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Post subject: Digital Mixers
Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:58 am
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Rock Star
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:14 pm
Posts: 3124
Location: Linningrad
I've been looking at a variety of digital mixers for use with the Fender Expos.
This Mackie looks to be the $@!&. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/mackie-dl1608l-lightning-16-channel-digital-live-sound-mixer-w-ipad-control
$800 and provide your own ipad.

Leave the main unit on the stage, and walk out into the audience to mix the band wirelessly. No snake to buy or maintain, and nothing to trip over. No power amp racks. No bulky mixing console.

My concern is that I am not a fan of Mackie's parent company, LOUD Technologies that also own ampeg. For those that don't know, ampeg has had an entire slew of bass amp failures and many other assorted QA issues of all kinds. Plus absolutely horrendous customer support. Customer Disservice is more like it. So I am leery of Mackie.

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1976 Lefty Precision Hot Rod
2012 Lefty American Standard Jazz
2017 Lefty American Professional Precision
2018 Rumble Studio 40 Combo
2016 Rumble 200 Combo
One day they shall name a GREAT city after me, and they shall call it LINNINGRAD


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Fender Play April 2019
Post subject: Re: Digital Mixers
Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:08 am
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Rock Star
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:14 pm
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Location: Linningrad
This is a pretty cool review


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Post subject: Re: Digital Mixers
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:46 pm
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 426
I've been using the Mackie DL1608L for about a year or so. A friend of mine tried to talk me into it when it first came out and I opted out, feeling no need to spend the money. Later, he came to me and said, "Remember that box you borrowed that could delay sound for mid-hall speakers? Well, last week, the Mackie didn't have that feature, but over the weekend there was a software update and now it has it built in."

That's when I went out and bought one. It's not perfect. Everything is a compromise. Meanwhile I really like this particular compromise. I had an iPad already. The app is free, and you can download it and play with it before you buy the mixer. It has a simulation mode for the three models of mixer the app is used for (the DL806, DL1608, and D32R). The 1608 has adapters that fit every model of iPad and is sold set up for one iPad model (different DL1608s are set up for different iPads, and if you get the wrong one, you buy adapters). The iPad plugs into a tray to become the front face of the mixer, which both charges the iPad and communicates with it through the port, when it is in the tray. The gain knobs are above the landscape-oriented iPad when it is in the tray.

You need to buy a WiFi router and connect it via Ethernet to the mixer in order to use it wirelessly. I use an Apple Airport Express, which Mackie recommends, but my friend uses a Netgear router with his. They both work fine.

You configure the WiFi router to be its own network with no Internet connection. All it connects you with is the mixer, though you can connect up to 10 iOS devices to the mixer this way.

It's great to walk around the hall and adjust the sound; far better than a snake because you can adjust settings to work the compromise for the entire hall, instead of just for the end of the snake. The iPad gives you metering and control. All the actual sound processing is in the mixer, so if you lose the connection (rare occurrence), the system keeps working. It also doesn't give the network more to do than it can.

There's a slight lag between working controls and getting results. Some people are deeply bothered by this. I'm not. Basically, if you are good enough to notice the beginning warnings of feedback, you have time to fix it before it happens. If you don't, then when feedback starts, you have an embarrassing second or so of loud feedback before the controls respond to your command. Deal with it. It's a lot less of a time lag than you would have if you had to run across the room to the mixer.

I like the interface. You need to practice with it to get a sense of jumping around between the detail screens for one channel and the multichannel screens.


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Post subject: Re: Digital Mixers
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:56 pm
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 426
There are three levels. The global view shows volume meters on all the channels. 16 input, 8 output. The middle view (the one you use the most) shows 8 channels and side-scrolls to take in all 16. There are also "View Groups" so you can skip channels you are not using. Only channels 13-16 have "combo" ports to plug into, for instance, so if you started mics in XLR inputs at channel 1-4, and you have a keyboard plugged into channel 16, your view group can show channels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 16 with no gap between them.

Four view groups. Four mute groups. They also have two ways of grouping things so you can have several mics on the drums, for instance, and bring the entire drums up and down together.

And you can select any one input channel and get a view that controls everything about that channel, like parametric EQ, compression, gate, reverb, etc. and you can either jump around among these areas for one channel, or swipe to move to the next channel, or zoom back out to either of the other two multi-channel views.

Play with the app before buying the unit. Read the manual. They put it online. A lot of people use this mixer. If it sucked, it would be less popular. And it works fine with the Fender Expo. I have two. The deep reach without deafening those up close is really sweet. I have started putting them up on small, folding platforms a little over a foot high, just so that when people get close enough to touch them, the tweeter is aimed over their heads instead of into their faces. The 1" tweeters are not arrays and they are loud.


