Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

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Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby FlipFlopRob » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:34 am

Hi guys, I've just recently got a new Macbook Pro 15 inch with Logic Pro

I was wondering how I would set up my mixing desk with it?

I've got a Phonic Sonic Station 22 mixing desk and it's got RCA ins and outs on the back

I used to use Cubase 4 on my PC and I would connect it via the RCA input and output to the corresponding RCA ins and outs in the back of computer.

But now I've got a Macbook Pro all I have is the headphone and mic jack really.

How would I go about setting it up so I can record into my Mac? Do I need any outboard gear? Would I need to set anything up on my Mac from then on to get it working? How would I then get it on Logic Pro so that my 22 channel desk can be set up with individual channels on Logic?

Any info would be great!

Thank you!
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Postby shivermetimbers » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:41 am

The MBP will work pretty much the same way using your in and out. Keep in mind the MBP in/out jacks are stereo and you will need the appropriate 1/8" stereo cable.

A male 1/8" stereo plug out of the MBP headphone jack and into your mixer L/R tape return inputs.

A male 1/8" stereo plug into the MBP mic input coming from something like the direct outs of your channel strips.

Basically, however your mixer was routed with cubase should work the same way with Logic and the MBP in/outs.

However, +1 on uhdinator advice. Get a quality multichannel interface.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby FlipFlopRob » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:39 pm

Ok thanks guys, is there an audio interface you would recommend for connecting between this mixer and my Mac?
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby David Nahmani » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:52 pm

FlipFlopRob wrote:Ok thanks guys, is there an audio interface you would recommend for connecting between this mixer and my Mac?

Any particular reason you want to connect a mixer? In most situations I would recommend you ditch the mixer and simply connect an audio interface to your computer. My guess is you'll be using Logic (or some other DAW), which includes a mixer, so a hardware mixer would be redundant (and bring with it all sorts of unnecessary issues, challenges and problems).

If you can tell us a bit more about what you're going to do, what kind of recordings, how many simultaneous instruments, how many mics do you own or plan to buy, etc...? That would make it easier to pinpoint which interface is the best for you.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby FlipFlopRob » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:07 am

Yeah I'm using Logic, and ideally want to record live sessions for bands in the future, so that would be 8 mics for drums, few mics for guitars, and vocals etc. Obviously that will be the distant future so it's no big deal, but mainly the main thing I wanna use the mixer for is for controlling Logic via the mixer so during the mixing progress I can use the faders on the mixer to control volume and EQ knobs for the EQ etc. Thank you
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby iFish » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:35 am

Oh, man, that's not gonna work...
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby FlipFlopRob » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:56 am

Ok I sorta just read what I said before back to myself and it sounds stupid but I know what I mean.

I don't mean actually controlling anything in Logic. I mean for example, send each audio track signal in a project coming back through the mixer on individual channels, so I can record back into Logic how the channels are adjusted on the mixer ie. the volume, pan, EQ, so i'm recording from the mixer. The same sort of thing applies if I want to send audio through to a outboard compressor or reverb unit, then record the altered signal back into Logic via said outboard compressor/reverb. Thats what I want to do, but through this mixer. Can it be done?

If not, can anyone recommend a good audio interface? Not really bothered about ins and outs, preferably 4 either way. I would rather have good quality.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby ruari » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:58 am

FlipFlopRob wrote:…the main thing I wanna use the mixer for is for controlling Logic via the mixer so during the mixing progress I can use the faders on the mixer to control volume and EQ knobs for the EQ etc. Thank you

You don't want an external mixer for that, this is the kind of thing you should be looking for
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby labanino » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:28 am

David wrote:Any particular reason you want to connect a mixer?

What I really want to do is live recording. So, this is my question,if I get rid of the mixer how am I going to do the mixing? I have a Tascam US1800 8-Channel USB 2.0 as a user interface and Logic Pro 9 . Thanks. :D
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby Rev. Juda$ Sleaze » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:58 am

labanino wrote:What I really want to do is live recording. So, this is my question,if I get rid of the mixer how am I going to do the mixing?


Do it afterwards in Logic.

If you record through a mixer, you have to get everything right before you record it, and all fader movements/panning will have to be performed live as the band are playing. This is not likely to go well.

If you get an audio interface with enough inputs, the only thing you have to worry about during recording is not clipping your inputs. You can then process each input seperately, and mix them at your leisure, all in Logic. If you like the idea of physical faders and knobs, then you want a control surface, not a mixer.

If you're recording through a mixer, you end up with one stereo file that you can't do a whole lot with.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby onewave » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:34 pm

labanino wrote:
David wrote:Any particular reason you want to connect a mixer?

What I really want to do is live recording. So, this is my question,if I get rid of the mixer how am I going to do the mixing? I have a Tascam US1800 8-Channel USB 2.0 as a user interface and Logic Pro 9 . Thanks. :D

In my honest humble opinion do not get rid of the mixer, use it to its full capacity, its a wonderful tool created for making music sing!

I found a Soundcraft 600 series mixer that has been modified by Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades of California for a very reasonable price a couple of years ago.

