New Audio interface/mixer

I would like some suggestions for a new audio interface. I’m currently using a Mackie 802VLZ3 mixer which has 8 inputs, and route it’s alt-3/4 output to the inputs on my Terratec Phase Firewire interface. This works great, but I’m limited to the 8 inputs on the mixer, and seeing that I’ve got 3 stereo sources I use very regularly, I’ve got the 2 remaining inputs left for a mic and a guitar and that’s it. This hasn’t posed me a problem just yet, but if I ever want to expand with more hardware, I’ll be stuck with either rewireing my entire studio with a patchbay, or buying a bigger format mixer.
The real problem currently is however, that my Audio Interface has just a single stereo input and 2 stereo outputs. That means I can record just a single stereo source at the time, or 2 mono, unless I sum several signals in the mixer but that obviously leaves me with very little to mix with once in Cubase.

Ideally I would like a combination of audio interface and mixer in 1 package. I need it to function standalone as a normal analog mixer would, but I would like to be able to send all my inputs to my PC (running W7 64-bit and Cubase 6.5 64-bit) independently. I would also like to have several outputs so I can set up hardware fx chains and maybe control room outputs for when I upgrade to the full version of Cubase. I would very much like to either have the functionality I have now for monitoring, which means I can have my hardware produce sound (triggered from midi in my project) and at the same time record any source in Cubase, with Cubase monitoring on and the signal brought back to the mixer and added to the full mix.

Other wishes:
At least 12 analog inputs, although I don’t necessarily need all that many mic pre’s. 6 is plenty. High-Z inputs would be nice, Phantom power is a must.
Around 8 outputs for monitors, headphone mixes and fx runs.
ADAT input would be great, so I can expand my inputs should I want that later.
Preferably firewire, because my USB-busses are already heavily in use, I’m not sure they would handle all this data throughput. My current audio interface is very reliable and the firewire chip is TI so that should not pose much trouble I hope.

The only product I’ve found so far that fits most of these points is the Presonus Studiolive 16.0.2 which seems to be a nice piece of kit but I’m not sure it can do the monitor routing I described above.
I would very much like to have proper volume controls for each track, because I work ‘offline’ half of the time so I really need hands-on standalone operation.
As for price, obviously as cheap as possible, but I don’t think I can justify spending more than €1500,-.

Anyone knows of any other piece of gear I should look at? I can do 2nd hand too, although that obviously depends on what’s on offer :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance.

Since you like the Mackie mixer you have now, how about one of their Onyx firewire mixers?

Nice find, hadn’t seen that one yet!
Only the biggest model has full 16x16 firewire IO, but it does look perfect for the job. Shame it’s on the far end of my budget, but I would probably opt for this one over the Presonus one I mentioned. The only problem might be the footprint, I’d have to get monitor stands to move my monitors off the table or this will never fit :stuck_out_tongue:

Cheers mate!
Any other options I may have missed?

Just found the Allen&Heath ZED R16 which has comparable functionality to the Onyx board.
The problem I have with both, is that the firewire outputs aren’t actual physical outputs, they are sent to a mixer channel on both mixers. I would prefer the outputs to be available as TRS directly, so I can set up an FX chain and use just a single mixer channel to record the result.

Difficult… :confused:

I’m not sure I understand what it is you want to able to do. Are you talking about an external hardware physical chain on the mixer itself? If so, the Mackie has individual inserts for channels 1-8. You can also use a standard TS cable in the insert jacks engaged only half way to act as a send to whatever you want. Then you can route back to another physical input.

You can assign each channel its own track in Cubase or assign the L/R main outputs to a single track. Or you can assign AUX sends 1 and 2 as track inputs. It looks to me like this would allow you to configure things pretty much however you want.

But, maybe I’m missing something.

The 1620-i is the one I’ve been looking at. I still had the manual saved from when I was researching before buying my Focusrite. It was just too much money at the time or I would have bought that instead.

I would prefer to have the hardware fx units permanently connected to a physical output, so I can just assign an external effect in Cubase and use that without ever replugging anything.
With the layout of the mixers mentioned, to do this I would have to (for a mono signal from Cubase) use 1 track for output, route this track to it’s own physical output (probably an aux send), and then I need another track to record the return. Combined with the original track I needed to record the part, that’s 3 tracks and an aux bus in use for just 1 mono signal and its fx. For a stereo signal everything is doubled!

I know I could use the insert points which would save me the return track, but that means I’m replugging my fx units all the time which I’d rather not do.

Or am I not reading it right. For the record, I want all my final mixing ITB (while being able to use external fx), the analog mixing is just for when in standalone and for a rough monitor mix.