does Audacity work with the Alesis MultiMix 8 USB 2.0

Dear Audacity Experts and Near-Experts –

Please help a newbie.

I was wondering-- does Audacity work with the Alesis MultiMix 8 USB 2.0 or not (to output 1 WAV file per each track)?

This is a link to this MultiMix…

I saw a guy hook this MultiMix to Reaper, and he had real-time on-screen monitoring, and he got a separate WAV for each track.

Can Audacity do that?

Please advise.

I am going to “inherit” one of these MultiMix devices soon for “almost nothing”; so, I want to play how to use it.

Right now, I like Audacity much more that Reaper; so, I am hoping to find a way to make Audacity work with it and get separate WAV files for each.

My goal is to capture live performances from our quartet (k+b+d+g) in digital format, for quick-and-dirty mixing, then output to MP3, for review, analysis, and to serve as a poor-man’s demo so we can get some gigs, etc-- so, in short, I really think that I do not need all the features of Reaper and would be much more comfortable (and efficient) with Audactity, as long as Audacity can provide WAV-per-track output.

(I searched the forums here and found several references to MultiMix questions, but nothing conclusive.)

What do you think? Thoughts? Comments? Hints? Suggestions?

(All help is appreciated.)


– Mark Kamoski

I don’t know…

But for multi-track recording and mixing, you are probably better off using DAW software (digital audio workstation) rather than an audio editor. Of course this software is 10 times as complex, but its the more appropriate too for the job.

The Alesis originally came with a version of Cubase, or you can use REAPER. If you are not getting the software with it, it might not be such a great bargain…

Audacity can export multi-track WAV files (see “Use Custom Mix” in the Import / Export Preferences) but it almost certainly won’t be able to record more than two simultaneous channels on Windows 7 (it might on XP). See .


Dear Gale –

Your help is appreciated; but, I still do not understand.

Maybe you making some kind of distinction between “multi-track WAV files” and “more than two simultaneous channels on Windows 7” or something?

Regardless, it is probably that I am phrasing my question precisely-- so I will try again here.

Here is my plan…

I have Windows 7 running on a laptop.

I have Audacity running on the laptop.

I have the Alesis MultiMix USB 2.0 plugged into the laptop.

I have 4 mics on the drums, each plugged into the Alesis.

I have 1 mic on the bass (mic’ed not line-out), and that mic is plugged into the Alesis.

I have 1 mic on the guitar (mic’ed not line-out), and that mic is plugged into the Alesis.

I have 2 mics on the keyboard (mic’ed not line-out), and each mic is plugged into the Alesis.

So, that is 8 “tracks” coming into the Alesis.

(I am a newbie so I am not sure if “tracks” is the right term here-- but, I will use that term the same way throughout in this post, to refer to “live sound captured and send electrically over a wire” etc.)

So, the Goal is to have Audacity record each “track” and output a separate WAV files for each of the 8 “tracks” onto my hard disk.

The question is-- Can Audacity achieve that Goal?

What do you think?

(Also, I have seen Reaper achieve this Goal and I know it does work in Reaper-- but I like Audacity more than Reaper, so I am hoping Audacity can do it.)

Please advise.


– Mark Kamoski

For mixing desks, and anywhere before the audio is actually recorded, the word is “channels”. So a mixing desk may have “8 channels”.

When the audio has been recorded, “tracks” are created, so a project may have “8 tracks” in it.

What you want to do is to simultaneously record 8 channels to 8 tracks.

For Audacity, this is a question about drivers and hardware. Audacity can only record from one “device” at a time. So for example it can record from one USB mixer or one sound card, or one USB microphone, but it cannot record from a USB mixing desk “and” a USB microphone at the same time.

The problem is that some devices (hardware) are able to handle multiple channels, but their device drivers present that as multiple stereo devices. So for example, an eight channel mixing desk may appear to Audacity as “mixer 01/02”, “mixer 03.04”, “mixer 05/06”, “mixer 07/08” - 4 separate stereo devices rather than one 8 channel device, and Audacity can only record from one device. Audacity has no control of how the device drivers are made - that is an issue between the manufacturer and Microsoft.

For “serious” multi-channel recording the Windows sound system is rather limited, which is probably why many manufacturers don’t bother writing Windows drivers with advanced functionality. Programs like Sonar, Cubase, Reaper… get round this limitation by using “ASIO”.

ASIO is a third party sound system for Windows and Mac “Audio Stream Input/Output”. It is more “advanced” than the standard Windows sound system and is capable of handling multiple channels very efficiently. Unfortunately it is not open source, so it cannot be shipped with Audacity without infringing license terms.

So the short answer to your question is that Audacity can record multiple channels at the same time (to separate tracks) but only if the hardware and drivers sipport multiple channels as “one” device. Unfortunately it appears (from the information that we have from other users) that the Alesis MultiMix 8 USB 2.0 does not do this, so Audacity cannot do this with this mixer.

As a compromise, you could use Reaper (or some other software) to record multiple channels, then export the recorded tracks as separate WAV files. The WAV files can then be imported into Audacity for editing, processing and mixing.

It would have been more accurate of me to say “export a multi-channel WAV file from a multi-track project”. This means that if you have recorded eight tracks, you export one WAV file having eight channels (for example, for playback in a 7:1 sound device). This would be the most common case if you had recorded eight simultaneous tracks into Audacity. Typically the first two tracks would become front left and front right respectively, then the sound card or playback software allocates the other tracks to the particular channels as per the specification for the file format.

This is as opposed to mixing more than two mono tracks down to a single stereo (two channel) or single mono (one channel) file, which is what Audacity does by default when you File > Export. If you don’t pan any of the mono tracks (or set them to left or right in the Track Drop-Down Menu), then Audacity will mix to a single mono file.

This is also as opposed to File > Export Multiple, which would export one file for each track in the project, so in your case, eight WAV files.