Need Beginner Mixer/preamp Tips

Okay, Ive been using Renoise for 2 years now, and I’m starting to really feel the need to record my own samples, guitar tracks, and vocals from my friends that can sing. So if you wanna skip all the details, long story short - I [think what I] need is a mixer with phantom power, a low amount of channels and the best possible preamps available on such a device but within my budget (150-200$).

Of course, I may be entirely mislead by what I have read on the internet over the past couple of hours, so I’d like some experienced opinions and input from you guys :) So please let me know what my best options are. I trust your opinions as producers.

My Limitations and Requirements:
-A mixer that supports a condenser mic (Because apparently that my best choice for my first, multipurpose mic, tell me if thats wrong)
-A budget of 200 dollars (because I have to buy a mic also)
-At least two channels. (so I can record a guitar and/or vocals, and the room itself with two different mics when i get a second one.)
-Good preamps, because that’s apparently even more important than the mic’s quality.
-A mixer thats geared more towards recording, not live gigs.
-Obviously USB support (2.0 would be nice) is crucial to my setup.

Thanks in advance for your input. I will continue to do research, but don’t want to make an inexperienced and uneducated choice!

The new price (220 to 240 usd) might be just a shade to high but Im sure a bit of googling / craigslisting / ebaying will find one in your range.

Allen and Heath ZED-10

  • 10 channels
  • 2 Class A FET high impedance inputs
  • USB audio

A friend of mine absolutely swears by it.

Thats a nice machine, but it doesnt suit my needs… i need xlr inputs. not outputs. And I wouldnt know what to do with 10 channels lol.

It has 4 xlr inputs. Also for what its worth, mixer channels are like salary, no matter how many you have, you will always find a way to use them.

okay i guess i didnt read the site right… would i be able to use this as a midi controller for various things in renoise? like instrument parameters and stuff? or would i need a daw controller or a midi controller for that?

No it isn’t a midi controller, I would be very surprised if you can find a quality USB audio mixer which also sends midi messages within your budget. You would need something separate (a korg nanokontrol is a good cheap option) for midi but if you are only using the mixer in the studio and you are on a budget you could easily skip it.

okay, ive been looking around all night (its now 8:30 am here) and im thinkin all i really need is a two channel preamp with two xlr inputs and two 1/4" inputs, its usb, and its $155CDN. its tube. look at this and tell me if its good enough to record decent enough guitar and vocals. [link/][/link]

It also has proper outputs too, so like, if i just wanna use it to add tube warmth to something once i upgrade, its not like id just throw it out. just tell me if its garbage or not. lol.

Not used one but I know some of Lexicon’s stuff is of good quality but they do a quite budget range of audio interfaces aimed at people like yourself. May be worth looking at the Lexicon Omega, or even its smaller brother the Lambda. Have to admit not actually used either just come across them trying to find something to fit similar requirements for other people…

I use a cakewalk UA-25ex. That was about your price range. It has decent preamps and a built in compressor/limiter on one of the channels. I think it may just be USB 1.0 but with a bit of tweeking the latency isn’t an issue (I use mine in linux via jack). Also if your using a mid-range laptop you might encounter problems with ground hum if it’s plugged in. The UA-25ex has a ground lift switch to eliminate that, which is a big part of the reason I bought it.
Take a look

how about something very simple like a soundcard with all that?


buy a good dynamic mic over a cheap condenser mic every time.

Definitely go with an interface over a mixer, doesn’t sound like you need the faders so will get more for your $$
That Tascam US122MK2 is decent enough, as is the E-MU 0404 USB.
Couldn’t speak for the ART, but the features meet your needs.
I’m not sure how great the ‘tube warmth’ would be for that money, but I’ve never heard it!

I’m reasonably satisfied with what I’m using to do something similar, which is:

Line 6 Guitar Pod UX1 interface (ca. USD 120)
AKG Perception 200 large condenser microphone (discontinued; got mine new for about USD 150, used ones may be around USD 100)
ART Tube MP mic preamp (ca. USD 30)

Even this would be a bit more than you’re wanting to spend. The least expensive new condensers I’m finding that would be worthwhile using run about USD 60 (MXL 990). That would be close enough to your specified budget to work, maybe.

The Pod is not a mixer, but it can bring in two separate sends at once; normally a microphone and an electric guitar or bass. It does not have two XLR inputs, so you might need to use a different interface.

Hey guys, thanks for all the help, ended up getting the ART USBDualTubePre and a Shure SM57. Its all working the way I wanted it to so far. Havin a friend over tomorrow to record some vocals, I know the sm57 is more of an instrument mic but ill make it work. The preamps have a little bit of noise, but its a nice noise, it doesn’t really get in the way, rather than adding to the background.