Mixer or Audio Interface

Good Day All,

So, i was thrilled after open mic XII that my phone did a pretty good job of picking up the three guitars and voice. However, i began researching getting a mic. Then learned i can’t just plug in the mic to the amp. There are powered speakers i could buy for the mic, but that made me nervous for future open mic sessions because that would be another competing audio source.

This great discussion by @jkahn got me thinking https://community.justinguitar.com/t/open-mic-tech-talk-what-you-need-to-get-started-as-a-performer/127485

So, I’m trying to figure out what is best for my scenario. The main idea is to ensure good audio for open mic if my family is playing along with me. At some point if everyone were home we could potentially have multiple guitars, keyboard, mics, and possibly a drum kit. I would like to be able to stream to zoom directly, but also hear ourselves through our amps/powered speakers and not have everyone on headphones. I don’t even know if this is possible.

Recording is not a priority at this time.

So, I found this mixer that I think may do what I want, but want to get feedback and recommendations. Perhaps an audio interface is better but prices seem to skyrocket after 4 inputs.

I appreciate any suggestions or thoughts,


Mixers are great for live use, but not so great for recording.

Most USB mixers like this (there are exceptions, but they tend to be much more expensive) will only give you a stereo pair recording from the main mix bus.

This, basically, means you have to make sure the mix is absolutely correct before you record. On the DAW you will get a single tracks with all of the instruments, and no ability to do any further mixing

Of course this is a valid approach, but it’s a very error prone one, and if you make a mistake with the mix levels, your only real option is to record the whole thing from scratch.

Of course, if you record one instrument at a time, you can record them to separate tracks.

If recording is your aim, with more than one instrument at a time, you really need an audio interface with multiple inputs.

If it’s for something like Open Mic, then a mixer like this is probably more suitable than an audio interface.




I’ll respond to the monitoring question separately.

Mixers like this will normally have a main stereo output bus which outputs the main mix, plus one or more aux/monitor buses which may contain a different mix. The mixer you listed appears to have a single monitor bus.

The main bus is designed for “Front of House”, in other words to be connected to the main PA system in a typical live setting like a club. The aux/monitor output is designed to be connected to monitor speakers for the band to hear themselves.

In your environment, for Live Stream open mics via Zoom, if you are using the USB output into the PC for Zoom, then you can just use the main mix, and ignore the monitor bus unless you specifically want a different mix from the one going to Zoom (the USB mix usually follows the main mix).

The main problem I foresee is going to be feedback. This is always an issue with any setup where you have microphones and non-headphone monitoring. There’s no magic bullet ere except to play with the levels and EQ until you find settings which work for you and your room.

(There’s a reason many professional and even pub-bands are going the “silent stage” with in-ear-monitoring route).

The other one is related to Zoom: it is possible to connect the audio output from Zoom through the mixer so you can hear it to enable two way conversation with the MC. However, this will probably cause BIG problems for Zoom with echo, especially when the Zoom setting is configured for “Original Audio”, as this turns off the echo cancellation.

If you are going to use this setup, you really need to have headphones on (and any in-room speakers off) to have two-way communication with the MC, and then mute the audio from Zoom to perform. You should be able to do this by muting the USB audio, which usually shows up on the mixer as a pair of the channels (from the photo, it looks like channels 9/10)




I use a Yamaha AG06. AG06 - AG06 - Interfaces - Synthesizers & Music Production Tools - Products - Yamaha - UK and Ireland
It is a mixer and an audio interface all-in-one.
It works pretty good for the basics.
Guitar in, microphone in, aux in if wanted, effects (editable on software) if wanted, headphone out.

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One thought is if you are using primarily electronic instruments connected to the mixer, and the only microphone is the singer, then you could probably get away with the band listening to their own amps in the room, and only the singer wearing headphones to prevent feedback and echo.



If you take the mixer approach then I would certainly recommend the Behringer Xenyx range, despite a questionable reputation historically, they have been solidly built and engineered for many years and are very good value for money.

I’ve gone back to using my 12 input 1204 for our Open Mics and its likely to $100 below that Yamaha.

For around the same price given current exchange rates and some spare case a 1622
would give you 16 inputs also with EQ, comp, panning and FX. So you could have more than one mic on the drums for sure.

But again as Keith said these provide a mixed stereo output, not individual channels but great for a live scenario.

I would think you would be able to source something similar stateside but I have no complaints with the Xenyx range and had a 302, 502 and 802 before I got the 1204.

