Mixer questions

m-gee

Member
Messages
133
Hey guys,
as mentioned in my "Eventide buyers guide", I´m in the process of finishing my session rig. There´s still a few components missing, but at least I know what I want :)

Basically, there´s a few effects in series after the amp (compressor, eq, TERC, 1210) and then comes the key part, which is reverb and micropitch in parallel and then into the delay (pcm81 w/dual fx card).

This is how the guys did it in the late 80s, but I have a problem with the limitations of available signal splits in mix 1. The usual suspects (CAE and Mark L dual stereo line mixers) only have two mono signals available for mix 1. Right now, I´m probably going to use two mono in devices (spx90 and mpx1), but I want to have the option to use two stereo in devices.

I have found this advice by italo:
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?

So is this the solution? Using the two EXT signals into the SM26 so I can use three stereo devices in mix1?

The alternative would be to get a desktop mixer like the Mackie Italo is talking about in the above mentioned thread. What I like about it is that you can change the routing of the effects easily to try something else. As I have never worked with something like that, please bear with me. I have tried to read the manual for the Mackie 1642VLZ4, but got completely lost. How would I connect micropitch and reverb in parallel and feed that into a stereo in delay?

Thanks again for your help guys!
 

Dave L

Member
Messages
1,511
Yeah, active splitting like that is the best way to go. You can do it with simple Y-cables too, works like a charm most of the time.
 
Messages
4,786
The problem (limitation) of my suggestion about an SM splitter to have more AUX Sends is that you won't be able to specifically process an effect thru another.
For that a mixer with many Aux Sends is the best choice. Problem is that as soon as you want more than 4, the mixer gets huge.
Some aspects to consider:
-channels have a direct out, once used for multitrack recording. THAT works like a single channel split.
If my DRY preamp signal goes to channel 1, its direct out will work as a split of that signal. It can be used as an isolated AUX Send to a specific machine which won't process anything else.
-Multi bus mixers offer other kinds of "expansions" to using effects.
Here you will find two excellent examples of how mixers can be used to accomodate a large number of processors.
The question IS about how much interaction you need between those processors (post-processing).
In those examples you'll find limitations and an accurate strategy planning of connections is required to understand IF those possibilities will work for you or not.
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/23010129/

If you start with a signal that is being stereo_ized in analog domain thru a TC1210 or TERC, containing the dry signal too... things get quite complex if you want to feed STEREO copies of the original signal to other effects, at least to those supporting true stereo I/O.
In the old days people would use a mono send to any box... because most of them were mono in/stereo out.
More modern devices can work in true stereo... so, not knowing what you'll end up using, I can't suggest much.
Keep in mind that for a true stereo SEND you will need to use 2 AUX Sends (one for left/the other for right).

And another problem is how you will use those 2 analog chorus units!
The easiest way would be TERC>TC1210. The TERC will stereoize the signal. The TC can work as true stereo I/O. But I don't know if you intend to use both at the same time. So... we need more specific info about the whole rig, all included units, from preamp(s) to power amp.
 

m-gee

Member
Messages
133
The question IS about how much interaction you need between those processors (post-processing).
In those examples you'll find limitations and an accurate strategy planning of connections is required to understand IF those possibilities will work for you or not.
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/23010129/
Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for. By looking on the first example, am I right that you can freely choose which signal (or combination of signals) is going to which processor? Let´s say I want the dry amp through the PCM81, how would I make this connection? Or dry through PCM81+Eclipse (in parallel) and then into the Korg?

If you start with a signal that is being stereo_ized in analog domain thru a TC1210 or TERC, containing the dry signal too... things get quite complex if you want to feed STEREO copies of the original signal to other effects, at least to those supporting true stereo I/O.
In the old days people would use a mono send to any box... because most of them were mono in/stereo out.
More modern devices can work in true stereo... so, not knowing what you'll end up using, I can't suggest much.
Keep in mind that for a true stereo SEND you will need to use 2 AUX Sends (one for left/the other for right).
This is what I want to do. I want to be able to use stereo signals from the TERC on (see below).

