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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two part topic: First, I need to find some good sound quality mixers, for as little money as possible.
Do you happen to know about mixers with good sound quality and balanced main mix output?

Secondly, I have searched aimlessly for data on what Signal to Noise ratio is actually audible, but no luck. So its difficult to find a mixer with just enough sound quality, irrespective of price, without just trying a bunch by buying and measuring them and hearing them and returning them.
 

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Unfortunately there is no such thing as a cheap and good quality mixer. Even today. When everything else is inexpensive.

All those pesky moving parts. With gaps for dust and dirt to get in. Laid out flat.

Mackie used to enjoy a reputation for making the most reliable, inexpensive mixers but the jury is out on more recent designs. Yamaha or Samson might be worth taking a look at. Don't hold your breath.

Best low cost solution is to get a multi channel audio interface and do your mixing in the box (ITB). That's what everybody else does now. Hence no credible manufacturer makes good, old school analogue mixers anymore.

Either that or resign yourself to buying buy a new Berhinger or something like that every year. For ever.
Or pony up $1,000+. That what it costs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
dropping $1000+ is probably what I'm going to do if that is what it takes to get adequate sound quality. But I don't want to drop 3 grand just because its unclear which mid-priced mixer has adequate sound quality. Currently the cheapest which seem to have adequate sound quality is the Pioneer DJM-750/K. But still have a few other stores to put in on the spreadsheet. The pioneer seems to have good sound quality because it seems to use the same electronics in that respect as the bigger models in that series.
I'm also looking at various used mixers around the grand mark, but thus far no real good ones have popped up. People loved bad S/N back in the day it seems.

My project is based on the thought "If I save up and build the stereo I want to have 20 years from now, now, instead of skipping from stereo to stereo for 20 years, what would I build?".
This is the draft stereo:
LD DP-4950
This can in bridged mode run 4 of these:
JBL Selenium 12MB3P
These cover little under 200hz to 2000hz (2 give 130db at 1 meter in this range according to WinISD and basic math).
Then another of the same amp for HF drivers:
P.audio BM-D750 Series II
With accompanying 60 x 40 degree horn. Probably have to do 4 or 6 of these horns to run in series so that I don't melt them with the amp. Its just that if I buy two identical amps I won't have a bad left-over amp if I want even more horns in the future. Cheaper amps also have less than the 105db S/N that this amp has. I'll probably run horns on channel 3 or 4 and then 2 mids on channel 1 and 2 in bridged. That way the two amps have same load and thermal output. These horns will cover 2khz to 18khz, 2 should do 130db at 1 meter and then some.
Then the low frequency is undecided (I'm not completely decided on MF and HF yet either). Ballpark it will be a pair of:
P.audio SD18-1700EL 8ohm 1700W AES 18inch 98db 20-200hz
With one LD DP2400X each in bridged. Or something slightly more powerful, to have thermal headroom. One of these in a normal vented box should give 130db from quite low frequencies. So I should have 130 or so desibels near 2 meters from the two stacks across the spectrum.
Also have crossover and EQ planned, and plan to measure the frequencies to get equal SPL across the board (the elements don't have the flattest response).
Still debating using only 12 inch elements, also for low frequencies, since then I could theoretically fit the stereo in a normal footprint, whereas a 18 inch vented or horn-loaded enclosure takes up a lot of room. Also debating whether or not I should use multiple crossovers to get these to cover one part of the spectrum each. So the horns would cover for example 2khz to 5khz, 5khz to 10khz and 10khz to 18khz. Instead of all three doing the same spectrum. I could theoretically give them more juice like this, and have lower distortion.
Hope this gives you more insight into what I need from a mixer. Its purely a way to convert signals from my PC into balanced volume-adjusted output which is sent to the stereo (which won't be in my livingroom). Which then sends speakon cables back into the livingroom.
I'd put links to the stuff but apparently I need 3 more posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Are you looking for a powered PA mixer? Or an unpowered mixer? Or a DJ mixer? For what purpose? Recording? performance? Home listening?
Hope this gives you more insight into what I need from a mixer. Its purely a way to convert signals from my PC into balanced volume-adjusted output which is sent to the stereo (which won't be in my livingroom). Which then sends speakon cables back into the livingroom.
Its a volume knob with balanced master output.
 