Other Xenyx models listed here up to 24 inputs for 369 euros

I use the UMC1820 for multi track recording but suffer from latency issues if I am pushing audio from Reaper/DAW to OBS to Zoom, which is why I set up with the Xenyx for live.


What did I tell you Scott, I figured @Majik would know!

I agree. I have a Behringer X1204 USB that I’ve had for years. If you were in the UK I would offer to sell it to you as I probably don’t need it any more.

I think the mixer for live makes sense. With live work you are, primarily, looking to combine multiple sources into a single stereo channel to send to “front of house”. In a normal live setting this is a PA. In the case of the online open mic, the “Front of House” is Zoom (or some other video conf app).

I’ve done live work for bands, and a mixer is the tool of choice. I would never use a standard multi-channel audio interface for this.

However, it does get a little blurry with online open mic because some of the sources you might be using could be from the PC itself. In that case, with a physical mixer, you could end up playing the audio from the PC out to the mixer in order to mix it with the physical instruments, and then send back to the PC to send to Zoom.

I have done this before with “mix minus” types of setups in the past in the old Google “Hangouts on Air” days where we would do live shows and Interviews. I also did it for the “We Came As Strangers” Launch event for the “Eyedom” album.

There comes a point where, if most of the instruments are virtual instruments or PC sources, it might be better doing the mixing “in the box” (on the PC) and sending directly to the video stream. Also, if there is a need/desire to separately record each instrument onto a separate DAW track for later mixing (which I have also done for live band events in the past).

@TheMadman_tobyjenner I’m intrigued about your latency issues. Did you track down where these were occurring? I imagine you were bringing all the inputs into Reaper and then using the output from Reaper into OBS/Zoom and, thus, using Reaper as your mixer. Is this correct?

In using your Xenyx mixer, are you still taking this via Reaper, or is the path different? I can see why eliminating Reaper from the chain would reduce end-to-end latency.

Is the latency in the monitoring of what you are playing, or between tracks, or is it syncing with video that is the issue?



Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with me. I sure hope i didn’t seem ungrateful by not responding sooner. I sure tried but couldn’t get into the community for 2 days.

I think for my purposes the mixer route seems more appropriate. I still haven’t decided if I will continue to use my phone for now or take the plunge on a mixer.

Going for the mixer might be going down a road of buying more things like monitors. Perhaps i can use the current guitar amps as monitors?

Thanks again everyone!

@Richard_close2u This does look intriguing but wonder if 6 inputs is enough. Thanks for suggestion.

I use an Allen & Heath ZED FX mixer for anything live. It’s got a two way USB interface (still mixes down to stereo). This means I can stream to my laptop and back without having to press any buttons. Do take note of that if looking at mixers with a USB interface. In particular some older ones will only allow you do this by pressing a switch each time.

I also have Zoom R24 which has 8 channel USB output BUT is primarily for standalone recording/mixing. It’s old tech DAW workflow now but works very well and once understood is relatively easy to use. Silly prices still (but you can buy other models) compared to a standalone mixer or audio interface.

if you’re buying an audio interface make sure it’s really got enough channels you can plug mics/instruments. Some will advertise 8 channels, 16 channels but they aren’t all mic/line in channels.


Just another shout for the mixer route, I got the baby Yamaha MG06X.

A great little bit of kit, but that particular model doesn’t have a usb output so ended up having to buy a digital interface too. Just something to bear in mind.

The reverb is spot on for singing and the headphone output means that you can listen live as well as send the signal off to amp or PC and whatever .

On my model you can split the two main inputs left and right if you want to keep them separate for recording.

One last thing, the input voltage for the mixer is 12v, I think there are some that are 9v which would mean I could power along with the pedals using the battery pack I have. May be worth looking into if you are going to run pedals too.

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As usual comprehensive answers from a resident magician.

So yes Keith I concur for a live or JGC Open Mic scenario a mixer works fine but I can see what you mean about the added complexity of including system/PC audio as well.

My normal “live” set up would be 2 xlr line ins from either my Mustang III or POD Go Stereo Line Outs into the Xenyx and an additional xlr feed for mic. In addition to this either a JamMan looper with backing track or Trio Plus derived backing track plugged into the Xenyx as additional inputs. This set up creates zero latency regardless if the AI is plumbed directly into Zoom or AI>OBS>Zoom I get real time feedback, so I hear what I am signing and playing as it happens. No latency. And if I recall none via Reaper>OBS>Zoom but its been a while.

