Mixer AUX effect routing question


New member
I got exhausted making music staring into ableton and using a mouse, and picked up a few hardware pieces I enjoy, but I hate having to plug and unplug everything, so I'm trying to run everything through a mixer so that I can just sit down and start working.

I have 4 mono sources: 1) a digital synth (microfreak), 2) an analog synth (k2/m20), and 3) a semimodular (ø-Coast), [I also have a contact microphone and a stereo condensor, and would ideally like those connected as well, but let's leave those two out for now...]

1 stereo source: 4/5) Digitkakt

2 effects pedals a stereo reverb (HOF2) and a stereo delay (Nemesis)

I only have a Sound Devices Mixpre3 that I use both as an audio recoder, for live jams and sketches, and a 2 channel audio interface.

I picked up a Quad-splitter to split the midi from the digitakt to the 3 mono sources and the Nemesis delay, and I also have midi coming into the digitakt from a keystep - that's all fine.

I picked up a Behringer Xenyx 1202 FX locally for next to nothing, and it worked fine. Plugged in everything, could adjust levels and hear through headphones, could send the mix into my MixPre for recording or sending to the computer. Preamps may have been a bit sketchy compared to the mixpre, but not a big deal. The problem was how to get these two effects to work, and I found that if I put them in an effects loop, I either had to have them both on, or neither, which started to drive me crazy.

The forums listed all kinds of expensive guitar effects routing solutions, but when someone was selling a brand new Soundcraft 12MTK for $300, it seemed the perfect solution: I'd have 12 channels of audio interface, which alone cost as much or more than the mixer, but then 3 channels of aux, so I could separately route effects into the reverb, or the delay, or the internal (or a new effect down the road.)

Problem is, I cannot wrap my head around this thing at all, and the manual is absolutely no help. First off, when I plug in my gear, I can hear it through the headphone jack even when the master levels are turned down. WTF? Second, I've tried to route the two mono sends into the two effects pedals, then collect the stereo signals and merge them back into ONE stereo signal, which comes in at 9/10. So I assumed, adjust send levels on the individual channels, then raise 9/10 for an overall effects volume. No. The effects, first of all, don't sound right at all, but also they come in depending on how much I raise the master signal for each channel on the fader. (?!?) And the 9/10 fader seems to do nothing.

I just have no idea why the routing is so wierd, and how to make it more straightforward. I love the idea of sending the channels out to the computer, through computer effects, then back into the mixer, then back to either the computer or a recorder to record, but I kind of wanted to wait to get into that complexity for later. I just want to be able to quickly and easily hear by 3 mono and 1 stereo source, and send the two effects pedals to each. That's it. Is that possible, or do I have to sell this and get something more basic? Or is what I'm asking just impossible without esoteric gear, and I should maybe just forget about the effects pedals altogether? I really, really don't want to have to rewire the damn delay pedal to a different source every single time I want to switch sources. I'd rather just go back to using ableton...

Please help. Thanks!
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Guitar effects pedals are made for guitar. They are almost always a problem and need massaging when trying to use them otherwise; we'd need to have a look at your mixer and a manual to try and help you find a solution, but rackmount line-level effects are the way to go if you are doing a hardware thing. As to your hearing inputs even when faders are pulled, you probably have a pfl switch selected somewhere (or on each channel)? This is a way to hear the input source before the fader (pfl = pre-fader listen). Look for that.

Also, when you do get to the "source to computer to mixer to computer, etc.etc., etc.," you're going to have to be aware of feedback loops and latency. Just a heads-up!

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Thank you for the nice comments. Ill never get tired of that place This was the fifth straight year weve been there.