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Wanna buy a mixer...read this !!!

 

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 studio ??

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 !!!

 So 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 the units.

 And 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.

 These 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 sound quality.

 Now 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.

tell me what you think of this article !

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