Workshop 3 - Rotary Mixers with Shaun Witcher and Zach Stone


Decibel Conference


Lesson Info

Workshop 3 - Rotary Mixers with Shaun Witcher and Zach Stone

I'm very proud to introduce sean witcher and jack stone from rain who are here today to talk about their new and exciting rotary mixer that's the twenty fifteen uh m p twenty fifteen mixer and there's some really cool things that you can do with this mixer, so I'm going to give them a warm welcome when you take it away thank you for coming and checking us out money michelle this is act here and we're going toe over the rating twenty fifteen mixer and give you a brief I'm three way not involved the d j business on then when you threw a little bit of mystery rotary mixers on the line, we decided to build a new one uh twenty fifteen s first off rain was founded in nineteen eighty one, their local company based on a mobile tio almost the entire duration everything is designed and built just up north. Everyone in toward the factory I just give us a rain and you're welcome to come by on get a factory tour on you can see how we build all these. So I got to the professional audio business and ...

make anyone on designed a lot of signal processing here on ly sound here uh richard long from richard long and associates, another familiar you design the sound systems and a club in stalls for clubs like studio fifty four paradise garage some really famous clubs he approached rain on the early eighties to build now famous are lay uh crossovers the the isolators hey was so impressed with our build of those isis layers that he talked us into building deacon mixers so we worked richard long on came out with our very first egypt mixer and nineteen eighty six is the empty twenty four that's the longest running deejay mixer uh in the world I mean built that for twenty years so that's a brief history of how we got into the deejay industry and on our first deejay mixer rotary mixers go back to the seventies uh it was rudy bozak that built the very first rotary mixer in nineteen seventy one and the bozak was really popular for for djs and that was pretty much the only road region mixer up until nineteen eighty two win year got into the market started building rotary mixers for take the place of those x er right got into the rotary mixer world in nineteen ninety nine way built the empty twenty sixteen with the expander of the extra twenty sixteen it was a nineteen inch six channel laurie mixer and the expander gave you keys berg panel along with the cross stater uh we built that up until uh, until this year s o uh that is kind of the history, the rotary mixers and uh and the twenty fifteen umb was just kind of accumulation of everything we had learned with dj mixers over the years on we really wanted rotary mixers toe come back a lot of djs love the rotary mixers, but no one was really using them live they're all mostly nineteen and tracks, so they're really inconvenient carry around tour with and to set up you had to have a specific rack and deejay booth, so it was kind of harry s o we worked with the bunch of djs over the over a couple of years to build this to come up with design ideas way worked with people like doc martin, mark farina dixon mental ato been ufo a whole bunch of djs way gave a long questionnaire asked them what they wanted but they didn't like and we did a lot of rapid prototyping uh just a digital mock ups so even come up with some ideas show to them get you your name on that kind of collect all that and finally this was the final product it's a really unique mixer I'm gonna have zack kind of take over from here and go over some of the unique features and uh and then we'll have a special guest at the end that will briefly go over how he uses it for production there's two sound parts in here so it's it's great for that so get going so yeah, this is sort of a dream for sean and I because we've been arraigned he's been there for almost twelve years and I'm in there pretend and if anyone is known or has been listening tio paid attention what range been doing for the last ten years it's pretty much been predominantly in the hip hop world working with serato scratch live on dh john and I are more from the underground techno house scene and we've been really pushing for rain to make this mixture for a long time um it's uh it's definitely you know, morphed into what it is from everybody's input but you know we're really happy that rain was in the position to be able to put out a rotary mixer like this and mass manufacturer it and have it be exactly what way needed as djs today in today's world so it's kind of a throwback mixer but it's giving you what you were used to back then and then I'm full much more for more today's tj um we it was important for us with this region with this mixture to make it really simple for people to walk up teo and understand because we knew that a lot of the newcomers are easter rotary mixers you know they look at it it's confusing so way didn't want to put a bunch of buttons and a bunch of options on this we really wanted to to keep it simple. So it is a pretty simple mixer. I mean, for for channel mixer you have your volume, not their excuse me your volume? Not here above that there's a there's a three band filters e of a high a full high pass filter. Ah, full low pass filter and then ah, low pass combo see a three position switch here that you can use and then you have a filter on off, but and then of course, low minute hike! You gain up here just typical channel strip if you keep moving over to the right of four channels, you're going to see that this fifth channel over here, which is the sub mix bus, which is something that I needed in a mixer for a long time because I use tractor and I play techno and I like to play multiple sources and I was always running up into this problem of having, you