Mixer decision on a short time-frame...with report back

Hi everyone
Often pop back here to check on the mutable modular empire & get some advice from the threads - now I have a question of my own & am agonising rather. Perhaps you guys can help me!
So I made my wife happy by buying her an expensive car & instead of upgrade my old banger I shoehorned a couple of thousand onto the finance (okay a bit more more) plus what I had saved to get some audio gear back on the table. Things will be tight going forward but what with the synth and monitors I already had, a 2nd-hand mac laptop and a nice big desk and the stuff I have bought - I now have a set-up that makes me very excited:

Analog 4 ( - totally personal but I have found the elektron sequencers and p-locks the most inspiring thing for me to date)
Analog Heat
BCR with Zaquencer loaded
TZ81Z with a Stereoping controller.

The plan is techno with a twist, mainly by warped samples from the Octatrack and polyrhythmic long sequences from Zaquencer on the TX81Z.
I want to be able to play in some stuff live and also do mix-sound tweaking without too much reference to the computer while I am in the flow.

I wanted to have a hardware mixer or mix controller. My DAW will be Cubase which I have bought and intending to learn.
I bought the Soundcraft 22 MTK which seems great. This was in full knowledge that it only does pre-EQ, pre-fader USB send.

I reasoned that I can get a mix sounding nice, then record all the channels dry with the stereo mix as a “raw base” to save, then give my ears a rest & do several final mixes of the same song through the channel strips, tweaking to taste. This will mean I get all the supposedly nice EQ plus analog summing for what it is worth. more importantly I will have the fun of learning to tweak the sounds and the mix according to my ears, using a real mixer and not a control surface where I am controlling and referring to a computer screen.

The budget is about what it cost (about 1000 euro). THE MAIN ISSUE is I wish I could get switchable pre/post fader and EQ input so that I could play in a few fader sweeps and EQ manouevers etc…but at this price only the discontinued phonic helix range seem to do that. Midas venice U looks great but about twice the price…

I have about 8 days to decide if I will return the Soundcraft 22 MTK desk or keep it. After obsessing over alternatives like the behringer UFX1604 (good but only two USB channels back), the Presonus live series (open to these) and the phonics (beset by quality issues), I think I am going to keep this good-quality desk and resign myself to the fact that tracking (e.g. through the Analog Heat) and mixing a tune will be a long but fun process, - although perhaps less fun if I go back to a tune without a mix preset to recall!

Any thoughts? Want to do some knob-tweaking outside the box, the only aim really is fun without any future expenditure (spent enough…) and not really keen to use a large DAW control surface BUT open to any and all suggestions, especially from people with an established partly OTB electronic music workflow…

Thanks for your thoughts, will check in later/tomorrow…

Best wishes & season’s greetings Shruthizens


If you’re running a mac, could you go Firewire? A friend got a good deal on a Midas recently, I think it’s an F32. The EQ routing is definitely very flexible. Big old beast though.

I have the venice f32 too. Its a beast and the EQ sounds absolutely brilliant. You have a ton of routing options and the FireWire integration is superb and very flexible. With some y cables you can even re-use a channel strip as an insert effect for the master bus or as a simple AD/DA. Here is a post where I show some of the routing tricks

Oh and the latency is brilliant, even with a thunderbolt->FireWire adapter. drivers are super stable in Mac and PC. It just rocks.

hmmm interesting thanks. I thought Firewire was dead & everything was going USB but I do indeed have a mac and thunderbolt and was already thinking that the midas venice U or F series looked pretty awesome. There’s a midas venice F16 on ebay for £1500 or best offer. That’s a pretty good price right? I just put in an offer for £1300. I would return the soundcraft and sell something else…

I’ve done some more googling and I can definitely get the midas venice f-16R new for about £1700 including shipping and tax, from some US sellers. 16-in, 16-out with post-fader recording but nice EQ etc was what i was wanting so thanks for advice guys. I will request a return for the Soundcraft and likely go for a Midas Venice F16 either 2nd-hand or new. Anyone else want to weigh in with other ideas?
Thanks again

I got my F32 for the special offer of 1999€. It’s a steal for this price. Seems like they were stopping productions of this and trying to get rid of their last stock. The F32 is not available anywhere now.