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Post subject: Re: Digital Mixers
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:03 pm
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 426
There are two XLR outputs for the house mix (Left and Right) to the (powered) speakers. That leaves six 1/4" outputs that can be used as separate monitor mixes, or as delayed output for mid-hall speakers (so a click has time to travel from the front-of-hall speakers to the mid-hall speakers before the mid-hall speakers play the click, so people in the back of the hall hear one click instead of two. Less echoes.

Or you could run one of your aux outputs to a subwoofer with its own parametric EQ settings.

You get parametric EQ on each input channel and on each output channel. You can even play music from the iPad while it's plugged into the mixer, or if you use an Airport Express, you can use AirPlay to play music from a WiFi iPad into two of your input channels.

In general, input channels can be mono, or they can be paired for stereo. Ditto for outputs, except the mains, which are always stereo. You can't unlink L and R.

And you can record onto the iPad, if it is plugged in (but not if it's WiFi-connected).

But you can always use up one or two of your Aux outputs for recording. But keep in mind that you have six total Aux outputs, so you do have to budget the mixer's resources if you want options for outputs.

I almost wish I'd gotten the D32R, because it records 24 channels separately, live (to be mixed down to stereo later). If you use the USB connector to a computer, you can record 32 input channels simultaneously, and they keep promising to do the same for recording directly to external hard drive, but they have not managed to do it yet. But the D32R costs twice as much and it wasn't out when I got the DL1608, and I can't afford to be quite THAT fickle about gear. The DL1608 is smaller and works for me except in extreme cases where 16 input channels aren't quite enough, and at this point, I borrow gear when that happens.


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Post subject: Re: Digital Mixers
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:07 pm
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Rock Star
Rock Star

Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:14 pm
Posts: 3124
Location: Linningrad
Wow! Thanks for all that first hand knowledge, ContraCaller 8)
I am thinking a pair of Fender Expos and the DL1608 would be perfect for your typical bar band. Light & compact = easy load in/out. Quick & Easy setup and tear down. No heavy power amps & rack. No monitors. No main speaker tri-pods. No snake. No huge mixing console.

All for a very reasonable $3,000. Thinking outside the conventional PA 'soundbox' has never been more tempting. :mrgreen:

_________________
1976 Lefty Precision Hot Rod
2012 Lefty American Standard Jazz
2017 Lefty American Professional Precision
2018 Rumble Studio 40 Combo
2016 Rumble 200 Combo
One day they shall name a GREAT city after me, and they shall call it LINNINGRAD


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Profile
Post subject: Re: Digital Mixers
Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:33 am
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Aspiring Musician
Aspiring Musician

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:24 am
Posts: 426
You've nailed it. You can walk into the venue with the DL1608 in its carrying case slung over a shoulder while carrying the subwoofer base units for the two Expos for your first load, and maybe bring your kid sister to carry the two lightweight towers (if you get the carrying cases fixed, moving the pads from the short end to the long end, so the handles will be at the balance point) for a light load, then go back for a 5 gallon bucket full of cables and microphones, maybe a trip for monitors, and you are done. I carry my system around in a Honda Fit, and at home, I store it in a closet.

The compact size of the 1608 fits the aesthetic of the compact Expo nicely, and two Expos can fill a rather large bar with sound, competing well with the beer noise. With the master volume on the DL1608 flirting with the amber in the VU, I rarely crank the Expo past around 60%, and in that range, the EQ on the Expo is really sweet. I'm surprised at the bass from such small subs, and the overall sound is very full.

Add that in the setting you have, the only problem I have with the Expo doesn't matter: It almost doesn't matter where you point them. The treble is slightly clearer in front of them than behind them because the tweeter is very directional (though the horn does spread it to the advertised 120 degrees), but all the rest of the sound is pretty much 360 degrees. It's slightly louder in front than behind, but you can stand directly between them (180 degrees off axis) and hear really well.

I do sound for traditional dances that have callers, and the band doesn't want to hear the caller. I can take the caller out of the monitor mixes easily enough, but unless I shield the band from the towers, the Expos play the caller loud and clear to them, which annoys them. I've come up with a method for shielding them, and I'm working on a second method that might be preferable. But for a band playing at a bar, this is not a problem. It's probably in the plus column.

All the sound everywhere.

And, if you have people within arm's length of the speakers, you might want to put them a foot or more off the floor, just to save the eardrums of those closest to the speaker. If the tweeter is above 7' from the floor, that will project the extreme treble over their heads, instead of wrecking their hearing, while the Expo is loud enough for the people at the back wall.

It's okay to have your face straight into the low-mid or up-mid array speakers. The array effect means it's not all that loud up close while it's not very quiet at the back of the room. But you only have one tweeter per tower, so there is no array effect for it, and it is loud enough to balance against the mid array for people at the back of the hall, meaning it really is too loud for people standing next to it, unless the tweeter is high enough for the bottom edge of the horn to miss you standing up close. It distorts the EQ a bit for the people extremely close, but even without this, the EQ is distorted because the crystal clear treble is proportionally way too loud if the tweeter isn't aimed over your head.


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