HW Eurorack: Mixer decisions

So, having been totally spoilt in VCV by MixMaster, I need a decent mixer in my hardware Eurorack modular.

I don’t really do ‘live’ performances, so a cue feature isn’t that important, and I already have various modules for external inputs and outputs and monitoring/headphones etc

But I would very much like a mixer that has effect sends, and if possible control over pre/post fader.

Currently my main two contenders are:

WMD - Performance Mixer MKII

and

Boredbrain Music - Xcelon

Seems like the Xcelon is a bit cheaper and less HP so I am leaning that way, but I really need some nice YouTuber to do a comparison video for me :innocent:

I am also considering:

After Later Audio - Bartender

and

Xaoc Devices - Ostrawa and/or Praga

Help, how do I decide?

I know it is not much of a help but I abandonned in rack mixing I started using my Mackie 1202 VLZ4 again and I love it. Sounds lovely when distorted, has a lot of routing, and so. Much. Cheaper.

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The PM MkII and Xcelon have evolved very similar designs, so this is pretty straightforward. Now that PM MkII has been finalized, I’d do a feature-by-feature comparison to the Xcelon and see if there’s anything you need in the MkII to offset the extra cost (and the few features the Xcelon has that the MkII doesn’t). The MkII demos at Superbooth should land within 48 hours.

(I’m sure you’ve seen the Xcelon vs. PM MkI comparison but the MkII is substantially different from the MkI).

Major differences to consider:

  • Most obviously, six (Xcelon) versus eight (PM MkII) channels [but see the point below about returns] and expander blocks in three channels (Xcelon) versus four (PM MkII).
  • You say you don’t need cueing, so that’s +1 Xcelon (which has a less developed A/AB/B system).
  • You already have output/monitoring, so that’s +1 Xcelon (the PM MkII has you paying again for stuff you already have).
  • Really, really bafflingly, PM MkII seems to have two stereo aux sends and only one stereo aux return, with no level control. Practically, this means that if you have developed aux effect needs, you’ll burn the extra two channels on the PM MkII as aux returns. I don’t understand this decision and frankly wonder if I’m missing something.
  • Meanwhile, the Xcelon has independent returns and level controls over both–great–but it forces you to assign BOTH returns simultaneously to A/AB/B. This is more understandable but somewhat limiting/irritating.
  • If you’re not doing live performance, you may not have as much need for mute/cue groups (which are VERY nice live; PM MkII has what I assume will be a great implementation, following the MkI, and Xcelon has nothing).
  • Xcelon is more spacious in every way. However, pre/post and VCA are configured via jumpers (boooo).

I wish there were an Xcelon MkII on the way that had switches instead of jumpers, independent routing of the two returns, a group control, and a slightly rethought A/AB/B system.

That said, given your stated needs, I’d probably go with the Xcelon. (EDIT: or just go with a Mackie, per @TanaBarbier–lots of advantages there if you have space for the footprint)

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For my studio environment, I prefer a standalone analog mixer. I’m using a 30+ year old Samson 15 track stereo mixer, even though I have 32 tracks of digital mixing and recording hardware. In my Eurorack, I have a Pittsburgh Lifeforms System Interface 6 channel mixer and a single 4 stereo channel unity mixer. I also have ~6 small standalone 4 stereo channel mixers, but, I have lots of synths and other equipment in the studio. In reality, I seldom power up the hardware studio these days.

I can concur that the WMD PM is awesome. I have the old version, Mk1, and honestly I like the layout a lot better than the newest Mk2. Actually, I was a but surprised since I saw a Mk2 months ago and it looked just like the Mk1 and i thought it was perfect that they brought it back, but I guess they needed something new and shiny to justify the rather large increase in price…

The PM takes a LOT of power (550mA for MkII!), but it has all the MixMaster features you probably want. Mk1 is much more like the mixmaster in layout and uses less power (440mA). It sounds really nice when overdriven, and has a lot of extra gain per channel.

The older Mk1 has a little bit of bleed and noise, but it’s not terrible. WMD claims the new Mk2 makes these issues better, but really I don’t like the new layout. I don’t send a lot of stereo into the mixer, instead turning mono into stereo, so the Mk1 is perfect for me. I can highly recommend trying to find an old one, $1600 is way expensive for a mixer no matter how nice IMO.

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I’ve been battling with this question for some months but am pretty much resolved on a modular approach.

I was much taken with NE’s Xer and even more so by After Later’s very keenly priced Bartender+, but I’ve now decided on building another five DivKid Stereo Strips to go with my existing one, and with the DivKid Output Bus which I built recently.

I’m currently using an AI Synthesis Stereo Matrix Mixer for my effects routing so that would sit in front of the rest.

It’s a large solution, but that does’t bother me, because I really want the EQ (and distortion) from the Stereo Strip.

Currently I stick submixes out into a Tascam Model 12, but I am short of channels there, and EQ is very important because I mix in hardware, I don’t mix later in a DAW. I don’t record much, but when I do I record on the desk.

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