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6 or 8 channel audio mixer

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First post, by ras2a

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Hi guys,

I want to be able to connect my retro kit up to an audio mixer with more than 4 channels (currently using Art SplitMix 4 which suffers massive volume loss due to it being passive). I've got 3 retro PC's and also 3 sound modules

What are my options for something that doesn't take up the whole desk OR cost an absolute fortune? It seems impossible to try and find a mixer with more than 4 stereo inputs.

Thanks a lot

Reply 2 of 51, by Pierre32

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I'm always on the lookout for options here too. What's frustrating is that most of the small-footprint mixers are half taken up by mic inputs, which are useless for this purpose.

For example the Xenyx 1002 "10 input" mixer which is ultimately just 4 stereo inputs: https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Be ... ans(en|en)

I'm thinking of looking closer at 19" rack mounted stereo line mixers. At least they're slim and can go under a monitor, or on a shelf above or something.

kolderman wrote on 2020-06-05, 07:36:

You are probably looking for a switch box not a high end studio mixer. I use several stereo switch boxes to switch the output of analog, spdif and midi sources.

The only issue with this approach is if you want to mix signals from one PC, eg. Soundblaster + MT-32.

Reply 3 of 51, by ras2a

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Cheers guys - that’s EXACTLY what I’m wanting to do - for example mix both ESS audiodrive (that also has a dreamblaster attached) and SB Live output from my Windows 98 build, but then also route out onboard sound from my Windows 7 build (HP T610 running DOSBox) with the connected MIDI modules (using Roland UM-ONE). I have no issues with a switch box, in principle, but I really need the capability of mxing some of these sources.

I suppose I could, for example, re-route the ESS through the SB Live and control its levels through software mixer and perhaps take a similar approach by routing at least one of the MIDI modules through soundcard line in on the Windows 7 machine thats running DOSBox... this could, I suppose, save some precious hardware mixer channels so that I don’t need as many? Alternatively, I get used to the school of ‘unplugging things!’ 😂

Reply 4 of 51, by kolderman

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Pierre32 wrote on 2020-06-05, 07:49:
I'm always on the lookout for options here too. What's frustrating is that most of the small-footprint mixers are half taken up […]
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I'm always on the lookout for options here too. What's frustrating is that most of the small-footprint mixers are half taken up by mic inputs, which are useless for this purpose.

For example the Xenyx 1002 "10 input" mixer which is ultimately just 4 stereo inputs: https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Be ... ans(en|en)

I'm thinking of looking closer at 19" rack mounted stereo line mixers. At least they're slim and can go under a monitor, or on a shelf above or something.

kolderman wrote on 2020-06-05, 07:36:

You are probably looking for a switch box not a high end studio mixer. I use several stereo switch boxes to switch the output of analog, spdif and midi sources.

The only issue with this approach is if you want to mix signals from one PC, eg. Soundblaster + MT-32.

No it's not an issue - it's the whole point! You only really have two sources of sound you will be mixing - digital sound and midi/music. In other words, a 2-channel mixer would suffice. All you need is a switch-box for each source type, as I said - one for stereo digital sound, one for midi modules, and one for spdif. In my case I have two 4-input switch boxes (one for midi, one for spdif), and use a 4-port KVM to switch soundblaster sound output.

Reply 5 of 51, by kolderman

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ras2a wrote on 2020-06-05, 08:12:

Cheers guys - that’s EXACTLY what I’m wanting to do - for example mix both ESS audiodrive (that also has a dreamblaster attached) and SB Live output from my Windows 98 build, but then also route out onboard sound from my Windows 7 build (HP T610 running DOSBox) with the connected MIDI modules (using Roland UM-ONE). I have no issues with a switch box, in principle, but I really need the capability of mxing some of these sources.

Honestly I can't see how difficult it is to understand it's not one or the other - use a mixer by all means, but also use a switch box to reduce the number of inputs into the mixer.

Reply 6 of 51, by Pierre32

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kolderman wrote on 2020-06-05, 08:37:

No it's not an issue - it's the whole point! You only really have two sources of sound you will be mixing - digital sound and midi/music. In other words, a 2-channel mixer would suffice. All you need is a switch-box for each source type, as I said - one for stereo digital sound, one for midi modules, and one for spdif. In my case I have two 4-input switch boxes (one for midi, one for spdif), and use a 4-port KVM to switch soundblaster sound output.

Ok cool. Didn't realise your post factored in a 2ch mixer - I thought you were talking switch box only. 😀

Reply 7 of 51, by kolderman

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Pierre32 wrote on 2020-06-05, 08:44:
kolderman wrote on 2020-06-05, 08:37:

No it's not an issue - it's the whole point! You only really have two sources of sound you will be mixing - digital sound and midi/music. In other words, a 2-channel mixer would suffice. All you need is a switch-box for each source type, as I said - one for stereo digital sound, one for midi modules, and one for spdif. In my case I have two 4-input switch boxes (one for midi, one for spdif), and use a 4-port KVM to switch soundblaster sound output.

Ok cool. Didn't realise your post factored in a 2ch mixer - I thought you were talking switch box only. 😀

By the way if you search for item 143169576076 on a certain auction website you will see the cheapest stereo switcher I could find - I have two like I said and they seem to work pretty well.

