I have:

I'd like to record each microphone to a different track on a software program and do all the post processing on my computer. The recording part needs to be portable at the studio, while the post process will be done on my desktop at home (so an M-Audio PCI card is not an option).

I'm very new to audio recording, so I might need some aditional explanation of how things fit together. I.e. I don't even know if a single cable from the mixer to the laptop will be able to give me multiple tracks.

Do I need any aditional equipment? Do I even need the mixer?

(My budget is around $300)

  • I have a Phonic Helixboard 12 which gives me 8 tracks at 192 kHz in 24-bit resolution. A new one would fit in your budget but you can easily pick one up 2nd hand these days (many starting off with one of these upgrade to something bigger after a while). There's a Firewire version and a USB version. I'm very happy with mine, it's allot better than my PC's sound card.
    – Louis Somers
    Dec 3, 2013 at 21:42
  • This is the same setup I'm looking to do. I can't believe this is so hard to find. Do people usually set this up different I guess. I wonder what other people do?
    – Donny V.
    Jun 19, 2016 at 3:03

6 Answers 6


Getting 8 channels of ASIO capable capture for $300 is NOT going to happen with any decent quality. You could use the mixer to mix down to a single channel and record that one channel, but you need an 8 input audio interface to capture 8 channels.

Your best bet is a firewire or USB 3 based system since you need it to work with a laptop or possibly a dedicated multitrack recorder if you don't need to do any editing locally, but any device like that is going to be in the $500 to $3000 price range.

An example of a sound board that could do it is the Presonus 16.0.2 which is a digital sound board that will do digital recording of all the channels, but it is $1000. The absolute cheapest option I know of is the Zoom R16 which is a multi-track recorder that supports 8 channel simultaneous recording, but it is between $400 and $700 depending on where you get it.

  • Thank you very much. This helped me decide to have the recording part no longer portable. I am now looking for a PCI card that will let me record multi tracks. M-Audio Delta 1010lt I believe is no longer available. Do you have another card to recommend?
    – pek
    Dec 1, 2013 at 20:52

In order to do simultaneous multitrack recording, you need a multitrack interface. As far as I can find, the most inputs you'll get on an iPad is 2. Depending on the processing & hard drive speeds, you might get 8 tracks into your netbook with a proper firewire/usb interface, but 8+ track simultaneous recording can be pretty intensive.

The mixer gives you multiple inputs and preamps (both necessary), but doesn't have any way of getting those inputs into your computer.

Check out sweetwater.com, musiciansfriend.com, etc. for multitrack interfaces to see what's available.


I've been using an Alesis MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 since 2008 with good success. It allows all 16 channels to be recorded into separate tracks at 24–bit/44.1–96kHz quality. I've used it for recording live shows of my band using Apple's Garage Band and Logic software.


Unfortunately, this model has been replaced with the MultiMix 16 USB FX which contains some nice new features like inserts on the channels but it only allows stereo recording through the USB audio interface instead of all 16 tracks.

I don't recall exactly how much my MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 cost, but if I recall it was under $500. It's one of those purchases that I feared might be too good to be true, but after 4 years, I'd say this board gets my stamp of approval!


This article really helped me and split up the recommendations depending on price from beginner, mid to pro. Very nice recommendations also. Apparently the setup is usually inputs right into the pc either using USB or Firewire. If you want a mixer you will need to have a separate mixer that connects into one of these audio interfaces.

Best from the lists
beginner: Presonus Audiobox 44VSL
mid: Focusrite Scarlett – 18i8/18i20
pro: Avid HD 16×16



This mixer does not seem to have recording outputs at a glance. You can use the insert plugs instead but they will be unbalanced and thus prone to hum and other noise insertion.

If you had recording outputs, something like an RME Multiface (an age-old high-end soundcard needing either a PCI, Pccard, or Expresscard interface) will take 8 inputs and deliver 8 outputs. That still puts you at your current limit. You can extend this with additional external A/D-converters that have syncable clock (the Multiface can work as clock master or clock slave) and use ADAT.

Without using all this external stuff, something like a Mackie Onyx 1640 with the optional Firewire card installed or the Mackie Onyx 1640i will deliver 16 channels on Firewire. However, driver situation may look dire by now on Windows or MacOSX (with official support ended). I use a Mackie Onyx 1620 myself (only 8 mic inputs and 4 stereo line inputs) and it works fine under Linux and Ffado with the Firewire card (which sends 18 channels: the 16 input channels and the finished main mix). The Firewire card only permits 2 channels back into the mixer; in contrast, the native Mackie Onyx 1640i allows 16 channels back in. I can't vouch for the latter's function, though.

This mixer+interface combination is actually only strictly necessary for live performances (it records all inputs before faders and EQ, so the live mix does not affect the recording). If you only want to record, an interface alone will do the trick.


I've recorded on 4 PC's at the same time to get 8 tracks. To begin the recording you have to make a sound spike on 4 machines to sync the tracks after you load them all into the same PC for editing. It helps to have at least 1 mic on each pc to make the sound spike. Using 3 extra desktop PC's was a lot cheaper than buying any 8in/8out interface. This is a studio solution and not portable at all. I can record digital, analog, or a mixture of both. What I like about analog recording is how easy it is to mix the monitor thru 1 or more boards so everyone gets their own mix. Latency is not a problem either. If you have PC's laying around like I do, it's cheap because you don't have to buy anything extra.

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