Recommendations for USB A/D Converter and Mic Preamp?

I want to use Audacity to record as least two tracks simultaneously (vocals and guitar/keyboards). I have some SM57 and SM58 mics and a 10 year old Beheringer 16 channel mixing board that I use to use with audio tape technology, with reasonable success, and also for live use in a PA system. I am not inclined to go the way of USB Mics, although they seem to been getting quite good. I have considered buying a Behringer X1204USB 12-Channel Mixer or possibly a M-Audio Fast Track Pro Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface, or a PreSonus 1Box Audiobox Collector’s Edition Recording Bundle. I will also want to have the ability to listen and simultaneously record additional tracks.

I know the Behringer X1204USB 12-Channel Mixer is a different animal than the other devices, but with it’s USB output it would seems to me that is would be capable of doing everything and more than the M-Audio or PreSonus devices. (If I am wrong – please let me now). I don’t (currently) use and MIDI devices. Portability is not a big issue as I will likely just use this at home.

I am using Audacity (latest version) on a Windows Vista and also on a Windows 7 machine. I don’t have a firewire on any of my machines, just USB.

Please give me your thoughts on what device you would recommend.

Also, can I simply use a cheap A/D converter (ie A Behringer UCA222 ) running from my existing Mixing Board and then into the computer and pan one mic Left and the other Right an essentially get 2 channel recording capability?


The Behringer gives you one other feature. You can get a headphone mix for overdubbing/multitrack.

I believe you can do the same jobs with the UCA222 and the only difference is the S/PDIF connection.

They word it funny in the specifications, but the switch gives you a mix of both directions – live microphone and playback tracks in the mix.

The Xeninx series of Behringer USB mixers have that monitoring built-in – according to the note from Behringer.


I’d stick with your existing, familiar analog mixers and equipment and add the converter. For $30 USD (UCA202) you can tell if you like it or not and change around accordingly.

What is a S/PDIF connection and do I need one?

If I use my existing board with the $30 a/D converter, will I still have live monitoring? My old Beringer Board does allow me to assign channels to a Monitor channel, then to a headset.


Sony/Philips Digital Interface is one standard way to get digital audio around. There’s optical and non-optical. You can usually peek behind the shield (if you have no cable) and see the little red lights in there.

I’m in deep water here, but I believe you can conveniently send Dolby AC3 Surround (six audio channels) down a single S/PDIF cable.

You have all the analog mixer monitoring and assigning you had before. Only in the case that you want to perform overdubbing – sing to an existing track – that you need the monitoring on the USB device.

Typically, headphones on the mixer give you live, real-time voices and instruments, sub mixing and management etc. etc, but not track playback from the computer. Plugging into the computer gives you terrific track playback, but usually delayed live performance from the mixer – and you can’t easily fix that.

Monitoring at the USB device (and not all of them do this) gives you a graceful mix of Track Playback from the computer and the live mixer show– not mixer submix or monitoring management.

You only need this if you do overdubbing – singing to an existing track.

If you’re adventurous, you can feed the USB headphone connection back into the mixer and sub-mix to a headphone feed.

Your mixing desk has to support that.


Thanks, I’ll give it a try!