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I've been trying to find a USB-powered mixer. Something with 2 or 3 microphone inputs. I've seen the Mackie VLZ's and the Alesis MultiMix, but all of them require bulky power supplies.

Is there anything on the market like these but with the added functionality of being bus-powered?

Thanks.

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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It was bound to happen before long: -

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Not easy to achieve technically and I can't vouch for its quality but I know two guys who have facebook "liked" this product and one of them does live gigs.

The trick is to efficiently take a slice of the 5V offered from the USB and efficiently convert it to a higher voltage that is more practical for audio mixing such as 12V or 15V. There have been really cool advances in this technology from companies such as Linear Technology, Analog Devices and Texas Instruments.

The next trick is finding the silicon (op-amps) that work close to the power rails without distorting or introducing much noise. Again there is a recent plethora of op-amps that fit the bill and 5 years ago they probably wouldn't have been avaialble. And like the power chip inverters the same companies are involved.

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I stand corrected, though I'd be highly wary of how well it might work compared to other options. If you get it, I'd love to know though. It does apparently not have full 48v phantom power though. One of the reviews said it barely pulled 15V phantom. –  AJ Henderson Oct 1 '13 at 19:17
    
Interestingly, the specifications claim that they pull it off at 500mah (.9W) for the USB power pull (which will require being the only device on many USB hosts), but the power adapter provides 4 times that much power at 3.6W. Guess it could be due to how they are handling voltage conversions. –  AJ Henderson Oct 1 '13 at 19:25
    
@AJHenderson Yeah I think USB limit is specified at 100mA so they are probably using up 5 slots worth! –  Andy aka Oct 1 '13 at 20:22
    
no, 500mA is the USB2.0 limit. The 3.0 limit actually raises it (considerably if it is a USB3 charging port), but still, it isn't much to work with. –  AJ Henderson Oct 1 '13 at 21:36
    
@AJHenderson I'm an electronics designer (analogue stuff primarily) and I think something decent could be designed for 5V at 500mA. I might delve into this a bit more. I can see the attraction of such a product! –  Andy aka Oct 1 '13 at 21:43
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