Desktop audio solved The MultiMix 4 USB is a four-channel desktop mixer with a USB digital audio interface built in. This compact mixer is perfect for using in basic computer-recording setups video editing and production studios and portable podcasting setups because it outputs not only line-level analog audio but also stereo 16-bit 44.1 kHz digital audio over USB for low-noise easy computer connection. The MultiMix 4 USB mixer has four input channels all of which can accept a 1/4 line input. You can can plug XLR microphones into channels one and two including condensers thanks to the mixer's switchable 48V-phantom power supply. You can also plug a guitar or bass directly into channel one's switchable high-impedance input. Channels one and two offer switchable high-pass filtering at 75Hz to eliminate low-frequency rumble handling and wind noise. Each channel has an independent pan control and channels one and two provide high and low-shelving EQs. Channels one and two have independent gain trims while channels three and four are configured as a stereo pair at the level and pan controls. The MultiMix 4 USB has a two channel five stage multicolor LED meter for visual monitoring the main output level. A stereo 1/4 headphone output has its own level control.
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My daughter had been plugging a microphone into her laptop to record songs but now has a (passive) pick-up for her guitar which she has been trying to use in the same way. Matching wasn't so good so I went looking for a small mixer, preferably one with a USB connection to reduce the horrible audio noise you usually get with a PC. This little thingy was just the job - mic input, specific input for passive acoustic guitar pikc-up and USB out. It can also plug into an amp if you have one but we were only after the PC side of things. 5 minutes fiddling with the levels and away we went with not a bit of PC noise in earshot. Very pleased.
I bought this mainly because I was fed up of low sound input levels on my PC when recording podcasts. I have tried a number of headset microphones, both through the sound card and via USB, but it seemed impossible to guarantee a consistent or adequate sound level. I had to spend some time removing other devices and adjusting settings both on my soundcard software and in Windows; and even then I still often had to boost the levels after recording. I also wanted to get away from the 'close-miked' sound of the headset microphones - having a mic placed farther away makes for a much more natural presentation manner - but that was impossible as I just couldn't get enough level to enable me to do that.
This little mixer not only provides plenty of pre-amp on the mic, it also has switchable phantom power, which lets me use a better quality condenser microphone. I have tried it with both dynamic and condenser mics and it works well with both. The 4 input channels (effectively 3, as 3&4 are a stereo line feed) mean that I can also connect other sound sources, mic or line level. As well as conventional stereo outputs on 1/4" jack (so you can connect to a PA system just as a normal mixer), it connects directly to the PC via USB, and gives excellent results. There is no configuration software to install - it is literally plug & go. I'm using it with Audacity and it provides plenty of level on the signal and the quality is much better.
There are rudimentary tone and gain controls on the first two channels with a choice of 1/4" jack or XLR inputs, and the first channel also has a high-impedance pad button if you want to connect a guitar to it. Another nice touch I noticed was that when connected to the PC and monitoring through headphones plugged into the mixer, the PC speakers were disabled and I could monitor the computer sound through the headphones, saving a lot of 'cans on - cans off' moments.
As I'm mainly using it as a microphone pre-amplifier, it's a bit over-specified for my needs; but it does work extremely well, is versatile enough to work in several situations, and gives me options for future expansion. I wish I'd bought it a long time ago.Read more ›
For a relatively cheap price, this piece of equipment is excellent.....It took me a while to realise that I had to disable my internal sound card because it was conflicting lol, but after that it worked like a dream and was very straight forwards and easy to use. I would recommend this to anyone who isn't looking to splash out on an M-audio interface cos it does the job just as good in my opinion for guitar and vocals anyway. I use Adobe Audition and it works a treat...perfect :).
I've used this Alesis MultiMix 4 USB with a couple of condenser mics that need the phantom power from this unit via the XLR connections, and also a battery powered boundary mic connected to the guitar input. I've used the USB interface to record with free Audacity sound recording and editing software software on my Windows 8 PC and it's worked well and with almost zero setup.
On my Windows 8 laptop the best setting for the record level setting is 54. Less than 54 and the input cannot reach 0 dB in Audacity. More than 54 might be useful for quieter sounds if the preamp gain and channel levels on the mixer cannot boost the signal enough.
On Windows 8 just plugging this in to the computer via the supplied USB cable seems to be all the setup that is needed. After a couple of seconds, Windows sound properties shows a new Microphone and Headphone output on a device labelled "USB Audio CODEC".
A more specialized ASIO sound driver is available to download from the Alesis web site, but I haven't had any problems with the default Windows support with Audacity and Media Player in Windows 8, so I haven't bothered downloading it.
I've been enjoying using it as a headphone preamp to listen to music. It's nice to have a proper volume knob to twiddle, and the level LEDs have a pleasantly 80's vibe when listening to Dire Straits :-D
It's not USB powered, a 500mA power supply comes in the box (old fashioned heavy transformer-type wall wart). I noticed the picture of the power input on the end of the box shows the input labelled 1A, but the label on the actual mixer says 500mA.
The mixer routes the inputs and USB device output to Main Out pair via the Main Vol control; the headphones have their own volume control which is unaffected by the Main Vol position. Also, Main Vol doesn't affect the level recorded via the USB Audio Codec in Windows.
Sounds played back through the USB Audio Codec while recording from the USB Audio Codec are not recorded - there is no "Stereo Mix" options in Windows.
I was worried that I'd be hampered by 16-bit 44 kHz recording (rather than modern-days 24-bit 96 kHz), but the fan noise from my laptop is my current limitation, followed by other noise from around my house that I didn't even notice before I tried to make quiet recordings, followed by hiss from the mics and preamps. 16-bits will be plenty for my web-casting and Skype needs.
Recording speech in Audacity I get about 50 dB SNR for speech recording when I set my Rode NT3 15 cm from my mouth, limited by the noise in my room.
After weeks of being frustrated trying to get good sound recording from the built in mic input in my laptop I'm totally happy with my experience using the Alesis MultiMix 4 instead - I already had microphones that cost more than the mixer sitting in my cupboard, and it's good to be able to use them.Read more ›
Got this mixer for use with a Rode NT1A microphone and the pair play brilliantly together. It is solid, heavy and the sound transferred into my PC is brilliant. If you need phantom power and are on a budget you cannot go wrong with this.