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Question on adding mixer in line to audio interface

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by aggrokragg, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. aggrokragg


    Dec 18, 2013
    Looking to get back into some home recording, and I have been checking out USB Audio Interfaces (Line6 Tone Studio, M-Audio MTrack, Scarlett 2i2, etc)

    This is going to be for some REALLY basic stuff. Like, playing my bass over some drum loops or maybe a bass and guitar, using ACID or the overdub feature in Audacity. Mostly to get ideas down "on paper".

    My question is whether a small format mixer would be helpful or necessary in this situation.

    I have an XLR out on my amp, as well as an M-80 DI, so would adding in a small mixer (like a Xenyx) even be worthwhile or should I go directly to the audio interface and then use that and the software to tweak things? Just curious if adding another piece of hardware into the change would help or just complicate and possibly hurt the sound.

    I know most of the cheap mixers only do stereo rather than the multiple discrete channels that the more pricey models are capable of.

  2. DirkP


    Jan 18, 2013
    Hamburg, Germany
    Not necessary and rather degrading the sound as long as you don't want to record more than one instrument at a time. All the interfaces you've mentioned have a High-Z input, so you could directly connect your bass. On the other hand a lot of mixers today are kind of USB-interfaces, the Xenyx has an usb-output. But these USB-Outputs always transfer the entire mix to the computer.

    But you wouldn't need both (as long as you don't want to mix different sources and then translate the stereo-mix to the computer.)
    I would look for the Focusrite.

  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    +1 Not needed.

    If you have a 2 channel interface and you need 4, then buy another, plug it in the USB, and make it look like one 4 channel interface with ASIO4ALL

    But I'll say a small mixer is always handy for live and recording, so checkout the ones with USB. They are usually 2 channels on the USB, but can be handy.
  4. DirkP


    Jan 18, 2013
    Hamburg, Germany
    BTW a really good and affordable tool is the Zoom R8. I have a Focusrite Forte and a Yamaha N8. But I really like the Zoom. You get a standalone 8-track digital recorder (that even works with batteries if needed), a sampler, a drum machine, a mixer that can control your daw and: a USB interface. And it even works with an iPad (if you use an powered usb-hub). Not to mention that some of the inbuild effects are really usable. Did I mention that it has internal microphones that are usable too. And it works as a SD-card reader, too.
    The audio-quality is amazing for a product with all these features that cost about 249,-.
    I kind of don't like to use a computer to record myself when I'm playing. Maybe because I'm a database developper and work with computers all day long. Maybe not. For other purposes I like to use a computer during my free time, but not when making music. I got anger attacks if I have to use a mouse with my bass around my shoulder. I record most of my stuff with an EHX looper and then take the sd-card out and transfer it to my daw or audacity. But sometimes I just use an ipad with the Zoom as an USB-interface.
  5. Doublesixes


    Feb 17, 2013
    So Cal
    I second the Zoom R8. I've been using mine for over a year and couldn't be happier. It totally removes me from my computer, which I love and only use the USB interface when I do final tweaking in Audacity before I save to MP3, which the Zoom doesn't do.

    The bass amp modeling is really good as well as the very usable guitar presets. The drum machine is an added bonus.
  6. wlater


    Mar 13, 2014
    North Alabama
    I'll mostly agree with the "not needed" responses, but add that I personally do use a small mixer in front of my Scarlett 2i4. It's mainly a convenience issue. I keep the 2i4 plugged into the mixer all the time and also keep a Yamaha digital piano plugged into the mixer all the time. When I want to record bass, I can simply plug it into a free channel in the mixer without having to unplug anything else. In fact, I recorded some bass last night and the mixer made that easier because I recorded both the effected and the dry output of my VT Bass DI onto separate tracks. I could have done this directly to the 2i4, but it was easier using the mixer. I haven't found the mixer noticeably degrading the sound, though technically it must be at least a little bit. I'm also able to control all of my audio output via the mixer as well (monitor speakers, cheap speakers, headphones).
  7. 29A


    Aug 25, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    I have a 2i2 and it needs a mixer in front because my bass and guitars both cause clipping even with the input gain set at minimum.
  8. wlater


    Mar 13, 2014
    North Alabama
    Yeah, I was fortunate and found out about that issue (here on TB IIRC) before I bought a 2i2, so bought the 2i4 instead. Then I went and bought a mixer to put in front and now it doesn't matter. :banghead: