Yet another recommend me a mixer thread

Hi all,

So I’m trying to update my setup to move more from live improv jamming into song production. While I’m enjoying just building grooves on the fly I feel there are a few things missing in my current setup:

  • Better arrangement workflow (not entirely vibing with the Electron sequencers for full arrangement)
  • Mix down capabilities
  • Individual sampling of sources on the fly
  • Recording my jams

This would probably be easiest fixed by getting midi-out from my laptop and getting a multichannel audio card so I can arrange and record in a DAW but I would like to stay OTB as much as possible. For the arrangement part i’m considering adding an MPC One as the brain unit (just to see if the Akai workflow clicks better with me than the Octatrack does as a brain unit) but for the mixing/recording part I’m still unsure what would be the best route.

I currently have for sound sources:
Analog 4 MK1
Analog Rytm MK1
Small modular
Behringer TD-3

For sampling/mangling I have:
Octatrack MK1

and for FX:
Analog Heat MKII

I have the AR hooked up to A/B on Octatrack, Modular and TD-3 feed into the A4, A4 feeds into Digitone, Digiton into C/D on Octatrack, Octatrack out to AH to speakers.

I would like to be able to mix every sound source individually and on the go be able to sample an individual sound source through the Octatrack. I would also like the option of being able to send individual channels to the Analog Heat via stereo send/return or maybe through other FX peddles in the future.

I’ve run it down to two types of units:

  • Tascam Model 12/16
  • Mackie 1402VLZ4/1642VLZ4

Ofcourse the Tascam’s are mostly interesting due to having multitrack recording available (which I would love to do OTB) and I really like the looks of the devices but I have the feeling that there are not enough signal routing options available on this device. In terms of routing options it seems the Tascam Model 16 is comparable to the Mackie 1402VLZ4 (though without the stereo return input’s). Both seem to allow for a selection of channels to be outputted to the Octatrack (Alt3/4 on Mackie, Sub-Out on Tascam) for sampling if I am correct? Both seem to have two mono aux send’s post-fader. Unfortunately with the lack of stereo returns on the Tascam it seems I’ll have to sacrifice input channel’s which are already not in large supply.

Considering current sound sources I need at least 10 channel input (2 for A4, 2 for Rytm, 2 for Digitone, 1 for modular, 1 for TD-3, 2 for Octatrack Main out) there won’t be enough space on the Model 12 to feed any FX send back into the device. On the Model 16 there are two more channels (and the 13/14 stereo channel which I am not sure can be used for this) but then I would still be at my very limit and from what I’ve read it seems that the Midi functionality of the Tascam Model 12 can be quite useful to record extra layers afterwards.

So it seems that the Tascam Model 12/16 just does not have enough routing options to include the Ocatrack and an FX chain on it. The Mackie 1402 does seem to offer a bit more flexibility having stereo returns and more stereo input channels but of course then no multitrack recording OTB and there is still only two aux sends and one subgroup available.

If I go the Mackie route than for future safety it seems the 1642 VLZ4 is by far the best option if I forgo the recording capability. Multiple sub-outs would allow to incorporate the MPC One into the flow and send channels out to either the Octatrack on one subgroup, or the MPC on another subgroup for sampling. And it also has a Master insert for the Analog Heat and 4 Aux sends (though I assume these are mono aux sends and can not be used as stereo aux sends when the source channel is a stereo channel as it would get summed into mono on the aux bus?). I’m assuming the Analog Heat is best served with a stereo signal but other fx (boss space echo, strymon big sky) probably work just as well with mono input and stereo output?

So I guess the 1642 is the way to go, as been recommended more often here on this forum, but the Tascam is just so attractive to me and I just wish there would be aux return and master insert options so that it would play well with the AH and an external reverb fx. I can do without extra sub-groups (so either no MPC One or chain this after the Octatrack) but the lack of FX routing options just seems like it’s not the right option.