know, three or four things in the mix and then needing three hands teo, you know, go into a breakdown and have to, you know, control all these sounds. So I really wanted that to make sure and so that's what this is you, khun route any of these four channels too the sub mix bus and control the audio of of everything here with just one control strip and that's simply done by pressing this sub button at the top so if you're if you want to send something over there first and foremost you're gonna want to make sure that the level of over the mix not was all the way up in the sub mix plus and that the issues are dead center as long as that's the case and make sure the filters off to um whatever you send over there was going to get sent over there completely transparent and about four you can make adjustments over here and I can showcase that really quick so president sound yeah that so so I could send it over there now it's now it's over here I can still make my justin's on my channel could still take up a base on the channel whatever but now I can also do over here and it's full fully keep cut here too and well in control here so um yeah, as far as the filter sounding saw this filters down amazing on this mixture of precision with these soldiers not like anything I've ever had on any mixer and honestly I can't plan anything but this makes it such as so spoiled with precision of this thing. So um to demonstrate how the high pass sounds concern the filter on make sure it's all the way to the right for high pass and I have there's a resonance not here also that controls the residents of all the filters, so just demonstrate without any residents. Wait, I really like you turning out all the way out is gonna turn it up. Dbs um, so turn that off will move this over the past setting turned out a little about getting back on again. So loathe? Yeah, a range. Yeah. Thank you. Really. You know, a lot of people find most djs, I would say all they're used to tracks. And when you present him with this mixer, though, I'll need all that stuff on it and then they look at this sudden excellent. Well, what am I getting that for? Well, one one tip that I've been telling my might to track buddies to get into the sub mix that I love things. I usually put all my filters on high power setting so I can just use that to take out my base for only tracks. But now I'll put this on low pounds and now I have a low am high for the one channel and that gives you a lot of control when you want to dial and like really want to get that base residents going or something so that's changed my world d jane and so that's just a little tip I like to tell people about some express myself using soldiers like you flat and using just the filters to make songs and now it's like a scalpel you could really fine tune it because of you haven't sent all high fashion and the full range of that gives you just a ton of resolutions really dialogue so that's something explosive over young discover here this session input. So this is a duel sound card twenty four minute ninety six k's super high end cars went after wait did research on what sound card being used out there but pretty hot mistress leaving stuff on it was the army, which is what was people were using so way we looked after went after like how good that was nature that it was good, better and so this, we believe, is better high quality sound parts in this in this unit. So you have another usb streaming channels of the session and put almost makes is just a typical ham along and put a plug in ipod into it extreme arguing that channel usually just have a client control for the section input what's different about this is an analog session and puts you can plug in I bought in the market and it's also used the session but so what I use that for on my performance is all used tractor off my four decks and tractor here and that all run machine is in session and you could simply run in the session, but just having body control from school what makes it even better? Is it now you compress the sub but now you can send whatever's coming in that session and put into the sub makes us and I have a fully huge on a suite of filter on buying control and just waiting more control of your entire makes using that so essentially it's a fifth channel it's a fictional right which could be part of the sound card usb or like an auxiliary input so you have four turntables and a c d day that connected you could do that using that also added with within sort of the sub makes area is the external expects external processing and in and out so you can plug like I use a court chaos pad and I run that into the expects in and out and to use it just turn it on and send whatever whatever he said in some makes bus is sensitive that's processor back and so you're able to use you know, whatever, whatever you want externally and then you have a wet dry option here for for the fact that can be added to say anything it's going some makes or you can flip the switch and just having back everything coming out so there I like to use it on just to some because you're playing like a delay or something that could get pretty harry s so you can, like, apply the filter to be affect you're putting on or the hughes you can, you can tweet, um, you know, the audio that's coming back using all the controls on the fit channel sexual handy on then the other huge thing about this mixture, obviously, is the isolator on top? You know, seeing these on d j mixers on this is amazing isolator, you know, people use ice leaders to tune rooms. That's generally what? I use this for now, before having this option, you don't really know what you're missing, but they have this appeared to be able to, you know, bring up the highs and about whatever turned down is really nice was really special about this so that it has these crossover no ally to really