Harmony Central Forums
No announcement yet.

Compact (tiny) solution for multiple inputs to single effects chain

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Compact (tiny) solution for multiple inputs to single effects chain

    Dear all,

    Reading through the forums, regarding the title topic, indicates that people take mixers the size of the Mackie 1202 or 802 on stage. Others use a 1U size, like the Rane SM82S or MLM 42S (both outside my budget). While I might accept the size of the latter three, the 1202 is way big for my submixing needs. The best would be a really small mixer - So:

    I need a compact (tiny!) submixer with 2-4 inputs to make a mix to put through my effects chain? All suggestions are welcome! By compact I mean something you can place on the floor or a table next to your pedals, without it being too dominant. I work live among scenery and dancers, so there is a limit to how much space I can take up...

    Ideally something the size of the Mackie 402 VLZ4 or similar ones from other brands... but the 402 lacks pan controls so both my (bad, desperate) ideas of connecting either the left main out or the tape out to my effects, fall short... I wish I had the option to get an Allen & Heath in this form factor (I am of course, in the 'worst' case, considering a ZED-10)

    So do you know any -small- mixers with AUX send or Master Inserts ?

    Or would I be better off with a MicroMix, ART, Rolls or another dedicated line/mic mixer....? Or are these of lesser quality and would introduce noise and such to a recording...?

    Thank you and have a lovely weekend!

    best regards
    Last edited by twotoneblue; 08-03-2014, 08:10 AM. Reason: Clarification

  • #2
    Samson mdr624 or Alesis MultiMix 6 FX might work for you. Both have auxes and pan controls and are small.
    PA: JBL PRX712, PRX718XLF, RCF 745-A, 522-A, 310A, A&H Qu-16
    Lights: AMDJ Dotz TPAR, Haze Generator, Chauvet GigBAR
    www.nextexitrocks.com | wedding band | Columbus, OH | VIDEO


    • #3
      Hi abzurd, thanks for the reply! The Samson mixer is a little smaller than the 802VLZ4 with its 220mm x 250mm x 52mm dimensions, that is getting pretty nice and compact! Haven't seen much praise nor bashings of the Samsom mixers though... Are you suggesting from personal experience?

      Why on earth doesn't A&H make an "ultra-compact" model? And why on earth doesn't the Mackie 402VLZ4 feature a button to switch between mixer out and submixer out (-30dB) on their main outs? I mean isn't it very likely that a mixer the size of the 402 would be used for submixing...?


      • #4
        Samson is no A&H or Soundcraft, but I've had good luck with the few products I've owned from them over the years. (crossover, passive box mixer, 4 channel compressor). You are right in that there's not much mention of Samson stuff. It's nothing remarkable and not sold in as many places as other brands. It's Sam Ash's brand literally meaning "Sam's son". If it has the features you need for what you're trying to do it's worth a try at $80. Get it from Sweetwater and you'll get a 2 yr warranty. They even have 2 demos that have a full warranty for $72.
        PA: JBL PRX712, PRX718XLF, RCF 745-A, 522-A, 310A, A&H Qu-16
        Lights: AMDJ Dotz TPAR, Haze Generator, Chauvet GigBAR
        www.nextexitrocks.com | wedding band | Columbus, OH | VIDEO


        • #5
          Originally posted by twotoneblue View Post

          Why on earth doesn't A&H make an "ultra-compact" model? And why on earth doesn't the Mackie 402VLZ4 feature a button to switch between mixer out and submixer out (-30dB) on their main outs?
          Because these mixers are all designed and built to meet a very competitive price point, and smaller means costlier. The majority of users don't need the mixer to be tiny, just cheap.
          "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


          • #6
            Hello folks,

            Thanks for the suggestion abzurd, I'll have a close look at the small Samson's - inexpensive stuff isn't always junk, as long one doesn't push it outside what it was meant for - however narrow the application. Only thing keeping me from trying the cheapest of the micro mixers on ebay, is that, all things considering, if I am going to buy a mixer, my conscience would be less heavy investing in quality gear rather than something I might have to dispose of in some near future... its kind of an environmental attitude I guess...my problem =)

            And yes, Craig, I see your point and thanks for chiming in. My idea was specifically a mixer with the same infrastructure (number of channels etc) as the Mackie 402 (so I am not asking for as many channels as in the ZED 10), but built by A&H, or on the other hand, the simple addition of a button that invokes a tiny (cheap) circuit to yield a signal of a different level, in order to use the main outs of my dreamt-up ultra compact pre-effects chain mixer as a line out. I don't see why that should be particularly more costly than the existing products... Maybe people who submix several sources to common effects chains mostly use dedicated mixing pedals/DI-boxes or 1U units such as those from Rane and many others...?

            What is the problem with using Main Outs as "line out" anyway (please teach me!) - couldn't one simply turn the master level down before passing it to a pedal chain, or is does it cause an impedance mismatch and thus noise...?

            Last edited by twotoneblue; 08-05-2014, 04:10 PM. Reason: gratitude


            • #7
              While I've rarely had any personal experience with Samson products, they generally have a cheap feel. (As do Nady products.) I have a single space keyboard mixer in my rack. (Rolls.) Found it in a Music Go Round store used. It's stereo with 10 stereo inputs. No tone controls, but pan and aux out with a single xlr with phantom power in there too. (And it's shallow too.) I've taken to using it as a practice headphone amp. (Hate having my personal rehearsal heard in the house. Personal quirk.)


