Yamaha mixer with USB interface vs. ?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by skycruiser, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    I'm trying to simplify my recording a little and wondering if a Yamaha USB mixer might be the best way to go. Currently I have only 4 inputs I'm recording but might add a couple of mics and/or stereo guitar effects, so this will be too many for my Omega Lexicon to record simultaneously. I really want to avoid going back and adding tracks so I thought the 10-input Yamaha mixer with USB interface might simplify things. I guess I would need to get all levels set up front and they will all mix down to one stereo track so you can't do much post processing, but for what I'm doing now I think that would be fine.

    Cost is an issue. The Yamaha is about $200 with 10 inputs, and something like the Scarlett is around $300 with 8. The mixer also has EQ for each channel, HPF on the 4 mic preamp channels and pan control. Not sure if the USB interface does this but can be done in software. I guess part of it is also that I don't like messing with the software so much - I already spend too much time on a computer. It would be nice to just play the thing and have a finished audio file with no mixing.

    Any thoughts on this trade-off?
  2. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I had a Yamaha MG10XU and it was my worst-sounding audio interface.

    actually using pre-EQ to USB on most analogue+digital consoles is tricky. my advice: don't waste time on inexpensive mixer boards, just get a straight good-sounding interface and learn to do the EQ in software.

    maybe later get a Softube Console 1 / FaderPort for physical dials.

    p.s. if your goal is to record and mix without a computer, consider porta-studios or something like this.
    PeterH and skycruiser like this.
  3. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I was not impressed with the Yamaha USB interface. I had good results with the Mackie Mixer USB interface. I think the preamps are so much better on the Mackie too.

    I was getting back into recording, and I wanted to record drums live. I bought an Audient two input interface and an ART Tube opto8. Through a light pipe cable, I am able to record ten tracks at a time into a Macbook, and I have all of the drums running through tube pres for some warmth.

    The Audient was about 300, and the Tube Pre was 400.

    You can then mix them in your DAW later.
    skycruiser likes this.
  4. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    Thanks for the inputs. @Aloe, I'm not sure what you mean by pre-EQ but I am a mixing novice. I thought the outputs to USB are after the mixer board EQ but I should double check the routing. I'm also looking at the Soundcraft 12FX and it can route the Master Output to USB (Ch 1 and 2). Channel 3 and 4 USB might be an AUX channel - I'm not sure yet.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the Mackie @Jeff Hughes. I'm looking at it now. It looks like it is very similar to the Yamaha. It is interested that it has better preamps as the reviews I've seen for the Yamaha have also been good. But direct comparisons are probably hard to come by. The Mackie is only about $20 more and the features are almost identical with at least 1 exception - the Mackis has 4 ch USB output vs 2 for the Yamaha.

    Right now I'm looking for something low cost that sounds "good enough" for something like a demo. If it sounds "good enough" on the headphone monitor it will probably sound good enough mixed down to one stereo track recorded in the DAW and I hopefully won't have to touch it after that.
  5. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I think my Mackie just sent left and right. If you pan a mixer channel hard right or left, you can simulate a two track that you could separate later.

    When you record inputs, it is usually a good idea to not record the eq of the mixer too. On the Mackie, the signals go through all of the eqs and then to the recording device. I mixed some ADAT 8 track tapes through a Mackie and had to eq since it would only be left and right later on.
    skycruiser likes this.
  6. If you stretch your budget a bit, you are far better served with a Zoom Livetrak or the Tascam Model 12. I was a huge fan of the Yamaha N-series, but the lower cost MG series isn't worth it in my opinion.

    The Tascam sounds very good and offers a lot (12-in audiointerface, DAW controler, records the separate tracks to an SD card and - if wanted - simultaneously to a Daw, you can choose for each channel if you want to record completely dry, pre-comp, post-comp or post-comp and post eq.)
    bobicidal and skycruiser like this.
  7. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    Those Tascam mixers look really nice - but about 3x what I want to spend right now. This thread has given me a lot to think about and look at. The idea of not recording after EQ is a new one and I think defeats the purpose of the mixer, or at least what I thought the purpose was. I was hoping to be able to set up the mixer inputs (levels, filters, eq, fx) so that the combined stereo output sounds good enough to record. If this is not the normal practice then these things probably don't work the way I thought they do.

    I'm also looking at the portastudio type devices now as well. My understanding is they record multiple tracks that can be edited inside the workstation. This would eliminate the computer aspect but I'm not sure it's a whole lot better since I'm really trying to get away from lot of tedious editing of any kind. Like I said above, ideally I could record the track once and be done with it.
  8. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    If you are confident everything can be played well live and you can mix it the way you want it to sound for the final product, go with the best quality board in your price range (seems like the Mackie to me) and don't look back. Your stated goal is to produce a demo as opposed to an EP or an album. This setup will get you there.

    You may find the mixes don't translate well from your headphones to actual speakers. So I think you're going to need some trial and error here. Record one, listen to it on a few different sets of speakers, adjust your eq / faders as needed, record again... rinse and repeat until it sounds right.

    I will say that in today's day and age where multi-track recording and DAWs are the norm, a demo with sloppy playing or that is poorly mixed / produced will hurt you more than it will help you. But if your band is good, plays well and cleanly, the arrangements leave space for the parts to fit together without fighting each other, etc--you'll definitely save time just doing it all live.
    skycruiser likes this.
  9. With the Tascam you have the advantage of being versatile. It always records the stereo main-mix with all the effects and eq and comp settings. But if needed you have the "dry" separate tracks and can do real serious stuff with them in a DAW. Or you can make a remix just on the Tascam, still have the dry tracks and you can set the eq and comp to your liking for recording the main mix. The reason is that in a live-gig situation you set the eq, effects etc. to sound good for the audience in that special situation and you don't have the possibility to really monitor what you are recording and how it might sound on a stereo or in headphones. This is not your focus in that situation.
    A lof of people complain that the bigger model 16 and model 24 don't offer this possibility! So if you have set the comps too hard while recording or maybe used an exotic eq setting to help an instrument in a live situation, there is no way you can correct this later. The Model 12 allows you to correct it, to have the original main-mix with all the settings and to make a new mix with different settings later. It additionally allows you to do overdubs, punching in and out directly on the Model 12 or to "bounce" tracks or swap tracks without a computer. And it has a metronom and midi.
    Just own it since two weeks, have made a complete band recording last week and I am really impressed. I own more expensive audio-interfaces and even a small SSL Mixer, but I'm really impressed by the audio quality of the Tascam.

    Maybe have a look at the Zoom H6. For about 300,- it offers a lot and with the additional XLR module you can record 6 channels. Although works as an audio-interface. The audio quality is very good for the price.
    It gets a bit freaky if you often change the inputs and the settings. Records the separate tracks and the mix on sd-card OR into a DAW (not both simulataneously).
    skycruiser likes this.