Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

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daguru
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Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by daguru » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:56 pm

So I've been wanting to get into building audio components for my mini-studio AND I've been wanting to have everything plugged in all at once, but without going out to get ANOTHER mixer to plug into my 16-channel mixer.

I thought of building a merger box almost like the Spider Audio Merger and Splitter in Reason:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug06/i ... on1a_l.jpg
i.e. a box with a dozen 1/4" connections on top that are soldered together in parralel with two L/R output cords leading to the mixer.

Is this worth pursuing, or will I end up with some ground hum or other unwanted electronic artifacts in the mix?
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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:24 pm

That won't work, you'll be driving the outputs of the other synths as well as the input of the mixer. With enough synths connected the impedance would be so low that you'd start blowing output stages.

You could use a passive mixer like the Rolls Folcrom, but you need to provide gain afterward to make up the level drop. Or you could make your own:

Image

A passive mixer is pretty much what you're suggesting, but it has resistors so each input isn't driving the others and requires make up gain.

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by fingerbib2000 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:21 pm

How about an ADAT box like http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FireWire1814.htm?

i've been mixer free for 8 years now...
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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by Em Pe Ge » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:39 am

just get a mixer. it'll make your life easier.

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by Alex E » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:51 am

If you want an interesting project, you can try a DIY thing, but having a mixer is still the most practical solution IMO.
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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by cartesia » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:32 pm

What about just getting a 16 input audio interface?

Do you need to use them all at once? or just dont want to muck around plugging things in all the time? If the latter, you could build a 16->1 patchbay

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by hyphen nation » Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:30 pm

cartesia wrote:What about just getting a 16 input audio interface?
Yeah, good point 8-Pre's might do the trick if you don't mind connecting to computer to get going...

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:26 pm

What's plugged into your existing mixer? Do you use it more often than you use your synths?

You could just get a regular patchbay, leave the synths connected to your mixer via it, and break in with other stuff as needed.
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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by b3groover » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:38 am

Or get a mixer with more inputs and sell the 16 channel one.

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by yamaha22 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:17 am

i've heard from somewhere ( maybe here?) that using the same mixer for all your gear will color your sound in a way that will unify your sound. just an idea.

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by justin_havu » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:35 am

I would try a rackmount line mixer. It could be useful for layering synths together via MIDI.
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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by nuketifromorbit » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:44 am

I've tried this numerous times and have found its better to use a mixer even if its a cheap one.
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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:10 am

I only ever use a mixer when I'm playing live, because I want quick access to levels, EQ and aux sends as part of the performance. When I'm recording I run everything straight to an audio interface, there's absolutely no reason to use a mixing desk for synths in a studio if you're recording to a DAW.

Cheap mixers colour the sound in a bad way, have EQ which you don't ever want to touch and when you're recording you want everything at unity anyway, so there's no reason to have one.

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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by balma » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:21 am

I use the LINE IN of my synths. Some of them have it, like the fizmo, Vsynth, Electribe ESX1 and the Micro Q.
Then, I use two samplers that have two inputs, the two Roland SP 808 ex

Even I use 10 synths and samplers at the same time, I´ll send 4 of them through other four that have LINE IN.

Those four will be send to the two inputs of the two samplers.

Then, I send the samplers will send two lines each one to a mixer.

I use the shortest cables, try to balance the input of the line in with the output of the synth that is connected to it.
When improvising, I have the possibility of adding "external" effects to the synths, without using pedals of effects boxes.

I use multiple combinations between them and try to enjoy the process


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Re: Connecting all of your synths w/o a mixer

Post by gridsleep » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:04 am

I recommend MOTU MIDI Express and 828 Firewire audio rack modules. They work with every OS, give you a software mixer as good as a hardware one, and are fairly cheap on eBay right now. If you get one of each there's eight instruments connected to the computer by one USB and one Firewire cable. Or you can use them standing alone without a computer, as just plain audio and MIDI devices. (Don't get the MIDI Express 128 if you aren't going to use a computer--it is only USB powered.) Can't argue with that.
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