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Trouble choosing a mixer for video soundtrack editing

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Antony Christie
Trouble choosing a mixer for video soundtrack editing
on Aug 25, 2012 at 5:06:40 pm

Hi

I'm looking to buy a mixer for my home studio that will stand the test of time, but there are so many options I'm a bit overwhelmed.

I run Media Composer 6 and Pro Tools 10 on an early 2009 8-core Mac Pro through a MBox2 Mini to a set of Yamaha NS-10Ms powered by a Servo-170 amplifier (although, despite updating the Mbox's drivers and LED coming back on it doesn't appear to be working; sound coming from mac pro tower internal speakers at present, but that's a separate matter), and recently, also straight out of the mac's audio out to a set of M-Audio Studiophile AV30 active speakers .

I want to be able to mix my audio using the NS10s and listen to my end products, music and everything else through the AV30s, and swap without having to rewire leads every time.

As well as editing the audio for my videos I record voice-overs and I'm always looking to improve my workflow.

I recently bought a Yamaha MG102c mixer (£99), recommended by Peter Knowles in The Iris magazine (a creativevideo.co.uk publication). However, a DJ friend visited to give the mixer a once-over and was very unimpressed with the amount of bleed between channels, so I sent it back. My friend recommended the Behringer Eurorack UB1204-PRO (£99) which looks perfect, other than the fact it has no USB, but I'm not sure if I'll need this as the MBox2 Mini gives me USB connectivity. That aside, the PROFX8 Mixer (£199) is attractive because it has USB or perhaps I should invest in the Onyx 820i mixer with firewire (£299).

I'm also unsure as to whether I should be investing in a soundcard so that I've got a better quality output from my Mac.

Cheers
toe-knee

2 x Sony NEX-FS100E's
Mac Pro (early 2009) 2 x 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors, 12GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory, 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory. Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4.
Avid Media Composer 6.0.1, Pro Tools 10,


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Michael Martin
Re: Trouble choosing a mixer for video soundtrack editing
on Aug 27, 2012 at 9:16:04 pm

Hi Tony,
I think the first question should be what is your budget? You didn't mention recording anything through the mixer so it sounds like you are using it purely for speaker control. I can tell you that I have owned an mbox 2 mini and it sounds just bad compared to newer interfaces and more so to dedicated sound cards, the mbox converters and preamps compared to the newer generation are no comparison just upgrading to the new mbox pro will get you the same converters as the Apogee interface line.

I have 2 setups, the first is great for mobile and relatively affordable, the second is more expensive but doesn't have to be.

1. Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 $299 USD, this USB device sounds pretty decent with it's preamps and converters plus it has 6 outputs for either surrond or a-b-c speaker selections. It has a separate level control for monitor and headphones. The Scarlett mixer application that goes with it allows you to create routing preferences so in this case you could just select a different routing preference for different speaker selections or you can setup a cue mix for if you are recording.

2. My second setup is a permanent installation in the studio which includes a Lynx AES16e card attached to a Symetrix Lucid 88192 converter attached to a Sound Craft GB2R-12.2 for multi tracking and boutique pres for solo recordings. The monitor outputs from the Lynx card are controlled by a JBL MSC1 Monitor Controller. This configuration is more complicated but more flexible. This configuration is nearly $4k.

I don't use a control surface I use an Intuos tablet, it just works better for me when doing sound design and editing.

-Michael Martin
Martin Media Company LLC
Location Sound/Audio Post Production/Sound Design


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Antony Christie
Re: Trouble choosing a mixer for video soundtrack editing
on Aug 29, 2012 at 3:19:53 am

Hi Michael and thanks for replying

As far as budget is concerned, I'm thinking £200 for a mixer (£300 at a stretch).

I don't need it to be portable, but as you know I record voice-overs and I'm always looking to improve my workflow and therefore, I'm open to trying to record through the mixer and add a little compression and EQ to improve my recordings, but not sure whether I should wait and do this in Pro Tools in post..?

Because you've pointed out that my MBox2 mini quality is outdated, I'm thinking I should go for a mixer with USB and see if I can sell the MBox.

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 is at the top of my budget but is very different what I was expecting; I was looking at mixers that don't rely on software.

I'm currently looking at a Behringer Xenyx X1222 USB 16 Input 2/2 Mixer + 24-Bit Multi-FX Processor + USB which will set me back about £200.

2 x Sony NEX-FS100E's
Mac Pro (early 2009) 2 x 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors, 12GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory, 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory. Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4.
Avid Media Composer 6.0.1, Pro Tools 10,


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Michael Martin
Re: Trouble choosing a mixer for video soundtrack editing
on Aug 29, 2012 at 5:21:56 am

If you know someone who owns that particular mixer I'd try that out first and make sure you get what you're looking for, I had the older version of the 2442 (no USB) and I didn't have any issues with it but I was recording to an analog 4-track and used it for a PA. As far as I can tell though it looks like the 1222 only does 2 channel recording via USB and I can't find specs as to bit depth or sample rate for it's converter though it says the fx processor is 24 bit this doesn't help, I would make sure you can at least do 24bit/48k. One other thing to consider is whether you will be upgrading in the not so distant future and if the mixer fits into your upgrade path.

My preference for VO or ADR is to record as neutral and clean as possible and then tweak it in Pro Tools. I've found that in many cases using quality plugins to be just as effective if not more flexible than using a hardware eq or compressor, although I do like the feel of using hardware I'm pretty much used to doing without now. It looks like you have a decent system and I recommend using it's potential in that regard, you can always change your eq and compression later with plugins.

BTW, there are other versions of the Scarlett that have less outputs but the essentials are the same and go for less money if that makes a difference.

Good luck.

-Michael Martin
Martin Media Company LLC
Location Sound/Audio Post Production/Sound Design


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