So I’ll discuss the latency issues I do get below but for the purpose of the Op the Xenyx mixer works fine for live/Oms.

Keith - there are two distinct issues so we need to differentiate.

The one I posted about recently was while I was using the Xenyx with just a Condenser mic capturing Acoustic and Vox and fed into OBS. I then set up an EZDrummer drum sample and captured this using the new OBS Application Audio Capture. Recording a video in OBS with these inputs worked fine and the resulting OBS video was in sync. When I pushed the OBS video and audio across to Zoom and recorded the video there, the audio from EZD2 was delayed, so the track was out of sync. I have not done much follow up in trying to resolve the issue but have replicated the scenario with a simple 4 beat per bar kick while I counted off the beat via the same mic set up, OBS video synced, Zoom video EZD2 lagging behind.
So this to be followed up - if unresolved I’ll record the EZD track and dump it on the JamMan !!

I know when I recorded Xenyx>Reaper>OBS there were no issues but I think then passing to Zoom was problematic but would not want to say 100% as its been quite some time.

UMC1820/OBS/Zoom Latency - This is a little more straight forward and easier to explain but if there is a solution I am all ears.

The monitor channel on the UMC runs from full dry to full wet. Full dry is the DI audio from whatever is plumbed in at the time. Again like the Xenyx I have 2 x 2 line ins permanently attached 2 for the Mustang, 2 for the POD and a Shure SM58 xlred for vox. So great for recording separate tracks simultaneously in Reaper.

If I monitor the DI I cannot hear any FX I have added in Reaper, no surprise there. At half way between dry and wet (50% DI 50% PC Audio) the monitored audio is usable but the full wet monitoring which is 100% PC audio output is where a degree of latency is detected which is enough for what I am hearing to actually be behind what I am singing and playing. It is significant enough to put me off and the latency becomes worse when OBS is added and again when Zoom comes into the equation, even when using the halfway setting (longer signal chain). The net result being I do not use it for live performances any more. As far as the manual goes on the monitoring front, it does state that there will be latency when monitoring the PC audio, so its working as designed by the looks of things, unless there is a method of circumventing the latency but I suspect not.

But I would say that that would be for another day and another thread.


Ok, that all makes sense. No, there’s no way to completely eliminate the latency if you are monitoring effects applied on the PC (Reaper or otherwise). It may be possible to minimize, but it will never be zero.

If you had one of the higher end AIs with built in DSP and effects (which, by the way, my Behringer XR18 does have) then you could have effects with zero latency (or at least negligible latency) monitoring. That is analogous to using the onboard effects on your Xenyx mixer.

If you want to record multi-channel, and monitor (say) vocal effects, you could plug your Xenyx output (I suggest the aux bus output for reasons below) into a channel on the UMC1820 and record the vocals that way, whilst having separate instruments plugged into the UMC1820.

Monitoring is then a bit tricky, but may be do-able: take the direct monitor out from the UMC1820 into a channel on the Xenyx and create a monitor mix to the aux bus which includes the UMC1820 output, whilst the main mix has this channel muted.

The EZD thing is odd, but I suspect that might be Zoom being a resource hog causing the virtual input to lag, but that is just a guess.



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:exploding_head: Get the first bit but think I’ll stay with the two set ups ! One of “live” on the Xenyx and simultaneously multi track recording on the UMC when needed. The FX is limited on the Xenyx compared to Reaper and the on board FX processor is applied (selectable) across all channels but I have the option adding my Zoom MS70 multifx pedal on the Aux Out/In. So can use FX for vox and the other for Gtr. Add the JamMan or Trio for BTs and I am good to go.

I did find a rack mounted multi-fx, which I think was Behringer, that I could mount under the UMC but decided I might as well use everything I have at my disposal in Reaper and mix there, as and as you rightly say, I’d still have the latency between DI and PC audio, if I used this for “live”.

With pre-routed cables available to switch the Mustang or POD Go to either AI it takes seconds to set up depending on usage. And if I go acoustic/vocals the condenser mic is now in a fixed position on a boom stand at the side of the desk and just needs swinging around in front of me and set up parallel with the edge of the PC desk. So for now I have it covered !

As usual thanks for the in depth replies.



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Well it looks like I’ll have to wait until next year. Had to buy a new water heater and too many Christmas presents.

I appreciate the discussion though.