Mixer for pyschotic rack rig

NAJ

Member
Messages
110
Currently I have a pretty modest rack with only a few units that I'm running parallel with my preamp, and was looking to expand to something much bigger. I could have up to possibly 10 stereo rack units I'd be looking to run into a mixer.

Is there anything out there that has this amount of inputs and is also transparent in the same way you'd expect a Samson SM10 or a RJM Mini Line Mixer would be? Thanks.
 
Last edited:

jaykay73

Member
Messages
764
The best way to go bigger is to get a desktop mixer. Soundcraft / Allen & Heath / Mackie etc. Look for a mixer that gives you the most aux sends as possible and remember some mixers have another 4-6 aux sends in the master section too! A manual patchbay will also assist in facilitating easy routing between aux sends and effects units' inputs in case you run out of aux sends and need to switching signal routing fairly quickly and efficiently.

JK
 

jaykay73

Member
Messages
764
Agreed mate! That's why these desktop mixers usually have 6 aux sends in the channel strip section AND another 4-6 "effective" aux sends in the master section, giving you the option to feed 5 or 6 effects units in true stereo. If that's still not enough, a patchbay can help to move signal around much more quickly than having to burrow behind the mixer to change cables around there. The other option is to use a submixer, like to feed a Samson SM10 from a couple of aux sends to get more aux sends effectively. Another option is to try to find a used Shure Auxpander - if you are lucky to find one. It's all about thinking outside the square. Check out some of the posts from that guy @19inchPleasure for how to get the most out of desktop mixers.

JK
 
  • Like
Reactions: NAJ

NAJ

Member
Messages
110
So I was looking around and notice Bob Bradshaw is making this. Looks like it would fit the bill wouldn't it? Made specifically for a guitar rig which makes you feel all warm a cozy a little bit.

 
Messages
43
That's a really great unit, but not very flexible.

I think its good to first sort out the order and catagories: When you get past 5 rack units there are bound to be a couple of units that you'll want to be able to switch the routing of. Usually these are units that do both notable modulation, delays and reverb. In my case, I want to be 100% flexible with my Orville, PCM81 and H3000. I want to be able to run any one of them into another (also 2 into 1) AND and be able to contol the amount per sent.

Other effects might be more primarally used as delay and modulation (Korg d8000r, MPX1 ). Those can be placed more statically in the chain.

After making that distinction, you'd need to figure out if you want your effects to have a serial path (I mean amongst eachother of course you should always run the base-guitar-signal in paralel) or a paralel path or a nice combination.

An easy and cheap way to create a very flexible serial path is to use a patchbay. Put a splitter first to multiply the feed from the amp to the patchbay, put all the effects on the bay in and out, and finally patch a couple of feeds to a line mixer. A splitter and mixer that can do 8 from 2 should be enough, as you never use all at once. The simple 1u patchbays are already 48channel, which should accomodate quie a few effects.

The ultimate flexible setup would bs a matrix mixer. For stereo this would mean a monitor-mixer. Allen and Heath 12m or the Crest audio 20rm are the best for that in 19" format. You can run 6 processors in full stereo InTo eachother in serial or paralel and anything inbetween. And eith the Crest, you'll have 4 channels spare.

I have chosen to go hybrid with a Allen and Heath 14:4:2. (The Midas Venice 160 would also be a great choice). The 6 aux give me 3 processors 100% flexible in an 'aux-matrix' (so the guitar signal is sent to the auxes out and than to 3 processors which are that fed back to channels). And furthermore I get 2 stereo groupchannels out which are also doubled with an A/B monitor-matrix-out. What goes into those groupchannels can be switched on/off or crudely influencdd by the channel fader. Not as flexible as the auxes, but very workable.

There is a limit of 8 or 9 processors though....
At the moment I'm concidering adding a splitter/mixer and/or a patchbay and/or a.1u.rack mixer with aux, for machines I believe I'll hardly ever would use together (like my fireworks and my MPX1 or Korg delay).

Hope this helps you find your way.
 
Last edited:

rustolium

Member
Messages
556
I'd get 2 switchblade GLs or even a GL and 8F if you don't need all balanced. Then you have a true infinitely configureable matrix and all under preset and midi control.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NAJ

NAJ

Member
Messages
110
Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate it. This info will come in handy once I finally settle on what list of rack units I'm going to splurge on.

For that Bradshaw mixer I linked, from what I understand there's 5 stereo loops in Mix 1 and 5 stereo loops in Mix 2 - with Mix 1 feeding into Mix 2 in series. So whatever effects are in Mix 1 won't be in parallel with whats in Mix 2. Do you guys find that to be an issue, or is it preferable in some cases?
 
Messages
43
I'd get 2 switchblade GLs or even a GL and 8F if you don't need all balanced. Then you have a true infinitely configureable matrix and all under preset and midi control.
For live-applications that's unbeatable, treu! In a home-studio I would miss the quick interaction of the faders. (But that is probably solveable with a midi-fader device?)

Same would be with the Bradshaw mixer: besides the lack of 'matixing' effects, you'd have to use the effects' output level knobs to level them. Most have a knob for that, but definitly not all (eventide..).
 