Anyone has some smart solutions or personal experiences with a similar setup?

1 Like

Might be self-evident but patchbays really were a gamechanger for me when it comes to routing things. Also not very expensive (except maybe for the cables). I used to have a Soundcraft 12MTK mixer with all my sound sources ”hardwired” to the channels. Then I started acquiring FX boxes and quickly got frustrated with having to re-wire things for every new jam. Sooooo easy to do that with a patchbay now. Also got rid of the mixer and bought a better audio interface, since I didn’t really use the 12MTK as a mixer (especially since the 12MTK’s own FX or EQ don’t get printed on the tracks while recording) and didn’t need 12 channels simultaneously.

That won’t solve how you’re going to record your stuff… Personally, I’m entirely happy multitracking into Logic, because that’s where I mix and sometimes also arrange the stuff anyway.


yeah I like the flexibility of a rack mixer, patch bay, and sound card. then mix in the DAW. don’t have to do EQ/volume/send recalls on the mixer, can reload and recall all your sessions and settings instantly in the DAW, can route to any effects box you want, etc. super flexible and simple, not super expensive. I started this route with a Samson SM10 rack mixer and just piped the sends to the OT for sampling. then routed to effects as needed via the patch bay. seems like that should solve a good bit of the OT’s problems, if the approach is OK.

if not, I would recommend the Mackie and a sound card over the Tascam. the Tascam’s a great piece of gear, but Mackies are super flexible so that usually wins out for me. coupled with a sound card, you’re set. and at worst, you just might need new cables, should your configuration or approach change some day.

1 Like

Thank you both for the responses.

I can totally see why the recommendation for patchbay’s and getting it through an audio interface into a DAW.

A DAW is just something I am really trying to avoid at the moment. Patchbay seems a good long-term solution but also not something I really need at the moment, everything is in good reach on my desk so the benefit of routing cables a tiny bit easier is too small right now.

In any case I’ve set my mind indeed that the Tascam’s are just not the right solution for me at the moment. Even the Model16 would not have enough channels with there being no aux returns and the Model24 is just to big and expansive. So forgoing multi-channel recording for now and will just go for a mixer + a cheap tascam recorder for the main outs.

I was also reading in the Mackie manual and it stated that there is really no benefit to sending a stereo signal to an delay/reverb effect pedal on the aux send so then it seems two mono aux sends with two stereo returns would service the job of having two pedals to work with. For the Analog Heat I read that this is not a good send/return effect so then I figured I could just connect it to the Cue Out of the OT and then feed it back into the OT. This way I can send channels to the OT and if I want send it through CUE to have the signal be further processed by the AH before sampling.

Drew out on paper what it could look like and then figured that a Mackie 1202 would actually still give me enough channels for everything I currently have with two channels left over for either an fx return on a channel, an MPC One (which can receive sampling signal from Control Room) or maybe something else in the future. Another benefit is that the 1202 has a very attractive small footprint so I won’t have to get extra desk space to accommodate it.

Figured that for now this gives me exactly what I want (mixing, routing for sampling to octatrack, effects send/return) and in the future can always expand to a multitrack-mixer/recorder. Maybe for later the mackie1202+tascam12 as a combination could be interesting also. Seems to me that with it’s small footprint the 1202 will always be a useful element to the setup so can’t really go wrong with the purchase.

A patchbay can do more than just simple routing from a to b, depending if its normalled, half-normalled or thru connection.
(Can’t find a simple explanation of those patchbay configurations, sry. They simply determine what happens when you plug a cable and which jack is normally connected where.)

My patchbay has switches to change each channel between the three modes.

For example I can patch a synth into an fx box, but still record the dry and wet signal in my daw. It’s not just signal patched into fx box and that’s it.

If I patch my AK (two mono outputs) somewhere else, I can patch another stereo out or two mono outs into jacks where normally the AK is - this way I’m getting most of my eight input audio interface.

