Can a Mixer be Used with an Audio Interface? (Answered)

By Bob •  Updated: 05/12/21 •  5 min read

Mixers and audio interfaces are often confused with one another, but they serve two different purposes.

A mixer is a piece of hardware that allows you to control the levels of multiple inputs at once. At the same time, an interface connects your gear to your computer for recording.

If you have a mixer, it’s safe to say that it can be used in conjunction with an audio interface.

How to use a mixer with an audio interface?

A mixer can combine signals from different audio sources and route them into a single signal, known as mixing.


Mixers are often created with an input for each track on the deck and one output usually connected to your PC or laptop.

When you use a mixer in this way, it becomes another layer of hardware between the audio interface and what’s being recorded/played back through speakers at home.

You’ll want to connect your sources (microphones, electronic instruments, turntables, CD players) directly into channels on your mixer rather than going through the audio interface first.

Otherwise, you’re just adding another level of noise by converting sound waves again before recording or playing back over speakers.

How do I connect my digital mixer to my audio interface?

Plug a standard audio cable into the line out of your mixer; Connect this to the input on your audio interface.

If you are receiving an error message, make sure that both pieces of equipment are powered and turned ON!

This will allow you to record anything going through the mixer while plugged in via USB or Thunderbolt from your computer.

You cannot use phantom power when using a mixer with an audio interface because mixing is not possible at these levels for most mixers with built-in preamps.

It’s important to note that many digital mixers have their own A/D converters, so if you need to monitor what goes into them during recording, it can be done without needing any additional gear!

Do you need an audio interface for mixing?

In short, Yes, most audio interfaces come with speaker outputs that are often used to monitor the sound levels being recorded or played back.

Recording engineers can use an audio interface for mixing by taking a live input and using it as two channels.

These channels can be sent separately into each side of the mixer, where they will then be summed together.

You might also need a separate power supply if your device is not USB powered, or you want to mix from devices like MIDI controllers in addition to analog signals coming out of your audio interface.

For example, let’s say we have three inputs: guitar, vocals, and drums (the latter two could also come directly from our audio interface).

We would set up our vocal channel on the left-hand side of the mixer and our guitar channel on the right-hand side.

We would then mix these two channels together by adjusting their levels, adding effects like reverb or compression to each one individually before summing them together.

Which is the best audio interface or mixer?

It depends on what you are trying to do.

Audio interfaces usually come with software and offer a range of inputs in preamps, line ins, and mic level pres (which can be used for guitars).

Mixers will have audio outputs like headphones outs, monitor outs, or speaker out, depending on how many channels they have.

So if you’re looking to run your audio interface into an amplifier, then it’ll need one output per channel, so that’s where mixers would work better than audio interfaces.

But suppose you want more control over input levels.

In that case, an audio interface is probably a better option because mixer controls tend not to be as detailed for this reason.

The main difference is that audio interfaces come with software, whereas mixers are more geared towards hardware input and output.

Does a mixer improve sound quality?

A mixer can improve sound quality if you can use it to properly control the volume levels and EQ of each audio source.

Using a mixer’s Preamps provides a purer audio signal and less noise than the input from an interface.
Mixers can also be used for multiplying inputs and bounced down to 1 or 2 tracks for mixing, live, or in the studio.

It can be used for routing audio to and from different inputs on your interface if necessary.

Also useful when you need more control over a signal than is possible with an audio interface alone.
Mixers are not that expensive, and they don’t take up a lot of space.

If you’re looking for an affordable option, Behringer offers some great mixers.

Does an audio interface improve sound quality?

Yes. An audio interface can improve sound quality by connecting the mixer’s output directly into it.

Yes, A mixer can pre-eq and amplify the audio signal, which improves sound quality.


The answer is yes; mixers can be connected to audio interfaces as long as they have enough inputs available using standard cables.

This allows you to connect your instrument outputs directly into the input channels on your audio interface without having any dedicated mixing features like EQ or amplifier included in the device itself.

However, if you want more detail about what will happen when specific instruments are played together, then this article cannot help much with that question because there are so many different possibilities depending on which instruments are being mixed together at once and how they interact with each.