Can a DJ Mixer Be Used as an Audio Interface?

If you typically use audio interfaces for your recordings, then USB mixers may still be new to you. Although DJ mixers cannot be used as audio interfaces to convert analog signals into a digital form, USB mixers can. 

A DJ mixer with USB ports can be used as an audio interface. These USB mixers allow DJ mixers to function as an audio interface to convert analog signals into a digital form and record separate audio tracks.

You may still be unsure how a DJ mixer can be used as an audio interface, or even how these audio devices operate. That’s fine. In this article, we will discuss how DJ mixers can be used as audio interfaces and whether this is a good option for you.

How to Use a DJ Mixer as an Audio Interface

DJ mixers are used to blend multiple audio signals together into a single stereo stream while layering unique audio effects into it. Unlike DJ mixers, USB mixers work similarly to audio interfaces to convert analog sources into a digital format for further processing by recording software on a computer or mobile device.

Some people may tell you to buy an audio interface and DJ mixer separately. What they often do not tell you is that USB mixers are another option that combine an audio interface and DJ mixer conveniently into one device

If a USB mixer better suits your needs, then you can easily purchase a USB mixer through various online marketplaces. 

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USB/FLASH READER/MP3 COMPATIBILITY - Connect your external USB, computer PC, flash drive or Bluetooth device to mix & record Use the built-in controls to play/pause, skip tracks and switch between ...

If you already own an audio interface, then using a USB mixer should be intuitive to use. USB mixers function in the same way as audio interfaces, but with the added features of a mixer.

To set up and use your USB mixer, there are four simple steps:

  1. Plug your USB mixer’s USB cable into your computer’s USB port
  2. Automatically install necessary drivers as prompted
  3. If automatic installation of drivers fails, then go to the manufacturer’s website, find the USB mixer model’s specific page, then download any missing or newer drivers
  4. Make sure to install any recording software to begin recording with your mixer 

How Do DJ Mixers and Audio Interfaces Work? 

Audio interfaces work with audio inputs to produce high-quality recordings on your mobile device or computer. Unlike DJ mixers, audio interfaces require a connection to a computer and recording software that downloads input.

A DJ mixer is an audio mixing console that allows control over multiple audio signals by mixing different channels to create a unique blend of sounds. Mixers also give users manual control over different types of sound effects during a live recording or performance. 

When to Use a DJ Mixer 

Trying to start up a party or highlight comedic moments with funny sound effects during a podcast or live stream? 

Mixers are perfect for podcasts or live events where mixing together different kinds of audio is essential to the listener’s experience. 

Many live streams and podcasts on YouTube or other social media platforms utilize mixers to manage different audio sources simultaneously. Mixer audio effects make podcasts more fun and exciting for podcasters and their listeners. 

Once you master the channel controls on your mixer, the accessibility to various audio channels provides an ideal environment for live streamers routing audio from multiple microphones or DJs experimenting with different sounds at a concert.

Mixers are generally used in four different contexts: 

When to Use an Audio Interface 

Whether you are working in the studio or trying to improve sound quality for a musical project, audio interfaces are the tool of choice. Audio interfaces are a very important investment for anyone trying to elevate the quality of their final product to the next level. 

So what makes audio interfaces such great tools for recording? 

One advantage is that audio interfaces come with preamps that amplify any signals coming in from your input audio source to line level. This maximizes the strength of the signals of your audio gear.

Most sound cards built into laptops and computers lack good audio quality. 

To properly use professional audio applications, you will most likely need an audio interface to improve the sound quality of your computer. 

Although audio interfaces only specialize in improving sound quality, this sole purpose makes them a staple for all digital music producers inside the studio. To produce professional quality music you need professional quality recording equipment. 

Importance of USB Mixers 

Without USB mixers, podcasts and live streams would lose an important tool for regulating their audio. USB mixers greatly contribute to the podcasting experience for both podcasters and listeners alike. The ability to mix audio directly with a USB mixer in a live environment prevents any issues with recording software on an audio interface. 

USB mixers are important for two main reasons: 

Not all USB mixers are capable of multitrack recording, so make sure to check the “audio interface” description of the mixer. Also keep in mind that mixers with multitrack recording are more expensive than mixers without multitracking. 

Why Use a USB Mixer as an Audio Interface? 

Once you understand that the sole purpose of audio interfaces is to convert analog signals to digital signals, you might still be wondering how USB mixers change the dynamic between DJ mixers and audio interfaces. 

Depending on your activities and preferences, a USB mixer may or may not be better when compared to a stand-alone audio interface. 

If you prefer to mix your audio recordings through computer software and want a smaller portable device, then choose an audio interface. Audio interfaces are smaller and more compact compared to mixers, making them more handy when you are on the go. 

If you find yourself live streaming or running a podcast, then instant access to audio effects at the push of a button or turn of a knob makes a USB mixer a more suitable option. The extra control you get over audio signals with a mixer helps guarantee a controlled live environment for your podcasts or live streams. 

Of course, a mixer and an audio interface may be equally valuable for some if you find yourself mixing audio signals and trying to improve audio quality. 

USB mixers and audio interfaces each have pros and cons that are worth considering depending on your budget and preferences.

USB mixer  Audio Interface
Pros Hands-on control Record multitracks Can be used for live performances  Portability More affordableGood audio quality
Cons Large and heavyExpensive  Cannot use during live performanceNo built-in audio effects 

Conclusion

DJ mixers can be used as an audio interface when they have USB capabilities. 

You can easily hook up a USB mixer to your computer to record multitracks or separate tracks in the same way audio interfaces do with recording software. However, you may not need a DJ mixer if you don’t record mixed audio or work in a live environment like a podcast or live stream. 

So, can you use a DJ mixer as an audio interface? Absolutely, but make sure to take into account your individual audio production needs and preferences.