pucho812

private mixers for headphone cues
« on: May 02, 2019, 01:39:00 PM »
I have been down this road before.  As it has currently come up on a punch list of things, in-between other things I might as well start discussing it now.  In the past I used  setups like the mytek private q which had great results but had issue of the mixers would fail if you hot plugged them(with the power turned on). This was because the power for each mixer was fed from a central power source on the main  audio input box. It would feed 8 x mono, 2 x stereo channels along side dc power to each mixer which had volume and pan controls, main mixer outs and headphones.  I recently had a hear back system which worked but didn't sound so great and felt cheap.  I was able to sell it off to a studio I tech for as their  firman system was going out and they couldn't be bothered to fix it.   

So I am currently looking for cost effective solutions  of which I can't seem to find any. Either they sound great, feel robust and are expensive(see mytek), sound o.k. feel like cheap plastic and are expensive(see avoid), sound awful(to me), feel like cheap plastic and are inexpensive(see hear back),  or they are some small company that I am not sure will be around for some time, for example see elite core. They make a great robust headphone private mixer with 16 channels in a metal chassis that is all ethernet connected. 

The current criteria is to have a system that sounds good, feels robust(metal chassis and such),  and can be easily repairable down the road. So far I have thought of the following: I will need a multi/splitter to feed the multiple mixers the same audio. I Weill need mixers.  In the past I designed a room for one of the local audio schools that had the same 8 channel feed from pro tools down 8 x passive audio splits and feeding Mackie mixers.  It was basically feed from the daw into a multi to feed the mixer and send it down to the next mixer which had the same style mult.  This worked well as the runs were not that long.

I am currently open to off the shelf buy it items but I am thinking A DIY solution would be the way to go.  I can make an active splitter using 5532's   that would allow me 16 inputs to be feed 8 times over. But then comes the mixer part.  Since the info is out there, I guess it's just a matter of how to skin the cat.   Or do I figure out a way to  do 16 channels of audio into ethernet and do that kind of route and diy design, that ethernet stuff would be over my head as I mainly deal in analog.  I can't see diy being the most cost effective solution but it definitely would be the more fun solution.

Lets discuss...

I
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.


Rob Flinn

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 01:53:50 PM »
I tech for a studio in London who split 8 ch from a PT interface to feed maybe 6 small mixers with built in fx.  They are mounted on small trolleys, so they are easily moved round.   They all have power & a beefy HP amp (so even drummers will be happy).  I think the feeds come from EDAC's on the wall boxes.   I didn't design or install the system, but I don't think there is any active splitter since if the i/p Z of the desks was 10k for each input you can parallel quite a few before it becomes an issue, since 8 in parallel would still present an input Z of 1.25k.   I thnk originally they used small Mackie desk for this purpose but the modeln they were using was discontinued so they have switch to something else with similar specs.    In my view the price/features of these desks make it not worth the hassle of DIYing.  They are only something like £200 each.  I used to have to swap the faders from a donor console, but it's not really worth doing.   
regards Rob

pucho812

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 02:27:06 PM »
I tech for a studio in London who split 8 ch from a PT interface to feed maybe 6 small mixers with built in fx.  They are mounted on small trolleys, so they are easily moved round.   They all have power & a beefy HP amp (so even drummers will be happy).  I think the feeds come from EDAC's on the wall boxes.   I didn't design or install the system, but I don't think there is any active splitter since if the i/p Z of the desks was 10k for each input you can parallel quite a few before it becomes an issue, since 8 in parallel would still present an input Z of 1.25k.   I thnk originally they used small Mackie desk for this purpose but the modeln they were using was discontinued so they have switch to something else with similar specs.    In my view the price/features of these desks make it not worth the hassle of DIYing.  They are only something like £200 each.  I used to have to swap the faders from a donor console, but it's not really worth doing.

yeah, I thought about that route as I have done a similar thing before.
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

abbey road d enfer

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 04:02:48 PM »
I use the Behringer P16 system. Although I was very reluctant to introduce any Behringer product in my environment, I do not regret this choice one second. I had a Furman system before, analog, 6 channel on Ethernet cable, not enough possibilities and marginal performance.
I have added the input interface P16I (I use the analog inputs since the digital ones are 44.1/48kHz only _ I work at Double Speed) and the distributor P16D
I have absolutely zero issues with the system, the learning curve has been almost instant for me (I'm used to RTFM), and talents are generally quick to understand how the system works (they find quickly where's the "more me").
Add to that that it's probably the cheapest of existing systems.
I wished thay had a version with assignable source names, though. Insteda of telling the singer he is on channel 16, I print a paper that I glue temporarily; indeed this is assuming I know in advance the session's set-up.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

pucho812

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 05:11:21 PM »
I do not want to give money to ULI, but that does look like the easiest  in terms of price V quality on the market.

What I had in mind was the following  Source of up to 16 channels feed into an active splitter, which then feeds summing boxes with volume and pan that feed into a headphone amp.  by keeping it all analog and using  IC chips like a 5532 or 604 setup, I could make it easily fixable.
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

abbey road d enfer

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2019, 05:26:08 PM »
I do not want to give money to ULI, but that does look like the easiest  in terms of price V quality on the market.

