equipment - detail
Behringer MX 8000 48/24 mixing console
This is an excellent mixer for the money, the EQ sounds great (I never rarely need anything else), plenty of Aux sends/returns and loads of inputs and outputs. As well as the 24 main mix inputs there are 24 'Mix B' inputs that can be used with a 24-track but I just use these as additional inputs for more gear. I still never seem to have enough though, but I am never using them all at the same time, that's when my patchbays come in handy.
When I got this mixer I was quite overawed by the amount of knobs and routing options, I didn't know where the hell to start! But all you have to learn is one channel, there are 23 others just the same. After a lot of experimenting and mixing a few tracks I gradually got to grips with everything and these days using it is second nature.
I do prefer to do my final mix using the desk rather than doing it all 'in the box', you have a lot more control with all those knobs and sliders in front of you, mixing with just a mouse is very tedious. I've never fancied a digital mixer either, any that are within a reasonable price range don't seem to have many knobs on, if something needs tweaking, I want there to be a knob in front of me for that function, I don't want to be hunting through tiny menu screens looking for it.
When I'm writing a track I'll usually mix as I go along until the song is complete. Once I've finished writing I'll start doing a proper mix. I love getting to the final mix stage of creating a track, hearing something that you've been working on for weeks starting to 'gel' together makes it all worthwhile.