Model One Music Mixer
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Fascinating product! Found you via Youtube. Perhaps via Wave Music Tech Talk for Gearheads forum before that?
I’m wondering, how can the mixer be passive? Don’t mixers need to be pre-amps as well? I’m not talking about phono pre-amps, since as you told me via Youtube, this mixer requires you to provide your own pre-amps. I’m talking about the need for some pre-amplification before it gets to the power amp. Isn’t that necessary?
Jesse aka Lime Twig
Very good question Jesse. Don’t mixers need to be pre-amps as well? That’s what I thought first…but today’s digital equipment has very hot line outputs, and an additional preamp stage is not necessary: Try to connect at home your CDJ directly to your integrated amplifier, with no mixer in between. You’ll see that it sounds clear and loud.
The only downside about passive equipment is that it won’t like to drive long output cables. This mixer is conceived for connecting it’s output to an isolator. So the cable will be very short
Typically at home, you’ll then connect everything to an integrated amplifier, or preamp/power amp combo (same thing).
An integrated amplifier provides for master volume control, and some additional preamplification.
An important note. Due to the passive design, you will need to turn the volume knob a bit more than what you’re used to on your amplifier. This will not be a problem given that you will remember to turn the volume knob down before switching to another source.
In the club, you usually have a preamp/xover/processor which has it’s own input gain control. And provides very often more gain than necessary (it is rare to see everything cranked up at max).
Hope this clarifies a bit. I will post photos and examples of how to use at best the mixer. It is not an object for everybody, and every situation, but I think it’s really great to use if it’s suitable for your setup.
You can build your own mixing console hooking up also a separate volume meter, 1 or 2 isolators, a line output distributor if you need more gain and output flexibility, and fit everything nicely in a beautiful rack.
Wow, thought of building something like this, and after a simple search there you are… great minds must think alike.
Great concept. keeping things simple should be a general rule of life, not always possible thou.
Was wondering if a “MASTER VOLUME” could be added without disturbing the signal quality too much or at all.
Thanks for your comment. I’ve been working for years in software usability and user interface design so I definnitely agree with you that often “less is more”!
Let’s discuss about the master volume feature.
In a home environment you’ll hook up the mixer to an integrated amplifier, which has it’s own volume control. Typically remoted in recent amps.
By the way, I’ve been using mainly three amps for my tests: an Exposure 2010, a PS Audio Trio C100, and a T-amp clone.
While I do understand that in some situations a master volume control can be handy, I came to the conclusion thath It is much better to control volume only from the amplifier – there are a number of technical and usability reasons.
A minimal signal path is always better from an audiophile standpoint, and besides this, if you’d be playing with a low master mix volume and your amp turned all the way up, you would amplify a lot also the noise picked up by cables, etc – this is never a good situation even with a classic mixer.
In that case things would’t be much better even with an isolator connected between the mixer and the amp, as I do. The mixer’s output would be too low to properly drive the isolator input.
Without a master volume control you can’t have this problem – and you can avoid also another issue.
If after playing with a low master volume, you switch the amp to another input – ie to play a dvd – and forget to turn the amp WAY down, you are going to jump away from the speakers, for a pretty obvious reason.
While being an easy to avoid issue, I had it happen a couple of times especially when having some dj friends test the toys – so, for me, no master volume in the house.
A master volume was not provided since you are going to achieve much better dynamic range using the amplifier’s attenuator – especially if you have an isolator after the mixer.
In some installs there are processors/mixers/splitters AFTER the DJ mixer, so you might have no need of that if those are at hand, and you would always use at best your system.
Of course the model one mixer is not a solution for every place, but it is a very flexible piece of equipment.
In many clubs you won’t find rotary mixers, and sometimes they are in bad condition.
Due to it’s passive nature you can hook up with no fear the model one mixer’s output TO the a line input channel on the club’s mixer, raise the channel’s input fader, adjust the gain knob, tuck the big old mixer away and just use the model one to play for the rest of the night.
