Sunday, November 22, 2015

USB Mixer

I have been looking at USB mixers.  These are gadgets that combine inputs from RCA jack devices (like microphones and electronically enhanced guitars) and allow you to mix the levels, producing a single USB signal for the PC to grab.  Amazon has many like this one, not very expensive.  I need to combine my wife's voice and guitar tracks without going to a studio.  Suggestions?  Experience with such gadgets?

4 comments:

Sigivald said...

I have no direct experience with those, but some general guidance.

If you're never going to want more than two inputs, that might do fine.

Otherwise I'd just get a four input mixer and a separate USB ADC to handle encoding the audio; a standalone ADC is pretty cheap.

(Also, that one you link to only seems to support Mic in via XLR; if your mic really is RCA, it might not do - it's hard to tell at a glance if it really supports two RCA inputs and can assign one to the Mic slider for levels.)

Kirk Parker said...

Not quite.

You actually want something like this, that lets you record to 2 separate tracks (the freeware Audacity recording software will certainly suffice):

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UM2-Audio-Interface/dp/B00EK1OTZC/ref=sr_1_6?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1448320183&sr=1-6&keywords=USB+mixer

That way you can record into two completely separate tracks, and mix down the result while fixing the balance, etc during the mixdown process.

Kirk Parker said...

Some additional options:

http://www.amazon.com/Focusrite-2i2-USB-Recording-Interface/dp/B005OZE9SA/ref=sr_1_5?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1448320183&sr=1-5&keywords=USB+mixer

http://www.amazon.com/Lexicon-2-Channel-Desktop-Recording-Studio/dp/B000HVXMNE/ref=sr_1_8?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1448320183&sr=1-8&keywords=USB+mixer

Unknown said...

I've not used that particular model of the Behringer Xenyx range, but I own an earlier one and have used a half-dozen at various workplaces. I must say that I've pretty much found all of them to be disappointing, in that there is too much self-noise on the microphone inputs, and not enough detail to the sound when compared to high-quality stuff. By the specifications they should be fine, but I'm not happy with them.
The Focusrite interface that Kirk suggests is pretty-much the default recommendation on many forums for what a beginner should get -- it meets the sweet spot of very high audio quality, as much ease-of-use as one could expect, and good manufacturer support for driver updates as new OS versions come along. The recording software that comes with it is fine, although there will be a little bit of a learning curve to make it do what you want. As he says, you can record the Guitar and voice onto two separate tracks and use the computer & software to mix them.
I'd ask other musicians you know if they do their own recording, because spending a little more to match what equipment that they use might pay off in having someone nearby to show you how to make it go, and provide help when needed.