Things You'll Need
- Recording software
- Dual stereo 1/4 inch plug to single stereo 1/8 inch plug connection cable (Behringer analog mixer)
- Standard Type B USB connection cable (Behringer USB mixer)
- Musical instrument or microphone cable
- Headphones (optional)
Computer recording with a Behringer mixer requires common connection cables and recording software. Behringer is a brand of audio devices for entry-level to semi-professional live and recording use and both analog and USB mixers are available which may be used for recording. Behringer USB mixers allow control over the audio signal during recording and post-production functions such as mixing and playback, but analog mixers only allow control over the audio signal during recording. The quality of the recording is primarily dependent on the experience and talent of the user, who takes the necessary time to fully understand the equipment and recording principles.
Connecting the Behringer Mixer to Computer
Turn on your computer and open the recording software.
Plug the Behringer mixer into a standard electrical outlet. Note that Behringer and some other mixer brands do not feature power switches and are turned on by virtue of being connected to electricity.
Insert the two 1/4 inch plugs of the connection cable into the mixer's left and right "Main Out" jacks and insert the single 1/8 inch stereo plug into the microphone input on your computer, usually colored red.
If you own a Behringer USB mixer, plug the small connector of a Type B USB cable into the USB slot on the back of the mixer and the standard USB plug into your computer's USB slot. The 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch cable is not necessary with USB mixers.
Plug your instrument or microphone into one of the channel inputs on the mixer with a standard musical instrument or microphone cable.
Connect the headphones (optional but recommended) by inserting the 1/4 inch headphone plug into the mixer output marked "Headphones."
Recording With the Behringer Mixer and Computer
Play your instrument or speak into the microphone while adjusting the "Gain" control on the mixer channel until the red "Peak" LED lights on the right side of the mixer illuminate. Continue playing or speaking while turning the gain control down (counter-clockwise) until the read peak light no longer illuminates.
Continue playing or speaking while turning up the headphone volume knob and main channel fader or rotary level control (depending on model) until you hear sound at a comfortable listening volume.
Arm a recording track in your recording software and turn the mixer's "Main Mix" fader or rotary control until the software's sound meter reads slightly below the red "Peak" indicator. Consult your software manual for specific instructions on how to arm tracks.
Click the red "Record" button on your recording software and begin recording.
Press "Stop" on the recording software screen when the recording is finished and press "Play" to listen to the recording track before continuing. Depending on your software settings and mixer type/connection, you may have to plug the headphones directly into the computer to listen to the track.
Consult your software owner's manual for specific instructions on adding additional recording tracks, saving and modifying recordings.
Experiment with the mixer's equalization controls, microphone placement and musical instrument controls for best sound. Recording is a technical art, requiring experimentation and technical knowledge.
Consult your Behringer mixer owner's manual for alternative connection methods when using studio speaker monitors and external effect and processing units.
If using studio condenser microphones, turn on the mixer's "Phantom Power" switch to provide 48-volt power to the microphone.
Behringer bundles Audacity recording software with all USB mixers. You may download Audacity for free through the Audacity website. Most any recording software can be used; however, including programs that may be already installed on your computer.
Continuously monitor the red peak indicators on both the mixer and software screen. If the audio signal reaches red at any point, recording distortion will result and ruin the recording. If this happens, turn down the channel gain or level control until the red peaks are no longer visible.
If using phantom power for condenser microphones, plugging non-powered microphones into the mixer at the same time may damage the non-powered microphone. This is especially true with "ribbon element" microphones. Consult your microphone owner's manual for details.
Matt McKay began his writing career in 1999, writing training programs and articles for a national corporation. His work has appeared in various online publications and materials for private companies. McKay has experience in entrepreneurship, corporate training, human resources, technology and the music business.