the SM82 on channel 6.
    3) Channels 5 and 6 mono outputs (panned hard left & right) head back to my Mac (should I choose to record any of this nonsense)

    This configuration let's me use the send fader on any of the SM82 mixer channels to route signal into my EDPs for looping, or the PCM42/81 combo for looping and/or serial effects.

    Other less relevant tidbits (to this thread) - for now, the dry signal is coming out of a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx. It's a WDW setup, with the Axe's main "dry" output signal going into a Xitone FRFR cabinet in the middle, and the 2nd set of outputs routed into the rest of this monstrosity. These "wet" outputs from the SM82 connect to a pair of Xitone open-back FRFR cabs on the left and right. I've had real tube amps before, and am currently shopping for something nice. Will probably incorporate a real amp and the AFX moving forward.

    Also, I just bought the iConnectivity Mio10 which seems to be a great midi routing hub - but I'm still working out the kinks. Using the RJM Mastermind GT/22 midi controller on the floor - it's awesome, nothing else like it. I have visions of using my iPad for other midi control functions as well, but I'm nowhere near there yet.

    A few initial observations:

    1) I really consider this a learning experiment. When I learn enough, and eventually settle on what works best for me - I will probably have a professional rack and cable my gear.
    2) Regardless, I was surprised by how quiet this thing is. Especially given the mess of of power, audio, and midi cable that are laying around behind this equipment. Really impressed by the Rane gear.
    3) I'm impressed that @splatt manages to do all of this routing in about half the rack space, and he carries it around with him. I think his SM82 mod for the 2nd Aux bus would help.
    4) I also think the pre-fader send mod on the SM82 would be useful. Right now I need to have the level up and hear the mixer channels that I'm sending to my EDP/Lexicons/Etc, and it would be nice to have an option to turn those down in the mixer and still send the signal out.
    5) I'm learning a TON from all of you - thank you!!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  5. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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    Interesting Routing! I have Timeline/Bigsky as well...perhaps I could do sth like yours!
     
  6. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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    Hi markoswald

    Just studied your current setup...is this how you connect your equipment? Correct me if I am wrong =D

    - Axe Fx output ----> SM26 L/R input
    - SM26 - Channels 1 and 2 mono outputs (panned hard left & right) route to an Eventide H9 (L/R input)
    - Eventide H9 (L/R output) goes into SM82 Channel 2 L/R input
    - SM82 output to second SM26

    cheers..Brian
     
  7. quilsaw

    quilsaw Supporting Member

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    Just speculating, but I'd guess that the two SM26's share a single input feed (they can be linked so). These spit that signal to each of his individual effects which then return to the SM82. Not sure about the Axe FX outputs, but maybe his dry signal is split there, one to the SM82 and one to the first SM26?
     
  8. markoswald

    markoswald Member

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    Yep - you have it right...

    Axe Fx output into the SM26 L/R input, and then right back out to the SM82 Channel 1.
    SM26 then splits the output into mono output channels 1 & 2, which are hard panned L & R and connected to the H9 (stereo inputs), then into SM82 Channel 2 stereo inputs.
    Likewise for the Timeline - SM26 sends the signal out via channels 3 & 4, connected to Timeline, then into SM82 Channel 3 inputs.
    Same for the Big Sky - SM26 sends the signal out via channels channels 5 & 6 -> Big Sky -> SM82 Channel 4 inputs.

    Then...

    I use the Send Bus on the SM82 to route to the second SM26, which splits again to both a pair of EDP+ loopers, and then back into the SM82 mixer on Channel 5.
    The second SM26 also routes the output signal into a PCM42, which is connected in series to a PCM81. From there, back into the SM82 on Channel 6.

    SM82 Mix outputs to an awesome pair of Xitone FRFR cabs.

    Brian - just cleared my inbox a bit, so feel free to PM me again.
     
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  9. markoswald

    markoswald Member

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    The SM26's can be linked if you want more splits, but I didn't do that. I wanted the flexibility to run some some of the effects in parallel and others in series, as well as flexibility to route some things to my EDP's when needed.

    Frankly, I made this way too complex, but I've been learning as I go. If you don't need to route dynamically to the second set of series effects, you could eliminate the Send output and the second SM26. Just connect the effects out of the first SM26 in series (as desired) and into the SM82.

    Or - you could get a Switchblade. You'll lose the faders and knobs, but could connect a MIDI controller (or two) to control the mixer. And you can have many different routings saved as presets! If that works for you.

