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Which choice of mixer (RCA/1/4' jacks VS USB and firewall)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by lagniappe, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. lagniappe

    lagniappe Guest

    :( 1. I need suggestions regarding what kind of mixer to purchase (for under $200) for my little home set up. I want one that has a relatively simple learning curve. I am not that great at this.

    I contacted musician’s friend and they suggested one with a USB and firewall. I barely know how to set up the one with the RCA and ¼ cables.

    2. I could learn but my concern is I have an HP Pavillion CPU and I added a sound card to it (so the on board sound card is disabled). Will mixer with USB work with a computer which has an added sound (and a DISabled onbaord sound card)?

    3. And is using the firewall connection on the sound card simple?

    4. I am asking does that (or the USB set up) mean that I can just use one cable? What’s the advantage over the ¼ and RCA cables. I need some basic yet thorough guidance. Thanks in advance
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure why you purchased an additional sound card for your Hewlett-Packard? Not that onboard sound on most PCs is worth a crap but it is adequate for learning. So now you have a new sound card. What kind, model number etc.? Musicians friend may not be your friend if this is all the guidance they provided you with.

    There are many new mixers and sound cards, out there that feature "FireWire" connectivity not "firewall" which is an Internet security feature.

    I would venture to say that your Hewlett-Packard computer has a 99.99% chance (and were not talking ivory liquid here) that it already has some ports for USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 high-speed if not also FireWire! These are commonly available on most computers since the late 1990s.

    Yes, if you have difficulty dealing with audio cables, I might suggest a FireWire mixer like some of the Mackie's and others. You are correct that the mixer would connect to the computer with a single high-speed, bidirectional cable! These mixers not only function as real mixers they also offer a FireWire output that allows you to connect with a single cable to the FireWire input on your Hewlett-Packard. This has many advantages as the analog-to-digital converters and Digital to analog converters are already built into the mixer! It makes for a very compact integrated recording system in this way. HOWEVER it may be difficult to find this kind of device for under $200 that is worth a crap? You may find one that may only offer 2 microphone inputs with a couple of stereo lined inputs and that you would probably be adequate to start you off?

    Now as easy as it may be to connect the mixer to the computer with a single cable, you still will need to be working with the 1/4", RCA and most likely the industry-standard balance microphone input on a "XLR" which most decent Shure like microphones have i.e. SM58/57 and hundreds of others. If you think you are going to want to use a " condenser microphone" you may also want to make sure that the mixer you choose has a feature known as " phantom power" available from the mixer. That is a power supply built into the mixer that negates the needs for batteries and allows the mixer to power the active circuitry in condenser microphones. A very nice feature and quite useful.

    If you select one of these mixtures that features a FireWire interface, in all likelihood they will also bundle some kind of recording software? So you don't need to purchase a separate piece of software which may not be completely necessary? Now you may also find other audio items that feature USB connectivity? USB and FireWire are like men and women they are the same but different and only you can decide what is best for you. USB 2.0 is slightly faster than FireWire but if you're thinking about also doing some video with a digital camcorder, FireWire is the way to go as I do not know of any digital DV camcorder's that feature USB output? Still cameras featured USB output as opposed to FireWire output, generally.

    There are some other sound cards out there that feature multitrack capabilities with a FireWire connection and included bundled software. These are not mixers per se but a sophisticated multitrack interface that when combined with their bundled software pretty much makes for a fully digital system and you would use the digital software mixer within the software. But those kinds of sound cards are not really convenient to use on location as those mixers with the FireWire connectivity offer. Those mixers can be used as standalone on location mixers or the FireWire connection may not, does not, need to be used. So you have quite a bit of reading, shopping and comparing to do, just like shopping for clothes, you need to find something that fits you well and is more comprehensible for you. Nobody can do that for you not even your musicians friend because all they want to do is sell you stuff.

    No kind of sales lady here
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     

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