Portable Battery Powered Stero Mixer?

I’m searching for an easy and portable way to connect various sources via 3.5mm stereo mini ports, mix and then run into an iPad/iPhone.

I’d like it to be smallish, battery powered, not need a CCK, accept 3.5mm stereo mini sources like old walkmans, a small shortwave radio, a cheap transitor radio, non-xlr mics that don’t require phantom power.

Preferably 4 input ports, but could get by with less.

Preferably only stereo mini input/output because I don’t want to have to get a bunch of adapters.

This is the closest I’ve found, but the reviews are pretty mixed.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LPT8KQA/?coliid=IGC4BDXOQ28M4&colid=3VFSSHTJD24WF&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

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Comments

  • 5 channel. Runs on double a batteries and is only 85$

  • edited March 2018

    That’s cool. The one I posted gives me 3 channels, 2 stereo and one AUX but I’m not sure how the AUX port is different from the other 2. And it’s half the cost. Just concerned about the quality based on reviews.

    I might try to make a couple irig stereo devices work and use both the iPhone and iPad at once, but I like the idea of a little mixer better.

    Going to research the DUDE option more though. Thx!

    Edit: just read this review. Pretty cool that you can run signal back into itself to generate its own noises.

    https://ask.audio/articles/review-bastl-instruments-dude-battery-powered-5channel-mixer-thats-more-than-a-mixer

  • Have you read in the review that all inputs are stereo but are feeded only by left signal which is duplicated on left and right? Could be a problem depending on your application.

  • I should note 📝

    I haven’t personally used the dude mixer, just saw it and thought it might be worth checking out.

    I have however checked out the volca mixer at my local music store, and other than the mute button feature, which is cool. I thought it fealt flimsy and personally wouldn’t but it

  • @Janosax no, I hadn’t read that. Which one? I don’t think it’d be an issue though.

  • @skiphunt said:
    @Janosax no, I hadn’t read that. Which one? I don’t think it’d be an issue though.

    It’s in the Askaudio Dude review posted above by @skiphunt:

    « Each input is stereo, but only accepts the left channel. Two buffers - Left and Right - clone the left signal so that you’re seemingly listening in stereo even if it is really monophonic. »

    If you use an input with true stereo mix like another iPad it will be an issue, but Walkman, radio, mics it should be ok.

  • @stuck80s said:
    5 channel. Runs on double a batteries and is only 85$

    The Dude by is 5 channel monophonic input. If it were stereo it would be perfect.

  • edited March 2018


    I've been eyeing this one for a while. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/cr/B01M68UK38/ref=mw_dp_cr

  • edited March 2018

    @philowerx said:

    I've been eyeing this one for a while. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/cr/B01M68UK38/ref=mw_dp_cr

    This is cool too, but not battery powered... I do like it a bit more than the DUDE one though.

    I'm thinking I might go for the cheaper $40 by the same company in my original post. From what I've been reading about this lower-end, battery-powered mixers... I'm going to speculate that maybe the standard 9V or AAs, aren't really quite beefy enough, unless they're higher quality/voltage batteries that can sustain a consistent 1.5v. My guess is that they work fine with a fresh pack of batteries, but as soon as the batteries are somewhat drained... the mixers start failing.

    Some have complained that the AC adapters are generating noise and/or a hum. I'm guessing that's partially due to low quality components.

    My hunch is... that if you used one of these battery-powered units, but instead of standard batteries, used a battery pack, you might have better luck with maintaining 1.5v... and still be free from having to have an AC outlet. Just an uneducated, vague hunch.

    Edit: hmmm.... I take that back. I'm guessing many of these that are usb-powered, could be powered by an external battery pack too. The smaller one that's battery powered in the original post can ALSO be powered by micro usb. Need to rethink this, but I'm thinking for cost and overall function, the smaller one in my original post my suit all my needs if the noise issues can be alleviated by simply using a beefy external battery pack... of which I have plenty.

  • 9V (or A/C) 4-channel Rolls MiniMix does it for me. Four stereo 1/4" and 1/8" in, one stereo 1/4" and 1/8" out.

