DM-4800, Should I sell?


New Member
Oct 11, 2012
Gear owned
I have the DM-4800 mixer running through the firewire ad/da converter card. I use the board for automation, transport controls in Sonar X2, and for tracking (rarely for mixing). Right now I do not have the if-an/dm analog expansion card, and I am using lots of outboard mic pres/compressors. When I first go this board I didn't realize that the board channel mic pres could not be bypassed, and now I'm wondering if I should sell this thing and just use something like an RME converter (coming out of my mic pres going into the ad/da. Does anyone have an opinion on this?

I'm currently at somewhat of a crossroads in my setup.
median said:
When I first go this board I didn't realize that the board channel mic pres could not be bypassed
If you didn't know about DM's capabilities when you bought it, you did poor research before buying. But anyway, you CAN bypass mic pres by using INSERT jack's RING connection as your input.

median said:
I'm wondering if I should sell this thing
Simple: if you can get equipment better suited for you with the price (or little more) you get from DM, then definitely.
Well a new DM4800 is going for $3395 at B&H Photo, so you'll likely get less than you expect from selling. And for your reasons no I wouldn't sell, remember the DM4800 it is a giant patchbay. You can route directly from inputs to outputs with "input bypass". So you could use the insert ins or buy an analog card, and route from there directly to the firewire card. You could keep the workflow you have and have the signal flow you want, without too much money or time being required.
Thanks for the replies. I actually don't want to sell my 4800. Can you tell me the difference between using the inserts as opposed to the A-returns? I guess, when I purchased this thing I assumed that I could bypass the pres by selecting the "line" input switch.
INSERT return is unbalanced, nominal input level –2dBu
ASN RET is balanced, nominal input level +4dBu
Would there be any downsides to using the inserts as opposed to purchasing the analog cards?
Only that it's unbalanced, which shouldn't be problem with good cables/short cable runs. Also, you have to use non-standard cable (signal on ring), but couldn't consider that one as a downside either.

I'm not sure about this, but IIRC A/D converters after inserts are newer and (marginally) better ones than those found on analog card. This could be considered as an advantage over analog card.
Would short run mean less than 50 ft cables? I have a 20x20 tracking room directly adjacent to a 12x15 console room. Mic cables are running through the wall to the mic pres and then out to patchbay and/or 4800. I am trying to get as pro of sound as possible. In this case, I'm wondering if I should spring for the analog cards or use inserts from the mic pres.
Easy enough to try on a couple of cables. The biggest possible problem of unbalanced cabling is picking up noise from elsewhere (electronic devices for instance) or hum being introduced due to ground looping. If you don't hear it, there's no problem.
Do you just track a few inputs at a time? Then patching through the patchbay to Assn returns might be a better option. If you have room on your patchbay, you could run balanced cables from the 4 Assn ins and 4 Assn outs to/from your patchbay, and plug the pre's outs to the assn. inputs as necessary. The advantage here is everything stays balanced. The analog card is great. 8 channels of balanced in/out However I would say that using the channel line ins (and having to go through the board's pre for any addition gain) is not the end of the world, and will not color your boutique pres's output. You are already at line level voltage coming out of your pres and the DMs pres are pretty clean. I would say just give it a blind test, coming out of the pre into a balanced line in vs coming out of the pre to an insert return. Remember, the insert return is unbalanced, so only use a TS cable, and only click in ONE click, not all the way into the jack.
How many outboard micpres are you using?
Using the insert points, the right way would be to have insert cables from the console connected to your patchbay, and crosspatch or normal the connections to your micpre outputs from there.
If you have an insert cable (Stereo/TRS to dual mono TS), you can test for noise with it though, patching just the return side to the micpre out.
Thx for the advice on this guys. I think I have decided to go with the analog card, as having the board preamps in the signals path has given me problems in the past (namely the gain structure winds up giving me distortion when I want to push my Neve's/Phoenix Audio pres for example).
I got the analog card for me DM3200 precisely for the same reason. All of my external preamps go through it and it is really working out quite nice for me. Props to Tascman for helping me with that (as well as answering many other questions).
Just make sure IT SOUNDS GOOD TO YOU!!

The DM has FLAT inputs. WHatever you use, if the gainstructure is good it will sound good... You apperently have no issues... So keep using the ting... If you wanna get half back what you paid for it... NOW IS THE TIME> Because the market will move on.

If you want to use it to pieces for lets say the next 5 years keep it. But it will give you great results in the way you use it now... It's one of the biggest digital solutions available currently. For 24 inputs at the same time you need three rooms... So ....
Buy the analog card I run all my outboard pres through them and everything sound great, there is still no compareable mixer that does all the DM series does.
The DM4800 is around $3500 usd now. Better deal than the Yamaha MC7 by far, sounds better too. The X48 is comparably priced and the Presonus Studiolive cheaper and more mobile, but they still don't have close to the functionality of the DM4800, which has decent micpres, converters and is a giant patchbay.

Unless someone's studio needs have changed, I think it's a keeper.
'giant patchbay.."

Exactly. I just haven't seen anything that comes close to these mixers, not only in that regard, but in several other areas. While other options are getting lighter, smaller and more tablet-enabled, the DMixers continue to hold their own.

And that's why I suspect the DM3200/4800 is the end of the line of this entire concept - not because they don't work, but because they work too well. A large segment of the recording market seems to be dominated by users who just don't need DM power, 24 (let alone 16 )built in preamps, a ginormous number of routing choices, and big sleek footprint. I think the future is about iPads, songwriting apps, fiberglass interfaces with two inputs; guitar/drum/keyboard software - built into inexpensive, stripped down GarageBand style DAWs. It's about waving a finger and having it all work. Like right now, with little sweat - on the go - in the car, on the plane; at Starbuck's - or while wolfing down a pizza.

Yeah - it's a bleak picture. But we needn't worry. It's not about folks like us. I think we know better. :)


I know this response is slightly off topic, but It's a crying shame that mediocrity almost always wins no matter what you're referring to...

CaptDan could have written the same about the Akai DPS24 standalone recorder about 4 years ago.

There are 3 pieces of consumer hardware that I personally view as being works of art..dare I say they seemed to have a soul.

1. Commodore Amiga
2. Akai DPS24
3. Tascam DM series

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