My new interface is...

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by LutherBurger, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    ...a USB mixer.

    About ten days ago, I finally replaced my Windows XP home recording computer with a Windows 10 machine. I needed a new interface, too, because the manufacturer of my old PCI interface, Echo, walked away from the pro audio business years ago.

    I bought a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Gen. 3 and it's very nice, except for one thing: the headphone output is positively anemic. That's a deal-breaker. I tried to make do with it for over a week, but it just ain't happening.

    My assumption is that the outputs are short on juice because the unit is USB bus-powered, so I started looking for a mains-powered interface with the features I need.

    Blah, blah, blah... cut to the chase...

    Yesterday I picked up a Mackie ProFX6v3 mixer. I know its primary intended purpose is live sound, not recording, but it does everything I need it to do, and then some.

    It has two mic (Onyx preamps)/line/instrument channels and an additional stereo line-in channel, it feeds the two-channel main mix into the computer at up to 24-bit/192kHz, and it sounds very clean. It also has a 1/8" stereo input channel (5/6) that doubles as a second stereo return (3-4) that can be sent from the computer to the monitors (the primary return, 1-2, only goes to the headphone output, and is controlled by a nice input/USB blend knob). It also has a selection of 24 effects which I'll probably never use.

    My only complaint is that it seems to be built somewhat less "like a tank" than the old VLZ3 mixer that I used to feed the Echo -- there's more plastic and less metal in the chassis, and the knobs/pots and on-off switch feel less substantial. No big deal -- I have no plans to drive a car over it.

    So I'll miss the Scarlett's cool "gain halos", but it's now packed up and ready to go back to the store.
     
  2. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    You need to show us pics of your new rig.

    Congrats!

    Now, along with your interface, you have
    control over EQ and gain etc.. Good job!
     
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  3. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you, but sorry, I never take pictures of anything.

    I always had those things anyway, because I usually plugged a Focusrite channel strip either into the mixer or straight into the Echo... although the VLZ3 preamps got plenty of use, too. :)
     
  4. Treehouse

    Treehouse Tele-Meister

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    @LutherBurger Man, that Scarlett sounds defective! My 2nd Gen 2i2 will blow your head off.

    Glad you found a good working solution!
     
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  5. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think so. It was fine for playing back pre-produced, loud sounds. But when recording at appropriate levels, I could barely hear what I was doing, even with the headphone volume all the way up. It drove me nuts.

    I looked up the headphone amp's max output spec: a wimpy +7dBu, which simply ain't enough for me.
     
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  6. Bella

    Bella Tele-Meister

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    Hey congrats! :)

    I was apprehensive about this line of mixers having read some mixed reviews on the version 2 predecessor, but I think that was due in part to them using non-Onyx pres on the v2 line.

    I have the ProFx16v3 version (I don't use the USB bit). The 16 has plastic on the sides too, but it's just covering the rackmount holes and can be removed. The chassis itself is still all metal. I wonder if yours is also all metal under the molded plastic sides. I agree the faders feel just a tad 'inexpensive', but not too bad.

    I'm pretty impressed with it overall considering the price vs options and number of channels / XLR inputs. I researched new mixers for a month before finally making a decision. I was replacing my 21 year old mixer that had recently died and I'd wanted similar features but a bit more channels and other 'bells and whistles' for being able to record live as well as in studio, and have the option to setup cue mixes and subgroups.

    I don't care much for onboard FX though. Unfortunately it's hard to find a mixer that doesn't have built in FX these days. At least with the other features I wanted and within a certain price range.

    Enjoy your new mixer!
     
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  7. Treehouse

    Treehouse Tele-Meister

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    I’d certainly be the wrong person to tell you were doing something wrong!

    Good luck and happy music-making to ya!
     
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  8. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I'm pretty sure I wasn't doing anything wrong. Over the course of a week I went through every setting in Windows, the Scarlett driver, two DAWs... everything, many times. It just came down to a mismatch between what I require and what the headphone amp could provide.

    I also gotta say that an adjustable input/return blend knob beats the snot out of the Scarlett's mono/stereo/off "direct monitor" switch.
     
