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Author Topic: $500 analog mixers  (Read 12690 times)

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2017, 10:24:18 am »

OT, but to elaborate from one engineer to another ...

While the technical merit of the X32 line is impressive, the QC process seems to be one of the biggest draws for this mixer.  They simply come out of the box and work .... for a long time.
As one engineer to another I think you mean reliability engineering. QC can give you a perfectly assembled crappy design.
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The low price of the unit is also pretty well thought out.  While many condemn the "groups of 8" routing limitations for some routing options, the physical 8 channel modular part that Behringer is using for this has allowed them a quantity of scale that is impressive indeed.
group of 8 is logical if not archaic 3bit digital address limitation (modern digital paths have little need to conserve control bits)... remapping/repurposing controls is a powerful feature of digital control surfaces.
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They also designed their own custom motorized fader which has allowed them a huge advantage.
yes... not trivial IMO and discussed before.
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I also agree that the use of well known and respected IC chips has brought the mixer huge stability and reliability advantages.
except most (all) of those chips were pretty much available to all comers.
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It also  helped that they were able to borrow heavily from the DSP algorithms from Klark Teknik and MIDAS in the development of the mixer.
Being able to capitalize upon the Midas IP didn't hurt the program.
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Even if you don't care to ever own a Behringer mixer, you have to love what they did to the market. 
unless you were one of the numerous competitors.
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Every major mixer maker has come out with competing products and the prices are light years below what they were prior to the X32 line.  This product definitely was a milestone in the history of live sound.

Sadly, this digital revolution also shot the crap out of the price of any used analog mixers.  Not only do the analog mixers suffer a huge deficit in capabilities compared to their digital counterparts, the sea change movement of bands and sound companies selling off their analog mixers has produced a glut in used analog mixers which has depressed the prices in the used market.
just ask an analog mixer company..
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Three years ago I felt very fortunate to have sold my MixWiz for $500.  Today, they are going for under $400 on eBay routinely.
Back on topic... there will surely be lots of opportunities to buy used analog mixers on the cheap... but even then the tide has turned to digital technology. If not at this price point yet, closer every day.

JR

PS: Lecturing the teacher?
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Chris Hindle

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2017, 12:26:21 pm »

..Back on topic... there will surely be lots of opportunities to buy used analog mixers on the cheap... but even then the tide has turned to digital technology. If not at this price point yet, closer every day.
JR
a couple or three years ago Solotech offered me a PM-3K56 tour pack for $3,000 CDN, delivered. I asked if the roadies were included. He got my point.
Chris.
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Ya, Whatever. Just throw a '57 on it, and get off my stage.

Scott Bolt

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2017, 07:56:27 pm »

As one engineer to another I think you mean reliability engineering. QC can give you a perfectly assembled crappy design.

Both actually.  I am in automotive.  Making 1 of something really well is easy.  Making 1,000,000 ..... significantly more difficult.  I also think that the reliability engineering was done quite well.  The original batch had some issues with the buttons sticking, but that was resolved fairly quickly (I believe the issue was a process problem of the cleaning solvent used IIRC?).

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except most (all) of those chips were pretty much available to all comers.
I believe the term is "Recombinant engineering".  You don't have to develop the A/D converter, you just have to pick a really good one and implement it well.  As with all smaller engineering companies, you have to determine what your "value add" is and focus on that part.  Within a digital mixer, the DSP and work-flow would be where I would spend my time.  I doubt there is a hill of beans difference between one preamp and the next these days.  It seems like Behringer has done a good job of adding value with their assets while using very good recombinant engineering for many things that are "commodity engineering".

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Back on topic... there will surely be lots of opportunities to buy used analog mixers on the cheap... but even then the tide has turned to digital technology. If not at this price point yet, closer every day.
Yes, but sadly, more and more of the "good" used mixers have reached the point where you can't purchase parts for them.  With my old MixWiz, the boards were quite simple, and I had the schematic.  I suppose I could have maintained the board nearly indefinitely .... or until a proprietary part failed.

I am still not sure I am of the opinion that an analog RIG is more reliable than a digital rig.

