Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK (multitrack usb mixer)

I use the non MTK signature12 and it’s a really nice quality and reliable product.

If you are aware of the MTK routing/pre/post architecture and it suits your needs, you should probably pull the trigger…

Thanks dude, change of heart :blush:

Now considering using back in the box solution with the scarlet 18i8, possibly expanding in the future with ADAT.

Saving will allow me to get a nice condenser mike ( I hope).

ADAT expansion can be a good idea, but only if you always involve the computer in your music making.

I bought 8 channels of ADAT two years ago in order to start multitracking to the DAW but quickly realized (duh) I need to have the computer always on to hear my sounds. Now I have ended up buying a 12MTK because it works the same, connected to the DAW or not. This is ideal for me as most of the time I’m just playing the boxes, and if I realize I have something going on worth recording, I can fire up the DAW and record away without having to move cables or touching the mix controls at all.

Just got my 12MTK two days ago so cannot give solid experiences yet. But initial impression is that it’s a decent product and that the DACs on the channels sound sweet (will know in time if this is due to “too much colour”). Build quality on my unit is better than what I’ve read from random forum posts, the faders feel pretty good and the knobs, while slightly wobbly, do not feel like they would just break during twiddling. The preamps are remarkably quiet (ie. low self-noise).

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Cheers Amigo. I appreciate your thoughts regards this. It does seem a really flexible way of jamming / gigging with the option of recording at will. Also aware that the ADAT solution would add a little extra cost to my previous idea.

I do believe I am back on track for this mixer (pardon the pun). Really interested in setting up the rig without reliance on the computer/daw .

Had a quick play with the 12MTK again this morning. I’m off to the shop to buy some extra insert cables for multing the AR more fully into this badboy.

The fx onboard are ok at most IMO. They sound quite grainy and without the eq controls, they take too much frequency space. But usable I guess, and might work well with certain material.

Still unsure about the eq. It’s “safe” as in hard to make the eq sound bad. But also very broadstroky, not excelling at surgical subtractive eq. Does a fairly ok job at eliminating harshness from my AR synth snares & cymbals, but a bit hard to dial in due to the asymmetric Q. I’ve been taught to find the offending freqs by boosts, and the asymmetric Q makes this method more difficult.

The DBX limiters, not feeling them ATM. Maybe it’s my program material/settings, but I thought these would be useful for kick & snare smack. Right now I feel like they just ruin my kicks, adding ugly distortion and peculiar artefacts.

I dig the PFL metering, easy to set trims with it. The meters are post-eq so you can see how much the eq is contributing to the levels, handy.

That really depends on your interface. I can use my Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 (along with the ADAT expansion I have) in standalone mode and never have to fire up the computer to start jamming.

Personally, I was really interested in the 12MTK when it was announced and wanted to get one specifically to track the individual outputs of the MDUW and MNM. But it took forever for Soundcraft to get it to market, and in that time I learned that the EQ/FX/compressor are all post-USB, which kind of negates what I found appealing about these to begin with. I’ve read that Soundcraft are working on another version that passes this over USB as well, so if that ever comes to be I will certainly give it a look.

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Really, interesting. So soundcraft the,selves are admitting their original design was flawed? hmm

That standalone feature on your ADAT interface sounds great! Do you also get access to channel gains and aux sends in standalone mode?

Originally I also thought that having the AD before eq would be very limiting, but it’s actually OK in practice. With a “garageband” mixer like this, you will always lose against proper parametric eqs anyway. The only thing you might miss is if you are “playing” the EQs alot during recording.

Now that I have enough cables to properly mult my AR, I will do a coupla tests A/B:ing a 12MTK mult recording to an OB + master outs mult recording. I am not expecting a big difference either way.

It’s too early to say for certain but I am starting to feel like I woulda been better off saving up for a qupac and using that with bomeboxed USB controllers for faders/eq/sends instead. Sure would be a bit more hassle setting up, but be alot better wrt sound quality. The frontend is the most critical part of a recording signalpath IMO (after the sound sources, that is!), so going subpar there just to save some cash is not how I wanna roll.

Okay then, made some preliminary, unscientific A/B:s just now. Proper A/Bs are quite tricky to pull off fwiw, so take this with a pinch of salt… Had probs syncing tracks when doing the OB mults (had to record in two passes due to insufficent i/o) etc etc Certainly need to plan any such A/B:s meticulously before attempting them - quite alot of factors can creep up during building the test files :diddly:

I tested a 12MTK multitrac rec against a purely OB rec. Any differences between the two were slight, and mostly due to the extra analog gainstage of the 12MTK pres. So if it’s the case between overbridge multitracking and 12MTK multitracking, the 12MTK wins slightly because you can lean into the pres abit for some colour / slam. I am fairly sure that if you do not drive the pre’s at all, I could not notice much diff between OB and the 12MTK.

Then I also recorded a quick pass from the 12MTK analog outs into my Apollo in order to get a quick feel of the summing (If someone knows how to record the 12MTK masterbus straight via USB, please let me know!). While it’s nowhere comparable to the OTB sum I had, as I used the eqs on the 12MTK slightly to sweeten/reduce harshness, I now feel a little bit better about the unit. The 12MTK sum had a slight roundness to it that I find very preferable with the AR, since I feel the AR can sound a bit stiff and sharp at times.

