Jump to content
Notes_Norton

Looking for a passive way to combine the outputs of 4 synth modules.

Recommended Posts

Looking for a passive way to combine the outputs of 4 synth modules.

My old Samson MPL1204 Mixers are getting old and cranky (http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/mixers/mpl-mixers/mpl1204/).

I have spares, and repairing them is a bother. I pull one out, send it to the repair shop, put a spare in. It doesn't happen that often, but it's getting more frequent, and I don't want it to fail on the gig. I lost one channel, and I have one unused channel. That was a close call.

So something new is in order.

There is no small 12 compact mixer that I can find that has 12 true channels. Both the "Alesis MultiMix 12R Rackmount Mixer" and the "Behringer Eurorack Pro RX1202FX Rackmount Mixer with Effects" are really 10 channel mixers with the last two channels stereo. The Behringer looks better because it has balanced outs, but I'll be short one channel with no spare.

So I thought of this solution. I have 4 synth modules that take up 4 channels in my mixer.

I'd like a passive way to mix the outputs of 4 mono synths (1/4" phone jacks/plugs) to one channel. I don't need volume, eq or anything like that. Just a way to mix them together without creating an impedance mismatch or anything else I may not know about.

Someone must make one. I'm searching sites but am having any luck. Perhaps I don't know what it's called.

Thanks.
Notes

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably not the best solution, but I used this to combine several of my synths before sending one cable to a mixer (plus you'll need a small rack if you don't use one already).  Another solution is to get a small mixer (maybe with just four inputs?) and send the output from that to your primary mixer.

Rolls-RM203x-1.jpg

Rolls-RM203x-3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to use an older version Mackie 1202 VLZ mixer to combine my various synths and modules into a "synth" mix, before sending it to the sound card in my PC.

1748376803_Mackie1202.jpg.1286c3a73b1e92654ec2cb88dfa4e0cc.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why does it have to be passive?

Both of the suggestions above are active...

I really do not think you will find a passive mixer because of the impedance issues you mention. I did a search on "passive audio mixer" and google gave me a passive DI box and a load of small, cheap active mixers.

How come you are not going for a new mixer that would suit your instrument requirements? Space? Budget?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

[This was in reply to abacab - Andy decided to jump in the middle while I was typing!  LOL.]

That's funny!  That's the exact mixer I used to send the feed from the Rolls to (my main mixer was a Mackie CFX16).  See?  From the Rolls in the top unit in the top rack on the left, to the Mackie 1202VLZ on top of the rack with the Korg MS2000R in it.

 

05-Studio2010-01.jpg

Edited by craigb
Why do we have to use Reason for editing on a Cakewalk forum???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't using a sub-mix prior to going into your main mixer a bit of a backward step though?

Or am I not understanding stuff here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought I should probably add the unit under the Rolls.  Should you have digital outputs to deal with, then try something like this:

Roland-M1000-1.jpg

Roland-M1000-3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a Fostex DCM100 & MixTab as my synth module mixer:

image.png.dd2d7a29c3bdf8595913c4d1f915f3a7.png

The MixTab is just a MIDI controller - the DCM100 rack unit is the actual mixer.

Prior to that, I built a passive mixer using RCA sockets and a bunch of 4.7K resistors:

image.png.d31516ac8f3892a6b0e395d3b24a6480.pngimage.png.0dd5532891ee0fb007314de0f05354bb.png 

image.png.01afa835c28f0a6c4d78d24976276b7b.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

Isn't using a sub-mix prior to going into your main mixer a bit of a backward step though?

Or am I not understanding stuff here?

Why?

If you've got the room for a 128 channel full-size desk, then go for it!  For the rest of us mere mortals, we've got to use normal-size gear and that sometimes means mixing things before sending to the final destination.  In my case, I had a Layla 24/96 with 8 ins and 8 outs.  But only the main left and right out of the Mackie CFX16 went to it (I used the others for different reasons).  So, even there I had a "sub-mix" if you will.

 

This whole subject deserves it's own complete topic.

Edited by craigb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone so far has missed this in the OP:-

1 hour ago, Notes_Norton said:

Looking for a passive way

 

3 minutes ago, craigb said:

If you've got the room for a 128 channel full-size desk

Perhaps Mr Norton could provide some details on his setup. Might not need 128 channels. 32 might do, or even sixteen.

 

Or perhaps I should just get me coat...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he finally said that he just needs 4 mono channels, which most any inexpensive active mixer should handle just fine. I'm not understanding the "passive" part, either.

I think you would want active electronics to maintain impedance levels and unity gain with an  instrument level signal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, abacab said:

I think you would want active electronics to maintain impedance levels and unity gain with an  instrument level signal.

I agree

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, abacab said:

I think he finally said that he just needs 4 mono channels, which most any inexpensive active mixer should handle just fine. I'm not understanding the "passive" part, either.

