Silent Rehearsal - Mixers (?)

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Resonance129, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. Resonance129


    Feb 15, 2011
    I've been toying around with the idea of creating a band for the first time - Most likely 5 or 6 piece group. Maybe not the greatest time to do so with COVID, but I'd like to at least get the ball rolling a bit, see what happens. Once things get to moving, I'd like to be able to rehearse silently with everyone via headphones in my music room.

    I recently stumbled across the "JamHub" which seems perfect for my needs - Simple, compact, and powerful enough to handle at least 5 channels without much latency. But it seems Jamhub went out of business a while back. Dang.
    I've browsed through some of the comparable devices from TC and Roland, but wasn't as swayed for some reason.

    I've got practically no experience with them, but all that made me consider an actual mixer board. Maybe 10-12 channels(?).

    I'm wondering about which mixers, or ANY other gear you lovely folks use, that allow you to rehearse with your group via headphones, and maybe a very general idea of how you've got your stuff setup.

    I'm not rushing to make a purchase just yet as I'm still in the thinking/research phase about this, but I do thank you for you time and input :D
    JRA likes this.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i have owned and used the behringer xr18 and now use the soundcraft Ui24R to accomplish what you want to do (i give all the points to the Ui24R for sound quality and ease of use). they are built to do exactly what you want to accomplish. all of the instruments go into the mixer and each musician gets an IEM/headphone signal from an aux/out. my band members use a small headphone amp (attaches to your belt or music stand, whatever) to control the master volume of their phones. each player has a separate/individual headphone mix to suit their needs.

    there are other ways/products to accomplish what you want --- other posters will recommend their preferred methods.

    good luck with your silent rehearsals! :thumbsup:

    i have two Ui24R units: one sits in the rehearsal space and one is road-racked for my PA business/use. they are a little more expensive than the behringer/midas units, but IME/IMO they are qualitatively better, and more versatile units. both brands require that the player/user 'sign in' to the system with their smart phone/ipad/etc.
  3. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I use either:
    1. my A&H ZEDi board
    2. my audio interface

    a very useful accessory is multiple headphones' amplifier, I use Presonus HP4.

    it all gets more complicated, if you need personal mixes for different listeners. if you don't, a mixer and a headphone amplifier is enough.
    Highroler79 and Beersurgeon like this.
  4. Resonance129


    Feb 15, 2011
    Great info. Thank you for that.
    I've been perusing music store sites to see what's available, and have gotten caught up on the Yamaha and Mackie products, simply based on reputation/past experience, but will definitely look into that SoundCraft model. The fact that you have 2 of them says a lot to me :thumbsup:.

    Do you think, with a 5 or 6 piece group, that I'd need more than 10 channels? Or am I shooting too high?
    I suppose I'm keeping in mind mics and individual drums, but can't think of any reason I'd need anymore channels than that, unless I'm not thinking it all the way through.
    Highroler79 and JRA like this.
  5. Resonance129


    Feb 15, 2011
    Much appreciated.
    I'd consider using my interface, but I only have 2ins (Focusrite 2i/2). Plus, I'd rather not be bound to my computer/USB when rehearsing. Regardless, I'll be looking into headphone amps as well.
    Thanks again.
    Highroler79 likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    difficult for me to know for sure, but the Ui24R has 20 regular XLR/mic inputs and two line inputs so you'd be covered in any event.
    Ryan in PDX likes this.
  7. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    if you’re aiming for a silent rehearsal, likely you’ll want electronic drums of some kind, they’re usually stereo. I have a Roland HPD for that purpose.

    speaking of channels needed, all really depends on your needs, not on the amount of people. at one hand, you can mic a whole horns band with just 2 mics. on other hand, just one person might take multiple channels.

    IME for a three-piece band I need up to 6 channels, so 10 channels for 5 people sounds reasonable. maybe 8 could be sufficient. or maybe 10 would be a bit less than desired. it all depends on what you need to plug in, how many instruments, mono or stereo and so on.
    Resonance129 and ArtechnikA like this.
  8. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Any mixer (analog or digital) with enough inputs for the band (instruments and vocals) AND enough AUX channels (so each band member has their own mix) will do the job. You will also need a multi channel headphone amp and enough headphones (or IEMs) for each member. But they could bring their own headphones.

    The newer generation of digital mixers will get you there and offer a ton of power and flexibility for a reasonable amount of money if you are willing to learn how to use them. No computer required (well, maybe a tablet).

    Biggest challenge you will have is if you are going to use acoustic drums.

    In my last gigging band, we used the Mackie DL1608 and the ART HeadAmp Pro 6 and wired IEMs for both rehearsals and gigs.
    Beersurgeon likes this.
  9. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Zoom LiveTrak L-12 or L-20. The reason I say this, is at some point if you decide you want to record, you already have the ability to do so right there at the mixer straight to SD card. I own a L-20 and we always end up recording. But then we are also working on an EP of all originals.

