Can You Use A Mixer With A DAW? A Little Mixing Tip

Find out everything you need to know about audio mixers and DAW software and how to integrate them in this easy-to-understand guide.

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: January 5, 2022

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It is not easy to find clear information about the basics of audio mixing and recording.

Most articles on the internet are written by people who have no idea how it actually works. They only use their imagination or what they heard from some other people, which may be completely wrong in many cases.

Can You Use A Mixer with a DAW?

Yes, but it is not recommended with an analog mixer. With an analog mixer, you will need an audio interface in your audio recording setup.

Dive deeper into this article to understand everything you need to know about audio mixing and DAW software in simple terms without any unnecessary technical details.

Can You Use An Analog Mixer With A DAW?

Do You Need a Mixer If You Have a DAW

Yes, you can, but it is not recommended. Digital mixers were invented for a reason and that was because there are many different things to consider when using an analog mixer.

There are different parameters in digital mixers that will help you achieve the desired results, such as using volume automation to control peaks and limiters to prevent clipping on outputs.

You can't do these things with an analog mixer or connect outboard gear without going through a mixing desk. A typical recording setup usually consists of one or more microphones that feed into a preamp and then go into the input of an audio interface or mixer.

The sound card in your computer does not take inputs so you need to have some sort of audio interface in your audio recording setup. You can add audio effects processors here which are plug-ins that go into a DAW.

Do You Need a Mixer If You Have a DAW?

If you are a home studio owner, then the answer is no. But if you're an aspiring producer who wants to learn how to produce music or someone who wants to record vocals and instruments at home, then yes!

A good mixer will help improve the quality of your recordings. And even though most DAWs have built-in mixers that can handle simple tasks like balancing tracks and adjusting faders levels it's still not as good as having a dedicated hardware mixer.

What Is The Best Way To Integrate Mixer And DAW?

What Is The Best Way To Integrate Mixer And DAW

The best way to use a hardware mixer with audio software is by using an audio interface between them. This will give you more audio channels and audio effects processors while keeping all of your audio processing in the digital audio domain.

There is no need to use an audio interface with a hardware mixer unless you want more inputs and outputs than normal audio interfaces can provide.

For example, some audio mixers have 8 inputs and 16 outputs while regular audio interfaces have 2-4 audio channels. You could use an audio interface with an audio mixer to expand your audio channels.

How To Integrate Analog Mixer With DAW?

The audio interface is plugged into a DAW and the audio output of the audio interface would go to analog inputs on the audio mixer. While audio coming from your microphones or instruments are connected to the input faders on the mixer.

Outputs from the audio interface will be going out from the audio interface back out to your monitors (speakers). This audio will be either recorded or used for audio mixing.

Most audio interfaces have multiple outputs so both audio interface and audio mixer can be used in the same recording session. In this case, one output on the audio interface will go to your monitors and you can use another output to record audio from an instrument or microphone. This setup will allow you to hear audio from your DAW, audio interface, or audio mixer.

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Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX – 8 Channel Compact Studio Mixer with Built In...
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Behringer XENYX 1202FX Premium 12-Input 2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps,...
Alto Professional ZMX122FX | 8 Channel Compact Audio Mixing Desk with Built-In...
Mackie ProFXv3 Series, 16-Channel Professional Effects Mixer with USB, Onyx Mic...
Product Name
Numark M6 USB - 4-Channel DJ Mixer with Built-In Audio Interface, 3-Band EQ,...
Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX – 8 Channel Compact Studio Mixer with Built In...
Behringer XENYX 1202FX Premium 12-Input 2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps,...
Alto Professional ZMX122FX | 8 Channel Compact Audio Mixing Desk with Built-In...
Mackie ProFXv3 Series, 16-Channel Professional Effects Mixer with USB, Onyx Mic...
Prime Status
-
Best Overall
Image
Numark M6 USB - 4-Channel DJ Mixer with Built-In Audio Interface, 3-Band EQ,...
Product Name
Numark M6 USB - 4-Channel DJ Mixer with Built-In Audio Interface, 3-Band EQ,...
Prime Status
2nd place
Image
Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX – 8 Channel Compact Studio Mixer with Built In...
Product Name
Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX – 8 Channel Compact Studio Mixer with Built In...
Prime Status
3rd place
Image
Behringer XENYX 1202FX Premium 12-Input 2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps,...
Product Name
Behringer XENYX 1202FX Premium 12-Input 2-Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps,...
Prime Status
Image
Alto Professional ZMX122FX | 8 Channel Compact Audio Mixing Desk with Built-In...
Product Name
Alto Professional ZMX122FX | 8 Channel Compact Audio Mixing Desk with Built-In...
Prime Status
-
Image
Mackie ProFXv3 Series, 16-Channel Professional Effects Mixer with USB, Onyx Mic...
Product Name
Mackie ProFXv3 Series, 16-Channel Professional Effects Mixer with USB, Onyx Mic...
Prime Status

*Last update on 2022-07-06. They're accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change. We earn a commission if you click the link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Conclusion

I hope this article will help you to get rid of any audio mixing myths and give you some insight into audio mixers and DAWs.

If you want to learn more about the audio mixers, audio recording, audio mixing software or audio editing then check out the homepage of our website.

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