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We have a few songs where we'd like to play samples in the background. These need to be aligned perfectly with the song, so there's a click track, too.

Currently, we have the drummer using a laptop that plays the mix to a small USB stereo mixer. In that mix the click track is panned hard left and the samples are in stereo. That means we can give the drummer the headphone track, and only use the right output of the stereo mixer to connect our monitor.

Now, this is hardly a good solution—the panned click is unnatural to play to, and we only get mono samples as output. We can't use that USB mixer as it only has two outputs.

So, we need to come up with a solution where there is:

  • a full stereo headphone track for the drummer, with the ability to set the levels of click and samples individually
  • a full stereo track for samples only, with no click bleeding through or anything

I have a Saffire Liquid 56 at home, where I could easily do this with output routing from the DAW, but it's not possible to use this setup live, so we need something stripped down to the bare essentials needed—it should be cheap and portable.

What kind of hardware (specifications) am I looking for?

How do I make sure that such an interface or mixer provides me with the necessary routing options to provide two independent stereo outs, one of them being the headphone output?

To keep this question useful for future visitors, I'm not looking for specific hardware recommendations, although examples of hardware would of course help.

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