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When I had a PA, I used Yamaha exclusively. But not the cheapest.

Try asking at www.gearslutz.com. More people there using pro gear so more likely to get actual experience.
 

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Two part topic: First, I need to find some good sound quality mixers, for as little money as possible.
Do you happen to know about mixers with good sound quality and balanced main mix output?

Secondly, I have searched aimlessly for data on what Signal to Noise ratio is actually audible, but no luck. So its difficult to find a mixer with just enough sound quality, irrespective of price, without just trying a bunch by buying and measuring them and hearing them and returning them.
Behringer
 

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Hope this helps.

I used to use an 8 channel Soundcraft M8 analogue mixer mounted on top of a Gator mobile rack/flight case. With half a rack load of out board effects and distribution units. One day I was looking for a new rack mount compressor and realised that all the ones I could afford took the analogue input, converted it to digital, juggled the bits, then converted back to analogue again for output. So I might as well be fully digital from the start.

Then I discovered this little marvel. A MOTU Ultralite Hybrid.



http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/ultralite-mk3

It does everything my old rack based system does. And more. It's an 10 in/14 out/16 bus mixer. An easy to use graphical 8 band parametric equaliser effective on all inputs, outputs and mix buses simultaneously, a reverb, a compressor (x2), a headphone amp, monitor controller, mic preamp, distribution amp, channel strip and probably a bunch of other things I cannot recall right now. It can even function as number of self designed active crossovers. Not only that it connects via USB, S/PDIF and Firewire (Thunderbolt) but can operate as a stand alone mixer with all functions controlled by the front panel when required. It cost a very reasonable ~$500 and replaced my entire previous installation. All of it. A cubic metre of analogue gear replaced by a half rack sized unit that has worked flawlessly for over 5 years now.

That's what you need. Or something like it. RME, Native Instruments and Focustite make similar competing products that usually top the recommended lists.

If you want to stick with an old school mixer (it will still almost certainly be digital internally) your choice of Pioneer seems reasonable. That's what gets used in clubs and it is expected to take a battering and still sound great for years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hope this helps.

I used to use an 8 channel Soundcraft M8 analogue mixer mounted on top of a Gator mobile rack/flight case. With half a rack load of out board effects and distribution units. One day I was looking for a new rack mount compressor and realised that all the ones I could afford took the analogue input, converted it to digital, juggled the bits, then converted back to analogue again for output. So I might as well be fully digital from the start.

Then I discovered this little marvel. A MOTU Ultralite Hybrid.

It does everything my old rack based system does. And more. It's an 10 in/14 out/16 bus mixer. An easy to use graphical 8 band parametric equaliser effective on all inputs, outputs and mix buses simultaneously, a reverb, a compressor (x2), a headphone amp, monitor controller, mic preamp, distribution amp, channel strip and probably a bunch of other things I cannot recall right now. It can even function as number of self designed active crossovers. Not only that it connects via USB, S/PDIF and Firewire (Thunderbolt) but can operate as a stand alone mixer with all functions controlled by the front panel when required. It cost a very reasonable ~$500 and replaced my entire previous installation. All of it. A cubic metre of analogue gear replaced by a half rack sized unit that has worked flawlessly for over 5 years now.

That's what you need. Or something like it. RME, Native Instruments and Focustite make similar competing products that usually top the recommended lists.

If you want to stick with an old school mixer (it will still almost certainly be digital internally) your choice of Pioneer seems reasonable. That's what gets used in clubs and it is expected to take a battering and still sound great for years.
Wow, I hadn't even considered external soundcards. A random sample has +7db better S/N than the mentioned pioneer at half the price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So home listening then? Unless you're putting a club/dance room in your house, there are much better ways of listening to computer output than using a DJ mixer to fan-cooled pro amps to home-brewed speakers using PA drivers.
The amp rack won't be in the livingroom.

