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Old December 20th, 2012, 10:13 PM   #1
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Mixer output to a Mac?

Is it possible to cable a mixer's output to a mac, either a laptop or desktop Mac?

I was thinking if I needed to record a voice over, it would be neat to be able to record to the macbook pro.

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Old December 21st, 2012, 12:55 AM   #2
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Certainly. People do this all the time. There are many options for how to do this, depending on exactly what mixer and which model computer you have. You can feed a mic-level into most any computer microphone input, but that is probably the worst case option in terms of sound quality. And many computers have analog line-level input which will at least bypass the poor mic preamps in computers.

But because computers are full of noisy digital signals, it is preferable to avoid using the analog inputs of any computer, and go for a digital connection. The easiest these days is probably to use a USB "external sound device". They are widely available at low prices and almost universally supported by most computers running MS Windows, Mac, or Linux. An increasing number of mixers have USB interfaces built in.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 02:28 AM   #3
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Just to add you can even get an XLR style interface that has a headphone amp built in and they cost very little, or even a USB mic with built in monitoring, personally I use a pro tools m-box 2 to interface to my macbook pro and my mac pro has a black magic card onboard.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 03:08 AM   #4
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Presuming you don't already have a mixer, but do need the extra inputs that they provide, then it's worth looking at the Allen & Heath Zed range. Incredibly versatile and sound/build quality is amazing at the price point. Perfect edit suite mixers that can be taken out and gigged too, if needed.

Otherwise, as said above, a USB mic, or USB XLR interface should do the trick.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 06:03 AM   #5
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

If you get that fP33 mixer, a mini to mini cable using the tape output of the fp33 is all you need
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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:47 AM   #6
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
If you get that fP33 mixer, a mini to mini cable using the tape output of the fp33 is all you need
And a pad ....... To get it to mic level.
The 3.5mm out of a FP33 is -10 out you need to get this signal down to mic level so a pad of 30-40db would be suitable.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:56 AM   #7
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Mac sound card doesn't offer a line level input?
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Old December 21st, 2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

I believe that some do and some don't (which is why this doesn't work very well as a generic question.) Besides, Apple isn't immune to the problem of digital noise when you use an analog input (at whatever level) which is why an external A/D and digital input is preferable anyway. And "USB sound cards" (some the size of a flash thumb drive) are so inexpensive, there's almost no excuse to compromise by using the analog I/O of the computer.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

I must have had a brain freeze.

The answer to my own question has been sitting right in front of me, and I've been so immersed in the mixer thing I forgot I had this:

I have an M-Audio FastTrack Pro USB audio interface.

http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Track-Mobile-Interface-Preamps/dp/B000BD31ZW
Which is what I've been using with my mic and recording into the mac all along. DOH!

I think M-Audio was taken over by another company, so finding the drivers to use with OS 10.8 (ML) was tricky. Sooner or later I have feeling it won't get any support.

OK. So as long as I've got this going, is there any advantage soundwise going from a Shure FP33xlr output to the M-Audio Fastrack xlr input and then to the Mac? Or is that just plain goofy?

I know the M-Audio is a Pre-amp, but to me almost functions as a 2 channel mixer as well.

It's Friday, the world has not ended, and I need beer.....

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Old December 21st, 2012, 12:49 PM   #10
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
And a pad ....... To get it to mic level.
The 3.5mm out of a FP33 is -10 out you need to get this signal down to mic level so a pad of 30-40db would be suitable.
Not true at all. The Macintosh MacBook Pro of the OP audio inputs are line level.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 12:56 PM   #11
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
...I think M-Audio was taken over by another company, so finding the drivers to use with OS 10.8 (ML) was tricky. Sooner or later I have feeling it won't get any support....I know the M-Audio is a Pre-amp, but to me almost functions as a 2 channel mixer as well.....
I use a mini to mini cable from the FP-33 tape out several times a year. It works and is simple.

Keeping up to date drivers for the M-Audio can be a challenge but if you have it working then you are still left with the quality of the pre-amps of the $100 M-audio vs those of the $1200 Shure.

Then there's the aforementioned straight up USB input devices
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Old December 21st, 2012, 01:07 PM   #12
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

So Les.

You have a mini to mini cable from the tape out on the FP 33 going to the mic in on the Macbook? I think that the FP 33 is sort of a pre-amp too, based on another thread about the FP33 earlier.

Would you happen to know if this would be a better choice rather than using my Fastrack Pro between mic and lap top sound quality wise, or is it a wash? There are no meters on the Fastrack, which makes monitoring a bit tricky.

And again, would doing mic>FP33>Fastrack>laptop gain anything sound wise, or am I just looking at ways for noise to come into the picture.

Thanks.

Jonathan
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Old December 21st, 2012, 01:23 PM   #13
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
And a pad ....... To get it to mic level.
The 3.5mm out of a FP33 is -10 out you need to get this signal down to mic level so a pad of 30-40db would be suitable.
brian is that also true of the sound device mixpre?

thanks in advance for sharing.

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Old December 21st, 2012, 02:03 PM   #14
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Katz View Post
brian is that also true of the sound device mixpre?
...c
Yes, the XLR main outputs are +4dBu 'pro' line level while the 3.5mm "tape" output is -10dBv 'consumer' line level. Either one would require a pad to feed a mic level input, the amount of the pad depending on which output you use.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 04:09 PM   #15
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Re: Mixer output to a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
So Les....You have a mini to mini cable from the tape out on the FP 33 going to the mic in on the Macbook? I think that the FP 33 is sort of a pre-amp too....would you happen to know if this would be a better choice rather than using my Fastrack Pro between mic and lap top sound quality wise, or is it a wash? ....And again, would doing mic>FP33>Fastrack>laptop gain anything sound wise, or am I just looking at ways for noise to come into the picture....
Yes. Mini to mini to go from the FP33 Tape Out into Macbook Pro audio input works like a charm.

AFAIK, there's a preamp in each channel of the FP-33. I expect they are better quality than the M-audio but I don't know. I see no value in having both FP-33 and Fastrack in the chain. Only one is needed. With the FP33, you are using the Shure preamps and Macbook Pro sound card to convert analog to digital. With the Fastrack, you are using the M-Audio preamps and M-Audio analog to digital conversion.
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