Quick questions on sound card and mixers

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Member Since: Jul 26, 2007

Now I've been looking to start recording things and I've been doing semi well with my current setup... my computers monitor microphone XD I know this isn't a good way to do it (although I'm content with my results). But I've been thinking.

Now based purely on research I've assumed theres many ways to do this but I've boiled home recording down to two ways. Using a mixer and a plugging it into the computer via USB. Or getting a sound card with inputs/outputs.

Am I completely crazy how I'm thinking this? Or is this about the right way of doing things, in that I can chose either one of those options and get decent recordings. I know for drums I'd need drum mics but what i'm confused on is how the drum mics plug into say a mixer, is it all boiled down to one input? Or does each individual mic require a seperateinput of its own?

just a few questions. =D

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Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 17, 2007 06:26 pm

Yep, separate inputs, which means preamps for each mic.

so, say a mixer has 8 preamp (xlr inputs). You can send 8 separate tracks into your computer.

This can be done with firewire, like the alesis I/O mixers.


you can send 8 channels to a multi-input card, like the maudio 1010. The 1010 has a PCI card in the computer, along with the breakout box, housing the input and output jacks.

So you're on track, just need to see it work =).

personally, I use a mg16/4 analog board for my preamps, and take signal out of each channel and send to my PC. I use an ESI ESP1010 which also has a breakout box.

It works very well.

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 18, 2007 10:42 pm

oo thank you yeah i'm considering getting a mixer and maybe if the band gets serious enough a few drum mics. I was looking into something like this


I want it so we're able to record drums guitar and bass all at once, than add vocals in later. Would I be able to do that with that mixer and say a bass mic maybe one or two over head mics and a snare mic (including guitar and bass)?

Like the website said it has 12 inputs yet only 4 xlr inputs i'm guessing that means 4 for mics? But does that mean I could plug a bass/guitar into the other "12" inputs and still record?

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 23, 2007 09:46 pm

sorry for the double post but I was considering getting one of these mixers either the cheaper


or the more expensive


now I know the 2nd connects to the computer with a USB but how does the first one connect to the computer exactly?

Head Knocker
Since: May 20, 2007

Aug 24, 2007 01:01 am

Rule of interfaces:
For each individual track you want to record at the same time you must have a seperate input on the interface. Record six tracks of drums and bass at the same time, needs seven seperate inputs.

Also, I own the Behringer Xenyx1832FX and it has 18 inputs, but only 2 subgroups output. (Plus channel inserts, cont rm, etc) and it is just barely adequate. Consider the number of subgroups and if all channels have inserts as the most important aspects after inputs. 18 inputs is plenty but 4 or even 8 subgroups would have been better.

Kaos is only a form of insanity
Since: Feb 03, 2005

Aug 24, 2007 04:04 pm

Also I believe I'm right in saying tha USB is only two channel output and not more - whereas firewire is capable of more (this maybe totally wrong)

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 24, 2007 05:10 pm

Yep and Yep, I'm agreeing with both posts above.

The analog mixers connect to your computer's audio interface (soundcard of some sort).

You have to take a signal out from the mixer, and send it into your interface input.

Like Headknocker =) mentioned, mains, subs, direct outs, inserts, tape outs, etc, all can take signal out from your mixer. It's up to you to figure out how to do it cleanly and efficiently.

For me, I use my mg16/4 board, which is analog. I use channel insert jacks to get signal out from the mixer at each channel. The other end of each cable plugs into my esp1010 inputs, 1 per track.

Other boards have direct outs, or you may use mains out, or subgroup out. If you only have 2 inputs on your sound card (interface) then this will work well. I have 8 inputs, so I needed to use more than 2 or 4 outputs from my mixer.

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 25, 2007 02:04 am

so you're saying a usb would not be the way to do it if I wanted to record like 4 drums I wouldn't be able to do it via USB since its only a two channel output? If this was true what would I use to connect the one thats not USB into the computer? You guys mentioned Firewire but exactly what is firewire?

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 04:40 am

what's your budget and do you have firewire?

usb1 tops out at 4 i/o i believe....

firewire (recommended) can get more than 12. but is logically more expensive.

firewire is much like a 'faster' usb *type* connector...and if all goes well it's usually pretty stable.

what kind of computer setup are you workin' with?

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 10:39 am

what would I use to connect the one thats not USB into the computer

I kinda answered that in my last post.

Plug a cable from whatever output your using on the mixer, to the inputs on the audio interface (soundcard).

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 25, 2007 02:16 pm

hmm i'm afraid i'm not exactly getting it. Well I am but for the PV6 has the main out which looks like 1/4 inputs I'd need an interface with two 1/4' inputs to plug those main outs into that?

Also the peavey PV6 mixer has an output on the back that looks like two RCA cables connects to it on the back, a headphone out (which I would assume doesn't connect to the computer) and an EFX out on the front and a L/R for Ctr/room? Basicly to get this setup to work on my computer (which I plan on getting a new one) is I'd need an interface that has at least two 1/4' inputs one for L/R?

Yeah sorry for not understanding with all that mains, subs, lingo. Not too keen on the vocabulary. =X

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 02:38 pm

No prob, we've all been there.

Mating your interface with a proper front end takes planning.

If you will only have 2 inputs, then your possibilities are greater.

