Mixing console in the studio or rehearsal room – is this still needed?

Howdy SEA Fans, welcome to another Tiptuesday blog post.

Last week we have discussed Pro Mixing Tips for Better Home Recordings and today we are inviting your attention to a rather controversial topic, whether there is actually a need for Mixing Console in the Studio or a Rehearsal Room?

Technology is moving at a faster pace and fascinating developments are taking place in the field of Audio Engineering as well.

The audio industry is evolving itself to be more software-centric, modern audio interfaces have all conceivable features on board that make the recording as simple as possible.

Gone are the days when an audio interface only provides line-ins.

Nowadays you not only have a huge selection of preamp, headphone amplifier and monitoring solutions at the start, but also some of the powerful DSP effects (UAD, Antelope, MOTU, RME) that you can do without DAW software!

Therefore, one can logically say: Mixing Console? I do not need that.

After all, really good converters are now so affordable that you can assign each player, each instrument, even each processor its own I / O. Under certain circumstances, you can save yourself even the Patching.

Many interfaces can be cascaded easily with additional converters for small money.

Then the whole thing garnished with I / O plug-ins called “External Hardware Effect” or the like, and you do not even have to know to which input which compressor hung.

Why you should treat yourself nevertheless an analog mixer, you will learn here!

No distraction

Of course ,you can te ar a lot with an audio interface and a DAW like Cubase in the rehearsal room.

Sure, you can record the guitar with five mics.

Maybe you just want to play!

In that case, it may be helpful to wire a desk and mics tightly and only clip the interface when needed.

Many good mixers have direct outs, so you are not fundamentally concerned about editing options. Ideally, you only record the stereo sum with an iPhone. And without having to first configure the preamps on the interface, load the corresponding plug-ins into the DAW or set up the monitoring.

Even if you want to keep your editing options open, this does not exclude a desk.

There are many interfaces with a lot of cheap line-ins. But if these have more than eight high-quality preamps, they usually cost the same.

Better Overview

Thousands of effects, thousands of possible routings. Thanks to their open structure, digital mixers and interfaces are extremely flexible and can be set up for every imaginable scenario. However, they are usually not easy to use without additional controllers.

With a good analog mixer, some experience and practice, however, convincing rough mixes are built in no time.

Even didactically, an analog mixer has decisive advantages:
Auxe, groups, sends and returns – which looks a bit cryptic in the DAW, here you can see the origin and the overall understanding gets better.

Also, for simple functions like mute and solo, you just have to press a button and not get lost in unnecessary software pages.

Tweak two channels at the same time?
Impossible with a mouse.
On an analog mixer, however, you can easily put in 120 Hz on the bass drum and turn it off at the same time – and instead of hearing what it has to do with the mix.

Easy monitoring for the artists

Admittedly, artist monitoring does not need the huge Mackie desk. There is also a cheaper, smaller Behringer with significantly fewer channels. One can then attach monitor sub-mixes to these channels (drums, guitar, bass and vocals) so that the artist can compress the individual monitor mix in terms of volume levels; including headphone volume.

Such a small mixer stands next to the artist.

In the event when several musicians want to be supplied with a headphone mix at the same time, so the engineer can combine the analog and digital world. In the DAW, the desired submixes are created, which can be directed to the artists via the interface and mixer to the headphones. The advantage of this is that each of the musicians gets their own headphone mix and one can still maintain control.

Uncomplicated submixing for synthesizers and drum machines

Although the detailing of a mix nowadays takes place predominantly in the DAW, a mixer as a sub-mixer for electronic hardware instruments is a fine thing.

Apart from the fact that some synthesizers and drum computers, possibly with single outputs, often have more instrument outputs than audio inputs in the audio interface, the direct access to listening, layers including any sound shaping measures (EQ) of the sounds of different instruments is very convenient.

The direct availability of aux buses is not to be underestimated in the creative process.

But it is also more complex!

Of course, with this setup, one can better manage the selection of floor trimmers and use them more easily – thanks to the easily accessible inserts! All drum machines and synths are thus clean and visually unobtrusive connected to the mixer and only in case of need dangling a cable out of the insert.

We hope that the above discussed topic has helped you in re-thinking about the need of a mixing console.
What do you think? Write us in the comments!

Happy Sound Engineering !!!

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