The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

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thelowerrhythm
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The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by thelowerrhythm » Sun Sep 20, 2020 3:52 am

I've been playing around with no input mixing, no input pedals, etc. for a number of years. Not once have I had a piece of gear go bad, "fry," whimper, cough, sneeze, or explode (mainly they just sputter and go WHOOWHOOWHOO). I haven't spoken with another artist who has either, or anyone who has heard of anyone else this has happened to. Still. Every time this topic comes up, the uninitiated ask if it'll go sideways on them, people making tutorial videos say "don't use your expensive stuff!" etc. etc. I'm hoping maybe some of you can share your thoughts and experiences, and maybe some newcomers will find this and get some actual information. Of a sort.

I feel like no input is such a crazy treasure trove of sonic chaos that can be had at such low prices that I bet more people would get into it if these sorts of rumors could be dispelled a little. Conversely, if this alleged urban legend can be totally confirmed as a real worry, even just in well-founded theory, that would be equally good to know.

Often when we push something hard in a direction it wasn't intended to go, we worry about breaking it. This does seem to be the case when many things in life. However, I feel like this might be erroneously at play here.

Completely not exploding below is a video I recently made of two mixers chained together.

"Ah yeah, you’ve got that strange blend of apathy and self-flagellation that somehow gets you where you want to go."

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by AuralAntithesis » Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:05 pm

I have never had any trouble, but i think it is possible to burn out the IC's if your not watching the input level to some degree.
plus it is easy for the sounds to get carried away.

This can be extreemly rewarding with minimal gear. my favorite setup right now is an EQ pedal patched into itself then into a delay of some sort.
say bye bye to the day with this sonic playground.
That's the most diabolical looking piece of equipment I've ever seen.
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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by thelowerrhythm » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:03 pm

AuralAntithesis wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:05 pm
I have never had any trouble, but i think it is possible to burn out the IC's if your not watching the input level to some degree.
This is exactly what I am hoping someone will clear up at some point. I have no doubt they can get fried, but how much input will it really take to do so -- and can a mixer even do it?

It really is crazy how much you can get out of almost nothing. I enjoy the puzzle of having a larger setup, but have heard incredibly interesting things come out of little 4 channel mixers. I was thinking of picking up a few new ones to run independently, but in congress, to build big drones. I've sent that little eurorack to hell and back so I'm encouraged to get a few more, but there's the allure of new gear. It's also pretty neat that there's so few reviews of the gear doing this sort of thing that there are lots of surprises to be had.
"Ah yeah, you’ve got that strange blend of apathy and self-flagellation that somehow gets you where you want to go."

***Note: if you're reading a post of mine, there is a 45.67% chance I asked a stupid question because I got excited and didn't properly google something.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by AuralAntithesis » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:11 am

There used to be a larger "noise scene" around. and there was an old noise forum i cant remember the name of.
But some of those people would ride out the gear in the red the whole show/tour, with no problem.

I honestly think its likely some of the older models might be more robust for this kind of abuse.

It also might be worth wile asking around on the gearslutz forum / low end theory or other board for some audio engineer folks input.
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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by thelowerrhythm » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:28 am

AuralAntithesis wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:11 am
There used to be a larger "noise scene" around. and there was an old noise forum i cant remember the name of.
But some of those people would ride out the gear in the red the whole show/tour, with no problem.

I honestly think its likely some of the older models might be more robust for this kind of abuse.

It also might be worth wile asking around on the gearslutz forum / low end theory or other board for some audio engineer folks input.
Good advice, thank you. I've been looking around trying to find some electronic engineer folks as well, as they could probably shed some light.
"Ah yeah, you’ve got that strange blend of apathy and self-flagellation that somehow gets you where you want to go."

***Note: if you're reading a post of mine, there is a 45.67% chance I asked a stupid question because I got excited and didn't properly google something.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by FetidEye » Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:16 pm

IDK. get a 2nd hand mixer cheap. noise it until you break it, then noise it some more.
then get another mixer?

