An audio mixer, sound mixer, or mixing console is an electronic device used for mixing, balancing and combining different sounds and audio signals that come from sources such as microphones, (electronic) musical instruments, and synthesizers as well as previously recorded audio.
How to Connect Mixer to Laptop
Your connection type will determine sound quality, from mono to stereo or analog to digital. There are multiple ways to connect an audio mixer to the computer. Some involve needing an app to work with the hardware while others are fine manning the controls manually on the mixer itself.
The following solutions should work for you depending on the contents of your mixer.
- Connect mixer with ⅛-inch RCA mini-plug cables to a USB sound card connected to your laptop.
- Connect mixer with dual ¼-inch and ⅛-inch cables to USB sound card connected to your laptop.
- Connect mixer with XLR to ⅛-inch cable directly to your laptop.
- Connect mixer with XLR to USB cable to your laptop.
- Acquire a USB audio mixer and connect it directly to laptop using a USB cable.
- Connect USB audio interface directly to your laptop’s sound port.
Which Equipment Do You Need for Your Audio Mixer to Laptop Connection
The equipment you’ll potentially need to make that audio mixer connection includes the following.
- XLR cable
- XLR to ⅛-inch cable
- RCA to ⅛-inch Cable
- Dual ¼-inch to ⅛-inch cable
- Presonus USB Audio Interface
- USB Sound Card (Mono Input Only)
- Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone
- Yamaha MG10XU Audio Mixing Console
In Regards to the USB Sound Card Option
Before choosing the first three choices—from the RCA mini-plug to XLR to ⅛-inch—do take note that the quality of USB sound cards vary from version to version. They’re the most affordable option because of this reason.
Their consistency and quality can vary depending on which company you buy them from and the specific batch they’ve been made from. If you can find one that gives you the best quality possible then you’ve hit the jackpot.
However, as far as guaranteed sound quality is concerned, we wouldn’t recommend the USB sound card option.
In Regards to the XLR to USB Cable Option
You can technically connect an audio mixer through an XLR to USB cable. However, it’s not an ideal long-term solution to your audio mixing needs. Such cables expect getting a microphone-level XLR input.
However, since you’re connecting it to a line-level XLR output of the audio mixer, it’s bound to cause some compatibility issues. To be more specific, the output level of your audio mixer should be reduced to about 5 percent for this solution to become viable.
It’s still technically possible to get an audio signal into your computer through this method, but it requires some finagling that novice audio mixer users might not be prepared to do competently.
In Regards to the USB Audio Mixing Console Option
The USB audio mixing console like the Yamaha MG10XU Audio Mixing Console is our favored option for mixer to laptop connections. Yes, you’ll have to pay more for it but it gives you the most value and accomplishes your intention of using a mixer for your personal computing or laptop needs.
Using this mixer console type widens your horizons in terms of connecting directly to your laptop, tablet, desktop PC, or even propriety Apple products like the iPad, MacBook, and Mac PC. It reduces the need for finagling with settings or excessive adapters (Macs now use USB-C as their standard).
USB Audio Mixers Offer the Perfect Price and Quality Balance
The sound quality is consistent across the board for USB audio mixers, making them worth every last penny. The simplicity of the USB audio mixing console—practically plug-&-play and can be enhanced with certain apps—makes this a top choice.
Some popular USB audio mixers Includes the following:
- Yamaha MG10XU Audio Mixer
- Mackie ProFX10v3 Audio Mixer
- Allen & Heath ZED-10FX Audio Mixer
- Soundcraft Notepad-12FX Audio Mixer
In Regards to the USB Audio Interface Option
The USB audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface offers a high-quality yet expensive option. How high its quality will mostly depend on your budget. Such interfaces can range between $50 and $3,000.
However, like the USB audio mixer, this option allows you to connect audio signals to your laptop or PC by USB.
Input Line Port Considerations and Different Audio Interface Examples
If you don’t have an input line port on your notebook PC (not a problem from many a Windows OS laptop), you’ll need the USB audio interface on the line level and a cable that linked the mixer’s output port with the USB input port.
The USB interface then links to your laptop’s USB port, serving as an adapter.
Some examples of audio interfaces include the following.
- Presonus AudioBox
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Solid State Logic SSL2+
- Focusrite Scarlett Solo
- Motu M2 Audio Interface
Why the Need to Connect Mixers to Laptops?
You might wish to stream video, record audio, or do a video conference where your audio is ensured as pitch-perfect. Regardless of what you want to do with your computer, it might be beneficial for you to add a mixer into the so-called mix for your notebook PC’s convenience.
Most of the options involve a mono input. The best options involve getting a stereo input for your laptop or computer because it gives you the best possible digital sound.
To get sound from your laptop through the soundboard, it depends on your soundboard’s available inputs, but you can use three types of cables for the job.
The first one is the stereo cable. This cable has a mini stereo jack on one side and two ¼-inch single jackets. The mini stereo jack plugs into the audio output of your laptop.
How do I record live audio from my laptop with a mixer?
Recording live audio from your laptop with a mixer is a great way to get high-quality recordings of your performances. Here’s how to do it:
1. Connect the 1/8 inch end of your conversion cable into the “Line In” port on your laptop, or plug the connector into the Mic port if the first option is not available.
2. Check the back of your mixing board for an equalization switch or button, often labeled “Output Level,” if you connect to the Mic port. This will ensure that your recording is of the best quality.
3. Adjust the levels on your mixer so that the audio is coming through loud and clear. You may need to experiment a bit to get the perfect mix.
4. Hit record on your laptop, and you’re all set!
With this simple setup, you’ll be able to record high-quality audio from your live performances directly onto your laptop.
When Everything is Said and Done
The mixer enables disk jockeys or musicians to improve the sound and determine which parts sound louder, which parts sound softer, which parts fade in or out, and so forth.
If you wish to connect laptop audio then mix them to your heart’s desire for clearer audio when on Zoom or when recording music in case you’re a composer or musician of note, your best bet include USB audio mixers and USB audio interfaces.
- “6 Ways To Connect An Audio Mixer To A Computer (Mac or PC)“, KettnerCreative.com, August 18, 2020
- “How to Connect a Laptop to a Mixer for Playing Sound“, VirtuosoCentral.com, Retrieved April 26, 2022
- “How to Connect Laptop to Mixer for Sound Step by Step Guide“, RankLaptop.com, Retrieved April 26, 2022