die. A land, what frequencies you want to accentuate or or decrease in the mix. So the crossover between the loads and made roles roles from eighty yards up to six hundred forty hertz, and then from mid to high is a thousand killer incentive, eh? Just wait. But now you can roll this crossover really, time really, really take up it's, almost like having a new additional often filter for your home may now but it's a process you can go into some really sweet breakdowns with on then whenever you're ready to bring me back and turn it off really fun to play with let's see what else? What else should we talk about? The mixers tractors certified how many tractor djs air out there but if you're using tractors and gets two point eight uh were higher um you can plug right in and if you'd like to use vinyl to control tractor, it does that it does tvs control uh you do the same thing with cd players and tractor uh and an auto maps everything, so if you have that version a tractor to later higher, you can plug in and around us all the outputs for you around the record output so you can record all your sets digitally, which is really nice, you know, run into a separate unit in the next, according to a bunch of words you can have a tractor recorded just all straight away and then you can take that way file and edited down or whatever you want to do with it. It also recently got cerrato certifying if you have a club kid um you can't use throughout a deejay with this mixer, so but you're on tractor or from d j you can plug in uh and go you have to bring in a separate card with you a lot of people carry around like a nestle for itself three bucks but you don't need that you can just plug right in cuts down on the set up quite a bit of a first rate uh track certified and worked a strategy so for us this is like waiting for this for a really long time yeah yeah two usb ports thinking really easy tio dj back and forth I have seen a lot of djs over the years used to separate boxes there like native instruments boxes or saraya boxes and they have toe you know, get there and there's like a dozen wires that they have to connect and then they're trying to swap out and said with this you can plug into computers at the same time there's two usb ports and switching between computers is really easy appear you can can't really read it from there and you're people and he s o when when you're ready just flip it to age you're on a b if you're on the end of your channels that makes going back to back really easy the other thing I've been then james we're gonna change patrick talked about how he uses this could see you fell in love with this next game one in the studio and this is such a great piece for the deejay slash producer who's trying to bring those two worlds even closer and this this is helped us dramatically in that um I used a machine to make music so I've been routing, you know, my base here, my drums here my my leads here whenever and using it of mixing console that actually record back into my computer what I'm doing and mixing a lot and making you know james talks a lot about, you know, kind of living in the music and and it helps with just the creative process to be ableto to use the same tool that you're going to be performing with in the studio because it just really melds that all the other saying I have lived these two different worlds um on the backside it's class compliant s o if you do want to use it at a club, you could just plug right in like try to find wife like somewhere download in stole and all that you can you can just plug in uh your mac will be like I know what that is ongoing able to use it with windows you do have to install the as you drivers for it that's the windows thing but with mac makes it real easy so you can use it just as a a core audio device um and because it's a class compliant you complain in an ipad on uh stream audio intothe some like that um wait you have a disk that comes with it do pick one up on and on the disc we have our own control panel and the control panel has actions that you can tweak inside the mixer uh right now we have the scent I forget that the crossing points I think it's one fifty for the base and I forget with the high is but you can adjust that so right now it's uh it's defaults at one fifty if you want more base cut traditionally brain mixers like the original twenty sixteen the basement cut at three hundred s o you want that cut points you can go into the control panel and you could change that um that's that's really handy um and you could do it for each of the channels and the sub mix bus um what other options are in the control booth turn the mike off if you don't wanna hear that mix it's actually and so if you're playing somewhere there's a guy that's getting on the mike a lot on and you can't you know you don't want that to be any recording you could go into the control panel and there's a feature called clean team and if you enable that michael go out the mains but it's not going to go out the booth and it's not going to be picked up if you're recording the mains like in my tractor or ableto shukan blab away uh and it's not gonna be any recording with which is really nice it's a nice perk oh yeah what she's for yeah this mixer like this to james one of the first things that he did was just turned every knob on the entire mixture and he's got a bad sound sound system in his studio and he was blown away that lack of any noise which is incredible you don't get that tea she plus and on this is point zero zero zero nine I think I got that right uh which is ah it's a fraction of a fraction of a fraction so uh it's not noisy at all that had him on the things in incredible ahs well on vinyl behavior of your final deejay and you've been disappointed with total preempts and like a like a pioneer or allocates or whatever um we completely redesigned