Help with a single PC, single mixer, single Mic setup

Hey all,

I’ve purchased a few components to enhance the audio experience of my PC for
either recording or streaming and I’m having difficulty making things work.

Here’s what I have:

a Windows PC
Mackie 402VLZ4 Analog Mixer
2x Stereo RCA to 3.5mm jack for in/out jacks on the back of the motherboard
1/4’’ jack to RCA converters
XLR Cable
Either Sennheiser HD 280 Pro (64 Ohms impedence) or Cyber Acoustics 2.1 speakers

I did a bit of googling and tried a few things, but for the life of me, I
can’t get the microphone to work nor the headphones to correctly function
while connected to the mixer.

The main things I want to do:
Use the mixer as an interface for PC audio and mic audio
Control volume of the XLR mic separately
Control volume of the headphones or speakers separately
Enhance the audio of a single PC streaming setup

Any helpful direction would be very much appreciated!
Thank you for reading.

OK. Basics.

Turn on the mixer. Forget the computer. Green power light should come on.

Plug the microphone and XLR cable into the MIC-1 connection. The controls associated with the microphone tend to run in up and down strips or channels (even in much larger mixers). Once you learn how to run yours, much larger mixer won’t scare you.

Run the GAIN and LEVEL controls in that strip all the way up. Blue EQ controls at middle. Watch that channel’s red OL (Overload) light on the bottom of the strip and scream into the microphone. Does the red OL light come on?

We are intentionally creating an overload condition as a test. You don’t actually run the microphone during the show that way.


I followed these instructions and the OL light did indeed light up.

Good start. The microphone, cable, MicPre, basic mixer, and power supply are all working.

Reduce the Gain and Level controls to about 3:00 o’clock. Increase Main Mix to around 3:00 o’clock. Make sure Phantom Power is turned off. Your microphone doesn’t need it. I have your microphone except mine doesn’t have the switch.

Talk normally. I expect the flashing light sound meter on the right to bounce somewhere.

“Natural volume” is the bottom four sets of green lights bouncing: 0, 4, 12, 28. You may go higher and possibly an occasional yellow flash. Avoid flashing the red light. People try to make this into: “If you do this the world will end.” Sound doesn’t work like that. We feature words like “Most, Generally, and As a Rule.”

Plug your headphones into PHONES and turn up the PHONES control — carefully. I expect you to hear yourself clearly.

You said you plugged into one of the sockets of the computer. Which one? This is important. This is the place most people fall face-first in the mud. Is it pink? Is it labeled Mic-In?

Please note we haven’t turned the computer on yet.


I plugged into the Mic input and also the BLUE input, both seem to work well.

I’m looking to have the Mixer, PC, Microphone, and Headphones work well together, that is:

Headphones (Listening device)
PC (Audio source)
Microphone (My voice)
Mixer (Control and interface)

I’ve established the mixer works perfectly well, the problem is having all of the components working together as one. I’m looking to use this for streaming gameplay on Twitch -or- recording my voice.

Thanks for the well-articulated reply!

PS and OT: Waiting for posts to be approved before showing up is a bit annoying, when does that go away?

Waiting for posts to be approved before showing up is a bit annoying, when does that go away?

If you post enough times (I forget what the number is) suddenly one day it’s not there any more. You may or may not be shocked at the number of spam postings that process catches. No, I’m not interested in new kitchen cabinets in Manchester. Really.

The blue connector is officially the high-level stereo connection on a normal soundcard. Use that one.

having all of the components working together as one.

That is the problem.

There’s no combination of signal pathways that allow you to gameplay and produce a show at the same time. It’s not unusual for the game and Audacity to do a little fist-fight as to who’s going to control the microphone or recording channel. Usually, the last software launch gets it.

I got my voice on Audacity, now the game people can’t hear me.

There is software specifically designed to do this. FRAPS? I’ve never used it.

I think you can do this with a sufficiently talented sound mixer and two computers. You need two separate mixes. The microphone mix where you appear on your portion of the game, and the show mix which has you plus the game sound and the other players. This is the place where a little computer with single microphone and headphone management starts running out of steam. I think that’s what FRAPS does. It creates multiple sound pathways in computer memory such that they don’t bang into each other.

If you got it this far, recording your own voice is just a matter of not overloading Audacity. Keep the Audacity sound meters bouncing around -6 and the blue waves peaks around 50% (same number) and you should be good to go.

If you record with the meters buried in the red (to the right) or way on the left (-50 or so), you may create a permanently damaged voice track All these systems have sound meters because that’s the best way to make good, consistent, clear recordings

Once you make a good voice recording, you can apply filters and effects to it, make it louder or pretty much anything you want. If you damage the recording that’s very serious and people who do that spend a great deal of time in post production trying to rescue their show. Trying to make it barely adequate.

Heading for AudioBook reading? We have some interesting tools that can make reading audiobooks a little less painful.