Audacity 2.4.2 Using a USB Mixer for Multi Channel Recording?

Hey all.

So, I’ve been looking into using a USB mixer for multi channel recording for my podcast, so I can record four people as separate tracks. In the Wiki, it had me download AIOS and rebuild Audacity, which went fine.

My question is this: will a USB mixer (of any kind, really) work for what I need? I’m told all USB mixers, like the Xenyx line from Behringer for example, automatically mix down to stereo output regardless of how they’re connected. So should I even bother? Or just go with a multi input audio interface, like a Scarlett 18i8?

Thank you for your time.

  • Jeff

I’m told all USB mixers…

Most USB mixers (including the inexpensive Behringer mixers) send the stereo (or mono) mix out over the USB bus. [u]Here[/u] is a higher-end mixer that can double as a multitrack interface (and it works as a DAW control surface).

There can be advantages to using a mixer, especially for monitoring, and you could set-up a mixer for monitoring and a separate multi-channel interface but when your set-up gets more complicated you might need an engineer/producer who is not part of the talent.

I think you left out a piece. Multi-channel sound recorder. Regard all the people on the forum that have sound problems recording on the computer. “What is that clicking sound on my voice?” “Why does my voice sound like talking into a milk jug?” “My voice is going at the wrong speed.”

You can conceivably have these problems, and you’re not limited to one. You can have all of them.

I shot my audiobook voice test with a stand-alone sound recorder, transferred it to Audacity for editing, posted it, and went to lunch.

record four people as separate tracks.

I’m guessing you never actually tried this kind of show? Unless you have good isolation between the performers, each voice is going to have quiet ghost voice from all the others. So there is no applying heavy effects to just one voice. and you certainly can’t change timing. Minor corrections are usually OK.

The composite recording is going to have room echo, different room echo, from each person, and they will add as you do the final mix. There is no predicting what it’s going to sound like.

I note you didn’t say the magic words “…And I’ll need to include [chat application].” Fill in Skype, Zoom, Meetings, etc. That can take you up to full production studio with a mix-minus sound console, etc.

There is one podcast that literally did a four-way podcast from a kitchen table. It was shot by one of the BBC Broadcast technicians and he did it with a medium size sound console, a multi-track recorder and I think a bunch of Go-Pros.

I saved those pictures somewhere. They were a post-production editing nightmare, but they were all surgically clear and good to listen to—and watch.


Here it is.

Matt Gray is the techie. That’s all his stuff.