It is driving the pres a little bit (leaning into them) and the summing of the 12MTK that might be it’s merits for me. The limiters are weak, and the eq is good but not great. YMMV as always.

Hey Tsutek, thanks for your efforts regards this. Just read an exhausting 20 page + discussion on gear slutz regards the unit - very informative maybe a little subjective at points. It’s new territory for me - bewildering and a little technically exhausting. TBH, I really need to reassess my mixing/recording need to put this gas to sleep. I was thinking that i maybe only need 8 (10 better) Audio I/F with possible expansion (via the ADAT).

My set up:

Acoustic/Electric guitar & vocal (voicelive 3) - 2 x XLR
Analog Keys - 2 x mono for main outs (maybe 4 x mono individual in future)
Novation Circuit - 2 x mono
Korg MK XL synth - 2 x mono

I am glad to know that the 18i8 can work as 8 x ins as a standalone unit. This makes practical sense for my needs - jamming at home & possible sub mix live (If i ever use all of the above outboard at band rehearsal /gigs)

Be great to hear MTK versus OB clips from yourself. I am a huge fan of the Rytm. JUST out of my reach at the moment. I am leaning to the idea of using the AK as a drum module (3 tracks) and spare track as a mono synth. Hence the possible ADAT in the near future.

All good Amigo.

I’m afraid I would need to redo my tests before presenting any audio clips would give any real, unbiased value to the matter. I too have read GearSnobs far too often and hate the way almost every thread on that board gets diluted with overly long quotes, TLDR-itis related re-iterations of the same questions and unconstructive blabla, makes researching for any meaningful data very tiresome :diddly:

I’ll think about setting up a proper test tomorrow, and try to make it happen during next week. Cut down the amount of voices so that a single OB rec pass has enough i/o etc. IMO it would be lazy and unfair of me to share the files I recorded today, far too many mistakes and inconsistencies in my test, would exagerrate bias.

This little clip sums up my opinion TLDR-itis on GearSnobs:


Folks - after a great deal of deliberation - I finally pulled the trigger for the Soundcraft MTK Mixer. Big step up for my humble set up.

Peace Out :slight_smile:

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Did you go for the 12MTK or the 22MTK?

I am liking the 12MTK more and more. It’s good value for the money IMO. Trims on every channel is actually quite a big deal for proper gainstaging!

Trying to get that test done today as well.

Okay, the test is now done. Whew, what a chore! I must admit I could only match the incoming peak levels to within ~0.5dB, so this is still not scientific enough IMO, but now at least most of the basic premises were right in terms of not needing to resync diff takes and whatnot. Making proper A/Bs is hard.

The following dropbox file has me going A to B with a crossfader in Ableton (equal power curve) between an Overbridge multitracked and a 12MTK multitracked recording of the same AR loop. Can you spot any diffs? And if you can, can you tell which is which?

Everything was recorded at 16bit 48kHz, because I would have ran out of input channels in overbridge otherwise. I recorded the OB tracks first and then tried to match the individual peak levels with the 12MTK channels coming in to as close as possible. The trims on the 12MTK are not super accurate so on certain tracks I managed to match the peak levels to within 0.1dB, on others I only matched the peaks within 0.5dB. Anyhoo, this should make my earlier point across - unless you lean into the pres in order to coax slight saturation on the way in, it sounds almost identical to using OB.

Needless to say, no ITB processing, other than normalizing the whole file to -0.5dBFS, has been done. Recording levels were chosen to this value since the 12MTK preamp nonlinearity needed to be avoided.

The bassline seems less pronounced in the second half of the recording, but that might be because of the 0.5db difference on some tracks.

Fascinating. The kick and bassline is sent to the master (BD + BT + MT), of which only L channel is recorded, and the peak level diff between those was only 0.04dB. Perhaps the other tracks are contributing to the lowend? No eqs used here so lo freq buildup from the other tracks is not impossible.

Hi, not an expert by any means . IMO there is more weight - fuller sound 0 ~ 30 seconds and slight drop thereafter. I guess OB to start then MTK ending? Hope I am wrong :slight_smile:

I am presuming that I would mainly be using OB as VST in future when I get this mixer - trying to organise my work space to accommodate the new arrival. Do you know there is any facilty for mounting onto a rack?

Just checked the manual, no mention of rack mountability. Perhaps if you’d remove the plastic side frames you could install custom rack ears? Just guessing here though…

I’ll readjust the peak values to 100% match on all channels and post a new file soon. adjusting gain by ±0.5dB shouldn’t be that destructive to audio integrity, right? :diddly:

Ahh, forget it. I will never get these two to match exactly. If I 100% match the peak levels of the tracks, the 12MTK sounds louder. So we have to conclude that the 12MTK circuitry introduces slight dynamic compression compared to recording via OB.

This actually explains your perceptions, running through the 12MTK gives you a little more RMS mileage for the same peak values as OB :thup:

Cheers , to listen thoroughly again it would be nice to know actual ( approx.) times transition is made between device? So quieter sounding part is MTK I/F recording or DAW fed back into MTK?