    Depending on where you stand with Modelers (like the Axe-Fx) and the quality of their effects, you will also find all the routing and mixing flexibility right inside that box.

    I'm already thinking about simplifying. Just bought a Friedman Smallbox and a nice cab with some greenbacks. I'm considering consolidating some of my effects processing into the Axe-FX (versus all the external pedals and rack units). Will definitely keep the SM26 splitter and SM82 line mixer in the configuration. They make a great pair and add a lot of flexibility. Will let me split my dry signal out and route it into my Axe-FX unit and/or Loopers. And then mix my wet signal and any number of things back into the FRFR stereo monitors.
     
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  10. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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    Thanks markoswald! I was studying various setup and trying to understand all routing possibility.

    I am still thinking whatever to go with desktop mixer and rack mixer. Basically, Eventide H3000 /Eclipse is the only rack fx in my setup..and perhaps adding a Timeline...but both Eventide units is core...I dont need fancy thing in general, I just wanna separate my dry signal and mix it with the Eventide..

    Below is my initial thought on the routing and setup..

    #1. Desktop Mixer
    - with 2 units..I think I will need a mixer with 4 Aux Send..so only options is 14 or 16 channels mixer
    - Amp signal from cab simulator (mono) into Channel 1 of the mixer (DRY mix)
    - Aux 1 & 2 sends the signal to H3000. H3000 (L & R output) goes back to Mixer Channel 2 & 3, both channels are hard panned L & R, Eclipse will be the same but on Channel 4 & 5.
    - Mixer L & R output will goes to my Audio Interface and DAW

    Question for this setup
    1. Can I just get mixer with 2 Aux Send? I use Y cable to for Aux Send 1 and send the signal to L & R input of H3000, same to Eclipse but on Aux Send 2? So that I can go for 8/12 channels mixer?

    #2. Rack Mixer with SM26 and SM82
    - Amp signal from cab simulator (mono) into SM26, and then send the signal to SM82 Channel 1 as Dry mix.
    - SM26 then splits the output into mono output channels 1 & 2, hard panned L & R and connected to the H3000 (stereo inputs), then stereo putput of H3000 goes into SM82 Channel 2 Stereo inputs...same to Eclipse but on different channels
    - Mixer L & R output will goes to my Audio Interface and DAW

    The drawback of this route is I can only get used unit in the market and sometime the SM82 doesn't have an adapter that supports 220v, Which I have to get a step down transformer for using it, unless I go for the new SM82S which supports 110-220v, but they are quite expensive for what it is.

    #3. Rane SM82 with splitter
    - Amp signal from cab simulator (mono) into splitter, say Whirlwind 1 in 6 out splitter and then I split two signals to H3000 and then another two to Eclipse, and 1 split to SM82 Channel 1 as Dry mix
    - L & R output of H3000 and Eclipse will send to Channel 2 and 3
    - Mixer L & R output will goes to my Audio Interface and DAW

    I understand I might lost the ability to run the Eclipse in Mono model with this routing, less flexible compare with #1/ #2. But I believe my Eclipse will only stay on reverb preset and I wouldn't change a lot.

    Any advice and comments are appreciated. :beer
     
  11. quilsaw

    quilsaw Supporting Member

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    Cool, Mark. Thanks for the explanation. The complexity of these rigs is actually pushing me (when and where possible) more towards hybrid solutions, i.e. mixtures of hardware, modeling, and DAW based FX. I'm still in proof-of-concept mode at present with a core comprised of an Eleven Rack and PCM-80 to generate a basic wet stereo signal, with output going to a dry Mesa DC-2. While there are a few pedals in front, I've removed all post pedals in favor of stereo rack units and/or DAW based processing. At some point, yeah, I think modeling can be very useful in these kinds of rigs and I expect that I will step up to an Axe FX, in part due to it's range of FX and internal routing options.

    So, as it happens, I just got home from seeing Adrian Belew and his fairly minimalist travel rig, which I think might be ideal. He describes it in this article, with the relevant section quoted below. He sure didn't seem at all constrained. :) Oh, and no rack case, I thought it was funny, but everything sat on top of a plastic tub (like you get at Costco), which I assume serve as their transport as well. I know, it's his travel rig and he's got lots of toys at home, but still....it certainly illuminates useful alternative solutions.

    I don't use amps live anymore. As I said a few minutes earlier, the last 7 or 8 years, I've done so much international touring that for me, the object is to put together a guitar rig that I can carry on my back. Not there yet but I'm getting closer every tour I get it down a little bit more. My goal is to get to where I can have a laptop and maybe a few pedals on the floor and not much else. Then I could put that into a case that people would think has my clothing in it and put it in the overhead storage bin. That's my goal. I'm working on that. Even now I'm pretty slimmed down.

