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Topic: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

  1. #1

    Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    I'm currently in the process of re-configuring my studio. I will be using 4 systems with Audiophile 2496 soundcards and I need a mixing desk to sum the outputs from each (i.e. stereo SPDIF or RCA from each) without latency. Does anybody have any reccomendations? I'm looking at Behringer's product line right now but I don't know anything about the noise levels involved. I'd prefer not to have to get whole bunch of RCA to 1/4 adapters, though I'll obviously do it if need be.

    So what are people using for this purpose? Any favorite picks?

  2. #2

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    With an analog mixer, latency is of no concern. The main concerns are noise, distortion and good quality controls.

    I've got the six input Behringer mixer here at work. It's okay, and was really cheap. It has knobs rather than faders, and they're noisy. If you turn up the gain on your monitors while playing a pp flute part, you may be disappointed.

    I've got a Mackie 1402 VLZ at home. It's good, but the noise could be lower.

    The microphone expert at Portland City Music pointed me to the Soundcraft line of inexpensive mixers. He said he used to use a Mackie, but prefers the Soundcraft. They're cheap and look kind of cheesy, but he told me that he prefers the sound.

    I haven't heard the Soundcraft budget boards, but they do high-end consoles as well. They're worth looking into.

    The most important spec to look for is low noise - especially with the single-ended outputs of the 2496s. Get good cables, and keep them as short as physically possible.


  3. #3

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    Thanks for the info. I'll check out Soundcraft right now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Winsted, CT

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    What's the audio destination? Can you replace one of the Audiophiles with a Delta 1010L, and mix on that machine?

  5. #5

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    I'm thinking I'll route the audio to an external CD burner so that I don't have to dedicate a computer to recording (I'll be submixing everything before I output anyway).

  6. #6

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    I have a mackie board and I'm bypassing it at the moment for my current project.

    I only have two computers and I'm going directly out of the my Gina into a protools interface on my mac. It's a big difference in sound quality.

    I'm starting to design a new system using multiple computers and I'm investigating different lightpipe cards I think by a company called frontier labs.

    Let say I have four computers. I have my daw on one with 3 lightpipe cards for 24 channels total. (each lightpipe has 8 channels I believe.) Then I equip each of the other computers with 1 card and output directly to the daw for mixing effects,ect.

    The only problem I have is how to send it out of the daw for external effects. Anybody know how to do that without a board?

    And, I'm having trouble seeing how I can output a surround sound mix if needed.

    There's a lot of holes in my plan but I think that it can be done. I just have to figure out how.



  7. #7

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers


    I assumed that you would be mixing the outputs only for monitoring. Recording the AP 2496s through a budget mixer might be fast, but it's not the best quality.

    I'd recommend monitoring with the APs and the mixer, and then, when all is done, do a mixdown on each PC, then bring the files together over a network and mix them in your sequencer. This will only take a few minutes, and the quality of the final work will be worth it.

    But for monitoring, the AP/mixer thing is fine.


  8. #8

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    I was looking around a lot online today and it seems like maybe a digital mixer might be the best option. My experience in other people's studio so far has been that digital mixers have a much lower noise floor than analog ones. Maybe this would be worth it, as I really would like to avoid having to take the time to bounce/mixdown all the time if possible. So far the cheapest reasonable alternative I've found is the M-1000 10-Channel Digital Line Mixer. Here's the link I looked at:


    Does anybody have experience with this kind of setup? It's several hundred dollars more expensive than the other things we talked about, but it seems like if I'm going to record the output from the mixer it would be worth it, right?

  9. #9

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    I don't have experience with that product, and I'm not sure how well it will handle the various clocks that it will receive from your four computers (I assume that they are unlocked), but it looks like a great option. S/PDIF is generally unlocked, so I assume that it handles the non-sync'd signals.

    I should look into a smaller/cheaper version of this mixer. I'd like to have an independent mix for headphones while doing live recording.


  10. #10

    Re: Mixing Desk for use with 4 computers

    What multitrack software are you using? SX has VST System Link, which basically takes up one bit of one 24-bit audio channel and uses it to control the effects computer. You just create a System Link Output bus which you can then select in the effect sends routing pop-up menu. Then on the effects machine you just create a stereo audio channel and select the corresponding System Link Input.

    Of course this means you have to have SX installed on both machines but the upside is that it's a solid and reliable link.
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare


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