Messages
43
Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate it. This info will come in handy once I finally settle on what list of rack units I'm going to splurge on.

For that Bradshaw mixer I linked, from what I understand there's 5 stereo loops in Mix 1 and 5 stereo loops in Mix 2 - with Mix 1 feeding into Mix 2 in series. So whatever effects are in Mix 1 won't be in parallel with whats in Mix 2. Do you guys find that to be an issue, or is it preferable in some cases?
It's workable of course, if you put modulation, pitch and delay in mix 1 and then reverb + delay units in mix 2. But you have to realise that you'll never be able to run 3 processors in serries. And you won't be able to run any processors in mix2 into eachother, unless you use a patchbay to switch things up when needed.

To me it's a compromise device from a lineage that concieves processors as being mainly single-purpose...

But I most also admid it would look awesome in your rack!

Maybe it's good to compile your list first. Start a traid and I'm sure you'll get a great discussion going!
 

rustolium

Member
Messages
556
For live-applications that's unbeatable, treu! In a home-studio I would miss the quick interaction of the faders. (But that is probably solveable with a midi-fader device?)

Same would be with the Bradshaw mixer: besides the lack of 'matixing' effects, you'd have to use the effects' output level knobs to level them. Most have a knob for that, but definitly not all (eventide..).
There is more work to do initially for sure, but the flexibility is worth it. You would be controlling levels via midi in different places, but completely doable. The routing is where magic happens. This is the approach I took, but I wanted massive flexibility. I can control everything real time. Yes, live is even more useful, but this is primarily production work in the studio.

It's all about use cases. You find those and then go with the easiest solution that makes sense to the user. Lots of ways to go.

I agree with your above comments on the Bradshaw. Bob would also. He builds very purpose built devices and they are great for that. Most guitar players don't need a full mixer/matrix ladalada. They use a device for specific things and configure the rig that way so it's great there and not over-kill.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,391
(I considered quoting...but)
when considering serial path, how best to deal with multiple digital units and be as conservative as possible with ADC? Say, for example, using a PCM81 for pitch then into a PCM80 for fx and Rvb?

Is some company going to (or already has) manufacture a mixer/switcher device to handle both realms? I can foresee being clever about it and using groups of different redundant units
 

rustolium

Member
Messages
556
A digital mixer and digital patch bay would be an option. I have also seen AES/EBU routed through TRS patch bays. You need to use the right cabling, but that could allow you serially route without ADC. Assuming your devices have AES/EBU or you are able to convert. I remember seeing a patch bay that was able to route different digital signals, but cant remember what it is. It was real expensive at the time.

Otherwise, single effect units with multiple DSPs and routing capability would be required. The H9000 excels at this ability.

On another note, there is this for analog routing similar to the switchblade, although I don't know the extent of it's features, but it looks real interesting:
https://www.flockaudio.com
 

Serious Poo

Powered by Coffee
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,503
So I was looking around and notice Bob Bradshaw is making this. Looks like it would fit the bill wouldn't it? Made specifically for a guitar rig which makes you feel all warm a cozy a little bit.

I have one of Luke’s old Bradshaw units like this, it was my introduction to rack mixers. If you’ve never used a mixer before, it’s a great option provided you’re ok with its limitations. As many have posted above, nowadays there are many more fully featured mixers out there with more functionality. That said, I’m a big fan of the Switchblade GL, they are crazy powerful units that are MIDI controllable. I use one to route everything in my 18 space guitar rack. They only work at instrument level, though, so if you intend to run everything at line level a dedicated mixer would probably be a better choice.
 

rustolium

Member
Messages
556
To be clear, It's not that the SBGL only operates at "instrument level". It is a fully balanced wide freq excellent audio path. It is an issue of headroom. It's a limitation for sure, but I have not had any issues in the context of guitar processing. I currently have an H9000 happily sitting in the SBGL. I just play with gain staging. There have been a few discussions on this here at TGP.
 

jb4674

Member
Messages
6,766
While I realize that there isn't a market for matrix switchers for guitar rigs anymore, there ought to be a company that comes up with a better product than the switchblade. Said product should be flexible enough to allow for expansion, have tons of headroom so older units that run at line level don't have an issue with clipping and having to have their levels turned down to compensate.
 

rustolium

Member
Messages
556
While I realize that there isn't a market for matrix switchers for guitar rigs anymore, there ought to be a company that comes up with a better product than the switchblade. Said product should be flexible enough to allow for expansion, have tons of headroom so older units that run at line level don't have an issue with clipping and having to have their levels turned down to compensate.
I have heard (from a horses mouth) that there is a new updated switchblade GL in the works. To which I returned a list of hair-brained thoughts to add. :)

Let's cross our collective fingers it does improve. To be fair the SB is old. However, it has never let me down. It is one of the most bullet proof well built devices I have seen. I have no problem working around it's limitations. I, like you, would be happy to see a updated version.

I disagree that there is not a market for matrix switchers. The problem is most folks don't understand what it even is and it is difficult to work with (complex). RJM just released their first recently and I suspect we'll see a rack version. Once you use a matrix you don't want to go back.
 




Top