Reply 8 of 51, by Pierre32

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That's a neat little unit. I have a total of 3x soundcard and 3x MIDI sources, and as you say couple of those boxes would let me do everything through my Xenyx 502 (which is effectively a 2ch mixer). I'm still always on the lookout for a nice 6 0r 8 channel mixer, but the cheaper switchbox approach is definitely food for thought.

Reply 9 of 51, by SuperDeadite

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I use a combination of Phonic AM55 and Yamaha UW500. This works well for me so i can mix and record analog soundeffects with digital toslink mu2000 music all in real time. The uw500 is also a great midi interface too

Modules: CM-64, CM-500, SC-55MkII, SC-88 Pro, SY22, TG100, MU2000EX, PLG100-SG, PLG150-DR, PLG150-AN, SG01k, NS5R, GZ-50M, SN-U110-07, SN-U110-10, Pocket Studio 5, Dreamblaster X2, McFly

Reply 10 of 51, by imi

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what you are looking for are stereo line mixers
Behringer RX1602 can be had pretty cheap usually, I got mine for less than the super cheaptastic 8ch audio switchers cost.
there are a few others but those are usually more expensive, they're all single rack units, so decently "small"
Alesis MultiMix 8 Line
ART MX822
Ashly LX-308B
Rane SM82S
Tascam LM8ST
etc. there's plenty more

I recently got a Mackie LM3204 which is basically the holy grail with 16 full stereo channels, but it takes up 5 rack units, still managable but a lot larger.

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for our purposes you really don't need anything fancy imo so I'd keep a lookout for the behringer.

the mackie has some neat features that are very useful for the purpose of mixing together midi modules and the like because it has "solo" switches and a seperate mix channel.
the behringer allows you to mute single channels, so you can still turn single channels on and off easily, not all of them feature that possibility, so I'd stick with ones that do so you don't have to change the mix constantly if you want to turn a channel on or off.

Last edited by imi on 2020-06-05, 10:28. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 51, by Pierre32

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Yeah those Behringers are on my radar. I slept on a super cheap listing recently and missed out. But they're still pretty cheap new.

I found this little Roland Mx-5 last year. I thought it would be my dream solution (when I only had 4 inputs to worry about). There is certainly no mixer that looks better on a desk full of retro & Roland gear! Sadly it has not aged well, is very noisy and basically unusable. I don't think they were ever as high quality as Roland's other products.

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Reply 13 of 51, by Pierre32

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imi wrote on 2020-06-05, 10:30:

you could try cleaning the sliders with contact cleaner?

Yep, I did all the servicing at that level that I could. I think it needs more expert help than that. I found a thread where someone restores one, and this sentence sums it up:

After replacing near a hundred components, it's really not bad at all.

Haha.

https://music-electronics-forum.com/showthread.php?t=46575

Reply 14 of 51, by ras2a

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kolderman wrote on 2020-06-05, 08:39:
ras2a wrote on 2020-06-05, 08:12:

Cheers guys - that’s EXACTLY what I’m wanting to do - for example mix both ESS audiodrive (that also has a dreamblaster attached) and SB Live output from my Windows 98 build, but then also route out onboard sound from my Windows 7 build (HP T610 running DOSBox) with the connected MIDI modules (using Roland UM-ONE). I have no issues with a switch box, in principle, but I really need the capability of mxing some of these sources.

Honestly I can't see how difficult it is to understand it's not one or the other - use a mixer by all means, but also use a switch box to reduce the number of inputs into the mixer.

It's absolutely not difficult - makes total sense. I guess I didn't want to introduce more sprawl/hassle into my setup, but you're right, this is a good solution to effectively reduce the number of required inputs. Do you have any recommendations on a particular switch box - I know I could just pick up any old crap from eBay, but would like something half decent that isn't going to really reduce sound/signal quality?

Thanks mate

Reply 15 of 51, by dionb

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Another vote for Behringer RX1602. Just purchased a second one (first time round I didn't consider having multiple sound cards per system...) and it's highly convenient. You get the same number of inputs with two of them as with the Mackie LM3204, but in only 2U. That gives me room for my MU50, SC55SC and MT32 underneath them in my desk rack 😀

Reply 17 of 51, by dionb

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ras2a wrote on 2020-06-05, 13:06:

Does the following audio switch box look ok:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Speaker-Switch-Box … EAAAOSwRs1d-wnT

Awfully impractical design with in/outputs at 90 degrees to controls.

That aside, this is a switcher, not a mixer. You can only connect one input to an output at a time. If that's what you want, it should suffice, but just consider games where you can choose one audio device for effects and another for music. That's not going to work with this.

Reply 18 of 51, by ras2a

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dionb wrote on 2020-06-05, 13:16:
ras2a wrote on 2020-06-05, 13:06:

Does the following audio switch box look ok:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Speaker-Switch-Box … EAAAOSwRs1d-wnT

Awfully impractical design with in/outputs at 90 degrees to controls.

That aside, this is a switcher, not a mixer. You can only connect one input to an output at a time. If that's what you want, it should suffice, but just consider games where you can choose one audio device for effects and another for music. That's not going to work with this.

Yep, realise it's a switch box, this was aimed at the suggestions to use a switch box to reduce the overall number of mixer channels required 😀

Reply 19 of 51, by BloodyCactus

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I use a rolls rm203x with 10 stereo inputs and mix output + headphones out.

imo those big mixing consoles take up too much space for what your really looking to do.

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