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Firewire mixer as audio interface?

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...

Firewire mixer as audio interface?

Postby martenszeus » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:21 pm

Hi all,
I'm needing to replace a Focusrite Saffire LE in a church setup, with the goal of integrating the Hauptwerk instrument into a new house sound board. Can Firewire mixers such as the Mackie Onyx series fulfill this function? The idea is to route HW divisions to independent speaker arrays via the different outputs of such a board (e.g. Aux Sends 1 and 2, Monitor out, etc.) like we currently do via stereo output pairs on the Saffire LE.

One reason for this attempt is to mix the organ directly into the audio of the church's closed circuit TV network, rather than having the organ only picked up by house microphones. I just don't know enough about this type of board to know if they actually can function as the audio interface HW needs.

Running HW on a Mac mini, approx 4 years old, running Mac OSX Sierra. Thanks! Peter
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Re: Firewire mixer as audio interface?

Postby jkinkennon » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:57 am

Only the Onyx 1640i has more than a couple of Firewire output channels. With 16 in and 16 out the 1640i would do what you are wanting. I would generally discourage mixing organ and PA audio for a number of reasons, but that's not to say that it can't be a good solution in certain cases such as your need to feed an in house network.

One of the benefits will be the ability to minimize prelude and postlude crowd noise over the broadcast. I used to have a pair of congregation microphones both for recording singing and liturgy responses as well as to add a touch of reverb to broadcast channels when the sound was too monophonic and dry.

Ideally the organ would sound through its own speakers in the sanctuary, but there are no absolute rules about what can work well. The goal of organ sound and PA sound is usually somewhat at odds as one needs maximum sound dispersion and the other needs to preserve speech intelligibility with controlled dispersion for clarity. The trick may be to limit the speakers that the normal microphone inputs are routed to.
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Re: Firewire mixer as audio interface?

Postby martenszeus » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:58 pm

Thanks much for the reply - I agree that, in the sanctuary, mixing can be bad. I'm working in a small, pretty dry space, so using wet HW samples and keeping the PA side clean works fairly well (through different sets of speakers, in any case). We also have 4 ranks of real pipes, so the HW reverb actually makes them sound better as well.

I'm mainly responding to note for everyone that I've learned the Mackie Onyx line does NOT support recent Mac OSes, and so are not an option for me. I'm now looking at a Behringer Xenyx UFX 1604 - in addition to the main outs, it looks like it has 4 Aux Send channels, an Alt 3-4 out, and a control room stereo out, all of which I believe are independent (so 8 outputs beyond the master). Will confirm their independence before pulling the trigger, however!
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