8 outputs audio card


I’m thinking of buying a 8 outputs audio card on usb to mix some little projects on a Soudcraft mixer. Can Audacity send one track per output if there is no more than 8 tracks in a project?



Audacity can export multi-channel audio files if you enable “Use custom mix” in Import / Export Preferences, but it can only play tracks mixed down to stereo.



Thank you for the answer, but there is a little misunderstanding. I didn’t talk about exporting tracks, but about routing each track to a different output of the sound card and route each output of the soundtrack to an analog input of a real mixer. I’m afraid that I understand your answer:

but it can only play tracks mixed down to stereo.

Does it means that what I would like to do is not possible? In this case, I will have to export a collection of wave file as you said and use an other mixer application able to dispatch these waves on several output of the sound card. Have you ever heard about such an open source application?



Audacity cannot currently do that. The output from Audacity is mono or stereo.

Do you want to vote for “multi-channel playback” as a new feature?

It means that it is not possible with Audacity.

Audacity can create multi-channel audio files (see Audacity Manual) but it cannot itself output audio to more than 2 channels. If you have an audio player that can output to multiple channels than it should be able to play multi-channel files created by Audacity.

I’ll count this as a vote for “multi-channel playback” as a new feature unless pfeuh says he wants Audacity to always mix down output to mono or stereo as now.


You are welcome. Audacity is my favorite tool for recording and working on sounds. But on this particular feature, it could be enhanced a lot.



I’m thinking of buying a 8 outputs audio card on usb to mix some little projects on a Soudcraft mixer. Can Audacity send one track per output if there is no more than 8 tracks in a project?

You can probably create an 8-channel WAV file and play it through a 7.1 Channel soundcard (with the player software of your choice), but it sounds like a tricky thing to set-up & configure the hardware & software.

You could mix with Audacity… If you have 8 separate audio files, the standard approach would be use use a DAW and mix digitally “in the box” (digitally with software). Besides cost savings, you also avoid the quality loss that happens with analog mixing/processing. And, you can automate your mixing (programming volume changes, and other changes) during the mixdown. Mixing is done by summing (addition). Analog mixers are built-around a summing amplifiers… Computers are really good at addition! :smiley:

Pros often use a “control surface” that looks like a mixer, but actually controls the DAW software. (Control surfaces can be very expensive.) Some pros do like to use an analog mixer, but they’ve got all kinds of expensive high-quality multi-channel equipment, and mixers with motorized faders, etc… And IMO, it’s kind of goofy!

A DAW also allows you to use all kinds of effects (compression, reverb, EQ) seperately applied/controlled on each channel.

The downside to a DAW is that it’s quite a bit more complex than an audio editor (like Audacity).

[u]REAPER[/u] ($60 USD) is a popular with hobbyists and home studios, or there are other popular choices. The nice thing about REAPER is that you get the whole thing for $60 (pros have to pay more for the license, but there is no extra-cost “pro version” or extra-cost add-ons), and they don’t stick-it-to-you for upgrades. Of course, you can add expensive 3rd-party plug-ins if you wish.


I do it very often… But without equalisation, without reverberation, compression and other special effects which are destructive in the current version. For 300 euros, you can buy a Soundcraft mixer with a Lexicon effect, a 3 band equalization with a medium parametric, it’s better than all the daws of the world. A 8 outputs sound card is much cheaper. I’m from the old generation, I like to feel the real world on my fingertips. I also like the mixed signal to cross a real tube amplifier. I know that the new generation prefers to do everything on a smartphone. :wink:

It could be a solution, I will try it. But the best for my problem should be to route the tracks on several analog outputs, in Audacity or in another sound application. My job is software programmer in industrial embedded sensors, I realize that adding this feature is totally possible.



Way back in 2008, I had the same issue, M-Audio1010 card, Soundcraft mixer, and eight tracks of audio that I wanted to process in the analog realm. I ended up processing the tracks a pair at a time, running them through the board and back into Audacity, so I had eight original tracks and eight processed tracks, then I adjusted the levels of the processed tracks and mixed them ‘in the box’.

After that experience I moved onto Protools, and then Reaper, and then finally came back to Audacity last year, as I was tired of having to ‘arm tracks’ and ‘select input device’ when all I wanted was a giant record button that starts up recording eight tracks at once. I came across this thread when I was trying to figure out if they had finally put multi channel playback capability in Audacity or not. I’m guessing not, so make this my vote to add this feature.

