Latest post Fri, Aug 27 2021 10:40 PM by IngmarBergman. 26 replies.
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  • Fri, May 7 2021 9:21 PM

    Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Hello all,

    The short version:  I would be grateful for any hardware recommendations for an audio interface/mixer/monitor controller that can take a 3.5 mm or USB feed from my workstation and send it out to stereo reference monitor speakers (ideally through XLR), and also provide a 1/4” headphone port on the desk.

    The longer version:  I’m looking to upgrade to studio monitor speakers.  My old Logitech computer speakers connected via the 3.5 mm port from the motherboard audio, and as such I never acquired an audio interface, audio mixer, or monitor controller.  So I would seem to need one of those three options in order to feed the speakers via XLR connections, operating under the (possibly mistaken) assumption that XLR connections are slightly preferred to TRS 1/4”, and to also have a 1/4” headphone port on the desk.  I have no external hardware accelerators for picture, just the machine’s GPU.

    The audio ports on my workstation seem to consist of that 3.5 mm port and USB 2.0/3.0 (there is an unused HDMI port on the GPU but I think it may complicate matters in sending video and audio from that to the more expensive studio controllers I see with HDMI, or to an audio receiver, which then feeds the video back to one of my displays).

    Any thoughts on these questions would be very helpful:

    1)  Analog vs. Digital:  Regarding USB vs. analog (3.5 mm), I had thought that USB might be preferred for reasons of digital fidelity and the decreased chance of introducing any attenuation, hum, etc.  However, since USB is a software-related solution and introduces the question of drivers, the odds would seem to increase that the device may not cooperate with Avid.  Are these indeed the tradeoffs?  Or do most USB interfaces/mixers work well with Avid?

    2)  For good and affordable USB devices:  I was looking at the Yamaha MG10XU or Mackie ProFX3 (6 channel) mixers.  The Motu M2 seems to be well-regarded but would only offer TRS outputs I believe (same with the Mackie Big Knob Studio Controller and Interface).  Does anyone have a recommendation on USB solutions that work well with Avid?

    3)  For a purely analog solution:  I saw the Palmer Monicon recommended in these forums, and the Palmer Monicon L would add the headphone port I need.  Does anyone have any experience with the Monicon L, or recommend another analog solution?

    4)  For the reference monitor speakers themselves, I was leaning toward Yamaha HS7 for their supposed unflattering accuracy, but recently saw that the JBL 305P or 306P MKII (the successor to the seemingly popular LSR305) may be better regarded.  Does anyone have any recommendations on reference monitors in this price range? ($400-700 for a pair)

    Sorry for the wordy post, and thanks so much in advance for any thoughts anyone might have.

     

    Bret

     

  • Sat, May 8 2021 11:58 AM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    IngmarBergman:

     

    Hello all,

    The short version:  I would be grateful for any hardware recommendations for an audio interface/mixer/monitor controller that can take a 3.5 mm or USB feed from my workstation and send it out to stereo reference monitor speakers (ideally through XLR), and also provide a 1/4” headphone port on the desk.

    The longer version:  I’m looking to upgrade to studio monitor speakers.  My old Logitech computer speakers connected via the 3.5 mm port from the motherboard audio, and as such I never acquired an audio interface, audio mixer, or monitor controller.  So I would seem to need one of those three options in order to feed the speakers via XLR connections, operating under the (possibly mistaken) assumption that XLR connections are slightly preferred to TRS 1/4”, and to also have a 1/4” headphone port on the desk.  I have no external hardware accelerators for picture, just the machine’s GPU.

    The audio ports on my workstation seem to consist of that 3.5 mm port and USB 2.0/3.0 (there is an unused HDMI port on the GPU but I think it may complicate matters in sending video and audio from that to the more expensive studio controllers I see with HDMI, or to an audio receiver, which then feeds the video back to one of my displays).

    Any thoughts on these questions would be very helpful:

    1)  Analog vs. Digital:  Regarding USB vs. analog (3.5 mm), I had thought that USB might be preferred for reasons of digital fidelity and the decreased chance of introducing any attenuation, hum, etc.  However, since USB is a software-related solution and introduces the question of drivers, the odds would seem to increase that the device may not cooperate with Avid.  Are these indeed the tradeoffs?  Or do most USB interfaces/mixers work well with Avid?

    2)  For good and affordable USB devices:  I was looking at the Yamaha MG10XU or Mackie ProFX3 (6 channel) mixers.  The Motu M2 seems to be well-regarded but would only offer TRS outputs I believe (same with the Mackie Big Knob Studio Controller and Interface).  Does anyone have a recommendation on USB solutions that work well with Avid?

