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Andrew McIntosh
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« on: February 02, 2014, 03:10:18 AM »

Thinking of getting a new mixer/interface. The Tascam 4-track I've used for a while is a great mixer but the outputs have gotten loose and it's hard to find anyone reliable who can fix such things in this town (another issue, really). Have tried using the little Eurorack but am tired of the damned annoying digital clipping it keeps getting, even when recording at low volumes. It just can't handle certain frequencies (although it might not be the mixer - I don't hear the clipping while recording, but afterwards listening to the track(s) But it was not a problem with the Tascam, which could accommodate lower and higher frequencies much more easily).

The two issues I have are latency and clipping. I'm interested in advice for a very simple mixer/interface without too may "extras", that I can just plug into the audio input of the computer.

The Zoom R8, despite bells and whistles, looks tempting and seems reasonably priced. If anyone has used it, please let me know what you think (could also be useful if/when my computer finally goes bung and I can't record on it any more). But any other device, brand, etc., will be considered.
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czadco
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2014, 04:59:18 PM »

Hello,

I've had really good luck with my cheap Behringer XENYX 802, I haven't noticed any clipping or missing sounds. I personally try to avoid items with too many features, as I found the more features the more points of failure......but I am also very hard on equipment.
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pentd
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 11:11:41 PM »

hello also

i was thinkin bout this all day at work..... can you specify a bit more.. try to bear with foreign idiot..

by mixer/interface do you mean "a mixer which is also some kind of usb or firewire soundmodule"?

by tascam 4 track are you talkin bout a 4track "usb mixer" thing or such, or like a 4track cassette multitracker?

little eurorack = behringer mixer right? is this also some kinda usb/firewire thing? or just a mixer? 

now, regarding the clipping which appears after recording..

"I'm interested in advice for a very simple mixer/interface without too may "extras", that I can just plug into the audio input of the computer. " ===> this implies you are using some mixer before plugging audio wires into some input jack on your computer, right? do you have some dedicated soundcard/module on your comp or is this the 3.5mm minijacks on the integrated soundpanel? if it's the latter, then those inputs are kinda optimized for stuff like skype etc.... and need to be calibrated from inside the computers own settings. is it a laptop? desktop? what system? what drivers? why did the tascam not make crackling recordings?

and back to your original question: the zoom you mention looks tempting, but as with many usb/firewire things which have many inputs, like in this case, in the end you can only send 2 in / 2 out to/from the computer.. this seems to be the case with many small boxes: lots of inputs but then only the master L+R go out to the comp, a bit disappointing.

we use this: www.alesis.com/multimix16firewire in our bands and there we have the following: we can send up to 18 tracks to the computer, then get 2 back for monitoring what we recorded, which is quite luxurious.. most of the time we're happy with 8 to the computer. sometimes its slow to set up (sometimes need to reboot with the alesis plugged in in order for the computer to "see" it) but once it's running it's been very useful, so my recommendation would be: try to find something that gives you at least 4 tracks or more to the computer?!

the zoom h4n i have is *supposedly* also an audio interface, but so far it has only worked like promised on a crappy old model xp craptop i have. paradox = on the better machines it seems to be the most choppy, computer-freezing, stuttering piece of crapp, no matter what driver or buffer sizes i try (asio, zoom's own driver, no difference, xp, win7, linux, all horrible) maybe i'm doing something wrong, but i just gave up.. i use my zoom for what zoom is for. turn on + collect sound.
 


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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2014, 02:50:55 AM »

Thanks for the feedback, folks, appreciated.

Czadco - where I've usually gotten clipping from the Eurorack is when I'm recording sounds with particularly low-end frequencies. I'm also interested in avoiding too many features, also because I find too many extra items confusing and unnecessary.

Pentd, to your questions - I mean a dedicated mixer which can interface with a computer. Not so much with any pre-amp stuff, although that could help. Currently, I'm using a simple four-track Eurorack, which is Behringer. It has no usb/firewire feature, I got it mainly for live work but use it for recording now that Tascam is faulty. The Tascam itself is a four-track multimixer, again without usb/etc. connections. So I've mainly been using gear not really designed to actually interface with a computer.

