The PV6 comes in a USB version. I have the analog version because the digital converter in the Mac is top quality, and I think the USB version came out after I bought mine. If you get the appropriate mixing board and it has USB built-in, then you will have solved two problems at once and your cost calculations should reflect that.
The PV6 is the smallest, well-built mixer I could find with very good gain, low nose, metal shielding, good headset monitoring and Phantom Power. We have three at work for training videos and I have one.
You can consider the large wall socket type power supply a disadvantage (it’s not a wall-pack. It’s a supply with two cords). The mixer is not portable, but it doesn’t have USB power problems, either, and it will drive stand-alone sound systems.
Behringer produce some very good hi-tech equipment and budget prices. They manage to cram in a lot of features and high specification in the price range and they are very popular in the semi-professional market in the UK. I also own quite a few pieces of Behringer equipment myself. They do cut some corners (as do all other manufacturers that compete at the budget end of the market), but their electronics are generally high quality and perform well. One Behringer item that I thought a little disappointing was their 15 band Eq. - the plastic knobs on the sliders look very pretty with peak level LEDs in each, but they fall off easily, so I would not recommend it outside of home use.
I mentioned that the Xenyx desk pre-amps get a bit noisy when the gain is turned up to maximum because I’ve used a couple of them and they do get a bit noisy when the gain is turned up to maximum, but that is not surprising or unusual for the price. The Behringer desks still offer excellent value for money, but if you’re needing very high gain the Xenyx pre-amps may not be able to provide that without also giving you a significant amount of hiss.
More than what?
That shouldn’t be a problem unless you are planning to throw it around. They may not be in the same league as tube pre-amps in the $1000’s range, but they consistently receive excellent reviews.
we have existing interfaces that “work”
but on the low level signals the noise is noticable
remember this is very low spl - chamber music
with mikes at front of stage/audience not close miked
based on spl meter readings i am expecting -60 to -70dB at the mikes
wrt 1 pascal – but maybe it will be lower
we need something reasonably quiet to bump up the mikes a bit before we run them into the interfaces
we calculated 20-30 dB would be enough to keep the noise away
while we will compress at the end to a 30dB max range
we could , if we had to, use a compressor/limiter to further tame the recording so we can keep it high enough to avoid the noise
and hopefully no , or very little, noise reduction later on
Most equipment with one volume control have only 60dB microphone gain. Voltage gain of 1000 is about the most you can manage without the electronics becoming unstable or doing other naughty things. As I wrote to one manufacturer, I would kill to have just 10dB more gain.
When you slide over the threshold of three operator controls (trim/channel-fader/master), that means multiple amplifiers inside and no more 60dB limit. Everybody who uses simple mixers runs into the same problem. I haven’t measured the Peavey yet, but I’ve never used it with all three controls all the way up.
I used a complete piece of trash unbalanced Tascam mixer for a couple of years and I kept drifting back to it for difficult shoots.
It had the usual three controls. I started paying closer attention and by my measure, the microphone channel gain was just shy of 70dB. I shot several commercial production voice tracks on that thing. I had to keep glass cleaner around to make sure all the unbalanced connectors were surgically clean. It had tape over the two or three faders that failed.
most preamps are 40-70db max with 60 being most common
and they are limited by what can be done with existing components
as well as trying to keep the price cheap
which means they use one IC that is limited
although a very few use discretes for better noise and more gain
with many (maybe most) people recording rock groups or vocalists close up there is plenty of gain
for real recording of a classical group in stereo with mikes back a ways then more gain is needed
rane note 148 and others note the games that makers play with their specs
and that using max gain pushes the quality lower than the measurement at minimum gain
i need to run the numbers again based on the rane note
but i think that about 30db will be optimal for enough gain and minimum noise
and putting the peavey in front of our interface would work without overloading yet pushing us up to better SNR
I don’t know that I agree. Both Noise Removal and Noise Gate cause show damage and you expend production time tuning them for each show. They’re not automatic. Quality of show becomes a post production decision and a time waster.
I’m not crazy about productions that plan on using the emergency lifeboats before the first musical note.