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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, can anyone please recommend a small mixer which is best suited for my purposes, which is playing sax to backing tracks through a QSC K10 powered speaker, what would be the ideal mixer to match to this speaker to give me the best sound on sax.

Thank you.
 

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TWO key thoughts- First, if you don't have a particular interest in being able to RECORD into a software off the board via USB, you may want to avoid paying extra for that. Second, pay close attention to what can be done with tape/RCA inputs, since that's likely what you'd be using for low-level line signal for the backing tracks, like an ipod or laptop.

I just tried a Peavey PV6 USB for this very purpose--to connect to my K12. I did like the sax sound and tone capture, when I recorded it using the USB out to my Digital Audio Workstation. I also just loved the flexibility of a mini mixer over relying on the back of the QSC itself. I returned the PV6 to Amazon, however, for three reasons:

First, the USB output to my DAW (Reaper) too noisy to really use for demos, much less REAL recordings. Low-level hiss that sometimes was cyclical. Swapping my old TonePort UX1 recording interface back in to the USB-DAW solved the noise problem.

Second, the RCA (tape) inputs, which I use from my IPOD, as well as the output of my DAW software (as in the backing track I'm trying to record over) has to be in the mix all-or-nothing. No possibility of EQ on it.

THird, and worst for your (and my) purposes, there's no way to balance the R-L input from the ipod to a single mono signal on the mixing board, and since you're left with R and L outputs to the "mains" as with most mixers, if you're playing over an Aebersold, you won't be able to get both the bass and the piano, since they're on separate channels. I looked into some cable adapter solutions for this, but nothing was compelling. I suppose the R/L from the ipod could somehow be merged into both signals BEFORE getting into the mixer.

I'm now looking into other lower-cost small mixing boards where I'll just ditch the recording ability and focus on the live PA application features with the dollars freed up....

I'd be interested in what people suggest. Next on my list would be the Yamaha MG102C
 

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I assume you are only using one speaker. Almost any mixer will be ok for sending your sax mic into and then from mixer into the speaker. For a better signal it is better to use a mixer where you can pan your sax signal completely to one side and send that side from the output to the speaker. This is simple with almost any mixer.

The question is what do you use for a backing track and how are you going to connect it to the mixer? What device and what cables do you use? How do you connect it now? If you are using a computer, for example, then it might be easiest to use an audio card (or a mixer that is also an audio card).

THird, and worst for your (and my) purposes, there's no way to balance the R-L input from the ipod to a single mono signal on the mixing board, and since you're left with R and L outputs to the "mains" as with most mixers... I'd be interested in what people suggest. Next on my list would be the Yamaha MG102C
This MG102G is good (also the MG82CX which is exactly the same with a couple of less channels and some effects). I wouldn't call it very small though. I prefer something significantly smaller to take to concerts. I am also not sure if that mixer will allow what you want. The channel with RCA inputs have the Balance knob, which changes the balance betwee the L and R and I don't think it will send both L and R to a mono output... but I'm not sure. This is interesting so I will find out what the options are in this case. I assume the idea is to be able to control the volume conviniently from the mixer as opposed to using the iPod for its volume? how did you connect the iPod to the Peavey? It doesn't look like its has RCA inputs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Saxguy 007, thanks for the info, Recording via software is not really required for my use, but I would like to record into an Ediol rho9 digital recorder, as I have many backing tracks on minidics which I want to transfer to mp3 files, so the intention is to connect the minidisc player and the recorder to the mixer and powered speaker, and record the tracks as I listen to them. A little more investigation has brought my attention to 3 possibilities, Mackie pro 8 fx, allen heath Zed 10fx, and yamaha mg82cx, I see you suggest the yamaha mixer, but I would like the effects on the mixer to apply to the sax.
 

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This MG102G is good (also the MG82CX which is exactly the same with a couple of less channels and some effects). I wouldn't call it very small though. I prefer something significantly smaller to take to concerts. I am also not sure if that mixer will allow what you want. The channel with RCA inputs have the Balance knob, which changes the balance betwee the L and R and I don't think it will send both L and R to a mono output... but I'm not sure. This is interesting so I will find out what the options are in this case. I assume the idea is to be able to control the volume conviniently from the mixer as opposed to using the iPod for its volume? how did you connect the iPod to the Peavey? It doesn't look like its has RCA inputs.
You're right, even the Yamaha board won't actually CONSOLIDATE R and L signals into one. I'll probably have to find a pre-mixer adapter cable solution for that. The PV6 has the RCA/tape input on the *back side* of the board. All you can do is toggle of or on whether the RCA input (as-is) goes into the mix or not. You have to rely on the main fader for its output to the speakers, and mix/balance all the other channels around this. Workable, but I'd rather have the RCA inputs on a real channel, with some flexibility. Also, the same little toggle switch that enables the RCA input into the mix ALSO regulates the USB input into the mix, to further crimp flexibility. I realize that for a $99.99 mixer with usb out, it's still a lot for the money, but I need a little bit more.

I have an Alesis Nanoverb that I successfully used with the PV6 effects send, which limits my need for a Yamaha board with effects but the mg82cx might still be desirable as one less thing to have to schlep around.

