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The Mother of all Rack Mixers


bruto

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The Roland M-480 has 24 stereo inputs (or 48 mono, but it's really set up for stereo.) I don't think anyone else has ever made a rack mount mixer this big. I can plug everything I own into this, including a few synths with 4 outs. I just got one off eBay to replace my Behringer 1602 which has been giving me trouble. These used to be quite rare, but suddenly 3 have popped up on eBay in the last 2 weeks.

 

m480.jpg

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Christ. I remember the days when a big line mixer like this was an absolute necessity. I had the Mackie LM-3204. My, how times and tastes change!

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Heh...I went trying to look up this mixer to find out what the knobs in the middle are (aux sends?), and found a series of "The History of Roland" articles originally published in SOS. This is funny:

 

 

I think that it was one of the staff who wrote for Roland's inhouse

magazine in the 1980s who first posed the question,

"What have the Rolands ever done for us?", with apologies

to John Cleese. The Judean Peoples' Front (or was it the

Peoples' Front of Judea?) might well have replied as

follows...

Activist 1: "The Jupiter 8?"

Stan: "What?"

Activist 1: "The Jupiter 8."

Stan: "Oh yeah, yeah... they did give us that, that's true."

Activist 2: "And the Space Echo."

Activist 1: "Oh yeah, the Space Echo... remember what echo units used to be like?"

Stan: "Yeah, all right, I'll grant you that the Jupiter 8 and the Space Echo are two things the Rolands

have done."

Activist 3: "And programmable rhythm units."

Stan: "Well, yeah. Obviously programmable rhythm units, programmable rhythm units go without

saying, don't they... But apart from the Jupiter 8, the Space Echo, and programmable rhythm units?"

Activist 2: "Boss effects units?"

Activist 1: "Guitar synthesis?"

Activist 4: "Playable electronic drum kits?"

Stan: "Yeah, yeah, alright... fair enough."

Activist 1: "... and sample-based synthesis."

Activist 4: "Yeah, yeah, that's something that we would really miss if the Rolands left."

Activist 2: "Jazz Chorus amplifiers..."

Activist 1: "And they made analogue synthesizers that were reliable!"

Activist 3: "Yeah, they certainly know how to keep things working. Let's face it, they were the only

ones who could in the 1970s..."

Stan: "All right, but apart from the Jupiter 8, guitar synthesis, sample-based synthesizers, playable

electronic drum kits, Boss effects units, programmable rhythm units, reliable analogue synthesizers,

the Space Echoes and Jazz Chorus amplifiers, what have the Rolands ever done for us?"

Activist 5: "...MIDI?"

Stan: "Oh, shut up!!!":

 

 

http://www.rolandus.com/community/musiceducation/resources/index.asp

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This would be nice to have something like this with so many inputs. What is the internal circuitry? The EQ? Is it quiet - i.e. non-hissy? Quality of audio signal and steroe field? If compared to an Allen & Heath MixWizard how would it rate?

 

J.

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Yep, and that's kinda put me off them, stuck as I am between not wanting to use a computer for EQ and not really wanting to use external EQs {save for ones with a lot of character}. I like those old A&H consoles, but they're huge with this many inputs.

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Sync, is correct, I meant the Roland and Speck.

 

My current mixer is a Soundcraft, and I've grown fond and comfortable with its onboard EQ, so I'd also have to pass on these line mixers.

 

But the 48 inputs would be really nice. :)

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I've always been tempted by this mixer, since it seems to go for a pretty nice price, and Roland's pro audio stuff has been very good to me {but coming from a decade earlier}.


Still, I rate this as the mother of all rack mixers:




Lovely.

 

 

 

Wow, I've never seen that mixer before. Haven't even heard of Speck. Do you know what it costs? I paid $300 for the M-480 if anyone's wondering. (I had $230 in Paypal that was burning a hole in my pocket.)

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i was tempted by the 480 for a long time but eventually passed on it, in favor of a Behringer 1602. i just don't want to deal with noise/hiss/dead channels/etc. from buying a used mixer online.

 

still, it is awesome. i just wish they still made 'em. (oh, and for those wondering, the 1602 is fantastic and dirt cheap.)

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The Speck is eleventy billion dollars.

 

Roland made a version of the M240 and M160 line mixers called the 24E and 16E respectively. I owned them both and buss cascaded them together.

 

Believe me, the 240 or 480 is a better way to go. The EQs were noisier than any noise floor on any mixer I've ever heard. All those aux sends are a better solution for patching in prefader eq as needed.

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So you bought a Behringer.
:freak:

 

and if we were talking about some other Behringer mixer, i might be inclined to agree with you. i researched the 1602 on various review sites and forums (including this and VSE) and came away with a very positive impression. i believe its basic architecture and lack of a preamp section aid in its low noise reputation (but i'm not an expert so i can't say for sure).

 

further to the point, a used mixer (how used or even abused being impossible to tell) coming from someone who may or may not have explored all of its capabilities and functions (and thereby its flaws), has the potential to be a noisy hunk of crap when it reaches one's doorstep. in the case of the Behringer, if it proves itself noisy or malfunctioning, i have only to ship it back to the outfit from which i purchased it, at their expense. that's a much more inviting prospect, to me.

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i used the LM3204 from 2002-now (although there was like 2 years when my rig wasn't put together) and while i like the rack thing, i needed more routing with my current tastes.

 

as in, i need a mute button and a secondary buss. i also don't need EQ at all. in fact, i might even bypass the EQ on this Ramsa desk i'm using now.

 

the Speck, while it is the nicest mixer ever made, has an interface so small i couldn't deal with it. i suppose the M-480 would also have the small thing working against it. however it does have 6 independently-addressable _stereo_ sends.

 

i'm going to use this Ramsa for a while and then re-evaluate.

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I bought a Behringer 1602 about a year ago. It's been working just fine, no noticeable sound coloration, enough headroom and very slim. The only downside for me is the lack of stereo aux send, anything that goes to the aux gets summed to mono.

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Almost bought the Speck some time ago since it actually became affordable for Europeans as a result of decreasing $ - but then I realized it doesn't have on board eq, bummer.

 

For time being I'll be using my Samson PL2404 cascaded with PL1202.

I've looked at the Allen & Heath W20 but unfortunately it doesn't offer enough busses for my current workflow and I don't have space for a large console.

 

Nothing ever seems to be perfect.

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I've always been tempted by this mixer, since it seems to go for a pretty nice price, and Roland's pro audio stuff has been very good to me {but coming from a decade earlier}.


Still, I rate this as the mother of all rack mixers:




Lovely.

 

 

Yes - very nice. Instant 'want one' until I saw the price, which to be fair aint bad, just not exactly a couple of grand or so...

 

Shame - Its exactly the kind of thing I need - I could probably use all of its (76?) inputs allready.

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Yeah. The Speck is a sweet mixer but, is expensive and doesn't offer enough inputs for me. I run ten Rane SM82's and plan on getting a couple more. I used to run three LM3204's but, can now have more inputs in less space. Plus, the Mackie eq sucked ass. The Roland is cool but, what a boat anchor.

 

:wave:

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