Do I need a processor between mixer and PC?

By Graham Lovatt
Posted 27 August 2016, 1.21pm edt

Hi. I've researched and researched (and researched!) this but am stiil unclear so would very much appreciate any advice anyone can offer. I pre record programmes featuring music and my voice links. I use a dual CD player, turntable, desktop (with playout software) and mic (through a DBX286S) into a USB mixer which is then connected to my main desktop PC which runs the recording software. My question is: do I need a processor between mixer and main PC to normalise/compress the total output from the mixer? If so, which one? Or should I unertake normalisation/compression in post production? As I say, any advice (not too techie!) would be much appreciated. Many thanks.


3 years, 4 months ago

Re: my first post above. For normalise/compressor, please read "limiter/gate". Thanks!

3 years, 4 months ago

Thanks so much for this Ian: I'd never even considered a virtual processor! I will be downloading and trialling. Many thanks again, Graham.

3 years, 4 months ago

Have downloaded the Claesson Edwards virtual processor as recommended by Ian, but would still welcome suggestions of any physical (and reasonably priced) gates/limiters. Cheers!

3 years, 4 months ago

If you pre-record your programs, you might as well do your compression/limiting/EQ afterwards in your recording software. This would certainly be a cheaper option than a physical box. Most decent recording software programs (e.g. Adobe Audition) have some tools built in to do this.

I haven't watch this, but this video looks like it discusses what you need to do:

In terms of physical boxes, it depends on what exactly you need. If you want to sound like an FM radio station you will probably need to drop a few grand on something like this:

The above box is entry level, real FM radio stations generally spend A LOT more on their main processor.

However, if you just want to even out the levels a bit, then something like this should work:

3 years, 4 months ago

Hi David,

Thanks so much for taking the time to look up and post this info. - it's all very helpful.

I had heard of the DSPX box but was aware that it came with a hefty price tag (although, as you say, it's pocket money when compared to what the big stations would spend). If (when) I start generating income from my podcasts, then I'll re-look at it.

Thanks again.

3 years, 4 months ago

Hey good luck Graham I use a setting in "cool edit"/Adobe Audition to finalize links before they go out on internet radio,there are some really good tutorials about doing so,using the open source free "Audacity" editing softwear you could have a look & try it out:
And just have a look for "best settings" Audacity videos (there are quite a few to pick from,just mess about until you get one that suits you!)
All the best for now BigE :-)

3 years, 4 months ago

Hi Ian,

Thanks very much again - much appreciated!

Yes, I'm (very) familiar with Audacity but have just started experimenting with Reaper and SoundForge. (I used to use something called QuickEdit "back in the day"!)

I'm still trying to decide whether to continue with post producing (as I've done until now) or go the "hardware" route.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to respond.

Best wishes

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