I have never broke a mixer by feedback. only by using bad / incorrect adapters (wallwarts) or 'too' rough use / transport without a flightcase

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by maxl0rd » Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:53 pm

Mixers are made of op amps. Op amps can pass signal more or less up to the power rails of whatever power supply it has. So, think about it: this kind of device is not really capable of producing a signal that can destroy itself, no matter how much gain is present. Failures are possible from thermal overload and such, but this isn't common in low power devices like small mixers.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by thelowerrhythm » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:18 pm

maxl0rd wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:53 pm
Mixers are made of op amps. Op amps can pass signal more or less up to the power rails of whatever power supply it has. So, think about it: this kind of device is not really capable of producing a signal that can destroy itself, no matter how much gain is present. Failures are possible from thermal overload and such, but this isn't common in low power devices like small mixers.
This is pretty much the assumption I've been operating under, thank you for weighing in.
"Ah yeah, you’ve got that strange blend of apathy and self-flagellation that somehow gets you where you want to go."

***Note: if you're reading a post of mine, there is a 45.67% chance I asked a stupid question because I got excited and didn't properly google something.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by Pyrrhix » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:35 pm

maxl0rd wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:53 pm
Mixers are made of op amps. Op amps can pass signal more or less up to the power rails of whatever power supply it has. So, think about it: this kind of device is not really capable of producing a signal that can destroy itself, no matter how much gain is present. Failures are possible from thermal overload and such, but this isn't common in low power devices like small mixers.
Can you comment on how incorporating guitar pedals could affect the risk of damage for the mixer, or more likely the pedals running on 9 volts? I have always wanted to use some of my pedals with no-input mixing, but I don't want to risk destroying them.
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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by umma gumma » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:54 pm

I had an old 4-6 channel tube PA head I was using as a gtr head into a cab; it was 12ax7s into a pair of 6v6 power tubes for 18 watts or so. I had it cranked up

a friend plugged his pedalboard in which had some fuzz/overdrives and really goosed the signal

the amp lost a lot of volume and never really sounded the same afterwards: shrill sounding and not much bass

I assume it was a tube problem but never got around to diagnosing it

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by maxl0rd » Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:05 am

That is a whole different can of worms.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by stepvhen » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:40 pm

Pyrrhix wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:35 pm
maxl0rd wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:53 pm
Mixers are made of op amps. Op amps can pass signal more or less up to the power rails of whatever power supply it has. So, think about it: this kind of device is not really capable of producing a signal that can destroy itself, no matter how much gain is present. Failures are possible from thermal overload and such, but this isn't common in low power devices like small mixers.
Can you comment on how incorporating guitar pedals could affect the risk of damage for the mixer, or more likely the pedals running on 9 volts? I have always wanted to use some of my pedals with no-input mixing, but I don't want to risk destroying them.
Probably depends on the circuit. The mixer probably wont have any issues (mine runs on +/- 16V, accordin to the manual), but I am trying to be gentle with what pedals I am using (but not too gentle). I still need to hook my mixer up to a scope to see what kind of voltage it throws out. If I really cared I'd throw it through an attenuator and/or some overvoltage protection, and figure out how to boost it afterwards, but I don't know how much I care.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by felixer » Thu Apr 01, 2021 4:54 am

umma gumma wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:54 pm
I had an old 4-6 channel tube PA head I was using as a gtr head into a cab; it was 12ax7s into a pair of 6v6 power tubes for 18 watts or so. I had it cranked up

a friend plugged his pedalboard in which had some fuzz/overdrives and really goosed the signal

the amp lost a lot of volume and never really sounded the same afterwards: shrill sounding and not much bass