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JR

PS: Lecturing the teacher?
Possibly so.  Habits of an old engineer that has taught a sea other engineers and has been promoted into relative uselessness ;)

Have to keep the grey matter stimulated somehow John.
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Craig Smith

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2017, 09:53:32 pm »

Show me *any* digital mixer that does as little as a MixWiz and your comparison will be valid.

What I'm trying to say is it's not about what it *can* do but rather what a person needs and will use; all the other features are irrelevant.  In other hobbies of mine we say that the best product for a person is the one that will get used the most.

Presonus was 15 years behind Yamaha.  They're hardly a trail-blazer and I found the Studio/Live to do neither particularly well.  Why it got a reputation as the "digital training wheels mixer" I'll never know as I found it confusing in the heat of battle with a front panel color choices that made it hard to read.

I'm not saying they were a trailblazer in capability at all, but they were the first to bring digital mixing to the masses.  It was cheaper and supposedly easier to use than the Yamaha.  Given how popular they quickly became and how long it took for anyone else to come out with a competitor, it seems they sparked the industry.  (I only used one once and was disappointed that it wasn't as intuitive as I thought, since I only had a few minutes to figure it out.  I ending up buying a Yamaha; I didn't actually find the Yamaha that hard to use.)

How you use any mixer - mixing while performing, band mixerperson, small system provider - determines the form factor.  If you need a physical surface, fine, and if you have existing analog infrastructure (inserted dynamics, outboard EFX, EQ, etc) it can make financial sense to reuse those items with an analog mixer.  If you're starting over or starting from scratch there's almost zero reason to go analog unless you need a feature or form factor you can't get in the digital market at the price point you need.

Agreed.  I sold all my outboard gear when I bought the Yamaha, so I would prefer to go digital.  But for most things I don't need much -- the people just need to be heard, and sometimes maybe a little reverb is nice; the $350 Soundcraft Sig 12 would do fine.  Sometimes the extra features would be really nice though, but the cheapest options are the Presonus 16.0.2 or a new old stock 16.4.2 that Mike Pyle has.  But after researching I'm hesitant to go with Presonus; that leaves the Producer at $1200 MAP as the cheapest.  Assuming it's reliable.

At any rate, for digital to fully take over I think they need to make something else with real faders well under $1k.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 12:07:20 am by Craig Smith »
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Craig Smith

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2017, 10:06:15 pm »

Personally I'd stay away from the UI mixers. I originally was looking into a UI12 before I got my xAir but I came across a facebook users' group for the UI. They seem to be having TONS of issues. From bad WiFi connection to mid-show freezes, noise, and so on. Never really seen any complaint for the XR other than the user interface (Which IMO is great - Doesn't look as fancy as the UI's but it's got a LOT more flexibility in terms of FX, routing and stuff). The new UI24R might be better, but I think it's almost X32 price range.

Thanks!

StudioLive 16.0.2, $899 on sweetwater.

Yes, after I posted it I thought about that, but I don't think it meets the criteria of reliable from what I read.

Analog mixers are awesome but they really aren't cost-effective, easily transportable and generally flexible in comparison.
Two X32s and a single reel of Cat5 cable in a festival situation can replace two MH3s, a heavy multicore snake & splitter, three huge racks full of outboard & a multritrack recorder. You can reduce soundcheck and loud in/load out times to a bare minimum, you can ring out & mix monitors on stage by yourself using an iPad. You can store presets for monitor EQ for specific speakers & venues. And so on, and so on...

It would be like comparing a Lamborghini to a Toyota Corolla. Everyone wants to drive a Lambo (great sound, great looks & very quick), but in the end the Toyota is cheaper, it's got 4 seats, 4 doors, a large boot, low fuel consumption, it's got more gadgets & features, and probably won't depreciate as much in the short term.

I'm talking about the sub-$500 little guy market -- what's a better buy for "real" events is indeed a totally different story.

