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Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?

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John Davidson
Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 19, 2013 at 11:11:20 pm

In our never ending quest to simplify and make things easier/better/simpler/awesomer, we were going through our edit suites today. It occurs to me that since we're transitioning to iMacs, edit suite staples like Mackie mixers really don't have a place in an FCPX / iMac environment. I think in the old days it was just for quickie levels, muting certain tracks when digitizing a tape, etc., but as our use of tape based media is rapidly dwindling, I can't think of why we should waste edit desk space on a mixer. With X, listening to independent tracks is native in the Inspector.

I've been editing with a Bose companion speaker system with no mixer in my office suite and it's great. What's the point of the mixer board again? Live instruments? VO? All our devices (speakers, mics, etc) are USB or Thunderbolt now. Can anyone explain why we would need a mixer anymore? We can't even remember the last time we had a use for them.

I'd love to hear thoughts on the matter.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Bret Williams
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 19, 2013 at 11:52:46 pm

I agree. I use powered speakers with multiple inputs on the back. An old pair of Roland's I think. They're attached to the output of the Flanders Scientific monitor. It's powered via SDI from BM Ultrastudio extreme. All very clean and few cables. Plugging the speakers into the extreme didnt work because of the delay in the video signal. I have the headphone audio out of the iMac plugged into the other jacks on the back.


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John Davidson
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:03:37 am

Looks like I better fire up the old ebay page before these things are all worthless!

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:22:14 am

For the simple benefit of monitoring volume control. Faster to control a knob than to do it in software. Depending on how your monitoring is set-up, the keyboard speaker controls might not work. A small $99 4-input Mackie is still useful in the suite. I have one connected to an M-Box Mini and at a shop I work at, they have the same mixer connected to the output of the Decklink cards.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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John Davidson
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:33:47 am

That's true - but the bose has one of these guys with a much smaller footprint than even a tiny mixer. It even has a headphone jack for when it's quiet time. Tap the top and it mutes. Rotate the rubber knob and it controls volume (or vu can be controlled by the keyboard, too).



For some unknown reason the cow likes to flip images I upload/embed. I'm too lazy to fix it.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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John Davidson
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:36:39 am

I am aware that the bose stuff isn't everyone's favorite. They can be pricey, too. In fact, a cheap mixer and some decent KRK's combined might even be cheaper than the Bose system. I'm not looking at the issue financially as much as for simplicity's sake. It's also nice to have as clean and uncluttered edit area as possible, IMHO.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45:01 am

Scroll to the bottom here for a nice clean suite design.

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/diy-edit-suite-design-pointers...

Couch in the back for clients.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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John Davidson
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:49:21 am

Very nice!

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 12:57:15 am

Thanks. Not my design, but a place I freelance at a lot.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 1:07:49 am

A real nice n tidy edit suite, that! Just in time as I'm planning/designing a new edit suite (my first).
Thanks Oliver.

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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Shane Ross
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 1:43:57 am

I have a small 8 channel mixer...with 5-6 and 7-8 being single knobs. Because I not only play back from my computer, but also my capture card, play back from DVDs I author, and I have a digibeta/beta player deck. I don't have a HUGE Mackie like we always had...I get by with a small one, as I still need multiple inputs.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bret Williams
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 4:09:51 am

Similar setup. But BluRay player runs to the component in on the flanders, while the blu ray audio goes to the analog in on the flanders. BMD device (including audio) goes to the sdi in on flanders. The output of the flanders goes to the roland powered speakers. So what you see on the screen is always heard, but controlled by volume knob on the flanders monitor. iMac just runs directly to the 2nd input on the speakers and volume there is controlled by iMac.

I haven't done any betasp loading, but I will be soon and hopefully the audio will pass through the BM Ultrastudio Express via analog and out via sdi along with the video.


