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looking for a good mixer

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by dvsDave, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    I am in charge of finding a good mixer for an organization on campus....

    But I refuse to go with Mackie... the mere fact that their boards are one single pcb board and not modular and therefore a pain to repair....

    So, I've had my eye on some of the new peavey powered boards(so the organization don't have to lug a seperate amp unit around), but I wanted to see if anybody else knew of a really good board that fits a standard rack unit (has to be portable)

    Any ideas?
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Good choice to nix the Mackie option right off. They don't last very long and sound like @$$. But Peavy isn't much better then Mackie IMO...I would suggest you check out the Spirit Folio's by Soundcraft (powered or un--and they are tuff little mixers) and the new Crest rack mount portables (unpowered)... If you need a Crest dealer for dealer cost pricing, just let me know...

    -wolf
     
  3. delnor

    delnor Active Member

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    I would defiantly agree about the soundcraft board, we have one and it kicks ass. The modular design makes repair easy, and its a great board to operate. Spirit is a great series, and like Wolf said they are defiantly tough mixers. I highly recommend them and also can get you a price if need be.
     
  4. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    If it was me, I would go with a Mitas Herritage 3000, but thats just me. :D Yamaha & Soundcraft consoles are good for HS and shows that are on the move. Also they are in your budget. Mackie boards are not worth the money. How many channels do you need, maybe I can help you from there.
     
  5. DMXtools

    DMXtools Active Member

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    I'd go with an unpowered mixer and powered speakers, if possible. Long speaker cables of a heavy-enough gauge to handle a decent amount of power are more weight to drag around than XLR cables of the same length.

    With powered speakers you get an amplifier matched to the drivers, meaning less likelihood of an over-powered amplifier smoking your woofers or an under-powered amplifier generating distortion that'll take out your tweeters. You also get an amplifier tailored to the frequency response of the drivers, meaning you have less to do to EQ the system properly.

    I'm somewhat a fan of Peavey. No doubt there's better sounding gear, but Peavey stuff is very reasonably priced and pretty tough. It seems to hold up pretty well over time. Mine has taken an awful lot of abuse - I'm a concert sound-and-lighting guy who does mostly local-band punk-rock shows. One night I'll be at a skate park in Rockford, the next at the Knights of Columbus hall in Arlington Heights, then it's off to a church basement in Downer's grove. Load-in, set up, run the show, tear down and load out. Lather, rinse and repeat. It gets banged around a lot and pushed pretty hard, sometimes on pretty flakey power. My Peavey mixer is 7 years old. Two of the XLRs have started to get a little flakey. Not bad considering all the abuse.

    John
     
  6. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I have to agree with ya there--Peavy gear while not the best quality sonically compared to Crown or Crest WILL take a TON of the worse situations and still shines on thru and just doesn't give up on ya. where I've had Crown amps die cause of bad power issues, Peavy--never quit. I used to have 8 old CS800's for amps--over the years they got all beat to heck, overheated, abused, some I had bought 'used' for cheap and who knows what abuse they went thru before me, and they never ever failed me once in 10 years. Durable tuff stuff you could always count on...

    -wolf
     
  7. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    I would have to agree with Delnor. Soundcraft boards are really rugged. We have a Soundcraft K2 in the auditorium and a Soundcraft Spirit LX7 for our portable system.

    Our sister school has a tascam digital board that is driving them nuts with Bose speakers.
     
  8. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    I forget where it was, But i remember using a Yamaha Digital Desk and it was great =) It realy made things alot easier.

    I also used a semi digital one, that u could stack cues like a lx desk, but it had a few issues, but was still a good desk. I forget what make it was though!
     
  9. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    AT LDI they had a Digitrac for the Meyer sound stage on the Live Tour lot. It ws really cool with fiber optic channels. It was nice if you have $130,000 to blow on the console alone. All digital!
     
  10. delnor

    delnor Active Member

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    There is a lot less equipment needed for that particular board, because everything was digital the entire system is condensed down to the board, amps, wireless receivers, and the PA speakers/monitors. No need for separated EQs, CD decks, Condensers, Effects creators or anything else. With a few presses on the touch screen LCD panels you have all that stuff in its digital form at your exposure, it was nice.
     