the final gramps and hear from the ground up there's a guy in this room that actually engineered this I won't embarrass him with rain almost thirty years uh designing all of our mixers rig jess is his name I could mention his name I want to hear some um so he designed the original twenty sixteen that the path if you're familiar with that pretty much every mixer after the twenty four on it was his mission with this one to just throw everything at him to design that the best any mixer he can possibly design and and I think you really you really nailed it really outdid himself on for you know, for someone that's been designing mixtures that long toe to kind of free range to, you know, find the best audio co next to make the d a conversion eighty conversion sound the best and tohave ah vinyl sound really good it really shows with this mixer on now it sounds good job e think that pretty much covers that I don't know if I missed anything as far as maybe lou does track on each deck and then we'll show him how you can bounce stuff to the sub mix on one of the tricks to hear if you're not doing you know, four decks on james you taught me this at nam in january he would tweet the sub mix all all squarely with the and the filter and then he would understand over there um you know, two at a time or whatever just for like a quick change and punch it out so it was a really creative way to use a sub mix other than just combining a bunch of stuff going into some things too like a delay or something you just punching it out too, so that it's fun that's another trick that I've been really enjoying to you with that punching in and out is uh you know you have two tracks going and you'll have, you know, the base cut out on one of them and bassist playing on the other hand, I'll send one of these over this the one that I'm mixing in the one that I'm mixing in all sending some mixed but take the high end out of it a little bit and then when I'm coming up on my brave when I'm gonna drop base the other one take a basic level now all punch and take out the hive basically diversity so you know and then it just takes over the whole frequency and rain so it's like a switch, you know, and it's just finally you just punch in and out you those sorts of changes it's just a lot you can get a lot more creative there so many options on here for control just the creativity and it's just mind blowing there is it's a twenty four channel sound cards you have ten play back channels uh and uh ten er and twelve and twelve record but anyway, so fourteen record my bad I forgot to include that s o what you can do in tractor or even able to a cz you can stream for tracks into this mixer on then you can take those tracks and record those separately enable ten s so you can have what's coming there and then you can multi track record everything you're doing s o if you're jamming live and able to you can record all that I didn't go back you take what you like edit things on do a lot of really cool production stuff or even deejay says a good friend of mine uh here carlos doesn't he goes by does only makes house records he made his mix um using this and he did it all end ableto hey setting up enable ten hey stream tracks from mableton and a multi track recorded it and then went back through later on ah and added some of facts and did some edits on really was ableto spice up? This makes quite a bit more channels one, two, three, four this is another usp stream the whole sub mix so enable teo you have four tracks you can record what's coming to the sub mix any report was coming to the session input and your record recorded the main output so like you can go in and dissected like everything that you're doing uh, even the effects so it's so I think I cover that I would like to invite james appear to talk about how he uses this mixer in his live performance in c d you talk a lot, james explaining, but you do this massive set up around everything through twenty fifteen there, so they're ok with this microphone is on that'll be perfect you guys going to be awesome? I'm going to quit because these guys actually are the geez I was lucky enough I think at namur moge fester somewhere or a decibel festival to run into these guys and just be lucky enough become their friends and partially because I think rain for those of you who have been deejaying on turntables for a long time I know I did for a really long time rain is really like the king of mixer design and hardware build quality so before computers were around rain was really the boss of high quality deejay mixers as technology started shifting you know every company's embracing a lot of dsp functionalities and a lot of routing flexibility and stuff rain took a little extra time coming to the call they have some other digitally supported mixers but this thing really I think personally believe kind of devastates the competition and the biggest reason is because of that dsp support that is built in of course the hardware build quality is still the best anywhere of any mixer ever in my opinion but I think in the industry's opinion as well but how I run the mixer I use able to live and I do like this live set and I also do a little deejaying in the mix depending on what kind of gig it is but I'm able to be really flexible with the mixer through the routing matrix my life said his four drum machines and then four since for leads air base so that's track one on the rain rotary is all four of my able to drum machines, so I consult mixed them on the push of the a p c but I have one big mega knob with a filter and e q that aiken bused to the sub group with all my drum machines. Channel two is almost since and leads so in live tracks five through eight are all going through track too. So now on two knobs I have all my drums and all my sins with their own filters or a master I so track three is all my like effects and other not audio effects but like transition sounds and other candy type elements and basically, if miley live seven a bolton is maybe sixteen channels of content, I can get those all down to those four main tracks really easily. And so I still keep in a pc or a push around so I can sub mix those drum kits and some mixed those since or whatever. But really the performance component performance element of my life hands on experience is all done right on the knobs, and so for those who use many controllers lot, they're really fun, but nothing really compares actually touching with your hands the sound it feels this a lot more live, you know and lay out all the knobs that you want to crank on a really far apart, and the knob field is just beautiful. So for really long sets or late late night sets, which, as you get more into doing house and techno atleast it seems like that's the direction things go. This is a great mixer for those really long sets, like if you're flying every day for your job, you don't ride in coach, you know what I'm saying? So this is your chance to really, like, break things down, keep it easy to use, be ableto get really loose and really exploratory while having total control, so to top off my main output for my those four channels. In addition to that, I use the roland tr eight, as well as a euro rack modular synth, and so that takes advantage of the additional analog inputs on the back of the box. So while my usb cable is handling all twenty four channels or sixteen channels or whatever and busting through the main tracks, I'm running my analog instruments into the analog ins in the back, and I can either bus those right to the subgroup, which will allow that specific filtering india queuing, but better yet usb recording now of those elements. But also now I have I could I could keep those right on the session input of the michael line and put like sean and zach were saying and that still keeps that subgroup free for some mixing I don't know if you guys have tried this but you can actually have all of that stuff dumping into the sub group if you want tio so aiken subgroup my individual channels and filter them and do that trick and meanwhile still be dumping my year iraq or my tr eight into that same subgroup so while I'm playing there's basically the mixer is this kind of living breathing documents that I get to just kind of break while I'm playing and make it to really top it all off welcome to like twenty sixteen anytime in previous hardware designs for performance when you engage and disengage dsp there's the pop or the clue for the little d c offset sound or this is just like the worst ever because if there's a little click on the dance floor in a big p a you you suck so um now I'm not the dsp programmer but the way I see it is that all of the audio is phase compensated for all those dsp functions all day long even if you're not using them so what that means is that with very, very low latent because the thing runs at ninety six k with like a hundred some mega amount of headroom twenty four bits but also all of that is phase common status you can engage with subgroups the filters, the master I so route stuff and you never once here click or a pop ever I mean that to me makes it actually really, really useful. I always love the idea, you know? Let me just let me quick insert my usb signal so I can apply effects and when he was like, click you know, because you get that buffer underground or whatever that's called in this case that's totally been avoided, so on the service level the mix was great to use because it just feels great on your hands looking little deeper. The routing capabilities are amazing looking all the way to the bottom the core of it I think the dsp power and all that phase compensation, accuracy and extreme high resolution is what really puts the mixer to the very, very top of its class. Yeah three's going to be three for years and I started buying waiting files and I couldn't tell the difference most d j mixers there's a sound card eating family tell so what was the point? But with this I can tell there's something that that you lose in the high end and then the low wind eyes is really affected too with the mp three compression another thing to you and this is the last thing I'll say about it this is kind of a surface he kind of thing but rotary mixers are great for the lighthouse d j was doing the smooth long mixes and for hip hop style djs or people who are really getting tactile usually want the favors to slam up and down that's a stud general like wait the mixers are designed this guy with the quick engaging of the filters on enough and since the filters are full kill I actually will if I'm in the situation room michael I'm gonna just juggle the beat a little I'll keep those favors just completely pinned which is how rotary's mixes rotary mixers are designed to work you don't keep the volume at half you haven't completely jammed and then the trim is keeping you out of the reds. What I'll do is I'll keep all those things at the mix just completely throttling and then by tapping on and off either the subgroup of the filters now I'm like juggling and getting tactile even unlike eighth or even sixty notes if I'm feeling really helped up so you got so you do actually with some thoughtfulness based on the great design under the hood you are able to quickly rock and get gnarly with your tactile maneuvers unlike analog rotary mixers where you're like quickly trying to turn up and down these big knobs it's like impossible so that's, another that's kind of the new shop thing, but I figured I'd throw it out there. Yeah, it's been a tactile feel. These pots are all custom made weii spent a very long time looking for very high quality of potential voters on and these are our it. They're super smooth on the rated for million turns eso department perspective the twenty sixteen mixer which use the helps of blue velvet and that the black beauties from from way back on that's what's inside of the series is rated for fifty thousand s o s o million compared to fifty thousand and there's a ton of those originals. Twenty sixteen well, you know, the twenty sixteen in the areas they last forever. And you know, if those ready for fifty thousand people can use those pods over and over eventually that they're going to start to crackle on dh, not send audio the advantage of these not only are they waited for a million, but the entire service is all many eso if you want a mini map, anything on here you can even get really weird on do a lot of many mapping so you could use able ten you could have maybe two channels dedicated just to using many eso works with it will control the audio and the media at the same time do some weird stuff especially the sub mix at the end of the next round into it you know what I do with my son mixes I have that as my I take all my return affects returns and live which are the far right bus of channels and I run them all out to uh nine and ten which is a sub group, right? So now I have this one subgroup volume with all my effects returns, but that instead of using the ojai mid and low I have auto filter in front of each of my return tracks is like input so it's a spectral time based effect, so it'll be like river bill and distortion but the high mid and low band knobs on the subgroup instead of using them as just accuse, I use them as the tone control for each of my three returns. So on the sub group I just turned it up and I hear all my effects and then I have essentially like harmonics control for each of my three returns right on that one channel strip which is it's a cool little system. You can pull that off with any many controller, but being able to have it built right into your incredible build machine here that's made for performing it's it's hard to touch that I know I know for me having dealing okay, I used to carry a mo to ultra light on an a p c forty and then I also carried um some like uh yeah red moge since whatever it's like having a variety of different little devices in the usb hub it becomes pretty unwieldy that this thing actually replaces all of those you get better sound quality because of the sound card better tactile feel because the mixer design or you know what the other thing I'd bring in albany three j mixer ammo to ultra light and an a p c forty now it's like craig's list right? And so this does it all on but it's really is I command you guys for doing such a great job with yeah sales which I honestly I just I have mixed act always talk about this mixture and turn people on to because I know it looks a little different s o there's uh there's just a regular line level inputs on if you go line by line through the mixer you have a dynamic range about one hundred sixteen d p which is really good uh going all digital there's digital's that ifs for each of the channels including thie octopus or the subtext here or this session and put um and if you go digital and and there's an actual digital out too s o if you wantto keep everything digital from cd players through the mixer to a digital input on the sound system you could get about one hundred twenty eight d b is what it traded for s o that's that that's huge I don't have any of the mixture that's able to do that at all so you can keep it all digital if you wanted to so that includes you know not just plugging in cd players but also for using tractor we're able ten it's all digital on the inside you could go to straight to chill out without being to convert anything before you connect tear vigil input on the sound system there's also a mike here it's a combo jack's they can plug in just a quarter inch in but we're exploring others stand in power would be a really nice mike you can set to the phantom power on and you can also change that mike and put two line level s o if you want to plug in like a like a sends or whatever you can plug right into the mic and blood on one that is a line important so you could get your four channels plus the fifth some mix and then you can use the mic input is like a six foot if you want to connect a bunch of stuff to it yeah thanks that's returning system there's a mixing out right over by the master bus where you can blend in effects returns so like for instance, like the mod delay a battle line they have the mini finger line they're great or like one hundred twenty bucks little sidecar now you khun just go ahead and build out some additional effects options inside of the rain and easily apply that to any signal inside of the mixer I've been using the little mini figured delay pedal on this like I'm ready to duck tape that thing to the side of the woodside panelists and extra knobs but you have the rounding capabilities allow you to do fun things like that for sure yeah and also inside the control panel there's an option the the effects and return on here you can have it be a plus for tv or minus ten dvd, so depending on the affection that you're using, you can tweak it uh in in the control panel so it matches the levels that we're not I was just on the outside yeah yeah, that was always shows running into a mixed use is that they all put in that camp it is not a commercial grade so yeah it's a little button back here will boost that so don't overdrive the chaos because ticket like another mixers to get a decent signal out of it you have todo really overload that that thing and it could sound bad but then it's not for us once again if anyone ever wants toward the factory here in seattle, just give us call. I mean, we're totally accessible and come up. It's really it's, really awesome, thank you.

Class Description

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