OT as mixer vs actual mixer


I am currently playing in a band, we are enjoying our recordings quite a lot. So far I am running two synths into my OT. Then sending a stereo mix of my synths and OT sample stuff out from the OT.
So far we are happy with the recordings, but now I am thinking about sending the two synths to their own mixer channels and not using OT for synth processing or mixing at all.
Discrete mixer channels means more fexibility in final mixdowns. OT processing the synths is fun and very live, but nothing I cant do in the DAW in the studio anyway.
Anyone have any pros and cons I may have not thought of?
All thoughts welcome!


One big pro of using a mixer is that you free up in/outputs on the OT. You can use these to add external effects.

I prefer a mixer as it makes it a lot easier to get things in and out of the OT, and I never have to bother with DIR settings and so on.


I am actually deciding this for myself too - but its just me a digitakt, digitone, and rytm.

I am leaning towards replacing the digitakt with the OT so it can do samples and act as mixer for a small live setup.


For me the OT is either a nice mixing solution for a minimal setup (example: less to carry in the bag), or if its sound mangling facilities are needed to modify incoming signals.

In any other case I would prefer the flexibility of a mixing desk, having quick access to EQ, compressor, volume, and send/receive channels. Maybe 8, 12, or 16 channels are sufficient for your band.

BTW even small mixers support input from mics, which need phantom power …


Plug all your stuff into a mixer and feed the OT inputs with an aux send. Enables you to sample anything anytime, in any combination and proportion. Just bring up the faders of the aux mix to send something to the OT.


I´m going to try out something similar using my new (old) Mackie 1402 VLZpro and it´s “ALT3/4” outputs

Basically, each channel there has that “MUTE/ALT” button which removes the channel from the main mix and sends it out through a separate stereo mix output.

I´m going to try and run that through my Octatrack and back into a separate mixer channel. Should be fun :slight_smile:
(note to self: careful about feedback loops!!)


The ALT 3/4 routing is a sweet tool! Additionally, the option to have AUX 1 pre-fader opens up quite a few flexible routings with effects and whatnot.


This. Great idea.


Why not just send each synth to outs C and D respectively? That way you still get your OT processing, individual outs for mixing the synths, and you won’t have to buy and carry an extra piece of gear/PSU/cables to shows.


I use cue output to clock the SH101. For live shows using OT as mixer is fine. My post is about recording.


I run my stuff into a mackie 1202vlz4 that has the alt-3/4 like @xenosapien mentioned. The OT goes back into it as well. It’s setup in a way that by pressing any of the channels alt-3/4 buttons the signal is routed through OT for sampling and I also have the OT setup to monitor that signal so you don’t loose the signal, you here everything whether it’s going through OT or not. I’ve carefully adjusted all the gains so the signals are always the same volume. You can send single or multiple mixer channels to OT for sampling.

I run the OT cue outs into their own channel on the mixer which then I use to send the signal out my auxes which run to external fx. This way any OT track can be cued to be sent to external fx, but the fx are still available for all the other mixer channels as the inputs are not tied up by connecting OT cues straight to them. I use normal mode(not studio) and have “cue mutes track” enabled in the OT preferences. This way any track I want to send to fx I cue it and it is pulled from mains as it is routed to cue, again no loss of or double monitoring.

By cueing my pickup tracks or flex loops and auxing to my external delay, I the loops are recorded dry because they hit the OT before it sends them to cue, in this way I can always change my delay settings after recording loops and also not worry about capturing external fx tails at the beginning of the loop.

Every sound source gets its own EQ on the mixer pre OT, and I have separate EQ’s for OT main and OT cue. There’s even more going on but I’ll leave it there… I think the setups you can do with OT+VLZ are super flexible and rock! :smiley:


Get a soundcard with more i/o.
Ditch the mixer. Its pointless at home. Sums everything. Introduces more cables, and possibly noise.

Direct in is sweet!


Same here, except that I don’t have a macky vlz but a soundcraft impact, so I use one of the 14 aux mixes for the same purpose. This scenario is totaly optimized indeed.


great, thanks for chiming in.

I´m still debating (and waiting for more/longer cables to arrive) on wether or not I want to route CUE out from the OT back to the mixer like you are doing it, or have that bypass my mixer and go straight to the Audio Interface for recording.

one reason being is that I also have a Machinedrum and I want to hook up more than just a stereo pair of that to the VLZ

…and then I also have a few synths and a Eurorack modular that will need at least 4 (more likely 6-8+) channels on the mixer… those 14 channels are already looking tight haha.


I feel like you completely lose all “hands-on” feeling though.

I understand the urge to multitrack and separately record everything, but for me at least, it really has crippled my creative flow not having faders and EQ knobs on every channel

… and no, stuff like Softube console -while a great tool for mixing!- or a MIDI/USB controller is not the same as having a dedicated, real mixer imho.

So I actually do BOTH now:
I use the mixer for jams and record a stereo master of that.

Then I re-patch and track out single instruments of that to my DAW. just works better for me, find.

But to each their own :wink:


I just prefer better sound.


you missed my point there, I think.

also, going straight to soundcard doesn´t automatically mean “better” sound.
but whatever works for you is best for you, of course.


This has a huge benefit if you have external effects patched into the mixer. Route the OT’s cue outputs to the external FX via an aux send, then all you have to do is cue a track so it basically does what you would do with the Mackie’s Alt 3/4 feature but you command it from the OT itself.

Yes indeed… thing can go wild very fast. I have 30 inputs patched to the mixer channells right now. But mine has 96 inputs (64 physical and 32 over USB) and I can use 80 of them simultaneously so I’m safe for the time being :slight_smile:


And my MOTU setup can do 128 i/o with so many routing options its out of control. :+1:t5:
I only use hardware fx. And can route any way i want without parching repatching. One time setup controlled in the routing matrix.

More than enough options


Here, if you like, chew on this post… It describes some more my home vlz setup and adds too what I wrote above in particular about monitoring and recording. I haven’t got to the direct outs yet (need a few more cables as well), I do live jamming even at home and I just record stereo pair, but with the directs you could get more multitrack action, or routing through the interface before signals hit the mixer. There’s tons of configs you can do though with a vlz, interface, and OT, but when I have all my stuff hooked up I do as I’ve described, and I’m always tinkering and trying new routings.