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Thread: Mixer Question

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    Mixer Question

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    Hi, I am new to this forum and am somewhat new to recording music as well. Right now I am working with one external synthesizer (plan to get more however), one drum machine (TR-8), and a PreSonus Audiobox USB interface (which I bought years ago before I had anything else). It has two mic/inst inputs, so I already feel uneasy running a synth and drum machine into its two inputs which I believe are line level signals. My first question is, is it bad to be running these signals into this interface that says only mic/inst inputs? Secondly, I don't like running the output of my drum machine into a mono input of this interface because I don't get to individually edit the instruments within my DAW. You can assign instruments on the TR-8 to 4 assignable outputs which is ideally what I think I want. I would obviously need a bigger interface with more inputs but I also have been looking at mixers that can be used as interfaces as well. You seem to get a lot more effects and control when buying a mixer and a lot of them accept line inputs which is what all my equipment is. My second question is, would I be better off with a mixer than an interface? How good are the effects that come with a mixer as opposed to within a DAW? Obviously you get what you pay for, I know, but I don't have any idea if they even compare in the first place. And another thing I often do is I like to write MIDI patterns within my DAW and send them to my synth via the MIDI out of my interface. I understand that most USB Mixers don't really come with MIDI outputs? Should I get a MIDI interface paired with a mixer or buy a better audio interface? If there are any particular models that you guys recommend that would help too. I would like it to be under $700. Thank you for your help.

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    My first question is, is it bad to be running these signals into this interface that says only mic/inst inputs?

    Microphones, Instrument-Pickups and Line-Level sources have different impedances, so the answer is yes, connecting line level signals to mic/instrument inputs result in sound degradation.
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  4. #3
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    My second question is, would I be better off with a mixer than an interface?
    You'll definitely be better off with an audio interface.
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    How good are the effects that come with a mixer as opposed to within a DAW?
    Depends on the budget. In the price range you mentioned the processors and FX in a DAW definitely are better.
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    I understand that most USB Mixers don't really come with MIDI outputs? Should I get a MIDI interface paired with a mixer or buy a better audio interface?
    I don't know any mixer with an MIDI interface.
    I recommend as mentioned above to buy an dedicated audio interface - with or without a MIDI part doesn't matter you could pair every audio interface with a MIDI-USB-Interface.
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    If there are any particular models that you guys recommend that would help too. I would like it to be under $700.
    There're many affordable audio interfaces out there. I would recommend one from Steinberg or Focusrite. It should have an ADAT input/output so you can extend the number of available analog i/os by combining the audio interface with an external converter unit.
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    Mad Props to Mad Phonetics for so many thoughtful responses!!

    GJ

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    I don't think I know anyone who'd use a mixer with FX and actually use those FX, unless specifically going for a lo-fi vibe. I guess some of the newer digital desks have actually decent fx engines built in (we're talking a lot more than $700 though), but you're still cut short of, say, automating them in the DAW, regardless of the quality. As said, just get an interface with enough i/o - if you want the comfort of having a MIDI interface in the same unit, there's plenty of those, but also as said, if you really need a lot of "traditional" DIN MIDI ports, you can always get a separate MIDI interface later. Most modern synths/drum machines work just fine over USB though, MIDI wise.

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    A mixer into your set up would be valueable if your interface already had a Line input, so you'll still be going around in circles with your current problem. Either buy a new interface with the needed connections or buy a portable DAW like Tascam's DP series and transfer files to your PC if you want a mixer. So many options out there.

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    Thank you all for your help. I'll definitely go the interface route then. I've been looking at a lot of interfaces lately and I want there to be a lot of inputs because I plan on getting a lot of instruments for the future. I've been looking particularly at the Focusrite 18i20 and the MOTU 828x. On the Focusrite however, there are only these microphone preamp combo XLR/TRS inputs. Does putting a TRS jack in there mean you are bypassing the preamp or how does that work? The MOTU 828x seems perfect for my situation but all I see are complaints and problems with it online so I'm planning on getting the Focusrite. Thank you for all your help everyone.

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