So, yes on your first part. PV6 outputs (1/4") will plug directly into your L & R inputs on your interface. You will have to send mixer channel 1 hard left, and mixer channel 2 hard right to keep them separate. Otherwise, the two mixer channels will be 'summed' together, and end up in both signals being sent to the PC.

I can't get any pix of the back (peavey site is not working all the way). I'm gonna guess that the RCA inputs are tape in, since there's a 'Tape to Mix' button.

I don't think that's much of an issue for you now.

Mains are the main outputs of a mixer (left and right). Subs are a 'sub' group of left and right. Often, these can be used to get 2 more individual channels out of a mixer. Some mixers don't have sub groups (PV6 doesn't). Higher boards will have 1, 2, 3, etc groups of sub outs.

That's not much of an issue for you now either, just keep what you're thinking: 2 channels from mixer, going into 2 channels in your interface. You'll be able to record 2 separate signals at once.

Should work ducky.

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 25, 2007 02:52 pm

Hmm thank you this is helping me a lot. However you said IF you will only have 2 inputs.

Does that mean that since the PV6 only has 2 main outs you can only record two inputs at once? Say like two mics, or a bass and guitar? If this is true wouldn't going with a USB be much easier seeing as how 4 at the most would probably be the most for me (considering I record each instruments track seperately).

Or is there a truly notable difference between USB and FireWire?

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 03:12 pm

On that mixer, yes. I don't know how you'd get more than 2 individual signals out of that mixer. Even though it has 4 mic inputs, the 4 signals would have to get 'summed' together somewhere before coming out.

It's not just because there's only 2 main outs, because most mixers only have 2 main outs. But on mine (mg16/4) there's main outs (2) and sub outs (2) so I could send 4 signals out of the mixer as individual signals.

But . . . .

My board also has channel inserts. I'm using these jacks as direct channel outputs. Making each channel send it's signal out on individual cables. This happens before the 'summing' part of the mixer.

If you think along a line, there's:

mic preamp ---- gain knob ---- channel insert ---- EQ ---- fader ---- summing ---- etc, etc, etc.

I'm tapping signal out at the channel insert point, and sending that signal over to my PC.

But, with channel inserts, if I only plug my 1/4" jack up to the first click, that channel's signal continues to travel through the rest of the mixer, and out the mains. I hook up my monitors to this point (the mains).

So you can see there's multiple ways of doing this. It just takes some planning to know what options you'll have when you buy something.

This is the time to ask questions though, before you plunk down $$$ and get something that doesn't work like you envisioned.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 03:18 pm

usb device will probably do you fine. There's the Line6 UX2 that's been used by many on here. and seem to like it a bunch.

It's got 2 xlr inputs, and connects via USB.

This way you don't need to goof with a mixer, just plug in your mics, or your bass / guitar and record.

The ux2 also has modelling of mics, amps, and other stuff, so you'll be able to tweak and adjust the signal once it's in.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 03:25 pm

USB and firewire is just a way to send digital data from one thing to another. Sonic wise, they're identical, as they're both digital.

FIrewire is reported to be more robust for fast data transfer, and there's a few higher end companies using firewire (RME, MOTU come to mind).

In your case, I'm sure USB would be more than adequate for 2 or maybe 4 inputs.

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 25, 2007 03:35 pm

Ooo thank you so much.

Do you think it'll cost more to look for a multi 1/4' input sound card and buy the PV or to just get the Alesis with USB. Seeing as how most of the sound cards I see are 150+.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 03:43 pm

I think the Maudio AP2496 is running around 99$.


one on ebay right now for 60$.

2 channel, RCA inputs/outputs, and you'll need preamps, which the mixer would provide.

Otherwise, I'm sure the alesis USB mixer will work.

I think you'll be pretty much in the same boat, options-wise. Both will give you mixer capabilities, and 2 channels. They're basically the same setup, it seems.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 03:45 pm

he's got a mg12/4 on there for sale too:


and a few other things =)

(i've nothing to do with that seller, just noticed and passing along)

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 25, 2007 04:13 pm

yeah now do you think getting the PV6 and and the first link you provided would be better quality or do you think there isn't much of a difference between that and a USB setup. I read a review on zzounds.com that USB isn't that good but I wouldn't know really.

and thank you a lot for you're help I'd be pretty lost right now without you. =D

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Aug 25, 2007 05:13 pm

You mean the 2496? They're pretty highly regarded, in the consumer level of interfaces.

I don't really know if it'd be better than and a USB setup. I'm gonna throw this out there, that it would be pretty close.

This is where other smaller issues can have a bigger impact: drivers, bundled software, user expertise with each solution, functions, future usability, stuff like that. I know that the 2496 is pretty stable, driver wise, and software wise.

But you may not get all included with an EBAY deal, so there's that to consider.

Here's another angle, that may persuade you one way: portability. Having a USB mixer will let you move this from a PC over to a laptop for location recording in the future. I do some field recording with my laptop, and a US122, but a mixer would be nice too. I can't use a PCI interface with my laptop. And, a PC card usually won't be taken out to use at a different location. Too much PITA. USB (or firewire) really shines in that respect.

Since: Jul 26, 2007

Aug 25, 2007 06:31 pm

Oo thanks a lot bud I definetly understand a lot more now I at least understand what I plan on buying. Thanks dude =D

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