And yes, OP, I have an Edirol R09 recorder too. Amazing capture, tho most folks around here seem to like the Zoom products better. I figure USB (assuming it has lower line level noise than the PV6) is worth the extra $30-40 for some time when you might want to get a capture of your group live when everyone is miced. After calling Sweetwater and other research, it seems you can't get individual mixeable input tracks unless you go $500 and up for a recording/PA multipurpose mixer (that uses Firewire or USB 2+).
 

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Recording via software is not really required for my use, but I would like to record into an Ediol rho9 digital recorder, as I have many backing tracks on minidics which I want to transfer to mp3 files, so the intention is to connect the minidisc player and the recorder to the mixer and powered speaker, and record the tracks as I listen to them.
Maybe it is possible to simply connect the minidisc to the recorder using its line input (I assume it has that) and use the headphones from the recorder to listen at the same time if you want?

Or if you want a mixer that will also connect to your speaker, you can probably connect the minidisc to the "tape" inputs (L & R RCA inputs, often called differently on different mixers) on the mixer and out from the RCA ouputs into the recorder. You just need the right cables. Then connect the mixer to the speaker.

Or use the "tape" RCA outputs from the mixer to your recorder, same as before, but connect the the minidisc to the mixer the way described in reply to saxguy007.
 

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Saxguy007, it seems there are relatively simple solutions to these problems.

First, the USB output to my DAW (Reaper) too noisy to really use for demos, much less REAL recordings. Low-level hiss that sometimes was cyclical.
Almost any decent USB audio card should work for this without significant noise. Some mixers are also audio cards and woudl work the same. If I understand you have an audio card and when you used it instead of the mixer it worked fine.

Second, the RCA (tape) inputs, which I use from my IPOD, as well as the output of my DAW software (as in the backing track I'm trying to record over) has to be in the mix all-or-nothing. No possibility of EQ on it.
I don't exactly understand this issue. If the problem is not being able to use EQ on the iPod, see reply to the next problem. Maybe you can clarify this and explain what exactly do you want to do (i.e. what do you want to play at the same time, what do you want to record if anything, etc.).

THird, and worst for your (and my) purposes, there's no way to balance the R-L input from the ipod to a single mono signal on the mixing board, and since you're left with R and L outputs to the "mains" as with most mixers, if you're playing over an Aebersold, you won't be able to get both the bass and the piano, since they're on separate channels. I looked into some cable adapter solutions for this, but nothing was compelling. I suppose the R/L from the ipod could somehow be merged into both signals BEFORE getting into the mixer.
OK, if you have a cable that is mini TRS on the iPod side and two RCA plugs at the other end, then the simplest option is to use RCA to 1/4" converters (like this http://www.sontronics.co.il/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/products_img/cc302.jpg), put each 1/4" plug in its own channel and pan both channels to the same side. Then use that side main output to the speaker. You should hear both stereo sides from your speaker.
Instead you can use a cable that is stereo plug one one end and two mono plugs on the other end, not needing a converter from RCA.

Another option is to make a cable that is one side stereo, the other side mono and make a 'passive uniter' (a translation... not sure how to call it in English) between them. I don't know how to make this but a person working with audio electronics probably should. It should be done properly or you might have some problems. This is a little more hassle to make, but here you only have one cable with one plug at each end which is easier to use and you only need one channel in the mixer for this.

Unless you need so many channels, I wouldn't bother with that Yamaha mixer and get something smaller that is much easier to carry.

If you post the specific of what exactly you want to do then it would possible to make suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Clarinbass, thanks for the reply, I want to play sax to backing tracks using a small mixer and the QSC K 10 powered speaker, I would like the mixer to have effects built in, as I want to aplly reverb, delay etc to the sax.

I also want to record to an Edirol digital recorder, ie. to transfer minidisc backings to mp3 format, or record myself playing.

The reproduced sound quality is what is most important to me, I have listened to music all my life and have always wanted the best sound possible when using audio, and the same now applies to the sound from my sax and backing tracks.

This is my hobby and something I love doing, I am not a gigging musician, but occasionally I get asked to play at a party or family gathering, but usually my playing is done at home, but will always strive for the best possible reproduced sound in music.

My previous PA was a Yamaha stagepas 300, and before that I used a studiomaster powered mixer and Peavey Hisys speakers, I was quite pleased with the output from the studiomaster set up, but this is my first use of powered speaker, so I want to get the matching of the mixer right before i go ahead and buy one, hope this clears up my intended use.

I saw a Sax player in Tenerife called Leon Anderson, and have always remembered the gorgeous sound of both his backing tracks and his sax playing, I am aware that a lot of the sax sound comes from the player, but I do want the best combined reproduced sound I can get, thanks for any further suggestions.
 

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Hi Jukeman, i use a Makie pro FX8 that i find really usefull and easy to use, you can put this through the speakers you mentioned or in my case i have two yamaha HS80's.