    I use the Axe FX as my main guitar processor. I use as a second guitar sound on top of, or with, the Axe FX I use the VG99 from Roland. One of the things you can do in that situation is you can tune that guitar in an entirely different way so it sounds like you have two guitar players. I use looping from the computer itself. The computer also provides a mixing console for me to even all those things out. Then I have a Liquid Foot Jr. which is my MIDI changer that makes all of these things talk to each other. Then I have a couple different volume pedals. One is the volume pedal for the Axe FX, the other is the volume for the VG99 and the third volume pedal is actually an expression pedal. They're all Roland pedals because they're nice and light and they don't cause me much trouble.

    The only thing outside of that I use is a HarmonyMan which DigiTech makes. I really like that box. It allows me to do things that I can't seem to figure out how to do in the computer. Maybe I'll figure it out someday, maybe I won't. The other thing is that I like to go from my guitar directly into a compressor, in my case I use the Keely compressor [the two-knob version], I set the volume on 12 o'clock and turn the sustain all the way up. That's the sound I like for my compressor. Then that goes into everything else. So my guitar is always being compressed. I find that essential because the notes sustain and there's just something about the way the body of the guitar resonates in the tone. That's my system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  12. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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  13. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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    Hi Italo,

    Thanks for the advice. My plan was using the H3000 for pitch shifting and 1-2 mod factory algo and the Eclipse will keep as a reverb unit. (Yes, it might be a waste but that's the plan as of this moment) :bonk

    So based on your suggested setup, the routing goes like this..right?
    - Amp signal from cab simulator (mono) into SM26 input
    - SM26 mono out 1 goes to SM82 channel 1 as dry, mono out 2 & 3 goes to H3000 L & R input
    - H3000 L & R output goes back to SM82 Channel 2 & 3, panned hard left and right for stereo.
    - SM82 Aux Loop Send L & R goes into the L & R input of Eclipse
    - L & R output of the Eclipse goes back to Channel 4 & 5, both panned hard left and right for stereo
    - SM82 Mixer L & R output will goes to my Audio Interface and DAW

    Is that correct?:bumpbump

    With the above setting, the SM26 only works as a splitter, can I use the Whirlwind 1 in 6 out to achieve the same function?
    Say the first output goes into SM82 Channel 1 as dry, and then another split to H3000.
     
  14. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Hi Brian

    yes, that is correct.
    I'm not familiar with the Whirlwind. Which model is it?
     
  15. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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  16. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    The Whirlwind is a passive splitter. I'm not sure about what they say (line levels can be split 6 times without noticeable loss).
    I have used self made passive splitters and 2 or 3 times was the max I used without signal degradation.
    The only way to find out would be testing the Whirlwind against the Rane.
     
  17. Brian Chan

    Brian Chan Member

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    Will get it later and give it a try.
    Because finding a SM26S and 28S are both difficult.
     
  18. markoswald

    markoswald Member

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    I'm definitely moving towards hybrid mode right now. The technology on all fronts is great, and you can get amazing sounds from all the sources you mention - hardware, modelers, and computer-based DAWs. I change my mind and move back and forth. Currently re-configuring the WDW setup to use the Smallbox, and possibly consolidating my effects into the AFX. I might be compromising on some elements of the effects, but it's way easier to set up and modify the routing. And it's a consistent UX for everything - easy to set up consistent control with a couple of Midi controllers (an RJM GT-22 on the floor, and a Novation LaunchControl close to my hands).

    And lastly, I've been hanging on to these EDP+'s, but now really considering switching to the Mobius Looper software on my Mac. It's an evolution of the EDP+ with more capability, easier configuration and control, and I can send/return from my Smallbox and my AFX via the SM82 line mixer. See - the Line Mixer is not going away. I think of my SM26/SM82 combination as my signal routing hub. Even in this hybrid approach.
     
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  19. markoswald

    markoswald Member

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    Option #2 is close to what I've been using. It works well. Even though the Rane units are (I think) discontinued, they always seem to be on eBay and if you're patient you can get a great deal.
     
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  20. quilsaw

    quilsaw Supporting Member

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    Yeah, on all of that. And, no the line mixer is still critical for me as well, just don't always know where the feeds are coming from. BTW, I've done some initial trials with Mobius and do think it's a promising EDP replacement, but (for me) its still a bit clunky as a 64-bit wrapped VST. Still on the fence.
     

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