As a DIYer I like the fact, that the FireWire integration sits on a separate card. At some point in the future the drivers will not work with modern OSs anymore and the card will be useless. Then I can plug it out and add my own recording solution if I wanted to (even if that is just a bunch of cables for connecting to external AD/DA)

Yes. What Mac OS is working for you? I am on El Capitan

me too

Ok nice I was reading about some issues with drivers but it is good to know it is working well. Trying to squeeze an F32 into my tiny space would be ridiculous so pretty settled on the idea of the F16, waiting to hear back on the ebay offer. Interesting and very thorough blog post too, plus I enjoyed your photos!

If your Mac has a Thunderbolt port, it has a perfectly fine Firewire 800 port. Just get Apple’s adapter and off you go!

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If you like a similar quality to Midas, but less in size and weight, you may consider Allen&Heath QU series. These are really good and have a quite small footprint on your desk. :wink:

Go Firewire or Thunderbolt if you can. USB sucks CPU cycles as it doesn’t use DMA.

Ahem, the A&H is capable of multitracking to directly attached USB drives. There is no sucking PC/MAC involvement necessary. We used them for different gigs and they’ve always been pure fun.

Thanks again for the tips. I will check out the QU series for interest. I “bought” the Midas Venice F16 on eBay yesterday but got a message saying seller is not in England till mid-January! I said hmm, that’s not really how it normally works… maybe ok if you give me a slight discount. So we’ll see how that pans out. Anyway seems Iike a cool desk, and they still make them new if eBay fails. I think the post-fader send, routability, 16-in and out & nice EQ seem ideal & TheSlowGrowth’s blog post unpacks the possibilities well.
So the time-critical issue is sorted! The decision is made & I started the return on the Soundcraft 22 MTK. Which seems like a well-made mixer btw, pretty solid & decent aesthetically.
Thanks again & over & out (I’m at a wedding reception!)

Well it depends if you want to bring the audio through the computer to use VSTs for processing etc.

If you are streaming from USB to bring audio into the computer and out again then you’re doing a USB read, process and then USB write. CPU load and higher buffer and therefore higher latency.

DMA is nothing new, the Amiga had it in 1984. So I detest anything PC-wise that doesn’t do it, there’s simply no need in 2016 to have DMA-less transfer.

Hm, i do normally stage my productions:

  • sequencing and recording (Logic - rather coarse use of AU in the monitoring path) of raw! tracks
  • mixing (Harrison Mixbus) proper use of outboard gear and AU with rebouncing and reamping of tracks and stems
  • mastering (done externally)
    So this came in pretty handy and later i applied this to Electronic Music as well…

Ok - thanks for yr advice so far. There’s more:

(tl;dr - missed out on Midas Venice F16 sale, might go digital and get new A&H Qu-16 - thoughts?)

…so an update and of course call for opinions from you guys (see end of post) - the Midas Venice seller on eBay wasn’t in the country until January, never answered my messages and then cancelled my order. Can’t see any other 2nd-hand F16s for sale.

So I could still get a new rack-mount F-16R and get a rack-mount case but it would be a bit annoying on my desk as space is limited and I want to be able to plug in and out easily. I’m a little bit worried about the future of firewire with future Mac OSs too. So I started looking at other similarly-priced mixerfaces. Having trawled through all the options, I started considering digital consoles. From the 01V96i, Behringer X32 compact/producer, Soundcraft Si and a couple of others, the one with most favourable reviews seemed to be the Allen & Heath Qu-16 - latest update being the Chrome version.

The key point of being able to get 16 channels into computer pre/post channel strip and faders, AND on other occasions run stuff from DAW through channel strips and back into computer still as 16 separate channels for a bit of manual mixing, seems well-fulfilled. Plus no fans - I like to mix at super low volume while wife is in bed so this is good. I will have 30-day returns to check it’s right and a warranty going forward.

One factor in the decision is that I one of the reasons I did initially pick up the Analog Heat is it’s capacity for subtle mix-buss distortion/saturation including “clean boost” setting specifically intended to mimic overdriven high-end mixers. So perhaps connectivity, reliability and future proofing will serve me better than the ultimate vibey EQ & analog summing. Or maybe I’m just justifying it…

Anyway I think I will get the Qu-16 Chrome. Any horror stories to dissuade me? Think the Venice F16R still a better bet? They are both about £1500 new… budget creep I know


I’d say try it out. If it does what you want and it’s fun to use it’s the right thing, isn’t it?

I think you can’t go wrong either way…

Yeah essentially you are right, both will definitely suffice if I put the time in, and if I enjoy trying it out it is a good sign. Think I will go for it, the hands-on EQ & compression etc per channel & effects without even bothering with the DAW looks fun so here goes… will get from Thomann again as they seem very good with returns and customer service