I think you would want active electronics to maintain impedance levels and unity gain with an  instrument level signal.

Yeah, passive mixers aren't the best.

My DIY mixer was fine with one or two inputs, but as I scaled it up the noise floor increased.

That's why I resurrected my DCM100 for keyboard mixing duties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks all. Some great suggestions here. I appreciate all your help.

Why passive? I already have a mixer, 4 sound modules, sonic maximizer, and fx unit plugged into the rack. I move the rack every gig, and it's just one more AC plug to fall out.

Plus since my synths all have volume knobs, I don't really need more.

If I could find a 4 rack space true 12 channel mixer I wouldn't need a sub-mixer, but all I can find that fits in my rack is a 10 channel mixer.

I'd love to find another true 12 channel mixer (not a 10 channel with two of the inputs stereo and called a 12 channel) but I looked at Sweetwater, B&H, SamAsh, Musician's Friend, AMS, GC etc, and it seems the only true channel mixers I see are desktop mixers or will take up way too many rack spaces.

Doing one-nighters for a living means moving gear up to 6 times a week. Small and light is good.

OK inputs, 2 mics, 2 guitar direct boxes, 4 synths, 2 channels for backing tracks, an additional mic for someone to make announcements with. That's 11 channels of need. I can't find a 12 channel mixer that fits in a rack.

msmcleod, I might try building one with phone jacks.

Current gig rig - looking to replace the mixer. If I could find a 12 channel mixer that fits in that spot I would be happiest.

 

P1010471smaller.jpg

P1010472smaller.jpg

Edited by Notes_Norton
Afterthought
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you talked with a Sweetwater  sales rep yet to see if they can find anything like a true 12 channel rack mixer for you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Alan, my Sweetwater rep replied that he can't find anything for me.

Looking at the other outlets, it's pretty much the same stock.

It seems many years ago music gear was more oriented towards live performers, but as we know, live performing isn't what it used to be. There was a time when every hotel from a Holiday Inn and up had a band 6 nights a week.

Now the market seems to be for home recording. Big table top mixers with long sliders and inputs on the top of the mixer instead of the back. I suppose that is where the demand is.

I've been a live performer for many decades, and have managed to make a living doing music and nothing but music. I've recorded in a dozen or so studios, but I was always in the playing side of the fish tank. Stick a mic in front of me and let me play.

So doing one-nighters means moving gear a lot. And on the gig I play sax, wind synth, guitar, flute, drum controller, and vocals. My partner plays guitar, tactile MIDI controller (Buchla Thunder) and sings. Part of the reason why we still work a lot when others do not is that we do a good job, and with our versatility and multiple instruments, we can cover many genres of music and get gigs others need to turn down.

But setting up and tearing down is time consuming. The fewest pieces of gear possible, and the lightest weight is always a plus. The heaviest thing we carry are EV powered speakers (ZLX) at about 40 pounds each.  The rack weighs less and is on wheels. Then the stands and the instruments.

It takes an hour to set up, and we always allow an extra half hour buffer time in case we need to replace a cable (cables don't like one-nighters) and it takes about 45 minutes to tear down. Add driving time and there is sometimes more time in prep than performance. But the 3 or 4 hours of performance is the most fun we can have with our clothes on.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. Keep it coming.

Notes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are different requirements for a live performance vs. a recording.

A bit of noise floor or even some signal degradation doesn't matter if it is a needed compromise. The venue we are gigging in is going to have people talking, laughing, and dancing, there will be the hum of the air conditioner, the clinks of the glasses, and a lot more ambient sound in the room.

We played a St. Patricks party (actually we did 5 this week) on Saturday and the noise in the room was about 75db before we played our first note.  We had a great time and the crowd was not only noisy but enthusiastic. They booked us for next year to make sure they could get the date they want before somebody else does.

Twice a month, all winter long, we play for an RV park that is the winter home to about 300 French Canadians. Talk about a loud,  boisterous audience! This one is the noisiest of all. They are partying before we get there, they hit the dance floor on the first song, and are still there on the last one. They don't want to go home an often get an extra half hour out of us (then the park rules say we have to be quiet). 

A third place we have been playing weekly (weather permitting) for 11 years is on a dock, in a marina, on an island. The AC voltage is a little low, even with a power conditioner.  There is an ice machine near us. On certain patches on my guitar fx/amp-sim I have to put the guitar pickups in the humbucking mode or the AC hum will be quite loud. Besides for crowd noise, there is the waves, the wind, the sea birds, and boats passing by.

So what is the compromise?

1) Weight - I do this up to 6 nights a week

2) Efficiency of setup and tear down

As long as the compromise doesn't hurt the performance, it's good.

Insights and incites by Notes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...