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How to Hookup an Analog Mixer

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The full article can be read at





We get this question too, too much! So here it is, an answer in full. So many newbs think you need to connect the main outs to a soundcard and can monitor off the control room outs too. Is that you? Hah! Enjoying that high pitched whine everytime you want to record? That's called FEEDBACK. You are getting it because you hooked up the mixer improperly. Here's some better ways. First with a cheap mixer (which I don't recommend) and second, with a mixer with an alt 3-4 bus or direct outs (required if you are serious!)


One Way Communication Mixer to Soundcard


Here's all you do--connect the main outs of the Mixer to the soundcard line input(s). You then connect your speakers to the line outs of the audio interface or soundcard. That's all you do.



Two Way Communication Mixer to Soundcard AND Soundcard to Mixer


This is for people that want to connect their monitors to the mixer, as it is done in advanced studios.


Note the following:

1. You need a mixer with an alt 3-4 output (sometimes called a subgroup) or direct outs on at least 2 mic channels. You can sometimes use inserts to function as direect outs by inserting the plug in "halfway" (to the first click). Not all mixers have these. The cheapest mixer does not. Don't go ultra cheap if you want this feature.


2. The subgroup (alt 3-4) connects to the soundcard line in . The soundcard line out connects to any two available line inputs.


3. The active monitors (or cables to an amplifier) go the the CONTROL ROOM OUTS.


Here's nmodi's famous pic (my eternal thanks for his graphic wizardry)



NOTE: Though it defies newbie common sense wisdom, you do not have the main outs connect to anything. The Control Room outputs act as the main outs and acts as a volume control for the whole system.


Workaround with a mixer without an alt bus, direct outs or inserts


If you already bought a cheap mixer without alt/subgroups out here is the workaround.


Connect two of the send outs (hopefully you have 2) directly to the soundcard. Bring the soundcard output back to any 2 available line in channels. Yes you may need adapters to take the 1/8th inch stereo out of the soundcard to two seperate line in jacks. You need an stereo mini jack to dual mono cable.


On your mic channel, when you want to record, turn up the send on that channel so the signal goes to the soundcard.


In some situations you may have to turn off "software monitoring" in your sequencer software while you record.


NOTE: If you still have feedback you might use the TAPE inputs on the mixer. This works sometimes but often will not allow you to monitor your hardware synths playing back MIDI. Its hard to give an absolute answer as every mixer is slightly different. Experiment before you ask a question about this, OK? Try the Tape, try the line ins, try the aux returns, try turning software monitoring off. One of these 6 possiblites usually works.


Recommended mixers with alt 3-4 outs


Behringer UB1204--best bang for the buck--shown in pic above





Yamaha MG164



Behringer UB2442



Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro



Behringer SL2442FXPro



Mackie 1402VLZ Pro



Behringer MX3242X



Behringer MX2442



Mackie Onyx 1220 (has direct outs via special cable or optional firewire card, also has a alt 3-4)




Behringer SL3242FX PRO



Behringer MX3282



Mackie 1642VLZ Pro



Mackie Onyx 1620



Yamaha MG2414FX



Mackie 1604 VLZ



Behringer MX9000



Mackie 24-8



Course there are others...

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