MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

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MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Myrk- » 11:50, 14 January 2018

It pains me to say that after 2 years of using the MX-1 it has been ousted by an old Mackie analog mixer that was used as a crappy old spare. The reason? Sound quality.

Along with a barrage of other instruments filling every channel, I had a JD-XA through a USB port, and an OB-6 through a dual linked channel (1&2) (both fantastic sounding synths), and for a while now I was feeling like I wasn't getting the full punch of the sound so I decided to test the direct headphone out sound from each synth directly with my same headphones I used on the MX-1. Strange how I'd never done this before as a direct comparison, but my god, night and day difference! The MX-1 was trimming out the highs and the lows, making everything stale and dull in some similar frequency channel, it was also a lot quieter, whereas the old Mackie sounded exactly the same as the headphone out from each synth, with no audible loss of frequencies. I tried every little trick on the MX-1 to try and match the sound, but it just ended out being distorted or missing whole chunks of lower frequency. I used my MX-1 DAWless, and loved the sequenceable effects - very powerful too, but if it's gunna flatten out my sound it has to go.

Has anyone else noticed this, any more importantly found some setting which fixes it, or is this just the downfall of a digital mixer done on the cheap? (A good digital mixer with effects is often approaching the $1000 mark and beyond so I assume Roland must have cut some corners). This being said I was contemplating changing it out anyway - the lack of a 3 band EQ is really limiting when trying to do DAWless recordings and needing more chunk on a bass synth, but as my test confirmed for me it seems the MX-1 was limiting the sound massively anyway!
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Manic » 23:04, 18 January 2018

I did the exact same test, but with my System 8 (connected via aira usb) and MAM MB33 (connected via analog in) but did not hear any difference in audio quality.

Sounds obvious, but it sounds like you got the mastering function of the mx-1 on. Did you check that? If so, try turning it off and do the same test.
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Nuts_milk » 02:24, 19 January 2018

I have made some of my best recordings with the MX-1 and find no loss of sound quality or frequency range with it. On my home stereo or on a PA they sound slammin and the bass has no problem reaching subsonic depths. Sounds like a classic case of a sub-par musician blaming the gear!
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Myrk- » 12:20, 21 January 2018

Brand new to a forum and slating long time contributors probably isn't the way to introduce yourself to a forum Nuts_milk. I've used the device extensively for many years and worked out a method to allow 4 boutiques to be plugged into the system and other hacks, so I'm quite well versed with the MX-1. Reiterating my post I am a big fan of the MX-1 and it's features, especially all the stereo inputs.

What I'm hearing is like the difference between a CD and a Vinyl. It's really subtle, but I'm hearing some loss of frequencies in the low and high spectrums on the MX-1, like a CD, and on the Mackie I'm hearing a tiny bit more glisten and a fatter low end. Like I said it's subtle, but I'd be curious to see if anyone else hears this! I have done factory resets and fiddled with all my settings (both surface and background). I'd assume what I am ultimately hearing is probably down to the difference in audio signal between a digital and analogue mixer...
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Tucker » 06:35, 22 January 2018

Ding!

...and yet that is not so much a matter of quality, but rather a matter of character.

Cue: ana/digi rabbit hole...
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Manic » 11:48, 24 January 2018

maybe you can record the normal outputs of the jd-xa, then the outputs of the mx-1 with the jd-xa connected via usb and the the mackie outputs with the jd-xa connected, normalize them all and post them here so we can hear the differences.

The only difference I could imagine hearing is more noise (because of a longer analog signal path through the cables) and maybe audio colorization due to the analog equalizers in the Mackie.

With the jd-xa connected via usb to the mx-1, the digital signal stays digital the whole time, until it reaches the analog outputs of the mx-1, so there is no loss in quality during the path. The only loss in quality could be introduced by the DA converter in the end (but this is by default 96khz, so thats really high and not noticable) or bad cables to the speaker.

Be aware that the outputs of the MX-1 are not balanced, so I really recommend placing a DI box in the beginning of the path to your speakers to make the signal balanced. This really helped me improve sound quality a LOT (no more weird noises etc). This might also be your problem..
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby mimoid » 20:27, 1 February 2018

I just tested the same setup; my JD-XA connected through USB to the MX-1. I then AxB'ed the headphone outputs. Once I had set the volumes to the same level, I could not hear any difference whatsoever. The bass, the treble and the dynamics were exactly the same. Next I then tested the same setup using the analog outputs to my Steinberg UR-824 soundcard and Yamaha HS8's speakers. I didn't detect any difference at all. You might of course have better ears than me, but I find the MX-1 to be completely transparent.
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Re: MX-1 has to go, the sound quality doesn't cut it!

Postby Myrk- » 22:09, 15 February 2018

OK I think my unit is faulty... the USB inputs have recently started muting themselves mid play (not even touching the unit), with it being un-mutable only by turning the unit off and on again... eek! Seems all my ears were hearing was the beginnings of a failing unit! :-o I'll send it off for repairs but decided to go with an old skool Roland M-480 24 stereo channel line mixer which works well to consolidate all the other mixers into 1 unit.
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