    See my post on:

    https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/23784/what-is-best-option-for-combining-the-audio-of-multiple-devices

  • edited March 2018

    Some great options, and thanks for all the suggestions. The DUDE, Roland GO, and Rolls all look like they’d fit the bill. Was leaning toward the Rolls since there was a cheaper used option on that one.

    However, the more I thought about it, the more I think the original Just Mixer I linked to in my original post would work the best for my use. Three inputs is plenty for me, they’re all stereo 3.5mm in/out. I don’t have any need for 1/4in. The Hart can be also powered by a usb battery, usb block, or AAAs. It’s small and inexpensive.

    The more I’ve dug into the negative reviews, they read more like users who tried to use it in setups it wasn’t designed for. Used poor battery sources, or were pumping up gain on ports without even any source connected.

    In other words, mostly user error that they were ultimately too proud to admit it was their own ignorance that caused the problems they had and instead stuck to their guns with bad reviews rather than fess up to their own fault.

    Also, one of the Maker Hart Just Mixer YouTube videos show it small enough to mount to a small camera rig to mix multiple mic inputs for video capture. That might be useful as well.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions and feedback. :)

  • @skiphunt Let us know when you get one and have used it some. I would be interested in what you decide to go with, and how you like working with it.

  • edited March 2018

    @CracklePot said:
    @skiphunt Let us know when you get one and have used it some. I would be interested in what you decide to go with, and how you like working with it.

    Will do. I’m trying to decide if I’m just getting this as another toy I don’t need and won’t really use much, or if it’d actually be fun and useful.

    Obviously, I could simply record loops with what I already have and do the same live mixing in AUM like I already do, but something about manupulating live lofi sources mixed into an AUM setup sounds compelling to me.

  • @skiphunt said:

    @CracklePot said:
    @skiphunt Let us know when you get one and have used it some. I would be interested in what you decide to go with, and how you like working with it.

    Will do. I’m trying to decide if I’m just getting this as a toy that I won’t really use much, or if it’d actually be fun and useful.

    Obviously, I could simply record loops with what I already have and do the same live mixing in AUM like I already do, but something about manupulating live lofi sources mixed into an AUM setup sounds compelling to me.

    Hell yeah it does! B)
    I may need to get one now, too. :)

  • I have another question. I know I can’t simply run one of these little mixers into the headphone port to record into AUM. I was planning on using a little iRig that I already have, but wondering if there’s a simpler adapter solution. I already have a TRS to TRRS converter cable you can use with Rode video mics to recorded into the iPhone/iPad, but I don’t think that’s going to work for these mixer’s headphone output.

    Is there a simpler solution than the iRig? Or, possibly a TRS 3.5mm adapter going in through the lightning port?

  • edited March 2018

    I'm really really happy with the Yamaha AG-06

    It does a lot more than you need (dsp fx with a real nice reverb/iOS compatible audio interface with 3 modes/separate monitor out/USB powered) but it does those things extremely well and the latency and sound quality are superb for the price. I see them used quite often for not much money!

  • I found a YouTube video showing how if you plug a mic into the Apple lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter first, before you plug it into the iPhone/iPad, it will recognize the mic as input via the lightning port. I wonder if that would also work for input from one of these micro mixers?

    Has anyone tried to use a lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter for input/recording? I would think it would only be one way, but I’ve seen videos suggesting otherwise.

  • @skiphunt said:

    (snip)

    Also, one of the Maker Hart Just Mixer YouTube videos show it small enough to mount to a small camera rig to mix multiple mic inputs for video capture. That might be useful as well.

    I bought the little Hart one. It does allow you to mix two sources together but provides almost no signal boost, if you think you might need that (I did, as I find the output from an iPad headphone jack to be not terribly strong).

  • edited March 2018

    @MarkR said:

    @skiphunt said:

    (snip)

    Also, one of the Maker Hart Just Mixer YouTube videos show it small enough to mount to a small camera rig to mix multiple mic inputs for video capture. That might be useful as well.

    I bought the little Hart one. It does allow you to mix two sources together but provides almost no signal boost, if you think you might need that (I did, as I find the output from an iPad headphone jack to be not terribly strong).