I assume it was a tube problem but never got around to diagnosing it
most likely a blown speaker ...
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by felixer » Thu Apr 01, 2021 5:02 am

i'm using a 2*10 band eq from vermona for feedback. with two art micpre's. mainly to flip the phase. and a bunch of guitar pedals in the loop. works great. no problems. i also just got a randon source clone of the serge resonant eq. it has a feedabckloop built in to it ... so you don't need a mixer at all.
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by umma gumma » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:29 am

felixer wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 4:54 am
umma gumma wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:54 pm
I had an old 4-6 channel tube PA head I was using as a gtr head into a cab; it was 12ax7s into a pair of 6v6 power tubes for 18 watts or so. I had it cranked up

a friend plugged his pedalboard in which had some fuzz/overdrives and really goosed the signal

the amp lost a lot of volume and never really sounded the same afterwards: shrill sounding and not much bass

I assume it was a tube problem but never got around to diagnosing it
most likely a blown speaker ...
speaker is fine, PA is a head so I run it into a few different cabs

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by felixer » Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:28 pm

ok, so exchange a few tubes. they're most likely quite old and will wear out with time. esp the power tubes ... ans while you're at it check the electrolytic condensors. they will dry up with time ...
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by carbonhazard » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:35 am

Anyone put an Analog Heat in a no-input chain? I'm tempted but kinda wary as it's pretty expensive

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by carbonhazard » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:51 am

carbonhazard wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:35 am
Anyone put an Analog Heat in a no-input chain? I'm tempted but kinda wary as it's pretty expensive
Well I tried it to pretty satisfying results. The feedback is very controlled and you can make some sweet filter sweeps. Should try it with a full stack or something, it is a bit tame direct in line.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by DrumBender » Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:10 pm

Hi all,

I just learned about NOIM last week and tried to do it with a Vintage Peavey 800 8-Channel Stereo Mixer. I plugged the reverb out into channel one. As I slowly increased the volume sliders on both C1 and mains, I suddenly saw the power cord start to physically pulse, like a cat trying to barf up a hair ball. No joke! The cord was literally pulsing and wiggling on the floor. It creeped me out big time and I quickly turned the sliders back down, turned the mixer off and disconnected the patch. Amazingly, I didn't smell any cooked components, and I didn't get zapped.

Flash forward a day and I found this forum. I decided to fire the mixer up again (YOLO), patched main out L to C1 and everything works just fine.

So, as a newb, my take-aways are:

1. When patching the reverb out to a channel input on a Peavy 800, your power cable might do the worm. Luckily for me, I didn't get electrocuted when touching the mixer to turn it off.
2. The mixer still worked after the above!!!

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by electricfence » Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:36 pm

Welcome to Modwiggler, DrumBender.

I’m glad you didn’t get fried, and I am looking forward to hearing what people say about your experience.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by Quiet Wilds » Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:20 pm

From a physics perspective, that makes no sense. Im not saying you didn’t see it or that it didn’t happen, because I wasn’t there. No realistic amount of power draw should cause your power cable to physically move. At most it should get really hot and maybe blow some components, which might cause popping noises and then malfunction, but that shouldn’t happen on a mixer that doesn’t have some sort of short circuit going on in the first place. I would toss that mixer, it’s probably not safe to use.

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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by KSS » Tue Oct 12, 2021 4:51 pm

@Drumbender
Welcome to ModWiggler!

I'd like to see the physical cord? I can imagine a scenario where the cord was cold and the wires inside heated up. This 'could' result in a mismatch of thermal expansion between the metal and plastic overmolding. With resulting motion. Due to the many possible ways the conductors are arranged in different mains cords, the motion could take any number of directions-characteristics. Old cordsets sometimes get brittle with some of the older material which would add to this possible mismatch in thermal expansion.

In the absence of a cold cordset or environment it's less likely that this reasoning holds up. but it does explain how this could happen without magic smoke or smells. I wouldn't necessarily throw out the mixer, but i'd for sure investigate its cordset. Hence the request for photos.
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Re: The "WIll my mixer explode?" No Input Mixing Thread

Post by maxl0rd » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:06 pm

DrumBender wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:10 pm
As I slowly increased the volume sliders on both C1 and mains, I suddenly saw the power cord start to physically pulse, like a cat trying to barf up a hair ball. No joke! The cord was literally pulsing and wiggling on the floor. It creeped me out big time and I quickly turned the sliders back down, turned the mixer off and disconnected the patch.
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