    The L-12 has 12 tracks, the L-20 of course, has 20.
    There are 5 outputs that can be switched individually for headphones/monitors on the L-12 and 6 switchable headphone/monitor outputs on the L-20, plus a 7th headphone output for mastering. The boards can be a little pricey, but they save you money too. No need for a headphone amp. And if using it in a live gig to run a PA, there's an fx bus too with several different adjustable reverbs, chorus, etc...

    Like someone mentioned earlier, an electronic drum kit will be a must. And even though most are stereo, most also use the left output as a mono only. We run our kit on mono to one track instead of eating up two. In the end the final product sound is no different.

    If recording, be prepared for some overdubbing of tracks too. Even if you ran everything silent into the board, the vocal mic will pickup the sound of the drumsticks hitting the pads on the electronic drum kit. If just practicing and not recording, then it's a non issue.

    For our setup we use the electronic drum kit, vocal mics, bass direct to the board via a Sansamp BDDI, and I run two mics on the guitar cab. So right off the bat we always have to go back and let the vocalist overdub their track once we have all the other tracks done. Then we add any backing vocal and/or lead guitar tracks too. And on one song the drummer switched the electronic kit from drums to bongos and we added a bongo track.

    Whatever you choose, have fun!
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
    Resonance129 and JRA like this.
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Clark W 's post reminded me that i had not mentioned the recording capabilities of the Ui24R which are impressive:
    - up to 32 channels via usb direct to computer/DAW
    - 22 channels direct to flash drive via the unit itself! (you can play those tracks on the Ui or load them into DAW for mixing).

    i like the Ui24R for what i do (recording/mixing my band/s and recording/mixing other bands for $$$), but the market is loaded with all kinds of really neat digital products! i'd recommend you spend some time researching them and also consider consulting with friends/associates to get some idea of what might be best for your needs given your existing setup and rehearsal space/environment. there are so many great choices and solutions these days --- it can be daunting. again, good luck! :thumbsup:
    westrock and Ryan in PDX like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    Most affordable analog mixers will have 4 monitor sends max. A 5-6 piece band would be a challenge if you want individual mixes for everyone.

    A 5-6 piece band would be a challenge by itself nomatter what IMO.
    Eli_Kyiv and DirtDog like this.
  12. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I use a behringer X32R Rack. Small, lots of busses, everyone gets their own mix, and we can save the settings for the gig, where we use the same mixer.

    [Edit] We also use a Behringer headphone amp—you’ll need something to bring the bus outputs up to headphone level. Lots of options for that though.
    Highroler79 likes this.
  13. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    At first, You don't likely want a live drummer at Your band. 2nd You should use a mixer pult with at least 12 chanells, depends how many stereo inputs do You need, but i don't know a mixer pult with 7 headphone outputs. You must find a device that takes a stereo input and has a lot of stereo outputs for headphones.
  14. Eli_Kyiv


    Apr 7, 2020
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I second the mention of e-drums or rhythm-box.
    As for the equipment, the cheapest solution will be a second-hand analog mixing console with enough inputs for all instruments and mics, and splitiing headphone amplifier like, say, this one. Then you will need headphones for each band member, and extension cables for those headphones, long enough so they will not have to sit on each other's lap. I'd say minimal length 5m .
    The headphone amplifier I've mentioned has 4 outputs. If you need more, you can buy two and stack them, or you can try to use passive splitter 1-in-2-out.
  15. Ryan in PDX

    Ryan in PDX

    Jan 14, 2020
    My old 7-piece horn rock group needed 15 inputs, not including drums. Plan to need more inputs than you think you will, if you're expecting to gig and record! That said, any mixer will get you there. I'd consider nothing with fewer than 16 inputs in your case, and the more aux sends and physical outputs, the better.

    Wireless digital mixers are hot right now. I use the Soundcraft Ui24r and love it. @JRA has already detailed some of the features on this unit. The interface is best in class (by a long shot, and in my opinion), and severely technophobic band members have learned to adjust their own mixes in minutes. My current bands use up to four stereo monitor mixes into individual headphone amps and in-ears.

    The beringer/midas X32 ecosystem offers a lot of flexibility and expandability, and is worth a look for a large band. It's also a mature product line with a decade of forum posts and how-to videos for reference, if you need help (and you will).
    JRA likes this.
  16. I agree with ClarkW above about the Zoom livetraks. Esp. because of the many headphone outputs with individual mixes. Ideal for silent rehearsing and none of the competitors offer this. It is a live mixing desk, an audio-interface, a standalone recorder. I own the Tascam Model 12, 'cause I don't need so many headphone outputs:)
  17. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    The Behringer X18 is about $550 new and has 6 aux outs (10 output channels total if you include the stereo headphone and main outs).
    MYLOWFREQ likes this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    It's digital though which is fine.
    bfields likes this.
  19. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Whoops, apologies for the sloppy reading!
  20. Would the Roland HS-5 Session Mixer work for you? It seems to be a simple setup based on 5 inputs.
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