My point is there are many out there getting rid of there mixers just like they got rid of there analog synthesizers when the digital ones first came on the market.

Now first off a cheap mixer is still a cheap mixer and I would stay with Logic then. However if your looking hard enough you can find a great analog mixer within your budget that will get you the results your looking for.

Judas- I get your point, mostly because when your recording your wanting to fine tune the mix later on, since firstly its difficult to tell how the mix sounds isolated from the room that you are amplifying a live band in.

However, lets not forget that analog mixing still has its roots in the real world and does have some benefits as opposed from a digital mix.

Now first off, an analog mixer is still a very useful tool in the hands of a professional. Not all mixers are created equal. In fact they are very heavy, have complex circuits and are generally expensive and require usually dozens of cables going in and out of the recorder/interface and all other boxes that do a job.

Every component in an audio system adds to its complexity and its noise. Most guys, myself included, want the simplicity of a small portable system and find it hard to believe that analog mixing is worth the effort. But if you really know the difference you may disagree with the mainstream way of thinking which is to forget the analog mixer and its components all together.

If you take a look at the average audio interface and its A/D components there is commonly very little circuitry involved to color the signal path going to disk. This is the way it should be and is appreciated by most. However once we have a digital signal and it is summed inside the software we have a phenomena that is not easily seen by the eye. I believe there is a digital summing engine programmed into Logic. The summing of the parts is done in a digital buss. The main benefit to this is that there is no artifacts present to increase the noise of the mix and everything is generally very quiet and predictable. Also, all of your levels, pans, effects buses, plugins and virtual instruments are then easily automated as well. I know for a fact that if you have a Metric Halo interface with the DSP option you are getting a much more highly developed mixing engine than what you get with the Logic software. Don't quote me on this but I think its much better.

Professional analog circuitry certainly does have a rich complexity that cannot be emulated easily. Although we have seen a huge leap in performance with CPU's and very creative programming we still see most sounds are trying to emulate the sounds of yesterday.

The one thing that is so important to realize about the personal computer is that indeed it has come to dominate recording today, however that does not mean that its better or more artistic and evolved than its analog ancestors, its simply just a different way of working. It was once said :

"To make haste is to make waste"

FlipFlopRob wrote:Hi guys, I've just recently got a new Macbook Pro 15 inch with Logic Pro

I was wondering how I would set up my mixing desk with it?

Thank you!


I know this is an old post, but I'm going to answer it anyway.

Believe it or not the New Macbook Pro 15 and 17 now both have an spdif 24/96 low latency digital input and output built right into the computer via mini toslink jacks. The 13in Macbook pro only has the output. Yeah, you got that right a optical digital signal going in there FAST! I have tested this puppy to work down to less than 2ms of latency! Amazing! If all you want is two ins and outs of audio then all you need is an A/D + D/A converter/s of decent quality.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby shivermetimbers » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:12 pm

onewave wrote:In my honest humble opinion do not get rid of the mixer, use it to its full capacity, its a wonderful tool created ... blah, blah, blah ...


I could give you names (but I am not going to) of a few successful mixing engineers who sit in front of the SSL desk, yet prefer to mix using the SSL software. :roll:

Bands used to get recorded to 2-track, then 4-track, then 8 track, then 16, 24, 48, etc and now to a frikken computer hard drive. :roll:

You can go onto You tube and hear some pretty amazing 'live' mixes of top bands. Most bedroom hobbyists cannot do this sort of thing because of equipment limitations.

Most of the lower end mixers eventually end up with maybe 8 mono subs = 4 stereo subs. So an eight channel audio interface will leave you at best mixing everything down to 4 stereo subgroups.

What is the advantage?

There really isn't any. The Software emulations are slowly replacing the old analog equipment and everything is heading back into the 'Box.' The mixer is basically going to add more floor noise, screw up the EQ and take up space in your bedroom. I have two mixers and a 16 track set up just for the look. I should really try to sell them, give them away, or just pay someone to take them. :cry:
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby David Nahmani » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:27 pm

shivermetimbers wrote:You can go onto You tube and hear some pretty amazing 'live' mixes of top bands. Most bedroom hobbyists cannot do this sort of thing because of equipment limitations.

I don't know about that, Shive'. The sound quality of a YouTube video's audio track is SOOOO poor that it becomes the lowest common denominator, the weak link in the chain. If you can't make a mix sound good in a YouTube video using Logic (which any bedroom hobbyist can afford now), I don't think you'll do much better with an SSL or any "more professional" equipment.

It's a sad day when we start judging of the quality of a mix by listening to a media that is absolutely horrible, way, way worse than an mp3, which is already nowhere near a PCM file. Might as well discuss the subtle differences between paint colors while wearing tinted sunglasses.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby ski » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:35 pm

shivermetimbers wrote:The mixer is basically going to...screw up the EQ ...


Screw up the EQ?
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby shivermetimbers » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:54 pm

David wrote: I don't know about that, Shive'. The sound quality of a YouTube video's audio track is SOOOO poor that it becomes the lowest common denominator, the weak link in the chain. If you can't make a mix sound good in a YouTube video using Logic (which any bedroom hobbyist can afford now), I don't think you'll do much better with an SSL or any "more professional" equipment.

