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Thread: Mixers and Mics

  1. #1

    Mixers and Mics

    OK I'm called Knowitnot cause I probably don't know it I'm learning a lot from reading articles and forums so maybe one day I'll be able to change my name but I have some questions that are obvious ones for people like me that haven't got gear to play with and haven't done so in shops (I dunno why some of this stuff seems so obscure):

    Part 1:
    I have read a couple of posts mentioning people plugging mic's directly into PC's and getting very feint input from them. This input can be amplified to a level where you can hear what goes into the mic but heaps of noise around it of course which has also been amplified. My 1st question is: does a preamp sort this out? ...in addition to that, how does a preamp operate differently to only amplify the good bits if this is the case?

    Part 2:
    All the manufacturers of mixers of course have their own model numbers of course but this can be misleading to me. For example a 12 chanel mixer will often have 4 xlr connectors and 6 rows of knobs... as far as I can tell the last 2 rows are stereo which means a total of 8 inputs? Can you connect 2 different things to stereo inputs?

    Am I right in guessing you can connect 2 mics but they would have to have their volume and eq etc adjusted as 1 on these lines? (I guess that wouldn't be so bad for some aspects of drum mic'ing) Where are the other 4? Are they the stereo aux returns? So to be able to realistically cater for a band or even to mic a large drum kit do you need to basically overlook the model numbers and the numbers of channels and pay more attention to how many mics the thing can take? This is why I asked what you can really put a mic into.

    Sorry for the newbie questions but I'd like to think I'm getting there and these big questions will automatically answer more detail I have in my head ! Thanks in advance for clarifications I hope this all makes sense and you can see where I get confused.

    Here are some examples but of course there are copious amounts of mixers around and they all have different proportions of xlr sockets vs rows of knobs, stereo inputs and returns etc

    http://210.243.85.5/partner/modules/...product_id=158
    http://www.behringer.com/UB1222FX-PR...x.cfm?lang=ENG
    http://www.behringer.com/UB1622FX/index.cfm?lang=ENG
    http://www.bardl.cn/show.asp?id=44

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Quote
    Quote: Knowitnot
    I have read a couple of posts mentioning people plugging mic's directly into PC's and getting very feint input from them. This input can be amplified to a level where you can hear what goes into the mic but heaps of noise around it of course which has also been amplified. My 1st question is: does a preamp sort this out? ...in addition to that, how does a preamp operate differently to only amplify the good bits if this is the case?
    A pre-amp will have a good chance of fixing this problem. With any audio signal it helps to boost the signal to a decent level as soon as possible. Once you feed it into a computer or other system at a low level, all sorts of things can go wrong. Any "introduced" noise such as hum will have a much greater effect on a low-level signal than a high-level one.

    Quote
    Quote: Knowitnot
    a 12 chanel mixer will often have 4 xlr connectors and 6 rows of knobs... as far as I can tell the last 2 rows are stereo which means a total of 8 inputs? Can you connect 2 different things to stereo inputs?
    The short answer is yes. By and large stereo just means two channels so there is no reason you couldn't do this. However I'd be a little suspicious - I'm guessing that the mixer doesn't offer quite the same functionality as two independent channels.

    Quote
    Quote: Knowitnot
    Am I right in guessing you can connect 2 mics but they would have to have their volume and eq etc adjusted as 1 on these lines?
    I think that's a good guess.

    Quote
    Quote: Knowitnot
    Where are the other 4? Are they the stereo aux returns?
    I've just had a look at the MU 1202 "12-Input" mixer you gave a link to. IMO this is a misleading type of branding. It is most definitely NOT a 12-channel mixer and I can't actually figure out where the 12 inputs are. If you include the aux channels (which you shouldn't) you can get to twelve but none of it really makes sense. I would tend to avoid such a product on principle. BTW, I tried to use their zoom feature to get a closer look but it doesn't work in Firefox
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the info. I think I found it at another site finally too. A couple of notes though: Although there was an initial bug, if you clicked again that zoom in thing on the Phonic web site does actually work - I use Firefox too but I'm sure it's written for IE

    *** Question bit:
    About the stereo inputs, I was just thinking about the capacity of a board for microphones. I was thinking of buying a drum mic kit and wasn't sure if any mic's could go into the stereo inputs. Does that depend on the board? I'm thinking some boards would have the ability to preamp those inputs and others wouldn't - or are preamps for mic level usually only available on XLR inputs?

