USB volume too low on line inputs in Multimix 8 2.0 FX

Hi Guys,

So, here's the problem. I bought my Alesis multimix 8 USB 2.0 FX about a month ago. I have a studio full of hardware synthesizers, plus vocalists, so I really liked the multiple discrete recording tracks. However, when I actually use the USB to record into Ableton Live, I have to turn the volume on the synths all the way up, then turn the volume on the tracks all the way up, and I'm still getting a signal that is about 1/3 of the volume of what I'd get with my Apogee Duet.

The problem with the Duet, of course, is that it brings in just two tracks at a time.

Is there any reasonable fix for this? Firmware update? Some setting I've neglected to tweak? Hope so, and thanks!

-James
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  • Which inputs on the mixer are you using? The stereo line ins?
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  • Yes, that is correct. I'm dealing with two stereo synths (DSI Evolver + Access Virus) and want to keep the other 4 inputs for vocals, guitars, and so on.
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  • Similarly, when recording with USB I have the main mix turned all the way, and the volume meter shows things are close to peaking on the board (around +6db); yet the USB recording on the computer isn't recording very loud. I can normalize and increase the volume with software, but how can I change the "level" the USB gives to the computer?

    The wavs on the computer are coming in at -15db.
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  • I may have figured this out - the software is giving me an actual reading, and the board's decibel meter is tied to the "main" volume knob and NOT the usb out.
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  • I bought the Alesis Multimix 8 USB 2.0 recently and have experienced the same issue. Channels 1 to 4 are fine but the stereo channels 5/6 and 7/8 have a very low input level. I have connected the stereo outs from my Yamaha P85 and Yamaha TG33 to these inputs and the level through the main bus output is very low in comparison to channels 1 - 4 and this is before I've even attempted recording. I guess DI boxes are required.
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  • Hi,
    I exactly have the same problem. I hope that there is some solution for this!
    I use Ableton, and I want to record channel 5/6, but the signal level is very low.
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  • I can testify the same problem, signal is too low when recording via USB. The main or monitor knobs don't interfere with the recording, no matter where they're at, the input level is always the same.

    I'm using Cubase 5 LE on Windows 7. This should be the ideal setup, since it is the software that Alesis shipped with the mixer. I bought the mixer roughly 5 months ago.

    According to the firmware updater which I ran on a Mac (I also own a Mac), the firmare is updated to the latest one, 1.1.0(k4)
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    • All I need is the 2track bounce. I just want to see if the mixer playback is causing it or if the noise is actually recorded.
    • You can use dropbox to send it, its free.
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  • I have the same problem. The line inputs need to be maxed to register a barely perceptible signal in Cubase / Logic Pro / GarageBand... Same applies to channels 1-4 even with the preamps at full (SM58, AKG C1000S).

    I see plenty of discussion on this problem above, but no solutions yet. @jsandeen, did you ever get the files you asked for, and if so, what did you learn? I would be grateful to know the responses.
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  • I did not send the files to @jsandeen, but I'm still following this topic. I just got used to cranking the faders all the way. Also, I have to use a lot of compressor gain, sometimes up to maximum, to get the level up to what I want when I mix the audio later.

    I also don't use USB monitoring when I'm playing, just live monitoring from the board, to get less noise, a bit higher audio, and no delay. In general, live monitoring seems to sound better, but sometimes I can hear audio clipping, even though I never got audio clipping on the recordings.
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  • Btw, I'm not a professional, just a hobbyist, but compared to what I normally do on other setups, like GarageBand with another USB adapter that connects my guitar to my Mac, the Alesis seems to provide a much lower signal.
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  • Nelson - thanks for your reply. Like you, I'm a hobbyist, and have been experimenting with similar work-arounds. The audio-out from the Alesis is fine, but my conclusion is that Alesis have simply goofed in their setup of the USB out on this piece of kit - its just plain too quiet. Such a shame.

    BTW, where do you have your compressor in the signal chain? In one of the channel 1 / 2 inserts or in the AUX loop to enable the volume boost across all channels? I've been experimenting this evening with a few such configurations but have not (yet) come up with anything satisfactory.
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  • I don't use the compressor on the signal path, I use it after recording, as a plugin in Cubase. Often I have a send on all tracks in which I apply the compressor to all of them at once, and sometimes I even add another one on a single track.

    I have the feeling they've just put some attenuator to protect the D/A converter from spikes, so the recording would never clip. I never had audio clipping. Not that I wanted it, but sometimes I hear audio clipping when monitoring but the recording is always clear.

    I mentioned that I am a hobbyist because I may not be doing things the way they should be done, I just found a way that works and for now I am sticking to it. So, don't take my advice too seriously... In fact, if you notice something strange in what I do, please let me know! :-)
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  • You will need to use the gain/trim channels while watching the input monitoring meters on your software. Otherwise the line in will never be as loud when connected a source that requires extra gain. Only 'line level' device should be used with the stereo input lines. You will want to look at the input monitor to determine the input gain. Also, the monitoring blend feature on the can create a lower volume when it's not setup correctly (IN vs OUT).
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  • Thanks for following this up. So let's get specific:

    1. By gain/trim channels on the multimix 8 USB 2.0 FX for stereo channels 5/6 and 7/8 you mean the single volume knob at the bottom of each channel strip? (There being no preamps on these line channels of course.)