But, at least with the Tascam, I've had no serious issues. I had the line-out going straight into the audio-in jack in the back of the old desktop upright computer (the driver is called ACPI Uniprocessor PC, whatever that means, the system is Windows XP and the soundcard is called SoundMax Intergrated Digital Audio, which came with the computer) I've had since around 2004 or so, using whatever sound-card is in the computer. For years, this has been a perfectly satisfactory arrangement, despite not having a clue what I was doing and no one to tell me.

After having a closer look at the specs. of the Zoom I suggested, not what I really want. It's not that I have a problem with only two tracks to the computer, as it's for personal use, but upon reflection I decided I didn't like the whole stand-alone digital recording set-up. I used to own a digital eight-track, and I considered it a total waste of money for how I prefer to do things. Incidentally, I briefly considered getting a H4N to use as an interface, and still would like to get one for outdoor and on-site multi-tracking, but any ultimate editing would be on the computer.

To be honest, I've no idea why there would have been a difference between the Tascam and the Eurorack apart from the latter just not being able to take a wide enough sound range. Had a look at the Alesis you recommended and feel that something like the 6FX would be more to my needs - small and simple. I've done a bit of dicking around with the levels on both computer and mixer and have had more satisfactory results recently, but as mentioned to Pendt, there are lower frequencies I still can't get without clipping and popping. You may be right about calibrating settings, but outside of fiddling with levels I haven't found any other way to do that.
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pentd
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 05:15:16 AM »

ok..

tascam = maybe you just had "blind chicken luck"? it IS possible that the behringer is lower quality build!

h4n as interface.... borrow one 1st from somewhere if you can and try it. it might be superb or might give you the same horror as i had. also note: once the h4n is in interface mode ALL SOUND goes through that, it takes over the computer's sound. meaning that you have to have headphones or speakers that the headphone output of the h4n feeds to hear ANYTHING comin out of your computer, be it youtube or your sound software.... so actually it is quite clumsy system! 

try finding something like this http://www.creative.com/emu/products/product.aspx?pid=15186 between your mixer or sound source and computer. or just get the 6fx, looks ok. hell, i'd pick up one without blinking if the price is right, lets say 50e

or why not the zoom 8r after all. collect sounds there, then transfer them to the pc for further processing? should be a blink with usb . it will have better a/d converters than the soundmax by far anyway.

think like this: any sound module, dedicated soundcard, usb-mixers like mentioned above, etc etc = a decent/good/excellent "scanner" for sound, all shades and colors  reproduceable. your soundmax right now = a xerox machine. 
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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2014, 10:48:49 PM »

Thanks enormously, your advice has been very useful. A lot of these issues would be settled if I had a decent soundcard in the computer but the mixer is necessary and having something that combines that with decent input would just simply be ideal, so I'm narrowing it down to something like the 6FX, something that has both features, rather than a separate mixer and separate interface. If
your soundmax right now = a xerox machine.
- then it's been a pretty good photocopier for what I've wanted to do so far, but any sound improvement over that would be something of a bonus for me.
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"Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim." - Schopenhauer.

https://n-----g.bandcamp.com
czadco
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 07:59:07 AM »

Hrmmmm, I am doing some recording I won't mind doing a test if you can give me the frequency range I will try and see if I can get some clipping during that process and let you know the results.
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Cementimental
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 09:09:01 AM »

from my researches the h4n doesn;t accept a line signal. Needs attenuation to have the correct

thing
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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2014, 02:20:25 PM »

Hrmmmm, I am doing some recording I won't mind doing a test if you can give me the frequency range I will try and see if I can get some clipping during that process and let you know the results.

I'm not sure I could give you a frequency range in numbers, all I know is it's low. Sorry.
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"Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim." - Schopenhauer.

https://n-----g.bandcamp.com
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