When Would You Buy a Mixer?
People ask me, "When do I need a mixer?" So that big thing over there with all the knobs and faders and it looks very confusing, it's really the same thing repeated over and over, but people ask you, "When do I need a mixer?" And really, because I do see a lot of people, I was talking to you earlier about, a lot of people get a mixer, they got it through a package or someone recommended it, and it just becomes a big paperweight on your desk because you use one channel, you use none of the things. So if you need, like, a wide variety of inputs, there's as lot of things can be plugged into this, and then you can decide all the places it gets routed out of it. If you need that it has special channels called inserts, if you're gonna build a rack that has, like, EQs and compressors and everything, you can take it in and out of a mixer. It has a special auxiliary channel which is just an output that says, "Hey, we're mixing a lot of stuff in here," lets me decide what comes out. So in a mix ...
minus setup, that is when you're recording Skype, if you have a bunch of people in studio, you're bringing in a phone call, you're playing sound effects, if you want them to hear all of that, you need to send it to them minus their own voice, otherwise they get a feedback loop; that special channel let's you do it. Some of these records can actually handle that setup, they do sort of a mix minus, it's a little bit of a hack but it definitely works. So there's a lot of reasons why I think most people will never get a mixer. You just don't need it. But a mixer is a way to go if you're gonna have just all of these different things going on. Some people like to produce their show in real time. I wanna hit record, I wanna roll my intro, I wanna talk, I wanna roll in transition and roll out, and it's almost done when I'm done, that's difficult, I don't like to record that way, but it's an option, the mixer helps you do that. And then of course you have easier control over your settings. Every knob is there, you can, but in general recording, you don't do a lot of mixing the way they do in music. You set your gains, where you're gonna be, which we'll do, and you're recording. Has quick mute buttons, so if you need to cough you can press a mute, so that's nice. Alright, so just to look at a couple mixers, this is very cheap, but if you were on a super budget and you wanted to do all of the things that I talked about; mix minus, phone calls, all that stuff, this can do it at a very sub 100. I have a love hate relationship with this mixer, but it feels almost like a toy. I mean, this is when you get down to lower budgets, that's the things you'll notice. It's not built as well, but it does all the things very well. It powered the microphones, it sounds good, I can route, it's also USB, so you're not gonna find a lot of mixers that are analog, have those special channels, this even has, I talked about all that rat gear that does all that crazy stuff for you, this even has a one knob compression on it. Compression just keeps your audio at a consistent level which is something you'll do in post production, I wouldn't actually encourage using that, but it just, the point is it's a lot of things on here for not much money. So if you wanted to get a mixer, and again, budget is really tight, there is an option to do that. Moving up, you can see these have more channels. So the XLR inputs, which are these, there's four and four, so if you needed more, Yamaha makes some good options. These still sub 200s, sub maybe 150, you're into an analog option here, so that means it doesn't have USB, but you can bump up, that one I just showed you, the super cheap one, Behringer has a lot of options in the lower ranges, this does all the things, and it does more of it, is pretty much what it is. You get real faders which are these, you can slide them, so a little fancier in control, but if you're bringing in a lot of sources it can still do it affordably. And then these are not multi channel, so I talked about multi channel or I mentioned it briefly, when we use a recorder, every time we plug a microphone into input it gets it's own track. These, if you sent out to your computer, it would mix it. So you and I would have a conversation, that file would be sort of, our voices would be mixed together, and if I wanted to process my voice to sound different than yours, because we have different voices, I couldn't really do that. So to go into multi channel, this is a very affordable option. Allen & Heath ZEDi-10, this is well built, we're still sub 200, and I've tested this one a lot on my YouTube channel, it's, it does multi channel. So those four inputs, it's going to send it to software all on their own tracks. So it just gives you more control. And you don't find multi channel options and mixers at very affordable prices, fortunately there's always been, over the years, one or two available. The one I used to use is gone, this is the latest. So really cool if you're into multi channel, and it has all those other routing options in it that I mentioned before. And then finally, I just put this Soundcraft on here, they're a really good brand, this one's built like a tank, you hear that about a lot of gear, but it's built really well, has a abundance of inputs. The weird thing about mixers is sometimes you're like, "I need three aux ins," which means I need to do that mix minus because I have two people on Skype and I'm bringing in a phone call. Usually you have to over buy just to get the channels you need, this one you're still not breaking the bank on this one. Super high quality, has all those options, so again, most people not gonna get into this, don't think you need one of these because most people won't, but if you do, still can get in here without going crazy. And it has, you know, nice preamps that'll power these microphones as well.