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Thread: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

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    Default Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    I'm looking for an audio mixer for use with video depositions.

    I'm trying to get something that isn't so cheap that it bites us in the butt later, but also nothing too fancy that it costs a lot and does things we don't need.

    It needs to support at least four channels and be able to be used with a camcorder.

    Thanks

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Anyone?

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?


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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Hardware or software?
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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Hardware.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    A Behringer Eurorack should work just fine. They're inexpensive ($79) and will give you everything you need. I've used one to record 2-4 mic demos for some friends.

    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com...xer?sku=631236

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Thanks. That'd probably work, but it seems overly complicated for what I'm wanting. Maybe I'm wrong. The price is certainly right.

    My questions are:

    1) Can I plug in microphones that plug in with (I don't know the term) the same size plug as headphones have to plug into an iphone (whatever that size of plug is)?

    2) How do I connect the Eurorack directly to my camcorder's mic-in ?

  9. #8

    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    Thanks. That'd probably work, but it seems overly complicated for what I'm wanting. Maybe I'm wrong. The price is certainly right.

    My questions are:

    1) Can I plug in microphones that plug in with (I don't know the term) the same size plug as headphones have to plug into an iphone (whatever that size of plug is)?

    2) How do I connect the Eurorack directly to my camcorder's mic-in ?

    It sounds like your mic cable end is either 1/4" or 1/8". 1/8" is what plugs into an iPhone, but most mics end with XLR or 1/4".

    If your cable looks like the 1/4" inch it will plug directly into the mixer just fine. If not, you can pick up a 1/8" to 1/4" converter at Radio Shack or Guitar Center for under $10.

    If your mics all have a 1/4" or 1/8", you can get a much simpler mixer like the Behringer MX400 at walmart.com, amazon, or probably in Guitar Center. It looks to be around $30. I haven't used it, but I'm sure you can read reviews on musiciansfriend.com (and I'm sure it works fine for what you need). Here's a better site for checking the mixer out.

    In order to answer your camcorder question, I'd have to see the mic-in input. I'm guessing it's RCA. Do you have a pic?
    Last edited by imawhat; 11-24-2009 at 05:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    This is the camera I'm using:

    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=17999

    Our mic cables are 1/8" so if this mixer takes 1/4" then yeah it looks like I would just need to by a few converters.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    This is the camera I'm using:

    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=17999

    Our mic cables are 1/8" so if this mixer takes 1/4" then yeah it looks like I would just need to by a few converters.
    I take back the MX 400, since you want 4 channels. I'll assume you want a true stereo sound, and you'll need a mixer with stereo output (like the Eurorack).

    It's a bit complicated, but in addition to the converters that get the mics into your mixer you'll need 2 1/4" male to male cables, which you'll run out of your mixer output and into a 2 mono 1/4" female to 3.5 mm stereo converter , which then plugs into your external 3.5 mm mic input.
    Last edited by imawhat; 11-25-2009 at 02:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    no, stereo sound is not important. It's just people talking; it's not about hearing which side of the table they're on, just that everyone can be heard clearly.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    You say you need four channels. I'm not familiar with the camera at all, but It likely only has one output. Do you have a use for the other three channels?

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    If you're just trying to boost the volume of a single track containing multiple voices you don't need a mixer. You need an amp.

    What exactly are you trying to do?

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    I want to mic up the deponent, and usually two attorneys (but there can be more; hence wanting more than 3 inputs) so all are recorded with a mic right there with them so nothing is hard to hear. Preferable, I want to channel all of that directly into what the camcorder is recording as opposed to using a secondary audio recorder that I'll have to sync up in a video editor after the fact.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Got ya, makes sense. I was assuming you were routing the audio out of the camcorder not into it. You'll want a mixer/preamp. I haven't looked at the suggested mixers. I've had little experience with Behringer. They are considered crap in musical settings but probably not so much for your applications. Keep in mind that some of these lower end models only have built in preamps for say two of the channels. Basically, that means channel 3/4 wont produce sound on the other end w/o some sort of external power source.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    That just means I'll have to plug the mixer in, right?

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    That just means I'll have to plug the mixer in, right?
    Ha...

    It looks like either of those above will work.

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    What's funny?

  21. #19

    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    That just means I'll have to plug the mixer in, right?
    You'll be plugging the mixer in, yes.

