Condenser Microphone in Mixer-- USB output, or RCA to 3.5mm?
Oct 17, 2016 at 3:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

ishJJx3

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I'm buying a new mixer, and I'm currently at a crossroad of whether I should get one that's a USB audio interface, or one without USB functionality.
 
If I get a USB one, I'll be able to output my microphone (AT2020) through the USB connection and use the mixer's recording device on the computer to record my microphone.  This is what I've been doing for years and it works well.
 
If I don't get a USB one, I'll have to plug the output of my mixer to my computer's sound card, and use that recording device.  This would technically mean that I'm going from XLR to RCA to 3.5mm jack to output my microphone through a mixer.
 
So my question is:  Will using a 3.5mm jack for microphone output from my mixer degrade the quality of the microphone, compared to the USB connection of an audio interface?  I'd imagine that hardware interference could be an issue, and the quality of my sound card would come into play, but I'm not sure if it'll be definitively better to use a USB connection either way?  If it is, then I'll get a USB mixer.  Otherwise, I won't, because there's a notable price jump between features and such when shopping for a USB audio interface that's also a full-fledged mixer.
 
Anybody with experience of handling these different inputs that can give their.. input, would be greatly appreciated.
 
Oct 17, 2016 at 6:47 PM Post #2 of 5

jcn3

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definitely get one that has a usb interface, it's the best way to record.  you can also use them as stand alone mixers.
 
take a look at the room r8 -- it's about $300 and can serve as a usb interface and/or a mixer.  it works standalone or connected to your computer.  you can even record to it using an sd card.
 
Oct 18, 2016 at 4:33 AM Post #3 of 5

ishJJx3

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The Zoom R8 looks interesting, but it doesn't have separate channel equalization or some of the main features mixers usually have 
frown.gif


After more research, I am leaning towards getting a USB interface.  Particularly the Behringer X1204USB.  It's a little more than I was hoping to spend, and I'll only be using 3-4 of the 12 channels, but the higher priced models include great features, such as the ability to choose where each channel will output, from either stereo, Alt 3+4, or CtrlRoom/Headphones.  And the headphone output is amplified, supporting up to 150ohm headphone impedance.  It's basically everything I'd need and more.
 
But I'd still like to know the answer to my original question: will there be a degradation of quality if I plug my XLR condenser microphone from the mixer to my computer via the RCA output to 3.5mm jack to my computer's sound card?  I'd assume it would in some way, but something's telling me it won't.  I'm just not sure.
 
Oct 19, 2016 at 11:25 AM Post #4 of 5

jcn3

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  The Zoom R8 looks interesting, but it doesn't have separate channel equalization or some of the main features mixers usually have 
frown.gif


But I'd still like to know the answer to my original question: will there be a degradation of quality if I plug my XLR condenser microphone from the mixer to my computer via the RCA output to 3.5mm jack to my computer's sound card?  I'd assume it would in some way, but something's telling me it won't.  I'm just not sure.

 
the r8 is an audio interface.  the channel equalization would be done within the daw just like with the behringer.
 
i think you can safely assume that the 3.5 mm jack output and input were done as cost effectively (cheaply) as possible.  i would avoid it.
 
Oct 21, 2016 at 2:09 AM Post #5 of 5

ishJJx3

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the r8 is an audio interface.  the channel equalization would be done within the daw just like with the behringer.
 
i think you can safely assume that the 3.5 mm jack output and input were done as cost effectively (cheaply) as possible.  i would avoid it.

The R8 requires the DAW software to handle equalization and low cuts, but the Behringer has those features built onto the hardware.  So I can get the clean playback quality even for live performances-- no need for software, or even a computer.
 
In the case of the Behringer, the RCA output has quality in mind, with a really high power output (1kΩ) and really good reviews.  But I still don't know for sure how it fairs up to the USB direct input.  There are a lot of better mixers out there for the money if I could consider not opting in for the USB audio interface features, so that's all I'm trying to figure out.
 
Thanks for the input.
 

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