Advice about multi-bus mixers?

Hello! I’m new here. And I’m pretty new to Elektron, too.

I need some advice. I would like a multi-bus mixer.

I’m using a Behringer Xenyx 802 right now, and it’s cute and small and good. I also have a Motu Ultralite, which has plenty of ins and outs.

In the past, I was connecting all of my sound-producing devices to my Motu, and using its many internal busses to route audio; some inputs I wanted to feed into my DAW, and some inputs I wanted to send directly to my mixer. It’s very flexible and nice, if you’re using a laptop.

I’ve decided that I want to try producing music without using a laptop. That means using the Motu is less convenient; while you can use it as a standalone mixer, it has only a few small knobs, so the physical interface isn’t very accessible.

Can anyone give me some seed ideas of what I should look at for multi-bus mixers? Basically, I want a bunch of inputs and outputs, and the freedom to choose where my signals go. The Xenyx has two busses, but one of them is for “effects” and it’s just a mono send. It has a “2-track” output as well as main outs and headphones, but they’re all tied together; I can attenuate them only relative to the master volume output.

I’m (clearly) very inexperienced when it comes to hardware audio routing and mixers; am I asking for something unreasonable? Would I have to spend thousands to get what I want?


I’m guessing that Behringer has mixers with both buses and groups in stereo further up their product line. I’ve had some Behringers and think they work fine. However…

A while back I sold my Motu(s) and bought into a digital mixer from Allen & Heath - the QU 24. I wanted a physical mixer (with plenty of inputs) AND the possibility to record into my DAW when I need to do so. So a digital mixer like this is truly great; physical faders, digital routing a couple of groups and buses. Very pleased with this switch.

There’s a lengthy discussion on this family of mixers here: Finally, the perfect mixer? [Allen & Heath QuPac]

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The first step is to count how many outputs your hardware instruments have, and how many inputs your instruments have (now and in the foreseeable future). For example, Octatrack has four outputs and four inputs; Analog Four Mk 1 has two outputs and two inputs.

Then determine whether you need all of these ports to be connected at the same time or whether some of them could be connected to a patchbay and only connected together when required.

Also, consider your budget right now.

If you tell us these things, we can start giving you some more specific opinions.

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Mackie 1642 VLZ4 has 2 stereo buses + mix bus.

Thanks for your replies so far!

With regard to scale: I think uh let’s see … if I’m wanting to mix things into the four inputs of an octatrack, plus get a 2 track feed and headphones and main outs, that’s already six or eight outputs. Inputs … I guess I’d like to have six to eight relatively permanently plumbed.

Two busses is probably enough (one for getting stuff into the octatrack, and one for getting stuff out again), as long as I can really route how I like.

I will check out the QU 24 - thanks for the tip!

(I have also considered trying to drive my motu’s mixer using a midi controller, but it seems awkward.)

If these are your requirements, you could probably satisfy them with something as simple as a Mackie 1202 mixer.

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Have a look at the Keith McMillen K-Mix too. This has 3 * AUX bus, and can operate in standalone mode. Also has 8 in/10 out audio interface capability. In terms of routing, I find the presets are pretty handy - you set them up on the computer, but just send them across. I’m able to switch instantly between various routings of my outboard gear at the touch of a button, pretty neat.

@cuckoomusic made a nice overview of the K-Mix.

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Excellent, thanks mate