  11. seanb

    seanb Member

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    I like the Allen Heath MixWiz 16. 2 chan of FX, 16 mono chanels with 4 aux. Nice stuff, fits in a rack. I would also suggest powered speakers instead, as there are more decent powered speakers than there are mixers and it will be already matched with some limiting circuitry built in.

    I'd have to say I'm a fan of Crown on the amp side, though. Great warranty.
     
  12. TBNAudioEngineer

    TBNAudioEngineer Member

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    nix a MACKIE??

    Really? There are people out there that would do that?!?!! I've been using MACKIEs my entire career, and for entry level, MACKIEs are IT! Peaveys are not worth the money. And a powered board? Whoever replied about powered speakers was right, that's the way to go if you want to avoid dragging a bunch of outboard gear. MACKIE VLZ consoles aren't great, but the don't just wear out, and have a great "feel" to them for the money, that spirit just won't do that for you, and peavey(??) I'll play with rocks first. Tell you what's nice for CHEAP on EBAY or new. A MACKIE 16.8, the ONLY thing not to like is the assignable AUXS. 5 full time - 2 more flip. I've got a 32.8 and wouldn't trade it for an allen and health, and I've used those a few times before. Midas, ok it's nice, but REALlY pricey.
     
  13. blsmn

    blsmn Member

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    Well Dave, I guess you've had a myriad of suggestions here - I think the Midas one was kind of a tongue in cheek comment as even their smallest Venice is not a rack mount - but, do you notice a pattern here? Everybody has their own idea of what constitutes good and bad. I have 3 Mackie VLZ Pro's of various sizes that I use for portable systems and recording concerts that work just fine for that application, but in the theatre decided to go with an Allen & Heath GL4000 because it just plain and simple sounded better in that space with the other gear there and for that application. Your original post would seem to indicate that you already have speakers for the system - are you at all considering going to powered speakers? They are by far the easiest as far as set up and cabling - send a signal (or two for stereo) down the snake, get AC to each speaker, plug them in and you're ready to go. For shows we do in different parts of the schools I personally use RCF ART500's as mains with RCF ART200's as side wash monitors and am really pleased with the overall sound.

    What is this system used for and how many channels are needed? How many monitor mixes? Effects units, compressors? Makes a difference in how many Aux's you need. Do you want the capability of having a decent way to record the live shows? Do you need direct outs to go to a multi-track recorder or an extra Aux send so you can send a separate mix to a recorder? By going powered mixer you are really limiting yourself in your options.

    Personally, I have worked with Yahama, Soundcraft, Mackie, Allen & Heath, Midas, and yes Peavey and Tapco back in my rock and roll days and really have no complaints about any of them in the situations that they were and are being used in. If I were you I wouldn't eliminate any console on the basis of being a pain or not to repair - I've had the VLZ's now for three years and never had a single problem and they do get moved around a lot and sometimes not in racks or cases. For that matter, I have not had to reapir any of the consoles I have dealt with here in the last 10 years.

    So I guess what I'm saying is look at everything you need to or would like to do with the console, look for consoles that are going to do that for you, and make your choice based on that criteria. You are going to find people who have horror stories about every console made, and very differing opinions about what sounds good. Take also into consideration that you could have the greatest console in the world, but if you are running it into crap speakers through shitty outboard gear it's not going to do you a whole lot of good.:) My two cents....
     
  14. Foxinabox10

    Foxinabox10 Active Member

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    I don't know why people don't like Mackie. I've never had a problem with them and they work really well for us. We're using the CFX20 now and going to buy a 32 channel soon (hopefully).
     
  15. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Dave could you be a little more specific to apps of which this console would be used for. About how many channels are needed? Sounds like something relatively portable. Would this console be setup in a formal FOH setup. Or is it just for a rehersal space or smaller events where an FOH setup is innappropriate.

