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What is an audio mixer?
In case you wonder what is an audio mixer, just watch the video on this page. On this page I make some notes about setting up a simple music home studio. Just as a reminder for myself because I want to set up a home studio for recording music and also for adding audio to video's I want to make. I play a little acoustic guitar and I would also like to get started with a MIDI keyboard. There's some nice music creation and arranger software available for Windows and I want to play with and learn more about one or more of these programs:
• Ableton Live
• Propellerhead Reason
• Fruity loops - or today called FL Studio
• Native Instruments Guitar Rig
• Native Instruments Komplete
• Native Instruments Traktor
• Cakewalk Sonar
• Logic Studio (Apple)
DJ Mixer Express
DJ Mixer Express is an ideal DJ mixing software for beginners and DJ pros, features include beat mixing, automatic beat and tempo detection, seamless looping, automatic-gain, master-tempo, mix any songs from iTunes, record mixes, as well as multiple effects. A version for the Mac is also available.
DJ Mixer Pro
DJ Mixer Professional is a complete, advanced DJ mixing software for both beginner and professional DJ's, This powerful DJ software combines an easy-to-use interface makes mixing your favorite music easy. include 2 decks, an advanced mixer and playlists/database. Complete automatic mixing, one-click beat-matching, seamless looping, advanced BPM detection, keylock (master-tempo), Compatible with iTunes and lots of effects and many other features. A version for the Mac is also available.
For editing recorded audio there's a nice piece of free software called Audacity. It's userinterface is not that sophisticated, however it's free and you can do basic audio editing. A while ago, I already expirimented with another software called CoolEdit (today this is called Adobe Audition). It's a great piece of software for editing and recording audio. Maybe Reaper is also worth trying out, it looks good. So much to choose from. Well, I will see later what to do.
Things I consider buying for my home studio
Some things I consider buying for my home studio are:
- A semi-professional microphone (probably a condensor type) with stand and pop-shield.
- Microphone pre-amplifier(s) (if not included in an audio mixer).
- An audio interface card for my computer. With this I can connect MIDI to my computer.
- MIDI or USB keyboard controller. With this I can control software synthesizers on my computer or 'soft synths'.
- An audio mixer.
- A multitrack digital recorder (in case I don't record on my computer).
- A CD/DVD recorder.
- An effects unit.
- A sampler.
- A drumcomputer.
- A dual mediaplayer like for example the Reloop SMP 1 USB.
As I understand now digital audio workstation (DAW) software like Cubase can be controlled by a special MIDI controller with sliders. I know there are also MIDI keyboards with sliders or knobs included. I think you can assign the sliders to certain functions of the software. I will inform about this later. So I think for sure I need a MIDI keyboard, with probably an integrated MIDI DAW-controller. In case it's better I'll get a separate DAW MIDI-controller.
An audio mixer is at the heart of the home studio. I leared there are several options to choose from:
- Use an analog audio mixer that has an analog output
- Use an analog audio mixer that has a firewire or USB output (these are digital outputs)
- Use a digital audio mixer (this mixer converts it's analog inputs into digital signals inside the mixer)
- Use no audio mixer at all, but use music arrangement software like Cubase together with a hardware controller that controls Cubase.
I think I will get an analog audio mixer, like a Behringer XENYX 1622 FX or Behringer XENYX X 1832 USB for only about 200 Euro's. It has integrated preamps and a lot of effects. Below you can watch a video of the Behringer XENYX X 1832 USB mixer. It looks like it's a great mixer. I think that after watching this video you'll understand what is an audio mixer, for those of you who don't know what it is.
I guess I will start with a soft synth first with a MIDI or USB controller (because it's relatively cheap, and you can control quite a lot of software with it. Maybe in the future I'll go for a real synthesizer, like the Yamaha Motif XS. In the video below a guy called Wendlinka on Youtube is playing the Motif. The synth sounds great. Maybe search on Youtube for more video's made by him, he has some nice compositions.
Yamaha Motif synthesizer demo
Another guy (also from Holland, like me) called Bert Smorenburg gives a demo of the Motif in the video below. I like this video. Bert is really talented and explains in a funny way the main functions of the Motif.