A mixer (also called a mixing con­sole” or mixing board”) is nec­es­sary if you record with more than one in­put, like two mi­cro­phones or a mi­cro­phone and an in­stru­ment. It can be in­tim­i­dat­ing to start, so let’s just look at the ba­sics.


XLR inputs on mixer

The XLR in­puts are where you plug in your mi­cro­phones.


Gain knobs on mixer

If you’re in­ter­ested in a slightly tech­ni­cal dis­cus­sion, this is a great ar­ti­cle about the dif­fer­ence be­tween gain, vol­ume, and loud­ness. The over­sim­pli­fied ex­pla­na­tion is: gain is the vol­ume of your au­dio com­ing in to the mixer. Adjust it so that the au­dio sig­nal is loud enough, but stays in the green (20, 0) and does­n’t go into the yel­low or red (6, CLIP).

Signal LED indicator on mixer

With this board and the mics listed in the last ar­ti­cle, I put the gain al­most all the way to max­i­mum.


Phones knob on mixer

This knob con­trols the vol­ume com­ing into the head­phones with­out chang­ing the vol­ume of the au­dio go­ing into the com­puter.

The rest

You can read about and ex­per­i­ment with the other set­tings, but to start you can leave every­thing else at the de­fault:

  • COMP at 0 (left)
  • EQ at 0 (center)
  • FX at -8 (left)
  • PAN in mid­dle
  • LEVEL at 0 (center)
  • AUX RETURN at -8 (left)
  • TO PHONES/CTRL ROOM but­ton de­pressed (up)
  • TO MAIN MIX but­ton de­pressed (up)
  • Phantom power (red but­ton) de­pressed (up)
  • MAIN MIX at 0 (center)

That’s all

Sorry if you wanted more in-depth ex­pla­na­tions of the set­tings, but I’ve only ex­per­i­mented a lit­tle and have ended up stick­ing with de­faults. My main point of con­fu­sion was not re­al­iz­ing how high the gain had to be (almost to max­i­mum with my setup). Hopefully I saved you a few min­utes of con­fu­sion.