1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

What is the difference between an audio mixer and an audio interface?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by trumpetprod, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    If you think this is a stupid question, then I'm sorry for not knowing and just getting into recording.
    But I just wanted to know what the difference was. I already have an audio interface (Lexicon Lambda) but I'm thinking about getting an audio mixer, but aren't they the same thing? Or what...
    Thanks
    tp
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Your question is not stupid if you don't know the answer. Bonus points for asking it in the correct forum. An interface is specifically a device used to convert analog signals into digital data streams for importing into a computer DAW. This might be two channels or it might be 56 or more depending upon the interface itself and how it connects to the computer workstation. Now, some interfaces are also mixers. Usually this variety is a digital mixer but there are two hybrid analog mixer/interface combos of note, the Mackie iOnyx series and the ZED R16.

    A mixer is simply a device that routes signal inputs. This can be analog or digital but the majority are analog. Generally a mixer is used for live sound reinforcement in order for the engineer to be able to shape the sound and prevent feedback-often in a quick moment. The reason most interfaces are not mixers is simply one doesn't need mixing functions to track individual mic's or guitars so that extra circuitry is superfluous. Those of us who grew up in sound running live boards often have difficulty letting go the attachment to a mixer but most do make the switch ultimately. Sometimes there are summing mixers involved but those have a much much smaller footprint and are specific to the final 2-bus mix.

    Check out the recommended reading list for the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook. It's available on Amazon used for quite reasonable prices.
     
  3. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    So do you think with the audio interface I have (Buy Lexicon Lambda USB Desktop Studio | Audio Interfaces & Convertors | Audio Interfaces | Hardware-based Plugins | Musician's Friend) I wouldn't need a mixer? Or do you think I should get one?
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Why do you think you need a mixer? What are you going to mix? Why aren't you mixing in your DAW?
     
  5. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    Exactly. Okay, so I know I don't need one.
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You don't need a mixer unless you're doing live sound or a high end summing mixer($$$). You may or may not need an interface with more channels but that is likely down the road.
     
  7. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    Thanks for the help!
     
  8. A1phabeta

    A1phabeta Active Member

    An audio mixer 'sums' all inputs into one bus, while an interface lets you choose which input you're recording. Analog mixers are the most common mixer, however, they don't play nicely with computers. Digital mixers, on the other hand, are like full blown audio interfaces, with all the perks of a mixer (i.e. EQ, compressed, etc.). However they're far more expensive, so i'd pick an audio INTERFACE, because they're the best bang for your buck. :)
     

Share This Page