Choosing the right mixer
for your personal studio.
Written by George Fotis
, August 2002
Choosing the right mixer can be a tricky business.Buy
this ,buy that ,this is good, this is better... nooo!!!. ,that is not good, it
will ruin your sound. With so many choices available ,its easy for you to loose the point and end with a mixer that doesnt
fit to your needs. So what can you do really about that ??
Well the first step
is define your needs. How many sources do you have now ?? How many sources should
be mixed simultaneously ?? Is your mixer for live performance or for use in your
If a mixer fit your input needs now, but you plan to buy more equipment
in a month or two, then its obviously a bad choice. Always try to have 2 or 3 inputs available at the very least.
If you need your mixer for live performance, then find a unit that
offers lots of headroom. In a gig the mixers input would be all hot, and in this situation you will need headroom.
When in studio however this headroom issue may be not the case If you know how to record using a DAW then ,this is clearly NOT the case, because you can record
one track at a time. And because
of the fact that only 2 of the mixers input will be used simultaneously, there is simply NO headroom problem, at all !!!
when you to out to buy YOUR mixer , make sure the unit YOU will live with, has all or
at last the most - functions that will make your life easier
For example, with the variety of mixers today, and at really affordable
prices, there is simply no excuse for buying a unit with say 8 chanels , no [semi at the least] parametric EQ, and with knobs
instead of real faders.
There is also the quality issue here .There are some brands asking
you twice or more of your money ,claiming then units are far more better ,almost esoteric.
Be very cautious with such cases. And whatever you do, try to compare
Listen Carefully. A good way is this :grab your minidisk recorder , the best of
your mics [or borrow one], and a harmonica and record it using one of these units. Try compare some recordings.
THEN ,judge for yourself !
If you get similar results, buy the cheap unit !!
Later if you need an esoteric mic preamp unit, for recording purposes
,go out and buy yourself one of certain quality and tested unit.
was my criteria when I was out for a unit. My Behringer MX 2004 mixer is of good quality. I am not claiming its very good,
but for the price I paid ,I know I wasnt ripped off. And , I can always buy [as I did] a tube unit ,to get really amazing
about technical specifications and all this stuff.Unless you are HIGLY experienced
and well educated on technical terms, DONT base your decision on specifications.
Its easy ,REALLY easy to go wrong ! Ask
a friend who really understands the tech specs to tell you.There are some KIND
of specs you can judge for yourself.128 voice polyphony on a synth,is clearly better than 32 voice.
But on the other hand for example ,whats the difference between dbu and dbm ???
If you are sure you can answer this question ,congratulations and
go on !!
But if you cant, ask your expert friend. Its really ,that simple.