What I had in mind was the following  Source of up to 16 channels feed into an active splitter, which then feeds summing boxes with volume and pan that feed into a headphone amp.  by keeping it all analog and using  IC chips like a 5532 or 604 setup, I could make it easily fixable.
Then you'll need 16 pair snakes everywhere and the cost of the metalwork alone will exceed that of a complete P16 solution.
i understand your reluctance to fill Mr. B's pockets, but i swallowed my pride after making all accounts.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

shot

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2019, 06:37:13 PM »
How do those P16-M sound? Can they handle 600 ohm headphones and drive them to proper level?

pucho812

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2019, 06:46:20 PM »
Then you'll need 16 pair snakes everywhere and the cost of the metalwork alone will exceed that of a complete P16 solution.
i understand your reluctance to fill Mr. B's pockets, but i swallowed my pride after making all accounts.

I understand completely..  to implement some cost cutting off the top of my head we can use a db50 connector.  they are around the cost of a single xlr and with 50 pins will do my 16 channels.   plus being db50 could possible hit computer closeout places and get  the bulk of the snakes as we could could db50 shielded for inexpensive.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 06:50:46 PM by pucho812 »
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

Rob Flinn

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 10:16:54 AM »
I still think you would have a better system using cheap miixers with built in fx.  That way the singer can put ridiculous levels of reverb on their voice when they want to.  I also wonder whther making the system have 16 feeds is overcomplicating it.  Maybe not,
 but i'm pretty sure the studio I deal with only has 8 & they get complimented on the headphone sound.

My personal system is a little bit simpler.   I did bow to ULI and have a couple of his HP amps, 1x 4ch & 1x 8ch.  I feed them the stereo mix but have the option for certain channels to add more of themselves with the direct ins.  Not as comprehensive as I woud like but still versatile for a portable system.
regards Rob

abbey road d enfer

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 12:38:28 PM »
How do those P16-M sound? Can they handle 600 ohm headphones and drive them to proper level?
Obviously it depends on the headphones sensitivity, but I can tell you the P16M drives easily my most unsensitive headphones, the AKG K241 (200 ohms). Also it depends very much on the talents expectations... :). I know a couple of guys who are not satisfied until blood drips from their ears. ;D
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 01:53:48 PM by abbey road d enfer »
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.


abbey road d enfer

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 02:03:50 PM »
I also wonder whther making the system have 16 feeds is overcomplicating it. 
That's a great luxury. I suffered having only 6 with the Furman system.
There are some talents that don't want (can't) to learn how to do their own mix, so I use pairs of channels that I feed with Auxes. Then I'm pleased I have so many channels.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Rob Flinn

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 02:48:10 PM »
That's a great luxury. I suffered having only 6 with the Furman system.
There are some talents that don't want (can't) to learn how to do their own mix, so I use pairs of channels that I feed with Auxes. Then I'm pleased I have so many channels.

That makes sense.    Do you send drums and other parts as mixed pairs ?
regards Rob

pucho812

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2019, 03:36:50 PM »
yes 16 is a bit over kill. perhaps I will scale it back who knows.  I may even forgo doing everything and just do the splitter  that way I can put whatever I want on the end of it for mix duties for a headphone cue, not sure yet. I did design my active splitter last night.  sim has it working as intended so a prototype will be coming soon.
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

abbey road d enfer

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2019, 04:02:09 PM »
That makes sense.    Do you send drums and other parts as mixed pairs ?
Yes, drums in stereo (plus kick, plus snare), piano too.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Rob Flinn

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2019, 06:25:15 PM »
yes 16 is a bit over kill. perhaps I will scale it back who knows.  I may even forgo doing everything and just do the splitter  that way I can put whatever I want on the end of it for mix duties for a headphone cue, not sure yet. I did design my active splitter last night.  sim has it working as intended so a prototype will be coming soon.

Are you sure you need an active splitter ?   
regards Rob

john12ax7

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2019, 06:58:59 PM »
I've been happy with Rane gear for this purpose.  SM82 mixer with HC6 headphone amplifier.  Very inexpensive on the 2nd hand market
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 04:01:13 AM by john12ax7 »

Gareth Connor

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2019, 02:01:52 AM »
In 2016, colleagues & I custom designed & manufactured a foldback / cue system for Britrish Grove studios in London; we call it the BGQ System. It was discussed in an article on British Grove Studios in the March/April 2017 edition of Resolution Magazine. The attached pic is of some of the mixers in Studio 1.

The system has 8 mono & 2 stereo distribution channels. It is significantly different from other systems, in that it includes comprehensive talkback facilities allowing the musicians and control room to communicate, not only through the BGQ System, but also via the console's talkback system. A "broadcast" section allows any musician to inject a signal into his/her mixer (e.g. from an iPod) and to "broadcast" it around the network for everyonel else to hear.

It is an all-analog system.
Gareth.

Gareth Connor

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2019, 02:06:16 AM »
This is the "Hub" unit that feeds the mixers and interfaces to the studio console & studio talkback facilities.
Gareth.

Gareth Connor

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2019, 02:10:21 AM »
Close up of a BGQ Mixer; this version is the "Pro-Tools Engineer Mixer".
The "Musician Mixer" version dispenses with the two buttons in the top right corner of the unit, replacing them with an illuminated MUTE button.
Gareth.

Rob Flinn

Re: private mixers for headphone cues
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2019, 05:52:18 AM »
Interesting Gareth, your system is very similar to the one Philip at Eastcote Studios built but more comprehensive with the talkback facilities.    Is there a way for the individual to add there own desired level of reverb ?  What type of cable do you use to distribute the signals to individual mixers ?
regards Rob


 

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