For years, Firewire was the reigning technology when it came to sending multichannel audio to/from an interface and a computer or other host device. While it’s still technically possible to use Firewire in many instances, the protocol is clearly giving way to other connection types like Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 (and probably down the line, USB 3.0). With that in mind, I was recently in search of a new USB 2.0 mixer. I wanted the ability to send multichannel audio to my computer for recording, and my current mixer, equipped with a USB 1.1 connection, could only send two audio channels. I began searching around for new gear options and was frustrated by just how difficult it was to find mixers and interfaces that met this requirement. After hours of searching and some suggestions I received on a couple of different podcasting-related forums, here’s the list of all USB 2.0 mixers and interfaces I could find that sell for less than $1000US.
- Behringer X18 and XR18. Behringer’s fully digital “X” series of mixers are a bit confusing in that the X12 and X16 aren’t multichannel. But the X18 models are.
- Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK. “The console is designed to deliver pristine recordings. Both have an ultra-low-latency USB interface that flawlessly captures every channel, which can then be mixed or transferred to a DAW for further mixdown and production.”
- Behringer UFX1204. Another multichannel mixer from Behringer. Unlike the X series, this one is a traditional analog mixer with a USB interface.
- Allen & Heath ZEDi 10FX. I’ll admit, I was surprised to find something by Allen & Heath in this price range.
- Presonus StudioLive AR8. This little mixer has some intriguing features, including a built-in SD card slot for recording.
- Focusrite Scarlett. These interfaces aren’t actually mixers but they are multichannel and Focusrite offers a full range of options, depending on how many inputs you need.
That’s all of the multichannel USB interfaces/mixers I could find for under a grand. Did I miss any? If so, leave the information in the comment section below.