November 26, 2008

Mixers Mixers Mixers

With the release of the Buchla 206e, there's been some chatter about mixers. Evidently some people wanted to have the patch storage, but not the MIDI control for their 200e. But people more like me said they would like a 1 space all analog mixer for their system. This got me thinking, "what have the mixers been so far?"

206 "elegant" 2 x 3 channel mixers that are also summed to operate as a mono 6 channel one. It has mute and monitor switches on all channels.

205 2 x 5 in 4 out matrix mixers that also sum to make a simple 10 in 4 out one. Monitor switches on each input channel. Not exactly small at 3 panel spaces.

207 jam packed 6 input stereo mixer with manual pan on 4 channels and CV pan on 2. Pre amp. Monitor and mute switches on all channels. Monitor output on the front.

The 226 and 227 are quad interfaces that for the purpose of this discussion are irrelevant.

I think it would be nice to have a 6 channel, stereo mixer with CV controlled level and pan on each channel. I love sliders too. I don't know if anyone besides Grant uses the monitor system, so that might be eliminated.

The 207 uses a pair of Vactrols to do the panning, but because of the way the equal power curve is implimented, I don't think I could just send the level CV into the bottom of the differential pair. I could put basically a lopass gate in gate mode on each channel before the panner. The parts count could add up REALLY fast. That's 18 Vactrols! That's a lot of board space.

I'm thinking about solutions that are more elegant, like how the Serge Universal Audio Processor works. It's just 2 VCAs per channel that are controlled for the gain and panning. It would be nice to get a fast moving VCA in the equation, for the times when you want a snappy percussion sound. Three SSM2164s could do it.

I'm studying up on equal power voltage controlled panning circuits now.


mono-poly said...

The Serge Quad VCA/Mixer is cool to!.

Great blog Marc!

cbm said...

The main thing I would like to see in a mixer module is a bunch of little mixers, maybe three inputs / one output. Like the 206, but if it was done with knobs and not sliders there could be more sections.

The mixer section in the Dodeca module was also sort of interesting.

mark verbos said...

A stereo 6 channel mixer is 2 x 3 input one output if you pan three left and three right. In the 207, the voltage controlled panning channels start at opposing sides for this reason.

The Dodeca mixer is cool, but it only has one thing voltage controlled on each channel. I prefer all channels the same, but that's just me.

The sliders are great to see what you have going on.