    2. Yes, these are line-level devices being used.

    3. What input monitor??! The stereo tracks don't even have clip lights, and the level indicators above the master out: a) refer to the master out and, b) are independent from the USB out.

    4. If you're referring to the software input monitor, that's the whole point of this post - the signal from the mixer's USB out is too quiet!

    5. What is, "....the monitoring blend feature on the ___"? On the Alesis?? How shoud this be "set up correctly (IN vs OUT)?
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  • 1. Yes, there is only gain on the channels with the MIC input. The line inputs are expecting line level signal, which should not need a preamp. A preamp is used to get mic level to line level. A source that is already line level should have no issue using these inputs.

    3. Your software's input monitoring using the software's track meter - metering prefader (software fader). Correct, there is no clip light because you should not be clipping sending a line level device into a line level input.

    5. Sorry, that was a reference to the IO Series that got mixed in. My mistake. There is no blend, so no worries.

    Otherwise, Im not sure what would be getting in your way.
    Let me know if you have any other concerns.
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  • Thanks for the reply J Sandeen. Just as other users comment above, the principal issue is that channels 5/6 and 7/8 record too low via the Alesis USB from line-level devices. Even with the line input maxed (see multiple comments in this discussion above) the Alesis's USB-out fails to get much above -6db let alone 0db. In Logic Pro / Cubase this looks more like a rough line across the screen than an audio signal.

    From what you have said, there is no fix for this.

    Conclusion: The MultiMix 8 USB 2 does not operate effectively as a functional multi-track parallel A/D converter. The concept was there but it fails to deliver.

    Such a shame. I wouldn't have bought it if I'd known.
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  • Correction - the USB output levels from Alesis are lower than I stated. For example, the line level from a DR670 on max via the Alesis USB hits Logic at -20db. For reference, an iPod headphone output on max through the Alesis USB hits Logic PEAKING at -23db.

    @jsandeen - what advice have you got?

    (Using the software gain is NOT a solution to your device's evidently underpowered, poorly designed, weedy output - its still not loud enough, and introduces too much hum.)
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  • I am really disappointed, because I bought my MultiMix to have a simple home studio and to make the recording process simple with my instruments. I could not use it since I bought it. :-(

    Do you have any advice to solve it somehow? Maybe, I can buy some cheap additional audio component that adds gain to the line inputs?

    Another annoying problem is that there is no gain control for the USB input on the mixer. I always have to adjust the PC playback level on the current software, which is very uncomfortable.
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  • Hi Csaba,

    I'm still frustrated with the low gain on the Alesis line inputs but as a work-around, the device I use (for all sorts of handy things in fact) is the Behringer UFO202
    http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/...
    This costs about €40. It needs no driver - even my iPad recognises it. As a work-around solution to the Alesis, I connect it to my computer (or iPad) via the Alesis 2-tracks output, and then back via the 2-tracks in (but take care to avoid a feedback loop if monitoring). This will give you the stereo mix and will allow you to record all the channels plus effects but will not split the channels beyond stereo.
    The Behringer helpfully has a (boomy) pre-amp which you wouldn't need if used as I describe but is good for phono or guitar / mic inputs, and also a headphone socket for latency-free monitoring.
    If I learn anything more about getting the Alesis to work I'll post here. Even their firmware and driver updates didn't work - I tried this weekend for the current Mac OS but had to roll back to the CD version.
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  • Hello Csaba, I tried to circumvent the problem in software, by using sends and compressors in Cubase. You can create a new channel and insert a compressor there, using its gain to boost the signal for all the other channels.

    This is a 'zero cost' solution that does not require any hardware. It won't physically boost your signal, though, and if you do live monitoring it will add some delay to the audio.

    If you don't know how to do that, you can find YouTube videos that will tell you how to use sends inside Cubase, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yjnVq...
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    • Thanks for your input John. The community appreciates it.
    • Incidentally - www.cpc.co.uk sell some cheap 2 channel pre-amps which could be used to boost up the line level - although you might end up needing to get some in line attenuaters to bring the level down to avoid oveloading either the pre-amp input or else the Alesis line input! http://cpc.farnell.com/pulse/mpre-dua...
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  • 1
    I am late to this conversation, but I have experienced exactly the same thing. EXTREMELY low volume from my dynamic mics going into the XLR on the Multimix 8, connected to Garageband via USB. Super low!

    Last night I connected to the computer from the Main Mix out via RCA jacks, and into the standard audio-in port on my Mac Mini.

    Volume increased at least 5x. I am blown away by the difference.

    Also, by NOT using the USB from the Multimix, the annoying ground loop hum and other electronic noise I've been getting went away.

    My takeaway -- USB is a poor way to get audio into your computer. It does not transmit enough volume. I'm seeing similar problems all over the internet for other USB audio interfaces.

    Also, the grounding or shielding or something on the Multimix's USB port sucks. It is extremely noisy. I've heard this about other mixers as well, at least in that price range.

    Bob
    http://www.freestylepodcast.com
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