    3)  For a purely analog solution:  I saw the Palmer Monicon recommended in these forums, and the Palmer Monicon L would add the headphone port I need.  Does anyone have any experience with the Monicon L, or recommend another analog solution?

    4)  For the reference monitor speakers themselves, I was leaning toward Yamaha HS7 for their supposed unflattering accuracy, but recently saw that the JBL 305P or 306P MKII (the successor to the seemingly popular LSR305) may be better regarded.  Does anyone have any recommendations on reference monitors in this price range? ($400-700 for a pair)

    Sorry for the wordy post, and thanks so much in advance for any thoughts anyone might have.

     

    Bret

     

     

    Hi, 

    I have a couple of KRK Systems Rokit Active RP6 Generation 3 studio monitors plugged through a ground loop isolator (to remove any hiss or hums), then directly into my windows based system's 3.5mm jack port on my motherboard.

    They sound great, and more importantly, are accurate for the fraction of the cost of a monitor controller or a 6 channel mixer. Why do you need a full-on audio mixer? Are they not made for mixing live bands on stage? Can't you plug your monitors into your system like I did?

     

    If you do a lot of voiceovers via audio punch in, I'd get a two channel audio interface (which works via USB) and plug the speakers through the audio interface. 

     

    I'm sorry I can't answer your Analog vs. Digital question, I actually have no idea, although I can't imagine it to be a massive difference in sound quality. 

    Editing Movie Magic.

    My Equipment & System Specs

    Media Composer Ultimate 2022.7 | Pro Tools Studio 2022.7 | Avid Play | Sibelius Artist 2022.7

  • Sun, May 9 2021 8:55 AM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Thank you for the response and for your gear recommendations, I will look into those.

    The audio mixer would just be for all of the I/O ports they offer (USB, XLR, TRS, 1/4" headphone).  They tend to have the XLR outs that audio interfaces usually don't have, and the inputs intended for recording would largely go unused (The models I've seen start adding USB functionality at the 6 or 10 channel level). I've seen them on the desks of other editors and believe they're largely used in a configuration that can include just monitors, but also Avid accelerator/IO boxes and AV receivers, while their recording and effects components that musicians or stage productions would use just go unused.  That is my impression.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share your input.

  • Sun, May 9 2021 1:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    There are hybrids, mixers with USB connection that can act as an I/O. But beware that MC can only use one output device, it cannot send picture to one device and sound to another. So if you find a USB connected mixer that works, you won't be able to use a video I/O device besides it -- not with MC, that is.

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Tue, Jun 1 2021 8:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Sorry for the delay in saying:  thanks for this input.

  • Wed, Jun 2 2021 5:01 PM In reply to

    • Lukas Boeck
    • Top 200 Contributor
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    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    1. you always have a driver in the mix, either on mobo or on external USB, PCIe or whatever soundcard.
       Avid should work with any of them, there's always a 5% risk that it won't. RME works with Avid, dis I can attest to.

    2. Motu should be better, mackie and yamaha are okayish, a bit crap if we're very honest.
    the moto might only have jack/TRS outputs, but it's three pins and is really XLR.

    3. Had 2 of them, their potentiometers will start crackling with time like with any such device,
     had a 500$ Drawmer unit once, died just as miserably as the palmer ones, so the cheap one is better TCO

    4. The Yamahas sound pretty unplesant, for music production that's okay, makes you put in more work.
    in broadcast we can get away with more plesant sounding units. I only use Genelecs but for that you'd have to double or triple your budget.
    There's Adams in your price range with pretty nice treble and pretty bad midrange. might be the best compromise.
    Or the Eve audio ones, almost Adam, bit pricier but the mids are okay too.

    Job ter Burg:

    There are hybrids, mixers with USB connection that can act as an I/O. But beware that MC can only use one output device, it cannot send picture to one device and sound to another. So if you find a USB connected mixer that works, you won't be able to use a video I/O device besides it -- not with MC, that is.

    Yes!

    In this case you feed the audio output of your video I/O to your soundcard.
    This even adds flexible volume control we rarely ever need ;-)

    MC 2018.12.2 Cusom bulid Supermicro X9SRL-F, 32 Gig Ram, 3ware 9750 6x6TB Seagate EC Drives, LSI 9207 + LTO-7, Mojo DX, Artist Color, Flanders CM240, GTX... [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Jun 7 2021 3:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Thanks for your thoughts on all of these specific devices, that's incredibly helpful.

