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Interface or Mixer?

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  • Interface or Mixer?

    A friend has begun his journey into the DAW world. I haven't actually been in the room while he uses the gear he has as he lives 1,000 km away. My question is on his behalf and about where to use a mixer and where to use an audio inteface.

    He has a Behringer Xenyx X1222 USB physical mixer. He connects his mics to this and the output goes to Reaper on his laptop when recording at the rehearsal space and the PA when playing live. I think he can also perform both of these functions simultaneously when the band plays live (record to Reaper and also output to the PA), but I'm not sure.

    I am guessing that he would get a single stereo track recorded in Reaper in this way. Do I have this correct?

    We are wondering if he wasted money buying the physical Behringer mixer and instead would have been better off buying an audio interface with the same number of inputs as the Behringer mixer.

    Here is my take on it. Please correct me where I am wrong. The physical mixer is primarily geared towards live performance, not recording. This is because it just outputs a single stereo signal that a PA at a venue can use. He can record this output at the same time as the gig takes place, but he will only get a single stereo track in Reaper. Thus he won't be able to tweak each instrument individually later.

    A good interface (in concert with a powerful computer and Reaper) would do everything the physical mixer can do in the live performance scenario. It would create a single stereo signal the PA at the venue can use. However by using an interface rather than a physical mixer he would be recording each mic individually on its own Reaper track, allowing for a lot more tweaking later on.

    The only problem with using an interface is that you need a lot of computing power to make it work without jumps and pops. The physical mixer is probably also more reliable in a live performance situation. It is also easier to slide physical sliders up and down on a nice big mixer rather than using a mouse on a little screen.

    Do I have all this correct? Should he sell his mixer and buy a good multi channel audio interface? Maybe there is an argument for owning a physical mixer and an audio interface?

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  • #2
    my roland octacapture has built-in discreet 4 virtual mixers. I can use it as a mixer without a computer. best of both world. i think Motu ultralite is the same. but physical mixer is way quicker to use. not necessary wasting money, just less flexible, doesn't mean one cannot do good music with it. one can also do good music with a simple creative soundcard