    I understand some people just don't like the mackies, while they don't have the top notch surgical EQs and preamps as a midas does. They are still a pretty good buy, the VLZ-Pros are a fairly solid line of mixers. I've worked with them constantly this past year, it's not my first choice but I happier to see a mackie than a behringer or a lower end soundcraft. I personally don't like the lower end soundcrafts as much, they feel a bit more cheap. Esepecially with all the integrated crap, there is no reason to spend your money on cheap throw-ins.

    Since you mentioned peavey powered, I'm guessing you want something like a 1604 VLZ at the max. Since your not up for a mackie, which I think is a better buy at this range. The best alternative is the mixwiz, I doesn't have as many routing options as other mixers do, but it is a great sounding mixer. Built nicely too. However if you want a highly reliable system with premium preamps and a nice strong surgical EQ, I'd go with a Midas Venice. They're fantastic consoles, there are many who'd prefer a basic midas with top notch components over similar priced console with more features but less components. Just compare the Verona to other consoles in the price range. You can get VCAs and way more inputs with the prices of some of those veronas. But you don't get that outstanding Midas sound and qualty. They have top notch components and they're are quite modular. Used on the road by many.

    Depending on the amps I say no about the powered mixer. If its a little portable system sitting in a rehersal space thats fine. Also if it'd be mixed from a stage cable runs no longer than say 35' I guess go for it. A long speakon run isn't a good idea, you lose more power per length than any other run. Its better to leave the long runs up to your balanced signals, and your powered and unbalanced signals shorter. Personally I don't like powered mixers, it's just a bunch of cheap components thrown together. Feel cheap, and often way too underpowered for most passive speakers. The amps are really cheap too, it's not the greatest thing for your speakers in a long runs. I prefer dedicated equipment, less can go wrong that way.

    Whether powered or non-powered, it really depends on the apps. Most powered speakers (excluding powered line arrays and high end cabs) aren't concert material. The mackie SRM-450s are an industry workhorse, and are used all the time as professional backups. Many powered systems have a lot of heat problems, I've heard some nasty stories about powered speakers over heating because of the amp stuffed in there with speaker. Active systems don't nearly sound as good as a decent passive system IMO. They can sound quite fake and unnatural, just like the gigging band at your local bar with their "pro-sumer" gear. Most of the time you get better freq response that way too, dedicated gear usually have higher quality components than intergrated gear.

    I personally disagree with DMX's statement about the advantages of powered speakers with matched amplifiers and amps tailored to the frequency response of the speakers. The amps put in most powered speakers are so cheap that really none of that matters long term. I've probably seen more blown/busted active speakers than I have passive. They're just as easy to bust, and usually the intergrated amps are prone to clipping, higher levels of harmonic distortion, and the extra power cables often clutter up the stage. While I agree with DMX if he is teaching an idiot, because the average idiot does not know how to properly match amps and speakers. There are plenty enough amps out there to match the power of any speaker. There is are reason why speaker and amp manufactuers give out engineer spec/data sheets. Since you obviously aren't an idiot, Dave, you'd know to match amps and speakers properly. Ideal matching requires all specs taking into consideration. However there is a basic rule, which you probably already know...

    Min = RMS x 2 x 0.8
    Max = RMS x 2 x 1.25

    Peavey's stuff is quite durable gear(lasts much longer than many higher end manufacturers), more so their older gear. Peavey were the PA kings in the 80s, but I don't feel their gear is as nice as it used to be. The newer stuff seems to lose the quality over frill for cheap moto characteristic peavey has always been known for. All there gear has been highly cosmetically upgraded and it just feels cheap. I really like yamaha for low end PA systems, yamaha isn't known for anything in the high end market either than their consoles and processing. So all their loudspeaker efforts are devoted to a single market, which results in better made gear. Earlier this year I put together a small 5.5k portable system. I looked a JBL quite a bit but their lower end mains are crap (SF series, mpro is an improvement thogh). The freq response wasn't nothing compared to other cabs costing just slighty more. It seems like the only reason JBL makes those speakers is just get a peice of that specific market. JBL is known for their higher end gear: SRX series, VerTec line array, etc. That's why I went with Ev, just a higher qualty speaker for the money.
     
  16. JasonH

    JasonH Active Member

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    Go with a A&H mixwizard with powered speakers. I'd say EV SX250a
     

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