Eight inputs aren’t much, especially when your’re working with stereo boxes.

Lots of cables for hooking up eight mono ins + outs from my daw and hooking up my gear, though.
I paid so much more for the cables than I paid for the patchbay^^

1 Like

Take a look at the QuPac snd the Qu16 mixers.

Maybe have a look at this:

I use that with my dawless setup, took the sides of to fit on a shelf and a patch-bay underneath the shelf so it looks cleaner.

12 Channels
2 AUX that I use to send any of the inputs to my Rytm for sampling
Sub Out could be used for that, too
Multi Channel Audio Interface, so I can route all channels to Ableton for a Mixdown
Internal efx which is good enough for some reverb.
Only negative is you do not have aux returns, so if you want to use an external efx unit you loose 1 or 2 inputs. And the efx is not stored when you turn it off.
Good price as well…

Edit: Make sure it is the MTK version!

Have a look at the Allen&Heath MixWizards. I have myself the 14-4-2 and I’m still impressed with the flexibility and routing options this desk offers. 6 aux channels, 2 subgroups (my Heat is on one of them as insert), direct outs that can be switched pre/post fader. Good build and sound quality, I’m very happy with it. If you don’t need the subgroups, the 16 channel version might be interessting for you as well.

I recommend the presonus 24.4.2, it’s sound is amazing and it is easy to connect to the computer :desktop_computer:

Everybody has their own preferences naturally, but I’m with Korpinen & Schnork on this matter of a medium size mixer and a patchbay. I have a Zoom Livetrak L-12 and at first I thought that 12 inputs wouldn’t suffice for the amount of gear that I have but then I got myself a patchbay and it solved all the issues. I still have only 12 inputs but I can route everything through anything easily with no hassle and it’s been a revelation.

I also really enjoy being able to record multitrack without a daw but also being able to whisk those tracks on to my computer if I so wish and continue working on them on the computer. The Tascam Model 12/16 are both great choices in my opinion. I’d go for either of those if I didn’t have my Livetrak already.

1 Like

I have been trying various options: in the end what suits me better is an analog board with LOTS of routing options (Mackie, MIDAS) for multitracking purposes…Then into a MOTU.
I was eyeing the 22MTK but I have an issue believing the quality of the included soundcard is as good as a stand alone interface. Just a thought…
Even better if the board has direct outs and/or sub groups.
What @Schnork @korpinen @Wolf-Rami say is a very good option as well. For the moment I can not justify a patchbay (but will soon) as I have enough I/Os on the Venice and my MOTU.

Edit: Mackie 1402, 1604, 1642 are good boards. And of course MixWizard above these.
I ended the Midas way as the routing on these (160, 240 and 320) offer me endless options :slight_smile:

1 Like

I think this is a valid point. Not saying my 12MTK sounded bad, but I think it’s only natural (price and all other things considered) there’s an audible difference between that and the Audient iD44 interface I have now. I’m not a fan of 2-in-1 solutions in general because some corners usually need to be cut to make them feasible.

I was seriously eyeing that 22MTK but the lack of stereo returns and the need to sacrifice INs was not going to make it.
I started wandering about Midas a while back and was also looking at their U and F series (FireWire or USB models) but again the “all in one” (ie mixer+soundcard) was not convincing me.

I never see any love for the presonus 32 (specifically the sc) is it just too expensive for most people? I love this thing

+1 for the 1202

For the price (I got a used vlz3 for 80€) and the footprint it‘s an incredible versatile and okay sounding mixer…
A lot of routing options. I really like that the muted channels are sent to a secondary output. Makes tracking of single channels really easy…

1 Like

I googled « Korpinen & Schnork » in all possible spelling in order to find this mixer I’d never heard about :man_facepalming:


Hahahhaaha! That would be an instabuy for me. Coolest mixer-company ever.


Sounds pricey^^ :rofl:


Definitely! :sunglasses:

1 Like