I actually see the car analogy the other way -- people are buying Lambos when they only need a Corolla and will never use the speed or handling of the Lambo.  And I'm not sure about depreciation -- historically digital gear has depreciated like crazy as it's constantly changing, much more so than analog.  We're in a transition period right now where analog is being phased out, and audio gear doesn't change as often as some things, but I have a hard time believing any of it will hold its value very long.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 12:44:57 am by Craig Smith »
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Craig Smith

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2017, 10:23:52 pm »

Loved my MixWiz for over 10 years.  I got rid of it for the following reasons:

  • The Instrument rack was HEAVY with the mixer and all outboard gear in it (no amps)
  • It was HEAVY
  • It had a big footprint on stage
  • Changing the efx chain around for different venues required rewiring.... which always seemed to cause problems
  • Operating the outboard gear hunched over is a PITA
  • No recording capability
  • Limited PEQ
  • Only 6 aux mixes.  2 had to be used for external efx since the internal ones are substandard
  • Required a snake to mix out front
  • Can't mix from stage unless you happen to be the person in the corner
  • Faders moved quite easily, no scene recall, always needed setup at every venue
  • No subgroups
  • Running back and fourth from the stage to mixer to ring out monitors is a PITA

Presonus did indeed have the lead on affordable digital mixing.  I nearly bought one before I heard about the X32.  Presonus boards have a less than wonderful reliability history (check around and you will see this for yourself).

As Tim pointed out, you are comparing JUST a mixer to an entire instrument rack.  Once I factor my entire rack into the picture, my failures are as follows:

  • MixWiz channel 1 failure due to bad insert contact sticking
  • TC Electronics M-One XL ribbon failure resulting in several intermittent failures util I figured it out
  • Presonus ACP88 channel failure (x2)
  • Numerous routing problems/patch cable issues

My X32 Rack has been in use for over 3 years now and has had Zero failures.  Furthermore, my setup time has decreased substantially and the number of setup problems I have has decreased dramatically.

For those who use a lot of outboard gear then digital is definitely the way to go.  The whole point is I'm talking about little guys that don't use that much other stuff.

Arguably the most important factor in all this is the X32's reliability; if it hadn't been the world might be a different place.

As to "what is really needed"...  A place to sit and mix.  That is really needed.  I just love sitting at a table in the bar and mixing on my tablet while sipping a cold one.  Can't do that with a MixWiz.  In fact, many venues I have worked at will not let you run a snake across the room at all.

I do take issue with the "easy to use" portion though.  There were days on the MixWiz rig where I found myself following wires around in the back of the instrument panel to figure out what channel of gate was hooked up to which channel on the mixer.  Trying to keep track of this kind of routing while bent over in front of the rack is really a PITA.  A well setup X32/X-Air rig is much easier to run on IMO than any analog rig.  Now .... getting a good setup takes some experience I will agree ;)

What kind of acts do you propose to use this rig on?

I actually thought routing cables was kind of fun ....

I would be more excited about digital if I could use a digital snake without buying a separate stage box.

I do small theater on occasion.  The iPad thing just won't work for me -- I am usually adjusting several faders at once and can't take my eyes off the stage much.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 12:27:39 am by Craig Smith »
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Brian Jojade

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2017, 10:39:06 pm »


I would be more excited about digital if I could use a digital snake without buying a separate stage box.

And how do you propose that working? Unless every input in itself is digital and connects to a network switch, which is essentially a stage box.
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Brian Jojade

Craig Smith

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2017, 12:37:08 am »

And how do you propose that working? Unless every input in itself is digital and connects to a network switch, which is essentially a stage box.

Sorry, I talked about this in previous posts but didn't make it clear here.  I wish these mixers already had the I/O split out into a separate stage box.  It seems really stupid to me to put the I/O with the control surface in a digital mixer.  Who wouldn't want to get rid of their analog snake?  And who wants to pay twice for the I/O and not use half of it?  It could be so much more flexible (and cheaper overall) if they just had a modular system.
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Craig Smith

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #48 on: May 09, 2017, 12:42:07 am »

So my wife has given tentative approval to get the X32 Producer.  Or should I wait for something better or cheaper?
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2017, 02:20:45 am »

So my wife has given tentative approval to get the X32 Producer.  Or should I wait for something better or cheaper?

InfoComm is next month, Musik Messe just ended, and the next NAMM show is in Jan 2018; those are the typical events at which new products are introduced.  Two down, one to go...
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Re: $500 analog mixers
« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2017, 02:20:45 am »


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