Audio Mixers Vs Audio Interface - Is There A Difference?

Audio Mixers Vs Audio Interface – Is There A Difference?

Audio mixers vs audio interface, in the world of audio equipment, there are a lot of things to consider and one such consideration is what type of equipment will work best in your studio.

With a wealth of choices on offer, it’s not difficult to become confused, and this is especially true for beginners.

One of the most common questions when it comes to studio equipment is whether there is a difference between an audio mixer and an interface.

While both products do have similar jobs, there is a clear difference between the two and your needs will dictate which will work best for you.

Audio Mixers Vs Audio Interface - Is There A Difference

Audio Mixers vs audio Interface

Your audio mixer will take all the incoming signals from various mics and instruments and then sends these on to a predetermined number of outputs – this could be a single output or multiple depending on what you are doing.

Your mixer also allows you to add effects to these inputs, altering the sound, volume, and other factors.

Mixers can be used to aid in live music as well as in the studio so they’re very versatile
pieces of equipment.

At first glance, the sheer number of knobs on a mixer might be enough to make even the most savvy music maker turn away in horror but in truth, these are actually very user-friendly devices and thanks to the placement of the controls, are very easy to get to grips with.

In contrast, an audio interface will convert analog signals into digital ones. It will allow you to create music and add effects on a piece of music-making software. You might think of it as a translator of sorts.

The audio interface is connected up to your computer by one of a variety of methods -cables, USB, etc and can feature varying numbers of channels. For the most part, these channels are analog which allows you to connect physical instruments, however, there are also digital channels that often need separate equipment to use, so this is worth keeping in mind.

An audio interface is great for anyone who is creating music on the go since they are relatively compact and can be easily moved about, however, you should consider that they are not suitable for live music.

Which Should I Use - A Mixer Or An Audio Interface?

Just like anything, choosing between an audio interface and a mixer does involve your
personal preference, but this isn’t the only factor to consider and how you intend to use the equipment should have an impact on your choice. Of course, if your budget allows, there is no reason why you cannot own one of each and have the best of both worlds.

But if you’re looking to make a wise investment, the following things ought to come into play.

● If you need something portable, an audio interface will definitely be the better option.This is an ideal piece of kit for students who are always on the go or people who have studios both at home and in other locations.

● As we mentioned, an audio interface is not suitable for live music, so if this is your
main area of interest then a mixer is, without doubt, the most viable option.

● There is the option of getting a mixer that has an audio interface built-in and whilst
this may be a little pricier, it is great for minimizing the number of cables you need.

● If you tend to use a piece of software that has faders and effects all in one place,
you’ll probably only need an interface – why buy more equipment than you need?

Our Favorite Mixer And Audio Interface

The sheer number of mixers and audio interfaces out there is astonishing, so it’s little wonder that a lot of people are buying substandard equipment that either doesn’t last or doesn’t meet their needs.

But don’t panic just yet – we’ve scoured the internet to find some excellent quality products that offer users the best experience and then some!

Mackie ProFXv3 Series 6-Channel Professional Mixer

Mackie ProFXv3 Series, 6-Channel Professional Effects Mixer with USB,...
  • Designed for maximum versatility making it perfect for live sound, home recording, content creation, and live streaming with included Pro Tools | First recording software and The Musician Collection of 23 plugins and instruments
  • Equipped with 2 Onyx mic press offering up to 60dB of gain and ultra-low noise performance. Perfect for microphones popular with content creators that require high-gain preamps
  • Lay down your tracks in incredible 24-bit/ 192kHz quality for the cleanest recordings possible. 2x4 USB I/O allows you to create two custom mixes on your computer to send back in to the mixer, great for situations when you need to monitor specific tracks during playback in addition to the full mix

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

At a sniff under $150, this gives you quite a bit of bang for your buck. However, if you need something with more channels, there are various alternatives within the same range – going up to as many as 16 channels.

The mixer features an impressive array of 24 pre-programmed effects which is pretty diverse in itself and when you learn that with the flick of a switch you can blend between your computer output and the direct mixer feed, you’ll likely be even more impressed.

If you’re looking for a mixer that is going to deliver on versatility and sound quality, you’re not going to find anything much better than this. Record alongside a pre-recorded track or go live but what’s even more impressive is the super clear sound you will get from the 24 bit/192kHz quality that this piece of equipment offers.

RME Audio Interface (BabyFacePro)

RME Audio Interface (BABYFACEPRO)
  • Includes: 4 x Analog I/O, 2 x Phones Output, 1 x ADAT I/O, 1 x MIDI I/O, USB 2. 0, TotalMix FX, Class Compliant Mode, 2 x Line/Instrument Input
  • High-end yet portable interface incorporates newly designed analog and digital circuits
  • Energy saving technologies provide supreme fidelity with no compromises in level, noise or distortion.

Last update on 2020-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want an audio interface that is truly a cut above the rest then it’s either go big or go home – but when we say big, we don’t necessarily mean size-wise. But in terms of features, you’re getting nothing but the best!

This is an energy-efficient piece of equipment, something which is rightly at the forefront of a lot of modern tech but this does not mean that the sound quality or functionality is compromised – you’d expect nothing less from such a high-end interface.

Made from a single aluminum block, this interface is sleek looking and easy to transport, ideal for the on-the-go musician.

You get four analog outputs and 2 phone outputs as well as 2 line inputs so it’s a pretty diverse little machine.

Summary

An audio mixer and an audio interface essentially perform very similar tasks, however, they do this in markedly different ways and as such, each piece of equipment is suited to different needs.

Once you have decided on which bit of kit will better serve your studio, there then comes the laborious task of sifting through literally thousands of options on the market.

But we believe that we have sourced some of the very best mixers and interfaces currently available.

So whether you’re a music mogul or just starting out in the business, they’ll definitely benefit you.