And another problem is how you will use those 2 analog chorus units!
The easiest way would be TERC>TC1210. The TERC will stereoize the signal. The TC can work as true stereo I/O. But I don't know if you intend to use both at the same time. So... we need more specific info about the whole rig, all included units, from preamp(s) to power amp.
The signal chain is as follows:
Guitar into Patchmate input into Wah Pedal (loop 1) into amp (loop 2) into DBX 160A (loop 3) into TC 1128 EQ (loop 4) into volume pedal (loop 5) into TERC (loop 6 acts as bypass). From here on, the signal is stereo.
TERC stereo into 1210 (loop 7 acts as bypass) into MIX1.
In MIX1 there are micropitch and reverb in parallel. Right now I´m going to start with an SPX90 and a MPX1, but plan to finally end up with an Eventide GTR4000 and a Lexicon PCM91. Those are going to be loops 8+9 for the Eventide and loops 10+11 for the PCM91. Then into MIX2 which is a PCM81 w/ dual fx card (loops 12+13) as a delay.
MIX2 goes into a VX450 poweramp into 2 cabs.

I use the two chorus units for different flavors as I like both. You can also use both at the same time by using only the spatial expansion of the 1210. As they have analog dry through, they are in the signal path all the time and are bypassed using the loop switches.
Switching will be handled using two current Rocktron Patchmates. I will use the passive switching only. One active out is going to be used for a rack tuner.

This should work, but it would be cool to be able to change the signal chain easily, for example dry sound just into the PCM81 or dry into 1210 into PCM91.

I could obviously buy a Switchblade, but I would already use every input it offers, so there would be no way to incorporate more stuff at a later time. And it is way too expensive too.
 

m-gee

Member
Messages
133
The mixer would be a Mark L Dual Stereo Line Mixer which provides enough stereo in connections for both mix1 and mix2.
I´m using several heads that get loaded down, I only use their respective line out signal. Switching those in and out would be very cool too but then it really gets complicated :D
 
Messages
4,786
I'd probably use the Patchmate for the DBX and 2 chorus units only. Not sure if it handles line levels correctly but let's assume it does.
Then hit MIX1 and have your EXT 1 input hit the SPX90 as it seeme to work as a split. The MPX will be in MIX2 fed by OUT 1 L/R of MIX1. That should work. The manual has a drawing which is not very clear so some experiments are needed there, but you should easily achieve what you described.
 

m-gee

Member
Messages
133
Not sure I understand. Why not use the Patchmate for the rest of the stuff too? I mean the Patchmate, not the floor version! The current Patchmate is made for rack gear and should have no problems handling line levels.
And wouldn´t your solution mean that the signal flow is micropitch into reverb+delay in parallel? I wanted micropitch and reverb both in parallel in mix1 and then only delay in mix2. At least I thought that this was the signal flow of the guys in the late 80s / early 90s?

How would you set this up with a mixer like the Mackie?
 

jaykay73

Member
Messages
770
Why do you limit yourself to a fixed routing pattern / mix 1, mix 2 slavery?

A Switchblade would solve all your issues. Find a used one. It will save you money in the long run.

JK
 

cbm

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,959
I had a Switchblade for a little while. I kept finding that when I want to change levels, I want to reach over and grab a slider or knob. The capabilities of the Switchblade were terrific, but the UI was way too fiddley for me to use.
 

Rtee

Member
Messages
66
I'd probably use the Patchmate for the DBX and 2 chorus units only. Not sure if it handles line levels correctly but let's assume it does.
Then hit MIX1 and have your EXT 1 input hit the SPX90 as it seeme to work as a split. The MPX will be in MIX2 fed by OUT 1 L/R of MIX1. That should work. The manual has a drawing which is not very clear so some experiments are needed there, but you should easily achieve what you described.

Sorry to hijack his post, I was wondering if you can give me advice on Strymon Timeline vs Lexicon PCM 80/ or 81. Which one would you recommend for best sounding verbs/delays. Money isn't an issue...
 

jaykay73

Member
Messages
770
Chris, Winblade makes it so much easier. Then live you could map an expression pedal to whichever level you feel most crucial to control on a preset by preset basis.

As I've written before, probably on HRI, the best way to control a Switchblade is to have a laptop or mini desktop computer nearby, especially in the programming phase where getting the in & out levels right is important.

JK
 

cbm

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,959
Chris, Winblade makes it so much easier. Then live you could map an expression pedal to whichever level you feel most crucial to control on a preset by preset basis.