    *** Just talk bit:
    I've seen ads for Phonic's firewire model too which sounds appealing to me as you can just connect it without worrying about a pro sound card etc to get it happening on separate channels in your software. The model number has the number 18 in it but doesn't have an obvious 18 inputs. I think gets explained somewhat in a magazine review linked from their site.

    Firewire/USB 2 makes sense to me being an I.T. bod as I would prefer the ability to use it with different PC's rather than have to uninstall and remove a card as well as deal with more cabling to use it in different locations (or cart the whole pc and board) like when I want to record guitar in my room and drums elsewhere. All that being said I'm not sure how much I want to spend given that I'm quite sure it will be an extension of an existing hobby and never a job but it's cheaper than the others

    Oh and just in case others were wondering, I believe usb mixer's at present don't send all channels separately to a PC, just the firewire ones of which I can only seer 3 with my limited research at the moment (Mackie, Alesis and Phonic coincidentally in order most expensive to least). I wonder if the usb boards are only USB 1 and if there is any plan by manufacturers to make USB 2 models that do send all channels thru. I guess as things get more integrated and muso's get more I.T. savvy and ppl like me hopefully get more music savvy maybe it will happen!

  4. #4
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    I think stereo inputs will tend to be line level only - that's certainly been my experience with mixers. You will probably need an external line amp to plug a mic into those inputs. I could be wrong though - it would be worth checking the specs.

    I've never used a digital sound desk. The ones we use at work are still analog (due to be upgraded later this year). My little Boss mixer at home is also analog and I don't have any need to upgrade it yet - it's really just for monitoring purposes.

    I'm very keen to play with a digital desk. I can't wait until we get them at work. I still find it hard to imagine Firewire or USB on the sound desk but I sure am looking forward to it.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  5. #5
    Just two hard-learned words. Avoid Behringer.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  6. #6

    Lots of questions

    THere are so many things that you will come across in this business that seem deceitful, but are really of little meaning. The number of channels on a mixer model# is usually accurate when you are talking about pro-level boards, A&H, Soundcraft, Midas, etc., who sell the 'frame' size according to your needs... the smaller fries want people to be enticed to look into their product, and if a few don't read the specs and don't get what they thought they were getting, that's just par for the course in today's society (nobody's fault but your own, I say) I bought a mixer labeled 2642. what does that mean?? according to the manufacturer there are 26 inputs available on the mixer. Never was it stated that 26 channels were on the mixer, and if you used all channels/returns/inputs, there were 26. there were 4 goup outputs and stereo outs, so 26-4-2, not that I use more than 16 inputs into channels (8 mnono, 4 stereo) ata time, and I hardly count any effects returns as inputs, that's why you just need to read.

    as for pennies comment, I have and still have plenty of 'budget gear' that has done nothing but outperform 'pro gear' for various reasons. I can't think of anybody I know who has blamed the equipment they have when it fails, mayhaps one should look at how they are using their equipment and be more cautious.... I've used Yamaha, Behringer, Allen and Heath, Soundcraft, Qsc, Crown, EV, JBL, Dbx, most of the gear out there at one point int time or another, and even after years of hard road use, all my gear lives today.... Also, if you care to read up on ISO standards, any equipment made to those manufacturing standards will involve quality components and practices that equal or surpass a lot of the stuff you might buy. ( i was working in a manufacturing facility when they decided to get ISO certified, and let me tell you, it's not just a matter of filling out a form and paying a fee, it is quite a process) SO I say ,do not put down a certain brand, just advise on what does seem to work for you, because gear won't killl itself.....

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