    You'll be fine with either the MX400 or the Eurorack.

  22. #20
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Behringer has a reputation as disposable an unreliable. It's cheap so buy 2 if you are going that way with mission critical work. They work... when they work... but you can't trust them TOO much.

    In the A/V world Mackie is more respected for the tasks you are talking about.

    Put it this way: If your mixer craps out and you talk to someone who works in the field of A/V and you tell them you had a Behringer mixer they will say "That was your problem right there". If you tell them you were using a Mackie then they'll say "Hmmmm Unexpected... that's what we use".

    I'm not telling you Mackie is 100% failure proof... But I'm telling you it's the workhorse of the A/V industry for small mixers. ...Although you still see a lot of the small Shure mixers in that world too.
    http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Produc...SCM268_content
    I don't know current pricing on this but truthfully it's probably overpriced for what it is... but it's also an updated version of an industry standard.

    Or put it another way- If you DO have to tell a client your mixer crapped out wouldn't you at least take SOME comfort in knowing you were using an industry standard instead of an M.I. budget unit with a questionable company reputation at best? ...And at least have SOME defense for the problem being entirely random and unpredictable? Of course, at these prices the price of owning a spare mixer is small $$ for the peace of mind it would bring you (not to mention the reputation of being professional and always prepared). Redundancy....

    Soundcraft makes a Notepad mixer (Folio) that probably fits the bill but it'll cost more than the Behringer.

    I'd probably go with an industry standard Mackie and buy a Behringer too purely as an emergency backup for what you're talking about doing. ..If not just two Mackies.

    I do own one of the little Behringer Mixers but it gets assigned to purely NON-mission critical work. I have it precisely because it is disposable. I also own a Soundcraft Folio Notepad. It's more apt to get mission critical work where I only have a couple of mics or inputs.
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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    Behringer has a reputation as disposable an unreliable. It's cheap so buy 2 if you are going that way with mission critical work. They work... when they work... but you can't trust them TOO much.

    In the A/V world Mackie is more respected for the tasks you are talking about.

    Put it this way: If your mixer craps out and you talk to someone who works in the field of A/V and you tell them you had a Behringer mixer they will say "That was your problem right there". If you tell them you were using a Mackie then they'll say "Hmmmm Unexpected... that's what we use".
    I've worked with both Mackie and Behringer for almost 10 years. I find zero reason to go overboard and spend as much as 2-3 times more $ when it isn't necessary. It's the same reason I'm not recommending industry standard microphones, cables, etc, even though they would improve performance. What Hicks has will be just fine.

    Keep in mind this is being used for depositions, not live shows.

    I've had the same Behringer Eurorack for about 7 years and I use it for demo-ing friends because it's simple and does the job.

    Here are some user reviews:

    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com...c=date&so=desc

  25. #22
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    I've worked with both Mackie and Behringer for almost 10 years. I find zero reason to go overboard and spend as much as 2-3 times more $ when it isn't necessary. It's the same reason I'm not recommending industry standard microphones, cables, etc, even though they would improve performance. What Hicks has will be just fine.
    Until it breaks...
    Then the question marks will abound.


    Keep in mind this is being used for depositions, not live shows.
    Actually, I was keeping that in mind. As a musician I'd use the Behringer for a pub gig if it's failure didn't mean that much in the grand scheme of things one way or the other. I would never use the Behringer for anything where it's failure could mean an angry client that will never use me again and I lose lots of work over it.

    Moreover, IF I did have a failure I'd rather try and explain myself by at least saying I had the industry standard and not something generally not seen in a corporate environment. There's a reason things become industry standards.

    And with that angle mentioned, it's also more professional to have an industry standard if you're trying to be professional.

    I've had the same Behringer Eurorack for about 7 years and I use it for demo-ing friends because it's simple and does the job.
    I'd use it for that. It's not a mission critical app with a career or secondary career riding on it. Nor are you needing to have the equipment speak for your work or worried about someone looking sideways at you due to your choice of equip for your job.

    If you're an electrician you don't carry Buffalo brand tools... You carry Kleins (or maybe Ideal...). If you're just a handyman fixing your neighbor's lamp, you probably have something more like the Buffalo brand....

    If I've hired an electrician and he shows up with Klein tools then I get a decent first impression (all else being equal) as opposed to him showing up with a toolkit from Big Lots.

