USB interface/mixer help please

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USB interface/mixer help please

Post by timhowes »

Hi all

I'm trying to set a large office space up for live sound presented using laptops and streamed to remote guests (MS Teams). Reinforcement in the office provided by PA, with inputs from 3 mic inputs which can be mixed down to stereo RCA out.

To stream the room audio to the remote audience I need a USB interface which allows bidirectionally audio from the computer. I think the correct term is loopback but please correct me if I'm wrong. I want audio from the computer to be sent to the output of the USB interface, and input to the interface to be sent to the computer.

I also need a device which doesn't require software to achieve this, as our organisation's laptops do not allow software installation, and guests will occasionally bring their own computers from which to present.

I tried a Behringer Xenyx Q802USB but it was immediately apparent that loopback is not provided. I think the Q1002USB will do loopback, but I wonder whether this will require software.

Also considering the Yamaha AG06 but with same concerns.

A simple USB interface would be fine, as I can mix the signal before sending, but again I'm unsure as to which will provide loopback without driver installation.

Thanks in advance for any help, and let me know if anything needs clarification.
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by blinddrew »

I think I'd be looking at a podcast mixer for this job, they'll handle a variety of incoming channel options and have built in mix-minus for anyone not in the room.
Most of them will work without software downloads required but you will need your IT department to have your USB ports unlocked so that they can work as an external soundcard.
For three mics + I think you're probably looking at the Zoom L8 or the Rodecaster Pro. We got one of the latter for work nearly two years ago and it's been a very reliable tool that also has the benefit of a fairly shallow learning curve and a non-intimidating interface.
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by timhowes »

Thanks for your reply. I like the look of both of those.

We currently have an integrated lectern mixer with powered speaker which enables me to mix and EQ 2 fixed mics and a radio mic, to a line output. As such I only really need a single channel, though would be sensible to have a spare.

With this in mind (also simplicity and price) I wonder whether there are any interfaces or smaller desks which offer the loopback functionality I'm after
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by blinddrew »

Hmm. I don't know how many offer than function as part of the hardware rather than as software. For example, my focusrite can do that, but only in the software.
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by timhowes »

Thank you, yes same experienced here with my Focusrite.

The Xenyx mixer I tried was immediately available on Windows 10 as "USB Audio Codec" without unlocking USB ports or installing software.

As you suggest, I think it's a bit unlikely there will be a software-free solution, but thought it worth asking
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by ef37a »

Some years ago I had the same problem, I could not install software on a works laptop but I found Reaper can be configured to run from a USB stick (cheap as chips)

I seem to think Audacity can do the same and the SOS boffs' might know of others?

Also, the Behringer Xenyx 1202 mixer was on a very cheap offer a month or two ago. 4 mic/line ins, 4 stereo line ins.

Dave.
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by timhowes »

Thanks for all comments.

I purchased a Yamaha AG06 'podcasting' mixer which I was assured would work without driver installation. This proved to be the case (Windows 10) and the loopback function works without any need for software control.

The unit appears to be very well designed and built for the price (paid £130).
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Re: USB interface/mixer help please

Post by blinddrew »

Looks like a good option, thanks for closing the loop! :thumbup:
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