As I've written before, probably on HRI, the best way to control a Switchblade is to have a laptop or mini desktop computer nearby, especially in the programming phase where getting the in & out levels right is important.
If I was playing fixed songs, that would be one thing, but dealing mostly in improv settings, the Switchblade just didn't work for me.

The app might make things easier, but running an app in emulation to control a "mixer" is not an attractive proposition, for me. I do keep VMware running so that I can run VSig, but that's on a machine that's powerful, and stays at home. I've considered getting another audio interface that has a nice mixer in its DSP, but even though I could run that from a variety of devices, it's still not attractive. I need to be able to yank channels and sends around in the heat of the moment.
 

m-gee

Member
Messages
133
Why do you limit yourself to a fixed routing pattern / mix 1, mix 2 slavery?

A Switchblade would solve all your issues. Find a used one. It will save you money in the long run.

JK
This is exactly what I´m thinking about - which alternatives are there to avoid those limitations. There´s a desktop mixer that allows for a more flexible routing and there´s the Switchblade. Unfortunately I have never seen even a single GL for sale where I live. The 8B is up for sale every now and then, but I need at least one GL, maybe even a GL and an 8B. This stuff is basically what I´m looking for, but it´s way too expensive unfortunately.
 
Messages
4,786
Not sure I understand. Why not use the Patchmate for the rest of the stuff too? I mean the Patchmate, not the floor version! The current Patchmate is made for rack gear and should have no problems handling line levels.
And wouldn´t your solution mean that the signal flow is micropitch into reverb+delay in parallel? I wanted micropitch and reverb both in parallel in mix1 and then only delay in mix2. At least I thought that this was the signal flow of the guys in the late 80s / early 90s?

How would you set this up with a mixer like the Mackie?


As far as I remember (old Patchmate, first model) anything you connect to a patchmate ends up in series, not parallel?
I may be wrong. Am I?
 
Messages
4,786
The SWITCHBLADE would be the solution to all problems but there are 2 limitations, kind of severe:
-ONE
this is a more objective one, affecting any kind of user. The inputs headroom is limited to +7/+10dBv on the different models and ODDLY enough +11dBv on the unit dedicated to pedals!!!
This can be a problem with higher end gear. Eventides can overload it VERY easily and so other units. A rig by rig evaluation is in order here but that kind of headroom is too poor, even for pedals.
http://www.soundsculpture.com/switchblade
On the other end though SoundSculpture used to make a Studio SwitchBlade model with a GOOD input headroom of about +19dBu. That's what they shouldn't have dropped:
http://www.soundsculpture.com/history
I'm sure you can contact the builder and check if he can still make a custom STUDIO edition for you. It should be possible... and probably more expensive.
-TWO
on a more subective perspective, as pointed out, having routings preset can be optimal for the player with a fixed repertoire. The adventurous musician often needs total freedom to adjust things in easy and fast ways and a mixer is definitely quicker at that.
Yes, one could use a MIDI controller and build a special routing where signals could be routed anywhere in realtime... but that adds a device dedicated ONLY to this purpose and a risky operation in live situations.

I'd love a different SwitchBlade edition tht could be programmed like the regular one and have a dedicated & provided remote with SENDS pots for each channel... or some kind of similar control.
A special set of more open routings already created from the factory and such remote unit would allow any kind of user to jump on it... but some meditative work would be in order to find out the best way for this revolutionary approach to "presets meet freedom". It can be done though...
 

m-gee

Member
Messages
133
As far as I remember (old Patchmate, first model) anything you connect to a patchmate ends up in series, not parallel?
I may be wrong. Am I?
Well, everything connected is in series. But that´s the way to connect wah, comp, eq, volume pedal and chorus. Only reverb, delay and micropitch are in parallel (in various configurations). That´s what I need a mixer for and don´t know if I should go with a standard guitar dual stereo line mixer plus SM26 or if I should get a desktop mixer.

