small mixers for tracking headphones?

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small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by permanent hearing damage » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:25 pm

anyone doing this? have been rocking Furman HR6s for some time, but the stupid CAT5 cables always seem finicky and I don't like the panning limitations - nevermind the fact that they are no longer made.

saw some Greg Wells session somewhere they were using little Mackie's for headphone mixers. I don't wanna overwhelm anyone, but seems more cost effective than other headphone distribution systems and likely more flexible. Unsure if the headphone amp in some of them would get the job done and I guess I could be looking at a nightmare of splitters.

i'd be perfectly happy with 6 channels. mackie 802vlz look pretty cheap and like they would do the job

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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by losthighway » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:38 pm

permanent hearing damage wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:25 pm
anyone doing this? have been rocking Furman HR6s for some time, but the stupid CAT5 cables always seem finicky and I don't like the panning limitations - nevermind the fact that they are no longer made.

saw some Greg Wells session somewhere they were using little Mackie's for headphone mixers. I don't wanna overwhelm anyone, but seems more cost effective than other headphone distribution systems and likely more flexible. Unsure if the headphone amp in some of them would get the job done and I guess I could be looking at a nightmare of splitters.

i'd be perfectly happy with 6 channels. mackie 802vlz look pretty cheap and like they would do the job
Not a terrible idea if you have a plan for all of the sends, and how to daisy chain... thinking aloud here:

You have 4-6 mono sends going out in the live room as xlr, or trs.... those go into a little desk mixer.... but then what? Do you have direct out/prefader sends to go from that little mixer to the next?

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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by permanent hearing damage » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:44 pm

Was thinking a splitter of some kind - art make 4 and 8 channel ones. Maybe one or two of those and some xlr to trs splitters? I have one for podcast recording redundancy. Might not be the craziest idea. May try putting one together and report back

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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by digitaldrummer » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:12 am

sounds like a lot of splitting and if you think a Cat5 cable is finicky.... this sounds more confusing too.

alternatively if you have a DAW that has some kind of "console" app - the UAD console comes to mind for me... you could mix the sends in the console app and then just send a stereo pair out to each mini mixer, or even just a headphone amp, but then that only allows volume control (and maybe stereo vs. mono) but not mix control for the user. so you'd end up doing all the mixing in the console app. I do something like that today with my UAD Apollo 16, but I have the sends going to a headphone amp that has multiple inputs and outputs. It's good for a smallish room but has its limits too.

something like a Behringer XR16 or XR18 (a little pricier though) might also be an option because anyone with a mobile phone could then connect to make their personal mix as long as they know which send(s) is theirs...

btw, monoprice has some really heavy Cat-something cables. they accidentally sent me one once.
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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by permanent hearing damage » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:16 pm

the thing that bugs me about CAT5 cabling is that it's not sturdy. the plastic bits break off and even with them present, the connectors tend to come loose. I think an XLR or TRS cable would be a helluva lot more sturdy, is all. that, and panning is what i'm after.

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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:24 pm

this is an interesting workaround....

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/connect ... r-6-a.html
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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by cgarges » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:17 pm

I designed a pretty crazy system for Old House Studio when we moved seven years ago and it's been working pretty well.

I found a distribution amp made by Rane and bought a few of those. The individual cue system channels (eight, to correspond to the mono inputs on a Mackie 1202) come up in the patchbay, so you can feed anything to them. (Usually the six aux sends from my console, plus two individual channels taken directly off my converter outputs.)

Then, these distribution amps feed headphone stations out in the studio. I used EDAC connectors on the wall panels in the studio that break out to eight-channel snakes going to each Mackie 1202.

The system seems kind of convoluted to set up, but if you really think about it, the routing makes a lot of sense.

The downside is that the 1202 can only accommodate one set of headphones. This can be a problem for group vocals, handclaps, horn or string sections, etc. SO, I got a few normal ART six-channel headphone amps that I put under the 1202s and feed the inputs of the ART units from the Mackie stereo XLR outputs. This gives you six (seven, including the Mackie) headphone outs per mixer. The other added benefit is that the ART headphone amp sounds better than the Mackie's headphone amp.

This gives each Mackie eight channels, the ability to pan each channel, and although I don't encourage digging too deep into it, EQ, which can be helpful for giving the bass player a little more low end, rolling top off the click channel, etc. It also allows each player to dial in what they need, themselves. So if the guitar player is rushing like crazy, the drummer can turn him down in his cue without having to ask the engineer to do it.

This system has been ultra-reliable for me (well, unless one of the EDAC connectors in the wall breaks). But WAY more flexible than the Furman system we used to have and NO CAT-5!

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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by Dubmaniac » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:36 pm

I use the Oz Audio Q-Mix HM-6 in my studio. It allows me to feed a master stereo send plus four aux sends, which could be guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keys, click track- whatever you decide to send to each of the four mono ins. The band can dial in their own mixes, with as much or as little of each send as they want (more me). And if that's not enough, it has an effects loop, so you can plug in that old Lexicon or Digitech rack effects unit and each member of the band can add as much reverb or whatever effect they want without tracking the effect to tape. I feel if this helps the performer feel more comfortable, it will translate to a better recording.

I bought my HM-6 based on a recommendation in this very forum. It took me a while to find one, but it's been a huge help in my studio. It works great with every pair of headphones I own, and the sound is loud and clear. I'd recommend checking it out. It might be just what you need.
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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by permanent hearing damage » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:14 am

Chris Garges, thank you! just the kind of solution i'm looking/hoping for! gonna start putting something like that together.

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Re: small mixers for tracking headphones?

Post by crow » Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:19 pm

I also got fed up with the furman, and now I use a bunch of Mackie 402 VLZ3s.

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-aud ... udio-mixer

and korg nanokontrol (mkI)

I feed each one a stereo mix from a REAPER folder track, which the musicians can control with the nanokontrol. Or if they don't feel like messing with it, I can see and adjust their cue folder from the control room.

Latency is low enough that everyone but singers seem to be happy, so if someone needs zero latency, I send an analog signal to one of the extra tracks on the mackie, then they can control everything else on the nanokontrol and adjust the computer/analog balance on the mackie.

At some point, I want to replace the nanokontrols with tablets or something else that uses the REAPER web remote functionality, but that's several rungs down on the ol' to-do list.

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