Which mixer?

I’m an old guitarist band member who has taken another interest in home recording but am out of my depth here with the modern gizmo’s, last time I recorded anything was on a cassette deck with piano keys and a red ‘Record’ key…

I have downloaded the very latest release of Audacity 2.0.3 and the computer I’m using is a Windows 7 desktop with 4 gig RAM with a 300 gig hard drive.

First things first: My needs are simple, all I want to do for my own satisfaction is this.
I want to play my 12 string guitar and sing my own compositions and record on 1 track
I then want to add individual tracks using my bass guitar, then a lead guitar and then probably a drum track.
So I suppose I want to record 4 individual tracks, whilst listening to the 1st one of me singing, then when I have a full sound, to blend them into a single MP3 file or perhaps a WAV.

I made a mistake…reading how simple they are to operate, I bought a Tascam DP-008 stand alone mixer/recorder…I have had it a week and simply cannot get my old head around the menu’s, sub menu’s, variables and that dial that does everything…it’s far too complicated for me and would rather suit a young kid who can multi task while watching a video and playing HD computer games and texting at the same time as eating a pizza …so…

I have had a quick go with Audacity using my desk mic (£1.95) and found that I can record several tracks and play them back together…GREAT!

So here is my question…As I have bought a condenser mic for this purpose (Needs 48v Phantom power) I would like to buy a simple mixer that I can plug my mic into, my guitar into and plug it into my computer and use Audacity to blend the individual tracks into a completed song.
But which one? AS I already wasted £225 on the Tascam, I want to buy a much cheaper mixer to try this out…please can somebody with far more expertise than me recommend a SIMPLE mixer or studio that will do the job?
I have looked at the Scarlet 2i2 or 2i4 for about £100, also the Tascam US122 audio MkII also for £100 but am still lost…


Thanks in advance
Nige :slight_smile:

This is one way.

That’s a Peavey PV6 connected to a Begringer UCA202 adapter and then on to the computer.


The UCA202 converts the analog sound from the US$100 mixer to digital. The UCA202 (US$30, I think) also happens to be one of the hardware solutions we reviewed that allow you to play back your old tracks into your headphones and listen to yourself in real time during the performance.

The Peavey will supply 48v phantom power to your microphone and you can connect your guitar pickup to one of the 1/4" Line-In connections.

There is a Peavey PV6USB that has everything built in, but I don’t think that model has the live theatrical monitoring like the separate pieces.


The little Behringer mixers are generally good value for money, but I’d definitely recommend getting one that has slider controls for the channel level than rotary knob controls as sliders are a lot more convenient to use. Make sure that you get enough mic channels - even if you are only using one mic now, there is a very good chance that you may use 2 or three mics at the same time in the future, for example with an acoustic guitar it is sometimes good to mix a mic over the sound hole with one over the 12th fret and mix in a little of an “ambient pair” of mics to pick up some of the room ambiance (rather than adding artificial reverb).

Thank you both for your replies :slight_smile:
I have a Behringer C1 condenser mic and right at this minute I’ looking on ebay at the Behringer mixers, there are so many to choose from it’s a job to sort out which model is best for my requirements, I’m leaning toward the XENYX Q802USB at the moment…

The Behringer C1 is a pretty popular mic. The main criticisms of it apply to the USB versions which tend to produce quite a low signal level but that should not be so much of a problem with the non-USB version. If you are in the UK (or Europe) it is worth considering the T-bone mics from Thomann.de (on-line music store).

The XENYX Q802USB is certainly compact, but personally I’d go for something a little bigger with sliders rather than knobs for the channel levels such as the Behringer Xenyx 1204 USB http://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_xenyx_1204_usb.htm

Now I like that…trouble is the size of it…there again I can always find room,it’s not as if it’s going anywhere…I keep reading reviews on this range that say there have been problems with drivers and folks have to download different drivers to use it properly, also they are 16bit and not 24…confused.com…I wish life were simple… :laughing:

It’s not huge. Dimensions: 97 x 270 x 328mm = 3.8" x 10.6" x 12.9" (HxWxD).
As far as I’m aware they use the same drivers as the UCA 202/222, which will mean that they should work out of the box without installing anything, or for enhanced drivers that also support ASIO you can install the Behringer drivers. I use a Behringer UCA 202 and it works perfectly on Windows XP, Vista and Linux (I’ve not tried it on other operating systems). It may be “only” 16 bit, but as long as you are careful with setting the levels that is not a problem for sound quality - the main advantage of recording 24 bit is that you don’t need to be precise about the recording levels because there is a lot more headroom with 24 bit, but Audacity does not currently record more than 16 bit on Windows anyway, so there’s no real benefit. “CD Quality” is 16 bit, and if you can achieve the quality of a professionally recorded CD that is not a problem is it? There’s likely to be more of a problem with things like the room acoustics, noise from outside, microphone noise, production technique, microphone placement, and of course… playing :wink:

The Peavey PV6 that Koz mentioned is also worth considering. It’s a bit smaller than that Behringer model, a bit cheaper, but less channels, less “Equalization” control (tone controls per channel), smaller meters, knobs rather than sliders… The Behringer may be a little “overkill” for starting off and the PV6 will do what you want now, but the Behringer is a lot more versatile should you wish to expand your “studio” in the future.

Peavey PV6 that Koz mentioned

It’s simple. I have to put these things in places where they are used by non audio people. I think we’re up to eight now and I own one.

Remember if you go with a USB mixer, you have to figure out whether or not it supports live monitoring. Many of them don’t. You need that so you can hear yourself correctly when you overdub sound-on-sound.

You can do overdubbing without that, but you will not hear your own live performance during the recording, just everything that came before. This isn’t obvious until you start to use it and your own voice or instrument comes back to your headphones late.

“How can I hear myself when I’m overdubbing. I get an echo and it’s driving me nuts.”

Yes. That’s correct. The only convenient way to cure that is plug the headphones in somewhere other than the computer. This may not bother you, but it’s a very common complaint.


Right, I think I’ve found the one to go for here at this German store, Behringer Xenyx QX1202 USB
Going on the blurb, it seems that I can use my C-1 mic, it has certain effects and I can plug it straight into my computer without having to buy extra add on’s. I think…
What do you think?

We can’t tell you which mixer to buy - as you say there is a lot of choice. The Behringer mixers all seem to offer a lot of bang for your buck.
I’m not familiar with that model, but there are some reviews on the German Thomman site: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thomann.de%2Fde%2Fbehringer_xenyx_qx1202_usb.htm&act=url

Whichever you decide to go with, you might like to post a review in the “Equipment” section of this forum when you have spent a bit of time using it. http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewforum.php?f=27

That Behringer I mentioned is out of stock everywhere, so I have bought a Behringer XENYX QX1002USB10 input USB Mixer. It arrives tomorrow so as soon as I know what it’s like, I’ll post a laymans review of it, how easy it is to turn on and off etc… :laughing:

Almost all mixers have a place to put your headphones to monitor what you’re doing in real time. That part’s a no-brainer. Some of them also let you play the computer’s existing tracks into your headphones at the same time. That reverse path is required for sound-on-sound recording. You need to listen to your old tracks.

You can listen to the older tracks by plugging your headphones into the computer, but most computers will not let you listen to yourself correctly, your live voice.

Worse, This monitor feature is almost never mentioned in the manufacturer’s literature. The fact that the UCA202 will do it was a happy accident.

Some mixers have a separate knob that controls the difference between live voice and the older backing tracks. This microphone will do that.


So look around for that knob, or try and get somebody to tell you that the mixer supports monitoring.

If you have no need for live theatrical mix in your headphones (some artists don’t), then any mixer will do.


This mixer has a USB pushbutton that switches between “Main Mix” and “FX.” It’s possible that’s the control that allows you to hear the playback of the old tracks in your headphones for overdubbing. If that’s what it is, it’s very valuable to us for you to say so that we can add it to the list of equipment that works for overdubbing.

It’s also possible that all it does is switch between outbound and inbound and doesn’t mix anything. That’s good to know, too. The pictorials at the front of the instructions are clear that the USB connection is expected to work both directions.