This setup can be also interesting for “expanding” and ordinary 3 or 4 channel mixing to allow two DJs to play together.
Looks great! Just wondering can serato be attached or how as I only see two inputs on this? i’m mainly a vinyl spinner but like to use serato as well?
I was a Serato early adopter here in Italy – I went from the SL1 to SL3 when the SL3 came out.
The SL3 provides much hotter outputs, providing an easier match to many mixers, including especially a passive one.
The Rane SL3 audio interface is what I am using everyday in conjunction with the Model One mixer – and since it has a software thru switch, it enables me to seamlessly select the source.
So you are in the classic old school situation of two switchable input channels – but the classic LINE/PHONO switch (or better, serato/CDJ or serato/vynil) is not on the mixer – but in the Serato software interface. No switches to break, no signal loss, very simple hookup.
Plus, the SL3 adds it’s great Rane phono preamps, which are essential if you want to use vinyl with the Model one without adding more boxes
As you can see, I’ve built this mixer with the SL3 in mind – and also sometimes use it’s third input to record via rca splitters.
hey there, any plans for a vinyl turntable specific version of this, w/proper grounding and etc?
Remember, if you are a Serato user, the RANE SL3 audio interface provides phono preamps enabling the Model One Music mixer to work with turntables without any other add ons.
Let’s go back to your specific question.
The answer is “NO”. Why? There are plenty of high quality phono preamps in the market which will sound much better than the typical dj mixer built in phono preamps. Let’s make some examples.
The NAD PP2
…or get a bargain on the famous and discontinued NAD PP1
or go more exotic here
There are LOTS of great designs and different pricing options.
Many people keep asking me if I plan to build an isolator too. I do not currrently plan to do so. Let me explain why: there are too many high end isolators on the market, I don’t care to build another.
My personal favourite is the SDX isolator, and I have an E&S too at home.
Lots of possible choiches include Dope Real, Vestax (which I had but didn’t love), Bozak.
Nice looking project! Do u sell them? Kit?
What is the best “isolator” for superb sound-quality.
can you please post a picture of the full back of the unit? thanks!
new pictures are on the website. A locking XLR connector is used for the 12v external power supply.
The power supply is a convenient, small universal voltage 100-240 VAC to 12V DC switching unit and it does not affect the mixer output sound quality due to the passive design.
any chance of making it a 4 channel mixer i have Traktor
It’s not planned in the near future. The gain loss might be less than ideal for most setups. You may need an active preamp stage afterwards, or you may not take full advantage of your amplifier power.
When are these going on the market?
With regard to the headphone selector positions, can you listen to both channels at once inside your headphones?
No. The middle position shuts off the headphone.
I take custom orders. Mass production is not planned yet. It’s a niche object mate!
it would be nice if it had a monitor output and loop effects if no preamp guess thats why u dont have a master gain
True. It would not be passive then – it would be another mixer.
cool idea, but I have a question.
can you advise me on a dual phono rack pre-amp. my idea is to have you mixer on the bottom rung of the rack, followed by an isolater in the rack above it, and then a rack vu meter on top. I would like it all to fit togeher in a rack neatly, so it can be move easilty, rather than having to have two of those large boxy NAD style things
Supercool idea. I saw a rack mounted phono preamp os StereoPhile some time ago, will post it if I find it again, sorry! Was in the 1000$ range – pretty expensive and very high end. Sounds like the easiest thing to do would be to just buy a rack 1u cover and stick a couple of small preamps on the back, securing them neatly and possibly keeping them far from their external power suppplies.
Hey Matteo, it’s been a while. Nice idea with the mixer, keeping the signal path as pure as possible. A thought for use in a studio/home environment: if you require an amplifier to drive passive speakers, try to get a pure Class A type. Most modern power amps are Class D, or H, and the input signal is heavily manipulated – reducing the purity of the signal. If you’re on a budget, you can usually find good quality Class A examples on ‘that’ auction site!