The SWITCHBLADE would be the solution to all problems but there are 2 limitations, kind of severe:
-ONE
this is a more objective one, affecting any kind of user. The inputs headroom is limited to +7/+10dBv on the different models and ODDLY enough +11dBv on the unit dedicated to pedals!!!
This can be a problem with higher end gear. Eventides can overload it VERY easily and so other units. A rig by rig evaluation is in order here but that kind of headroom is too poor, even for pedals.
http://www.soundsculpture.com/switchblade
On the other end though SoundSculpture used to make a Studio SwitchBlade model with a GOOD input headroom of about +19dBu. That's what they shouldn't have dropped:
http://www.soundsculpture.com/history
I'm sure you can contact the builder and check if he can still make a custom STUDIO edition for you. It should be possible... and probably more expensive.
-TWO
on a more subective perspective, as pointed out, having routings preset can be optimal for the player with a fixed repertoire. The adventurous musician often needs total freedom to adjust things in easy and fast ways and a mixer is definitely quicker at that.
Yes, one could use a MIDI controller and build a special routing where signals could be routed anywhere in realtime... but that adds a device dedicated ONLY to this purpose and a risky operation in live situations.

I'd love a different SwitchBlade edition tht could be programmed like the regular one and have a dedicated & provided remote with SENDS pots for each channel... or some kind of similar control.
A special set of more open routings already created from the factory and such remote unit would allow any kind of user to jump on it... but some meditative work would be in order to find out the best way for this revolutionary approach to "presets meet freedom". It can be done though...
The Switchblade is a very cool unit. I have read about the old Studio version (and the headroom is an issue as I plan to use an Eventide in the future), but to me the GL is already way too expensive, and having him built a "custom shop" version is not going to be cheaper. The fast way around routing changes is to have a dedicated laptop computer nearby as jaykay mentioned above. As I don´t have one, that makes it even more expensive. I´m not going to spend 3.000-4.500€ only for the switching system for this rig.

The FAMC Liquid Router is a very interesting product, but are they even still in business? The unit looks very interesting, but the manual doesn´t say anything about the headroom.
 

quilsaw

Member
Messages
1,145
@jaykay73 - After perusing some older threads here, I was reminded to ask whether you'd ever made any headway with the Akai MB76?
 
Messages
4,786
Well, everything connected is in series. But that´s the way to connect wah, comp, eq, volume pedal and chorus. Only reverb, delay and micropitch are in parallel (in various configurations). That´s what I need a mixer for and don´t know if I should go with a standard guitar dual stereo line mixer plus SM26 or if I should get a desktop mixer.


The Switchblade is a very cool unit. I have read about the old Studio version (and the headroom is an issue as I plan to use an Eventide in the future), but to me the GL is already way too expensive, and having him built a "custom shop" version is not going to be cheaper. The fast way around routing changes is to have a dedicated laptop computer nearby as jaykay mentioned above. As I don´t have one, that makes it even more expensive. I´m not going to spend 3.000-4.500€ only for the switching system for this rig.

The FAMC Liquid Router is a very interesting product, but are they even still in business? The unit looks very interesting, but the manual doesn´t say anything about the headroom.



You can go with both mixers, a Dual Stereo Mix or a "standard" one. Both will work. I don't see why you'd need an SM26.
Yep... SwitchBlade and peanuts or coconuts aren't exactly the same...
The FAMC... I might be wrong about it but I learned that when no spec. is stated it's usually nothing to be amazed at... Great specs are THE first things any company should be PROUD of and cry them out loud to the world. I might be too romantic about this though....
 

jaykay73

Member
Messages
770
I had 2 MB76s at one stage. Sold em both when I got my SB GL. They did the job ok but needed a lot of time spent for programming and changing levels on the fly was not intuitive. That's why I probably referred to them as "poor man's switchblade".

I have had some recent experience with the FAMC liquid router. It's very early in its evolution. The designer needs to put a lot more time & effort into the PC software design / updates etc to stop frequent crashing. I'm amazed at how there are no youtube videos on the unit - I think that speaks volumes. One feature that is not available is the ability to change levels on any given input or output, whereas this is so easy on the switchblade. Another "issue" is when you split an input multiple ways, each split's level is divided by the number of splits, ie you lose signal. No such problem on the switchblade.

Clearly there are so many ways to make & perform music. I'm the sort of guy who experients with presets until I get the routings and levels right for a particular "soundscape" and I set a few tweak options for live playing. I'm jealous of you who are completely spontaneous with sounds and realtime manipulation of everything. I could see a switchblade controlled by a PC1600 being useful for this but still would have some limitations to total freedom. I would love to see a demo of how you use a mixer for live work and how you quickly make significant routing changes on the fly. Maybe I'll become a convert one day.

JK
 




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