    Same thing applies.

    I don't even need to read these reviews because I've seen these type of music store reviews a billion times- The majority have no perspective.
    -A kid retires a garage sale purchased beat up 1980 mixer for a new Behringer and of course it's better (if it's not dead out of the box). So it's the greatest thing since sliced bread to him.

    -Someone finds out they need a mixer for something they want to do. The Behringer is cheap. They buy it. It works. Great review immediately goes up. Again, no perspective. They have no idea of product reliability. They have no comparison on not only function but features. They don't care what pros think of it or why... at least not until it breaks... or they find it limited on a feature they later need.

    I've also seen the other side of the coin a billion times as well. "We're getting noise...." "This just died..." "Why can't we get audio out to...." "Why doesn't this knob work?"

    I'm not telling Hicks that Mackie is my first choice in audio either... so don't mistake that. I'm telling him that Mackie is an industry standard for what he's wanting to do and Behringer absolutely is not (for many reasons including reliability factors). The Behringer will work but it's like bringing Buffalo tools to the jobsite.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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  26. #23

    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    Moreover, IF I did have a failure I'd rather try and explain myself by at least saying I had the industry standard and not something generally not seen in a corporate environment. There's a reason things become industry standards.

    And with that angle mentioned, it's also more professional to have an industry standard if you're trying to be professional.


    My co-workers will get a kick out of this.

    This argument is absurd. Eurorack has been one of the top selling mixers for years and you will find review after review from professional musicians (like myself) that have used it extensively (for years) without problem. If it "crapped out" as frequently as you claim stores would no longer sell it. Period.

    Hicks, if you want to go with an industry standard successor, go with the Shure SCM268 that Bball linked above. Use this cable to run out from the mixer into your camera, and something similar to this to run all of your mics into the mixer (note: this is a stereo 1/8" to rca...you'd be better off with mono 1/8" to rca, but I cannot find them online).

  27. #24
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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong. There is no argument here because I am right. It's not even debatable. Your coworkers can laugh all they want. It just tells me they don't know what they are talking about.

    Musicians without perspective are not going to change the dynamics of the situation. Hicks isn't wanting a piece of gear for a bar band or making personal demos at home. He wants something for a professional environment where reliability and presentation matter.

    If someone's criteria is to buy the most features for cheapest price then Behringer is a front runner. Behringer has a history of support problems, reliability, and quality control. Maybe that has been addressed in recent years (I don't know). It still doesn't change the FACT that Behringer equipment is frowned upon in professional and corporate situations (probably not in small part to those past problems). I cannot state that any more clearly.

    I will repeat it: Behringer equipment is frowned upon in professional and corporate situations.

    Hicks could buy a Behringer board and maybe he gets lucky and it performs for years. That still wouldn't change the fact he's swimming upstream and going against the grain. You're telling him to go for it. I cannot do that in good conscience.

    I work in the audio world myself and I suspect I'm a lot closer to the nuts and bolts of both the corporate and concert audio world than you are. Especially if you're recommending Behringer products for mission critical work.

    If you go looking at the inventories of A/V houses in any hotel in the USA who frequently serve conferences, weddings, etc (all things with similar mission critical work as what Hicks is describing (not gigs where you want to ask for a 'do-over')), rare will be the place stocking Behringer. I figure there might be one out there somewhere but I've never seen it. Look in pro audio houses.

    If it was me I'd look to buy either the Shure or the Mackie product. I also might look instead into an auto mixer (which I suspect would be something that Hicks would be most interested in for this application (but may or may not be worth it to him)). And then my cost-cutting move would be to buy a Behringer console as the emergency spare.

    Without hearing more I'm a little questionable on the current microphones. They may not be the best mics for the task. That 1/8" plug doesn't exactly inspire confidence. But that's another debate.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

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    Default Re: Advice on a basic audio mixer?

    What's so bad about being 1/8?

    I don't know what to believe to a point when you two argue on this, but the work involved needs to work the first time every time, so I'm now getting scared off from the Behringer stuff.

    The Shure looks nice, but pricey. Makes the Mackie look middle of the road, and perhaps the right choice?

    Does that mackie have 4 1/4 outs, btw? The pics I've seen look like it might, but the item description I read wasn't clear or I missed it.

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