  9. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ha....you stole my thunder (which is happening right now in central Kansas)

    My Behringer 1622FX which I bought about 12 years ago started giving me problems recently.
    Terrible static occurring unpredictably in the FX section....turn the FX send down to zero (05:00) and all is fine.

    So...about 10 days ago I ordered a new mixer (Xenyx QX1622USB) which has the USB mix option but is AC powered.
    It's a mirror image of my old one but with a USB mic input (looks strange) between channel 1/2 near the input gain knob and a more visual FX LED screen.
    The (4) stereo inputs works perfect for my routing/input needs.

    OP...hope you get things all worked out with the interface and VLZ.
    I bought the Gina20 when it first came out....then bought the Delta44 shortly after.

    I never felt comfortable with the new USB powered path.
    Here's what I just got hooked up: carry on....
    QX1622USB_.jpg
     
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  10. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    I haven't found a problem with my little Scarlett Solo, I have the armed track set with Monitor On and the singer / player hears what is being printed coming back as part of the band mix from the Master Bus.

    I also use a stereo Y cable in the headphone jack so I can have both technician & artist headphones hearing the same thing.

    My mates often want it too loud.
     
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  11. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    The VLZ (802VLZ3, specifically) and the old interface are retired now, but I'm keeping the VLZ around just in case I ever need it. It's a bit scratched and dull-looking, but everything in it still works.
     
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  12. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Ah... I just remembered another minor complaint about the Mackie mixer: its wall-wart is HUGE. There's an empty single rack space between my power supply and the unit below it, but this thing wouldn't fit in there because it's too long. I had to plug it in somewhere else.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
  13. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    I just checked out some images of your VLZ.
    It's amazing how compact mixers have become over the decades....and I've been through many of them. :)
    Yes...saw a pic of the PS too....'tis a big muther.

    I realize real estate is a big factor in our decision making along with how well it suits our particular routing needs.
    But....I don't care for knobs and much prefer faders so I would get a model with faders even though it may be slightly bigger.

    Enjoy....
     
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  14. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Afflicted

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    Is the low output due to your headphones - are they low impedance, or high ?
    Low will be louder, obviously.
     
  15. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have the same issue with my XR18, and have had the same with a few other interfaces over the years. I ended up shifting to a monitor control box a few years back because I got tired of having to make input/mixer changes on the fly in order to listen to different sources with different output levels driven by different computer settings, etc... Upstairs I have a Mackie Big Knob Studio that serves as a small interface as well as running all of my sources and speakers. Downstairs I have a Behringer Monitor2USB which is strictly for driving two sets of studio monitors and two sets of headphones.

    Both are purchases that I never thought I needed, now I won't live without.
     
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  16. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    No, I have a pair of AudioTechnica ATH-M40x (35 Ohms, I think) and an old pair of AKG K240 Studio (55 Ohms). The AKGs are quieter on everything I plug 'em into, of course, but the output was too low for me even with the AudioTechnicas.
     
  17. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    All of the negatives you mentioned are why I was attracted to the M-Audio 2x2. All metal case, solid knobs and jacks and the headphones can put out more volume than I can tolerate.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Nice lookin' box there. It looks like it has a direct/return blend knob, too. I really like that feature.
     
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  19. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    Update:

    I heard back from a gentleman at Focusrite. I was incorrect in my assumption that the headphone output was limited to +7dBu because the unit is bus-powered. He said none of the Scarlett series interfaces, not even the mains-powered ones, put out more than that. The Clarett series, however, features a max headphone output of +16dBu.

    So if the Mackie mixer doesn't work out, perhaps I'll consider a Clarett 2Pre. For the time being, though, I'm diggin' it.

    (And I'm scheduled for a hearing test tomorrow. :))
     
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  20. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    The Clarett would be a significant improvement from the Mackie - better preamps, less cost-conscious circuitry, and far better built. I have the Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen and headphone output is a little light; I may use my Mackie 402 as a headphone monitor until I can save up to trade to a Clarett 8 (I have synths, etc. so need the extra inputs, MIDI, etc.)
     
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