It's a sad day when we start judging of the quality of a mix by listening to a media that is absolutely horrible, way, way worse than an mp3, which is already nowhere near a PCM file. Might as well discuss the subtle differences between paint colors while wearing tinted sunglasses.


I am not talking about the quality of a You Tube track, but pretend you are the mix engineer for this concert. It is one of the better mixes I have heard on You Tube.

My point is the bedroom hobbyist cannot do this with an eight channel interface and a mixer. The sound quality of the video isn't all that bad, but it is what you don't hear that makes a difference in recording a live band. You know the type of quality equipment being used to record the concert and all the knowledge involved with capturing the whole thing.

I mean, it is fun to act like a mini engineer with a mixing board and talking a band into letting you record them. It happens, but no where near the quality of the pros (regardless if it ends up on You Tube).
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby shivermetimbers » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:33 pm

ski wrote:
shivermetimbers wrote:The mixer is basically going to...screw up the EQ ...


Screw up the EQ?


Ya. Let's take your old Mackie board for example.

You do a 32 track recording and somehow you have to eek it out of a 16.4.2 mixer. So you patch your eight output interface into eight input of the Mackie. Now what?

Somehow you have to figure out what tracks are going to which output, right? Maybe you decide to go with 4 stereo pairs, who knows?

By now, you have most likely done some sort of mix prior to the outboard mixer anyway, and unless you set the mixer up properly and are going directly onto an external DAT machine (or some other device), you have screwed up the EQ. Even if you set the outboard mixer EQ and faders to 'unity,' so what? What can you possibly gain by this? All you have done is insert another noise source into a digital chain.

Most people make all the little lines on all those knobs point up to 12 o'clock as a starting point, they EQ in Logic with some screwed up 12 o'clock setting on the outboard mixer, and then maybe directly back into Logic. At the end of the day when their ears are worn out, they think they may have added 'warmth' to the mix.

I don't know how many times I threw up in my mouth watch a video of George Martin demonstrating some unimportant issue with a Beatles song. He sits at a big mixing board an moves maybe five faders.
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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby ski » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:45 pm

shivermetimbers wrote:Ya. Let's take your old Mackie board for example.


I don't use that board for mixdown, but OK, let's keep it as an example.

You do a 32 track recording and somehow you have to eek it out of a 16.4.2 mixer. So you patch your eight output interface into eight input of the Mackie. Now what? Somehow you have to figure out what tracks are going to which output, right? Maybe you decide to go with 4 stereo pairs, who knows?


That sounds about right, say, for printing four stereo stems. But to configure things up, that's child's play. No mystery of difficulties to be had.

By now, you have most likely done some sort of mix prior to the outboard mixer anyway, and unless you set the mixer up properly and are going directly onto an external DAT machine (or some other device), you have screwed up the EQ.


Setting up the mixer properly isn't difficult. And it's not always the case that the benefits you get from using outboard gear come with a "gotcha" like noise, distortion, or coloration. So "screwing up the EQ" is not a given. If anything, one of the benefits of using a mixer is specifically to color the sound with its EQ. And sometimes it's just to get the sound of the board's electronics, with the EQ switched out. Not sure I'd do either thing with my Mackie, but if I still had my D8B or my Ghost console I'd be using them for exactly that purpose.

Even if you set the outboard mixer EQ and faders to 'unity,' so what? What can you possibly gain by this? All you have done is insert another noise source into a digital chain.


I addressed the what-can-be-gained thing above. And if your gain staging is done properly and you're using a decent mixer, the amount of noise that you'll hear in the final result will be negligible. Worse case scenario is you run the output of the board through a noise gate to mask any low level hiss during silent passages. Or you do the same thing using a noise gate plug in Logic once you've recorded the track. Or split silence. A little bit of time needed for that, but really it's no big deal if what you gained from the outboard makes your ears happy! (Where's that happy-ears emoticon when you really need it, eh?)

Most people make all the little lines on all those knobs point up to 12 o'clock as a starting point, they EQ in Logic with some screwed up 12 o'clock setting on the outboard mixer, and then maybe directly back into Logic. At the end of the day when their ears are worn out, they think they may have added 'warmth' to the mix.


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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby shivermetimbers » Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:31 am

ski wrote: I addressed the what-can-be-gained thing above. And if your gain staging is done properly and you're using a decent mixer, the amount of noise that you'll hear in the final result will be negligible. Worse case scenario is you run the output of the board through a noise gate to mask any low level hiss during silent passages. Or you do the same thing using a noise gate plug in Logic once you've recorded the track. Or split silence. A little bit of time needed for that, but really it's no big deal if what you gained from the outboard makes your ears happy! (Where's that happy-ears emoticon when you really need it, eh?)That's too cynical even for me! Shiv! Babe! It's not ALL snake oil.


All of that can be done within Logic (and other third party plug ins). Low end mixers are really pointless and useless for mixing out of Logic. All pain and no gain.

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Re: Connecting Macbook Pro to mixing desk?

Postby onewave » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:06 am

shivermetimbers wrote:blah, blah, blah ...


Don't you like to sing? :D
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