    I'll give a harder look at the Motu M2 now.  And I did have Adam T7Vs on my short list of possible monitors.  Indeed, it looks like the only Genelec near that budget is an 8010A 3", which I assume may not compete with the T7Vs and is more for portability.  But perhaps it's quite close or better.

    I was also considering a DAC/AMP stack, like the Schiit Magnius/Modius, to generate balanced XLR out from the Modius to the Magnius which happens to have both a headphone amp and a preamp XLR out to monitors.  However, it seems to not be geared to controlling simultaneously connected headphones and monitors, with a lack of the ability to mute or switch between headphones and monitors, or control their volume independently, like the mixers or Motu.  I suppose the USB DAC would be worth consideration regardless, as an improvement over mobo 3.5 mm output.

    Thanks again.

  • Tue, Jun 8 2021 11:07 AM In reply to

    • Lukas Boeck
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    • Joined on Fri, Jul 31 2015
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    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Forget the DACs, just get the cheapest viable solution, the 3.5mm output should be good enough, XLR isn't all that necessary.

    Put as much as possible towards the speakers.
    The 8010s are okay for our kind ofwork, if you can swing for the next model up -> even better.

    MC 2018.12.2 Cusom bulid Supermicro X9SRL-F, 32 Gig Ram, 3ware 9750 6x6TB Seagate EC Drives, LSI 9207 + LTO-7, Mojo DX, Artist Color, Flanders CM240, GTX... [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Jun 10 2021 7:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Thanks again for your input on all of those components and on what is most important.  It's been very helpful.

  • Thu, Jun 10 2021 8:00 PM In reply to

    • Lukas Boeck
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Jul 31 2015
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    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Anything for a long dead swede!

     

    Let us know what speakers you got, there's one detail I'll explain if you get 8010s.

    MC 2018.12.2 Cusom bulid Supermicro X9SRL-F, 32 Gig Ram, 3ware 9750 6x6TB Seagate EC Drives, LSI 9207 + LTO-7, Mojo DX, Artist Color, Flanders CM240, GTX... [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Jun 10 2021 9:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Lukas Boeck:
    XLR isn't all that necessary

    Surely depends on cable lengths and the presence of other cables and equipment that could cause interference.

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Jun 11 2021 8:38 PM In reply to

    • Lukas Boeck
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Jul 31 2015
    • Austria
    • Posts 646
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    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Sure, but since funds seem to be limited, I'll assume a small shop/home with short runs.

    And Genelec 8010 only have unbalanced inputs, if he can swing 8020 he can get XLR later.

    MC 2018.12.2 Cusom bulid Supermicro X9SRL-F, 32 Gig Ram, 3ware 9750 6x6TB Seagate EC Drives, LSI 9207 + LTO-7, Mojo DX, Artist Color, Flanders CM240, GTX... [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Aug 23 2021 4:08 AM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Thanks again for the input in this thread:  I've been looking harder at the Genelecs since this thread and some other research give me the impression they're a gold standard, and an ideal choice even for my purposes which are serious offline edit sound work (this won't be for mixing).  Would it be fair to say they're a cut above the other brands in this space and you can't go wrong with them?

    Would it be correct that the 8030Cs occupy a sweet spot?  The moves from 10s to 20s to 30s entail a relatively modest bump in price for a pair until you go from 30s to 40s for about $1000 USD more, which is beyond my budget and perhaps overkill anyway for my space, which is a modestly-sized room.

    Thanks for all of the input as I firm up my choice.

    Bret

  • Mon, Aug 23 2021 9:49 PM In reply to

    • Lukas Boeck
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Jul 31 2015
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    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    Yes they are a bit of a gold standard for our line of work.

    They're more pleasant than most other studio monitors, we can still get our work done fine,  and it always sounds good to the customer. I collected 6 or 7 pairs over the years.

    If you can swing it' i'd much rather suggest a modern digital model 8330, 8340 or even a fairly pricey 8341.
    Has digital room correction, low noise floor & a very nice 100% reliable digital haptic volume knob. very nice tidy setup.
    My main rig is 8351 and they are spectacular, got huge 1037 for even more fun in the cinema/music room.
    If you have oodels of space and you're in europe, I've also got hefty 1237s left over that I should advertise.

    MC 2018.12.2 Cusom bulid Supermicro X9SRL-F, 32 Gig Ram, 3ware 9750 6x6TB Seagate EC Drives, LSI 9207 + LTO-7, Mojo DX, Artist Color, Flanders CM240, GTX... [view my complete system specs]
  • Mon, Aug 23 2021 10:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Audio mixer/controller hardware recommendations

    OMG....!

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
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