Audio mixers with true multi-channel usb/firewire interfaces

Posted by james on Aug. 4, 2009

I loved recording audio for bands, and it was always strange to me that the gear is so expensive. The key piece of equipment is the audio interface; basically a way to get more than 2 channels of audio into your computer at once. I've only ever seen USB mixers with 2-channels out to the computer (which defeats the purpose), or large firewire interfaces with 8 channels out but very expensive. However, I've finally found some that are in between.

The Alesis Multimix 8 USB, Multimix 8 Firewire, and Multimix 16 USB all offer full multi-channel outputs to the computer. They appear as 8, 8, and 16 separate inputs respectively (actually it's more like 10, 10, and 18... minor details). And they're not too bad, the Multimix 8 USB (not the USB 2.0 version) can be had used for around $150 or so. That's not bad for 4 mic preamps. And you could probably buy one, play around, then buy a second to get 8 mic preamps & 16 inputs total. I'm not sure if they place nice together, but it'd be interesting to try.

Finally, a real multi-channel usb/firewire mixer on the cheap. Now I wish I actually had a band or some other need for such cool equipment.