Define "better".
 

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Depends on your intended use, but if this is for typical home use, I mean sound better. That is, higher fidelity and more accurate.

I don't mean to be insulting, but I think you're hung up on thinking that "pro" PA gear is going to give you the ultimate music system in your house. And that's not necessarily the case. On one hand, you're asking for advice on a "PA mixer," which in casual terms can be taken as referring to one of the various flavors of powered mixer used for sound reinforcement, but which specific flavor depends on the intended use. Then you mention a Pioneer DJ mixer, but the brief description you give of the intended use ("Its a volume knob with balanced master output."), describes a basic unpowered mixer such as the Rane rack type I used to use back in the day to mix my synths on stage to send a balanced signal 100 feet to a large mixing console.

Now, if you've got an extremely large room that you're intending to use as a club/party room (not that unusual--one of the houses we looked at when house hunting last year had such a room with a DJ booth), then you might want to look at PA gear, or if you're building a theater with 15 channels like I'm currently building, then you might want to look at separate amps, but if this is for a living room stereo, just buy a nice receiver and a decent set of home speakers. This will outperform any PA gear in a typical living room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Depends on your intended use, but if this is for typical home use, I mean sound better. That is, higher fidelity and more accurate.

I don't mean to be insulting, but I think you're hung up on thinking that "pro" PA gear is going to give you the ultimate music system in your house. And that's not necessarily the case. On one hand, you're asking for advice on a "PA mixer," which in casual terms can be taken as referring to one of the various flavors of powered mixer used for sound reinforcement, but which specific flavor depends on the intended use. Then you mention a Pioneer DJ mixer, but the brief description you give of the intended use ("Its a volume knob with balanced master output."), describes a basic unpowered mixer such as the Rane rack type I used to use back in the day to mix my synths on stage to send a balanced signal 100 feet to a large mixing console.

Now, if you've got an extremely large room that you're intending to use as a club/party room (not that unusual--one of the houses we looked at when house hunting last year had such a room with a DJ booth), then you might want to look at PA gear, or if you're building a theater with 15 channels like I'm currently building, then you might want to look at separate amps, but if this is for a living room stereo, just buy a nice receiver and a decent set of home speakers. This will outperform any PA gear in a typical living room.
I don't know how to respond. I feel like we're not using the same English dictionary somehow. I ask for help about the large casual term of "PA mixers" which I chose deliberately to mean a vast area of product I have no expertise in. How does that imply I know nothing about the vast area outside of this topic? I know precisely what I'm getting into, and what I expect from this is realistic. But I still need expertise about mixers to find ones that do what I need them to do, which is essentially to have low S/N, good THD+N, volume knob, balanced output, some sort of input and subsequent processor which is a good way to convert audio signals from PC in however input-form (optical, minijacks, USB, firewire, whatever) and flat EQ to make final EQ easier. Remote control for volume bonus, but not required. As is other functionality like built-in EQ and digital stuff like what the MOTU Ultralite Hybrid can offer. Before this topic I didn't even know of such products which essentially act like a PC external soundcard but which also has the functionality of PA mixers, so I could not have started a topic about them.

This isn't a topic about the pros and cons of using PA amps and speakers versus consumer grade high quality amps and speakers, I have enough expertise to know the limitations and advantages of both.
 

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Try to understand that I'm not trying to be a jerk, but as you've said, there are a very wide variety of types of mixers, which is why I originally asked what you're trying to do (post #4 ). Instead of giving details, you quoted your previous post and added, "Its a volume knob with balanced master output." And lots of different types of mixers will do that.

In order to help you choose something, knowing specifically what you're trying to do would be helpful. The room you're using can dictate what sorts of gear you need, including sizes, power requirements, etc.

For example, there's a guy in the HTPC subforum who's doing something similar to what I think you're trying to do, who's using an inexpensive 8 track project studio DAC into power amps to drive his home theater.

The MOTU box above is made for recording in a project studio and made to replace an old-school recording console. I love MOTU gear btw--I've got one of their MIDI patchbays/interfaces (MTP AV) syncing the gear in my studio.