I’ve done, and am doing, this ‘mix in the box’, and I’m not a fan of it, EQ is nice to tweak, and faders are nice to slide, and MIDI/USB controllers aren’t the same.

It would also be nice if, even if your interface has eight channels + 2 ADAT + 2 Mix, if you could select 4 channels in the preferences and have it record just the first four channels. After every recording I have to close all the twelve tracks I didn’t use before saving to avoid wasting disk space.


I bought the Soundcraft mixer, it’s a real pleasure to use it. I use an old Cubase to send the tracks (same way as you, 4 stereo bus), but it’s really boring to “export multiple” from Audacity… If some tracks are not starting from instant zero, you have to add a filled with zeros stuff before anything, then you have to synchronise the tracks (Ctrl-A J Shift-K Ctrl-T), after you have to configure all volumes and panpots to zero and then you can export… It’s not finish… if you save this project, the audacity mix is lost. It’s a kind of punishment but I don’t known my fault. :smiley: It would be so cool to have this multiple outputs option in Audacity.


Noted. We have a patch for this, but the feature required editing the audacity.cfg settings file and the developer who wrote it has lost interest in making an interface for the settings.

Are you on Windows and if so did you compile Audacity to add ASIO support? If so, you could probably build the patch at https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/wip-enhancing-multichannel-fix-single-channel-recording/28626/1 . There is also a Windows binary there but it is an old alpha version of Audacity.


Why don’t you just export from Audacity as a single multi-channel WAV file, with one audacity track per channel, then import that file into Cubase?
It’s quick, simple and you don’t need to mess up the Audacity mix.

To do that, “Edit > Preferences > Import / Export” and select “Use custom mix”.


Because I’m a donkey! I don’t even know this feature! :smiley: I’ve just checked it. The result is close to the “normal” export multiple. That means that the waves are not “normalized” but exported “as is”, if the audacity volume for a track is -30db, it is exported at -30 db. The stereo wave are switched to mono ones. The offset problem is not fixed (I talked about a “stuff before sample”, sorry, I have a very poor English). On the hardcopies, the original sample “no sync” is at 45 seconds. The exported one is sticked to the beginning of the wave.

Looks perfect here. The only thing I need to do after importing is to rejoin the stereo tracks.

:open_mouth: Awesome! It looks perfect! I surely have missed something! Here is my config:
And what about volume? Automatic 0db?

No. The track gain settings are applied before exporting.

The primary purpose of multichannel export is to allow exporting multi-channel (surround) sound files. Obviously for this application users would want the track controls to be honoured, otherwise they won’t get what is reasonably expected.

For what it’s worth, I think that there should at least be an option to include leading “white space” when using Export Multiple to export multiple tracks. I can add your vote for that feature if you want.

For sure, add! Thank you very much. Here is a tune recorded track by track (it’s called re-recording). After that, it has been shooted 27 times to have different views. Of course I talk about playback. The mix were done on Audacity too… No effect, no equalization, totally rugged. I’ve recorded my friends and played the lead guitar. The more easy the software is, the more time I can spend on doing music. Exportation for mix on one click could be a very good thing.



This is another of these where there are competing similar requests. :frowning:

Most folk want a Preference for all mixed down exports

Preserve start-time relative to time zero when exporting (13 votes).

We also had specifically for Export Multiple:

Checkbox “Do not render leading white space as silence”’ as per straight export (1 votes)

to which you added:

Ability to include leading white space (not necessarily a check box option) (2 votes)

“Do not render leading white space as silence as per straight export” is now wrong because export multiple doesn’t render leading white space. So given this is a Yes/No type of choice, I think that desired functionality is the same as for the two votes you added (with the point being that a control is wanted to toggle the functionality without going into Preferences).

But if not a checkbox, what type of control, with what other choices?

Do these two votes want a control in the straight export dialogue to preserve leading white space? If either votes do want such a control as well, that could be added as an extra bullet.


I do Export Multiple, then Import Media Items into Reaper, but that just encourages me to mix it in the box :frowning:

Soundcraft EQ’s are generally quite good, seems a shame to waste them. :mrgreen: