Can a DJ mixer be used as an audio interface?


August 04, 2021

If you typically use audio interfaces for your recordings, USB mixers may still be new to you. Although DJ mixers cannot be used as audio interfaces to convert analog signals to digital form, USB mixers can.

A DJ mixer with USB ports can be used as an audio interface. These USB mixers allow DJ mixers to function as an audio interface to convert analog signals to digital form and record separate audio tracks.

You may still not know how a DJ mixer can be used as an audio interface, or even how these audio devices work. It is very good. In this article, we’ll look at how DJ mixers can be used as audio interfaces and if it’s a good option for you.

How to Use a DJ Mixer as an Audio Interface

DJ mixers are used to mix multiple audio signals into a single stereo stream while overlaying unique audio effects. Unlike DJ mixers, USB mixers work similarly to audio interfaces to convert analog sources to a digital format for further processing by recording software to a computer or mobile device.

Some people may tell you to buy an audio interface and a DJ mixer separately. What they often don’t tell you is that USB mixers are another option that combines an audio interface and a DJ mixer into one device..

If a USB mixer meets your needs better, you can easily purchase a USB mixer through various online marketplaces.

If you already have an audio interface, using a USB mixer should be intuitive to use. USB mixers work similarly to audio interfaces, but with the added functionality of a mixer.

To set up and use your USB mixer, there are four simple steps:

  1. Plug the USB cable of your USB mixer into the USB port of your computer
  2. Automatically install necessary drivers when prompted
  3. If the automatic driver installation fails, go to the manufacturer’s website, find the specific page for the USB mixer model, then download the missing or newer drivers.
  4. Be sure to install recording software to start recording with your mixer

How do DJ mixers and audio interfaces work?

Audio interfaces work with audio inputs to produce high quality recordings on your mobile device or computer. Unlike DJ mixers, audio interfaces require a connection to a computer and recording software that downloads the input.

A DJ mixer is an audio mixing console that allows multiple audio signals to be controlled by mixing different channels to create a unique blend of sounds. Mixers also allow users to manually control different types of sound effects during a recording or live performance.

When to use a DJ mixer

Trying to get a party started or highlight comedic moments with fun sound effects during a podcast or live stream?

Mixers are great for podcasts or live events where mixing different types of audio is essential to the listener experience.

Many live streams and podcasts on YouTube or other social media platforms use mixers to handle different audio sources simultaneously. Mixer audio effects make podcasts more fun and exciting for podcasters and their listeners.

Once you master the channel controls on your mixer, the accessibility to different audio channels provides an ideal environment for live streamers routing audio from multiple microphones or DJs experimenting with different sounds during a concert.

Mixers are typically used in four different contexts:

  • Live Events
  • Recording studios
  • Podcasts/broadcast
  • Cinema/Television

When to use an audio interface

Whether you’re working in the studio or trying to improve the sound quality of a musical project, audio interfaces are the tool of choice. Audio interfaces are a very important investment for anyone trying to take the quality of their end product to the next level.

So what makes audio interfaces such great tools for recording?

One advantage is that audio interfaces come with preamps that amplify all signals coming from your input audio source to line level. This maximizes the signal strength of your audio equipment.

Most sound cards built into laptops and computers do not have good audio quality.

To use professional audio applications properly, you will most likely need an audio interface to improve the sound quality of your computer.

Although audio interfaces specialize only in improving sound quality, this sole purpose makes them a must-have for every digital music producer in the studio. To produce professional quality music, you need professional quality recording equipment.

Importance of USB Mixers

Without USB mixers, podcasts and live streams would lose an important tool to regulate their audio. USB mixers contribute greatly to the podcasting experience for podcasters and listeners. The ability to mix audio directly with a USB mixer in a live environment avoids any problems with recording software on an audio interface.

USB mixers are important for two main reasons:

  • Podcasting: Podcasters rely on USB mixers to stream and mix audio directly on set. This helps facilitate a controlled environment without the interference of potential software issues with the added flexibility of mixer audio controls and effects.
  • Record Multiple Tracks: You can record multiple tracks to your DAW at once, which is useful during group recordings or when there are guests on your podcast. Some USB mixers enhance audio interfaces by allowing you to record multitracks to an SD card.

Not all USB mixers are capable of multitrack recording, so be sure to check the description of the mixer’s “audio interface”. Also keep in mind that mixers with multitrack recording are more expensive than mixers without multitrack.

Why use a USB mixer as an audio interface?

Once you understand that the sole purpose of audio interfaces is to convert analog signals to digital signals, you might still be wondering how USB mixers change the dynamic between DJ mixers and audio interfaces.

Depending on your activities and preferences, a USB mixer may or may not be better than a standalone audio interface.

If you prefer to mix your audio recordings through computer software and want a smaller portable device, choose an audio interface. Audio interfaces are smaller and more compact than mixers, making them more convenient when you’re on the go.

If you find yourself live streaming or running a podcast, instant access to audio effects at the push of a button or turn of a knob makes a USB mixer a more suitable option. The extra control you get over audio signals with a mixer helps ensure a controlled live environment for your podcasts or live streams.

Of course, a mixer and an audio interface can be just as useful for some if you find yourself mixing audio signals and trying to improve audio quality.

USB mixers and audio interfaces each have pros and cons that are worth considering depending on your budget and preferences.

USB mixer audio interface
Benefits Convenient control Record multitracks Can be used for live performances Portability More affordable Good audio quality
The inconvenients Big and heavy Expensive Cannot be used during live performance No built-in audio effects

Conclusion

DJ mixers can be used as an audio interface when they have USB capabilities.

You can easily connect a USB mixer to your computer to record multitracks or separate tracks the same way audio interfaces do with recording software. However, you may not need a DJ mixer if you are not recording mixed audio or working in a live environment like a podcast or live broadcast.

So can you use a DJ mixer as an audio interface? Absolutely, but be sure to consider your audio production needs and preferences.

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