Also worth considdering a good sound card, i use an m-audio delto 10-10, it's got all sorts of features built in for playing/recording, even has it's own built in mixer! loads of inputs/outputs etc
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Clarinbass, thanks for the suggestion, that works a treat, I am currently transferring all my backing tracks to the Edirol recorder, by the method you sent me, minidisc to recorder using headphones,
Brilliant forum, excellent advice from you all, thank you.
 

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OK, if you have a cable that is mini TRS on the iPod side and two RCA plugs at the other end, then the simplest option is to use RCA to 1/4" converters (like this http://www.sontronics.co.il/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/products_img/cc302.jpg), put each 1/4" plug in its own channel and pan both channels to the same side. Then use that side main output to the speaker. You should hear both stereo sides from your speaker.
Instead you can use a cable that is stereo plug one one end and two mono plugs on the other end, not needing a converter from RCA.

Unless you need so many channels, I wouldn't bother with that Yamaha mixer and get something smaller that is much easier to carry.

If you post the specific of what exactly you want to do then it would possible to make suggestions.
That's an outstanding and cheap suggestion. I think I'll just get a pair of adaptors like in the photo and put each into a separate line channel (like in the Yamaha mixer) and pan to the one side.

As for my own purposes, I wanted a mixer that could handle a jazz trio (or up to a quartet or quintet) for large rooms, with a bare minimum of four XLR inputs, plus 1-2 line inputs if the keyboardist can go direct... I actually have a PAIR of K12's plus a K8 and also a JBL 515 to add if needed. This is why if I'm going to drop some cash on a board, and am going to bother with a board for a select subset of gigs, I want it to have several channels. The whole USB thing was just a whim to see if a mixer could do double-duty as a recording interface. However, since I already have a nice TonePort for single-source (sax) micing, I don't have an urgent need, honestly.

If it's just me with tracks, I usually just go with the K12 and the ipod. Most of the time, since my tenor is loud enough for most rooms I'm hired to play, and I can just go direct into channel A on the backside of the QSC K series if I need to be miced anyway. I can also put my NanoVerb along the cable track into that Channel A if I want to reverb myself to match the texture of the tracks.
 

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Hi Jukeman, i use a Makie pro FX8 that i find really usefull and easy to use, you can put this through the speakers you mentioned or in my case i have two yamaha HS80's.

Also worth considdering a good sound card, i use an m-audio delto 10-10, it's got all sorts of features built in for playing/recording, even has it's own built in mixer! loads of inputs/outputs etc
Yeah all i need now is some kind hearted sole to tell me how to connect the sound card to the mixer, all i seem to be able to get is a hissing sound through my near fields that can be controled by the voluum control on the mixer....but no actual music...
 

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Yeah all i need now is some kind hearted sole to tell me how to connect the sound card to the mixer, all i seem to be able to get is a hissing sound through my near fields that can be controled by the voluum control on the mixer....but no actual music...
I can try to suggest something if you explain what you are trying to record (e.g. how many channels, what instruments, what inputs do you use, etc.), how are you connecting everything now, etc. I used to have a very similar sound card and mixer.
 

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Well first of all i'm not recording anything through it at the mo i'ts just to much imformation to absorb at one time, no i'm starting by trying to play existing mp3 recordings stored on the pc through the mixer/speakers. OK, if i conect the usb cable from the output on the pc to the usb port on the mixer and switch on the speakers i can play stuff no problem, but if i then remove the usb cable and attach the sound card via phono-jack leads, then go into sound on the control panel and set the sound card as the default music source i can then see the sound bars jumping up and down next to the card icon but no sound, then if i fiddle with the mixer voluum i get a controlable hissing sound through the speakers but no actual music
 

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Your mixer is the Mackie ProFX8 and audio card is M-Audio Delta 1010, right? What speakers do you have (make and model)? What inputs and outputs specifically do you use when connecting the mixer to the speakers and audio card to the mixer? something might be wrong abotu the way it's connected.

Another thing is that you might have to choose the right inputs and/or outputs (in this case outputs) in the audio card control pannel (not the computer main control pannel), but I can't remember exactly, it's a while since I've used my M-Audio Delta card.
 

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Yes you'r right about the mixer and soundcard, the speakers are Yamaha HS80m and i have them linked to the mixer via XLR leads, and the mixer linked to the sound card via unbalanced 6.5 jack's to phono connectors (as on the sound card) yeah i see what you mean about the audio card control panel, to be honest i'm not sure if i sucsesfully downloaded the drivers and all the other **** correctly, as my system is windows 7 and the driver disc supplied only suports xp and vista, i downloaded the 7 driver of their site but i am just not getting the screen shots that are in the instruction manual, oviously missing quite a lot i guess?
 

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I don't remember enough about the M-Audio control panel and I only had this card with XP and Vista (I have 7 now but a different card), so I don't know how it should be in 7.

Maybe first try directly from audio card outputs to speakers and see if that works.

Just to be sure, you are connecting your computer to the audio card with its cable from the PCI part to the outside part, then from audio card ouputs to mixer inputs, then from mixer main outs to speakers (since you use XLR to speakers I guess you use cables that are XLR on one end and TRS on the other, right?). Also make sure the channels on the mixer that the cables from the card go into are on and have levels, not on mute, not accidentally used the Inserts, etc.
 
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