              • #8
                There is are advantages to using rack mixers in a case like this IMO. Aside from basic protection, the rack gives the mixer somewhere to "be" on stage, and it also gives you a place to stow your cables. This means you can just leave the mixer ends plugged in, label the free end, coil them neatly and place them in the rack for transport. When it's show time, you pull them out of the rack, uncoil them, and plug them into your gear per labels. This can save a bit of time during setup, especially if you have help.

                Alesis and Behringer both make 10-channel, 3U rack mixers with features typical of "desktop" mixers. Two aux sends, a built in effects unit (aux 2), 8 mic pres, two stereo line-level channels, input trim, two-knob EQ, balanced out. Alesis 12R, Behringer RX1202FX. Unfortuantely I am not aware of one made by a high end manufacturer.
                Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?


                • #9
                  I'm guessing that anything rack sized is way too big for the OP.

                  Regarding the OP's last post, I'm somewhat confused about the statements regarding line level vs the main outs. The mixer main outputs would be line level, as would any aux outputs. They can be turned down to match level with common floor pedal effects, but the impedance expected by the effects is typically high-Z as from guitars, etc., so in some cases you may find tonal variations. If you're using effects that have low-Z inputs, this is not a problem at all.
                  "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


                  • #10
                    Hello people! Nice to hear you talking!

                    I will definitely try to pick up one of the Rolls boxes to try them out! The more I think about going on stage with a new piece of gear, the more it becomes clear that a box much bigger than the Rolls would be pretty inconvenient. I guess I could stretch to a 1U, but most of the ones I have seen have been a little outside my budget.

                    As for impedances and signal terminology, I am sure I am the one who is confused! I guess I thought "line level" was a less hot signal than the main outs. Below I am laying out my idea using a tiny mixer like the Mackie 402 (or sth similar).

                    So if my pedal presents an input impedance of at least 2 MOhm (per spec), the mixer main out is 120 Ohm and mixer tape out 1 kOhm, I would be connecting a lower impedance output to a higher impedance input. Could the result of this be something like the opposite of the muffled, boomy sound (lacking high frequencies) of a guitar pickup connected to a low-Z input instead of a high-Z input? (ie the signal might be heavy on the high frequencies).

                    Comparing with the Rolls MX122, its output impedance would be 50 Ohms, vs the 120 Ohm main out of the Mackie.

                    Further it would depend, I suppose, on the rest of the loop, but I can't find the output impedance of the EHX SMMH pedal I am using. In both cases, I would present the output signal from my effects chain to the amp or PA mixer.

                    I hope I am making sense with my Your advice is golden! Thank you!
                    Last edited by twotoneblue; 08-09-2014, 07:50 AM. Reason: clarification


                    • #11
                      Generally, anything in the area of 1v is considered "line level", as compared with the millivolt signal output by a dynamic microphone or a passive guitar pickup.
                      You're on the right track regarding the tone variations caused by some impedance mismatches. You'll only get a cut, not a gain, from a mismatch. But it pays to experiment with gear and never assume a problem until one presents itself.
                      I'd let form follow function, in that if you find a mixer that meets your needs closely, use it rather than worrying about an extra inch of width or something. There are always ways of mounting or disguising. For instance, put the stuff under your seat if you play seated.
                      "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE = abzurd; n31222457]. Alesis MultiMix 6 FX [/ QUOTE] Я поддерживаю

                        I had multimix 8fx ..... not the best quality, but it is quite acceptable
                        Last edited by Kalina2; 08-16-2014, 08:00 AM.


                        • #13
                          @Kalina2 Thanks for your mini-review. Its good to hear peoples experiences =)

                          @Craig Thanks for some good teachings! And I fear you are right in that I best off getting the function that I need, not being too critical about the size. I held the ZED 10 in my hands the other day and I think I can live with the size of it and as such this is the one I will try out.

                          Thanks everyone for your input and help - its been great! Hope many non-posting readers also enjoyed the views proposed here.

                          Have a nice week!



                          • #14
                            guys want a good laugh?
                            look at this "professional" panel: http://ru.aliexpress.com/item/Free-s...847704557.html


                            • #15
                              Haha, you really get a pair of pliers with that?

                              Jokes aside, the form factor of this little board and the mackie 402's is exactly what I need - the problem is that I don't know if I could successfully hook up an effects chain to the tape outs/tape ins (like a send-return system)? Given this table:

                              Maximum Levels
                              Mic in +21 dBu
                              Tape in +24 dBu
                              All other inputs +22 dBu
                              All outputs +22 dBu

                              Mic in 2.55 kOhm
                              Instrument input 1 MOhm
                              All other inputs 10 kOhm or greater
                              Tape out 1.0 kOhm
                              Phones out 60 Ohm
                              All other outputs 120 Ohm

                              So this may be read like the impedance of the Tape Out is 1 kOhm and the Tape in (all other inputs?) is 10kOhm or greater - could anyone comment on the feasibility of using these as mono Send and Return for an effects loop?