But without details of the room you're putting the gear into, and what your goal is (e.g., two channel music, surround sound for film, DJing for parties, etc.) it's difficult to recommend gear. Room pics and/or floor plans are helpful, along with any more esoteric needs (e.g., the wife insists on ...)

Edit - It would also be helpful to know what you plan on playing from your computer, such as what format of media--high-bitrate audio, Blu Ray rips, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You don't need to recommend gear for my specific use, just recommend stuff with good sound quality within a reasonable 20+ year home stereo build budget. That's what matters. See post number 3. Its a 2ch system that will play music recorded, mixed and plastered by others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hm, interesting, wouldn't think the Yamaha DM2000VCM has excellent sound quality by comparing its specs to the lower models (but its going to have excellent sound quality at that price point). I'm going to see if I can get my hands on the electronics specs themselves so I can compare the hardware inside that mixer with cheaper ones. Thanks.
 

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I don't know how to respond. I feel like we're not using the same English dictionary somehow. I ask for help about the large casual term of "PA mixers" which I chose deliberately to mean a vast area of product I have no expertise in. How does that imply I know nothing about the vast area outside of this topic? I know precisely what I'm getting into, and what I expect from this is realistic. But I still need expertise about mixers to find ones that do what I need them to do, which is essentially to have low S/N, good THD+N, volume knob, balanced output, some sort of input and subsequent processor which is a good way to convert audio signals from PC in however input-form (optical, minijacks, USB, firewire, whatever) and flat EQ to make final EQ easier. Remote control for volume bonus, but not required. As is other functionality like built-in EQ and digital stuff like what the MOTU Ultralite Hybrid can offer. Before this topic I didn't even know of such products which essentially act like a PC external soundcard but which also has the functionality of PA mixers, so I could not have started a topic about them.

This isn't a topic about the pros and cons of using PA amps and speakers versus consumer grade high quality amps and speakers, I have enough expertise to know the limitations and advantages of both.
So exactly what are you "mixing"?

The FIRST questions I ask about mixer needs are: 1: How many channels do you need?

2: How many Auxes do you need?

3: How many sub groups do you need?

4: What sort of eq do you need-fixed0semi or full parametric?

The S/N does not even come up in the conversation-especially in todays world.

When you say "Cheap" Is that $100 or $10,000?

"Mixers" can easily run into hundreds of thousand of dollars-if you are talking studio mixers. Or can be had for less than $100. But the quality and features vary widely between them.

I know this is not answering your question, but you are really asking the wrong question about the wrong piece of gear needed.

You should start with your needs first-then ask about the proper tool-not asking about a tool that is not right for your needs.

Sorry to sound so blunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I know this is not answering your question, but you are really asking the wrong question about the wrong piece of gear needed.

You should start with your needs first-then ask about the proper tool-not asking about a tool that is not right for your needs.

Sorry to sound so blunt.
I had to ask somewhere, ask something. It has brought me information like the mixer/soundcard hybrids like the MOTU Mk3 series, and now I've managed to explore that group of products that I did not know existed and developed a few competing solutions.
Current top solution: MOTU Mk3 Ultralite Hybrid, with PreSonus PRM1 Precision reference microphone (cheap and pretty much perfectly flat EQ), for analyzing the stereo spectrum and then adjusting the EQ of the speakers to get a flat response (either amp DSP or 2x31 band EQ). Costs about a grand.
Second best solution: M-Audio M-TRACK PLUS II with same PreSonus PRM1 Precision reference microphone. M-track comes with free cubase LE which has several free spectrum analyzer plugins, which I can then use to EQ the speakers (amp DSP or 2x31 band EQ). This costs about half a grand.
The drawback of the cheaper option is that its somewhat limited in future use, so might have to upgrade at some point, whereas the MOTU has more features than I can ever find the creativity to use. The MOTU also seems a safe bet since its actual hardware seems to essentially be the same as top notch stuff but with less I/O. But low cost of second solution might be worth the risk of concluding that the sound quality isn't quite there at some point in the future.
 
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