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John Davidson
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 6:48:09 pm

Thanks guys. I suppose the benefit is just having a pluggable analogue option for monitoring audio from additional devices. We may keep one mixer for a suite used for digitizing, or perhaps just putting it in the server/tape room on a server system would suffice. Unless the Magic Feather gang can convince me of a reason to keep them, they will probably be removed from of the suites. Another FCPX disrupted industry!

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Bret Williams
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 2:01:43 am

Volume knob right there on the Flanders. Or in legacy, right on the software mixer.


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Michael Garber
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 3:56:30 am

I have a small 6 channel Behringer. Need it to send audio out to an extra set of client speakers. I have my room set up so I face the client. So, I have desk speakers and then there are a separate set on the sides of the plasma.

I also needed it recently for, gasp, an HDCAM layoff. While it's nice to simplify, I like to have the ability to do some legacy work now and then.

That said, I still have a VHS to DVD recorder that I'll never use or even sell!

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP


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Oliver Peters
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 4:33:41 pm

[Michael Garber] "I have my room set up so I face the client. So, I have desk speakers and then there are a separate set on the sides of the plasma."

In the same interest as my earlier link, here's another from the same category:

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/edit-suite-floor-plans/

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Michael Garber
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 7:27:22 pm

I actually used your article when I was re-doing my suite recently. So, thanks!

I am much happier facing the client. Much more collaborative for me.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
Blog: GARBERSHOP


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Oliver Peters
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 7:35:15 pm

[Michael Garber] "I actually used your article when I was re-doing my suite recently. So, thanks!
I am much happier facing the client. Much more collaborative for me"


That's cool. Glad it helped. Of course, now you can't hide any grimaces when the client throws you a curve ball ;-)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tim Jones
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 4:26:00 am

You're not alone (even though I'm not using an iMac) - I also dropped my Alesis MkIi's and my Behringer Xenyx and now use the built in mixer and a Bose Companion 5 setup. My main boxes are a Mac Pro 4,1 (FCP X, Motion 5, Sound Forge) and a custom Windows 7 PC (CS6, Vegas Pro, Acid Pro). Much less clutter which makes my sessions seem "lighter". My monitors aren't as crowded and I have a place on the desk for my sandwich and chips :). The headphone jack in the C5 volume control is very well placed for those fine ambient edits.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Michael Sanders
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 10:20:07 pm

John,

How do you find the Bose? I'm using Fostex 6310's routed through a Behringer mixer so I can easily listen to either the edit or admin machines. I like the idea of the Bose for the same reasons as you but decent audio quality is a must.

Michael Sanders
London Based DP/Editor


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Tim Jones
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 20, 2013 at 10:32:56 pm

Not John, but I love the C5's. The tonal balance is very good (comparing to my Alesis MkII's). The sub brings out the low end without turning my desk into a bouncing platform and the tightness of the speakers makes everything crystal clear - even at high volume levels.

If you're an Amazon fan, check them out in your environment directly. If they don't work for you, you can send 'em back.

Bose Companion 5 at Amazon

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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John Davidson
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:57:01 am

I love them. I use them at home and at work in my offices and it's been great. Happier with them than our Adam's, but go give them a listen at your local best buy, who will match Amazon prices now, FYI.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Brett Sherman
Re: Goodbye mixer and gigantic edit speakers?
on Mar 24, 2013 at 9:42:21 am

For me a "control room" device like Mackie's "Big Knob", JBL MSC1, or on the cheap end, the Samson C-Control is better than a mixer. They are basically the control room section of a mixer without all the other unnecessary stuff. Smaller footprint, easier to find the volume knob and switch buttons, and the cables are not sticking out the top.

And unlike a mixer you can often switch between multiple speakers. This is good for evaluating sound on different speakers for more critical mixing. It's always good to listen to mixes on crappy speakers also. In one studio I have a Samson C-Control. In another I have a Presonus Firestudio with the small remote control sitting right next to my keyboard. Unfortunately they discontinued that product.

Here is a good list of the available options:
http://www.sweetwater.com/c417--Monitor_Management



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