Is this a dumb idea?

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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my bloody television
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Is this a dumb idea?

Post by my bloody television » Thu Mar 11, 2021 7:03 pm

Last year I bought a UA Apollo Twin X and I have really been enjoying the user interface and the sounds I am getting. The only issue is one which I knew would present itself at a certain point...there are only 2 inputs. For most of my applications as an at-home recording hobbyist/part-time at-home session player 2 inputs is totally fine. I am usually just recording guitar or pedal steel for sessions or writing music for myself which I generally do one track at a time.

However, I now have more space available to me and would like to get a drum kit in the near future. I have a few keyboards/sequencers as well and would like to be able to access them on the fly without having to constantly unplug and replug my inputs on the Apollo.

My thought is, why not get a good quality 8-10 channel mixer and run it stereo into the Apollo? This way I could plug all my keyboards in and access them quickly without changing cables, plus I could potentially track drums through 4 channels on the mixer and record a stereo mix into my DAW. I know that means I cannot further manipulate each drum track once it's in the computer but frankly I'm fine with that if I can achieve a good sound going in. In fact, part of me kind of likes that limiting factor.

Does this idea make sense? Am i just over complicating things? I know that there are higher input UA interfaces but frankly I am not a professional enough musician or engineer to justify the cost, plus like I said, I like the Apollo and don't really want to "downgrade" to a cheaper interface just to have more inputs.

If this does seem like a good work-around, do any of you have suggestions for a good quality mixer with decent sounding pres? Would love to keep it under $500. thanks!

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Mar 11, 2021 7:34 pm

Does your version have an ADAT in? If so I’d do this:

https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/home-p ... ls-on.html

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by mbene085 » Thu Mar 11, 2021 7:43 pm

Your interface has an ADAT input, so the much more flexible way to do what you want is to get yourself an 8-channel ADAT unit, because you'll be able to record each channel to an individual track for situations like the drums where you'll want to track more inputs and still be able to mix them individually.

You can spend the same money and get more utility that way.

In your budget range it'd be hard to argue against a Focusrite Scarlett 8pre at around $400. There's a Behringer unit for $200 or so but you get what you pay for. Other units like the Clarett 8pre and Audient ASP800 will be closer to the quality you've been accustomed to on the UA in terms of preamps and conversion, but they're pricier.

Another option, if you want things to sound as good as your UA does and you don't need more than 2 simultaneous inputs, is to get a patch bay. Then you can quickly rout anything to the Unison preamps on your unit.

A mixer would really be more useful for a live jam scenario than recorded projects in your situation.

Edit: hah. Beaten to the punch as I was typing this.

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by my bloody television » Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:21 pm

Ah ok interesting. Thanks for the replies and explanation. Definitely seems like the way to go, although that opens up more options on how to spend too much money ha.

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by Beebe » Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:42 pm

It's not dumb if it works for you. Some of the most iconic drum sounds were captured with a minimal number of mics . I think you'll have better results with two properly placed mics on the drums than with a mixdown. There are ticks to get the mics in phase and sounding good. And I've never heard anyone complain about not enough cymbals in the mix (make sure you get the mic right up on that cowbell though... Ha!). It sounds like a fun challenge to me. Plus if you have to spend money you can afford higher quality mics. If you put a mixer in the path, you loose the purity of the Apollo. I like the idea of a patch bay over a mixer if you want to simplify the cable situation as you mentioned. So in order of good to worse ideas, maybe it goes: More high quality ADAT inputs, use just two mics on the drums, and adding a mixer coming in at last of the three.
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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by fortytwo » Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:45 am

I'd get this for the drums, instead of going through the mixer

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... one-preamp

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by CorporateDisguise » Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:08 am

I use the above Behringer model with a Clarret 2 pre. I’m happy enough with it. It does what it is supposed to. The one annoying thing about it is that the Phantom power is either on or off for all 8 channels. So it can be limiting in what mics you choose for the job. I tend to run SDC overheads into my Clarret, and a kick and snare mic on the Behringer.

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by NBarnes21 » Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:22 pm

my bloody television wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:21 pm
Ah ok interesting. Thanks for the replies and explanation. Definitely seems like the way to go, although that opens up more options on how to spend too much money ha.
focusrite octopre is a great one for this that won't break the bank
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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by mbene085 » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:06 pm

NBarnes21 wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:22 pm
focusrite octopre is a great one for this that won't break the bank
There isn't a single model called the Octopre. There's the Scarlett Octopre (8 Scarlett preamps), Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic (which adds compression), and Clarett Octopre.

The Clarett is vastly superior and priced accordingly, but then hits units like the Audient ASP800 in that price range, which is stiff competition.

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Re: Is this a dumb idea?

Post by NBarnes21 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:25 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:06 pm
NBarnes21 wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:22 pm
focusrite octopre is a great one for this that won't break the bank
There isn't a single model called the Octopre. There's the Scarlett Octopre (8 Scarlett preamps), Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic (which adds compression), and Clarett Octopre.

The Clarett is vastly superior and priced accordingly, but then hits units like the Audient ASP800 in that price range, which is stiff competition.
I was referring to the older (now discontinued) model which can be had used for a pretty fair price
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