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Is a MIXER what I'm looking for here? Answered

Got a keyboard, laptop, mp3 player, 2 drum machines, and a Tascam 8 track digital recorder. I need to hear them all at the same time through one set of headphones, all clearly, and need to be able to adjust the levels of each. Do I just need a mixer? I'm cheap, so suggest one please?


yep. you need a mixer. Remember that a stereo source is 2 channels (left and right) and your 8 track may mix down to 2 channels, or may put out all 8 channels. one of the cheapest brands out there is Behringer. Not perfect but cheap, and I've found them to be satisfactory for the price/features. Pick one with enough inputs, plus maybe a couple extra. I own a behringer 1622FX mixer - six mono mic/line, and some stereo channels, plus built in effects. (-its the smallest one they had that plugs straight in the wall without a bulky power adapter.)

Yes, you need a 4-channel (or more) mixer. With luck and perseverance, you can find one for fairly cheap. Go to your music store and explain your budget and the equiment you need to attach. Several years ago I traded a case of beer for a DJ mixer which had all RCA inputs/outputs. I invested another $20 in female 1/4" audio jacks and replaced most of the inputs and outputs with those. Now I can plug in guitar patch cables and cheap microphones. If you're using professional music equipment, XLR jacks might be a requirement for you, but I digress. It wasn't a hard project... and you could even do it with individual adapters and cables but I don't imagine it would be cheap or efficient that way.

for really cheap one (without any advanced features) a homemade circuit with 358 / 324 chips and pots may be all what you need. you can find the components in many trashed electronics like old computer monitors

You would need a mixer. I guess the 8-track only gives you level-control, mixing and combined output on playback? L

Thinking of how many thousands those giant recording studio ones must cost, I suspected that a good multi-input sound card and software mixer would be the cheapest solution for you. The software you'd need may even be free. (Remember to never use the words "free" or "cheap" when looking for a piece of software. Those will guarantee that what you find is anything but.)

However, a quick search on Ebay BuyItNow turned up a 4-channel audio mixer for only $30 (with shipping) and another for $86 that controls 10 channels (2 mono and 4 stereo). Considering what your other equipment must have cost, that doesn't sound too bad at all.

In any case, here is an Instructable on how to use one.