    The Rolls one you like is tempting, but the little Maker Hart one ticks more of my specific boxes. If I decide later to also get a Rolls, have there been any caveats to that one?

    Also, are you running any of these directly into an iPad or iPhone as input to mix in AUM etc? If so, how are you connecting them?

  • I've had the Rolls for about five years now with no problems. The only issue is when the signal starts getting weak, and then I ask myself when I last changed the battery. lol

    I only use it as a straight mixer into my sound system. Usually running two iPads but sometimes adding in my iPhone or iPod Touch running Impaktor.

  • edited March 2018

    Oops

  • edited March 2018

    @skiphunt said:
    I found a YouTube video showing how if you plug a mic into the Apple lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter first, before you plug it into the iPhone/iPad, it will recognize the mic as input via the lightning port. I wonder if that would also work for input from one of these micro mixers?

    Has anyone tried to use a lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter for input/recording? I would think it would only be one way, but I’ve seen videos suggesting otherwise.

    I used a TRRS splitter with a saxophone clip on mic and headphones and that works flawlessly, works also on some laptops like Lenovo. Should works with any mono source, you will have to lower input mic gain in AUM settings.
    You have to be sure it’s TRRS to works properly with apple devices, some splitters are compatible only with other smartphones.

    I use this one :
    https://www.amazon.fr/UGREEN-Accessoire-Adaptateur-Téléphone-Haut-parleur/dp/B00Y458NA6

    It’s on french Amazon however, the Ugreen model on Amazon.com is not iPhone compatible, so you need to find a TRRS model or buy on amazon.fr but shipping will be expensive.

  • @Janosax said:

    @skiphunt said:
    I found a YouTube video showing how if you plug a mic into the Apple lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter first, before you plug it into the iPhone/iPad, it will recognize the mic as input via the lightning port. I wonder if that would also work for input from one of these micro mixers?

    Has anyone tried to use a lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter for input/recording? I would think it would only be one way, but I’ve seen videos suggesting otherwise.

    I used a TRRS splitter with a saxophone clip on mic and headphones and that works flawlessly, works also on some laptops like Lenovo. Should works with any mono source, you will have to lower input mic gain in AUM settings.
    You have to be sure it’s TRRS to works properly with apple devices, some splitters are compatible only with other smartphones.

    I use this one :
    https://www.amazon.fr/UGREEN-Accessoire-Adaptateur-Téléphone-Haut-parleur/dp/B00Y458NA6

    It’s on french Amazon however, the Ugreen model on Amazon.com is not iPhone compatible, so you need to find a TRRS model or buy on amazon.fr but shipping will be expensive.

    I have a TRRS splitter just like that I use with the irig to plug xlr into my portable recorders.

    Will give that a try. Might get a lightning headphone adapter to try too. I can get one in a local store and return it if it doesn’t work.

    In the video I saw, the dude said the trick is that you have to plu in your source to the adapter first, then connect to iPhone.

    Thx!

  • @Janosax said:

    @skiphunt said:
    I found a YouTube video showing how if you plug a mic into the Apple lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter first, before you plug it into the iPhone/iPad, it will recognize the mic as input via the lightning port. I wonder if that would also work for input from one of these micro mixers?

    Has anyone tried to use a lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter for input/recording? I would think it would only be one way, but I’ve seen videos suggesting otherwise.

    I used a TRRS splitter with a saxophone clip on mic and headphones and that works flawlessly, works also on some laptops like Lenovo. Should works with any mono source, you will have to lower input mic gain in AUM settings.
    You have to be sure it’s TRRS to works properly with apple devices, some splitters are compatible only with other smartphones.

    I use this one :
    https://www.amazon.fr/UGREEN-Accessoire-Adaptateur-Téléphone-Haut-parleur/dp/B00Y458NA6

    It’s on french Amazon however, the Ugreen model on Amazon.com is not iPhone compatible, so you need to find a TRRS model or buy on amazon.fr but shipping will be expensive.

    Hey, looks like the splitter I have isn’t actually TRRS like the UGREEN one you have. I did some tests with everything I have and it looks like the UGREEN splitter is exactly what I need. Available in U.S. too. Just ordered. Thanks! :)

  • edited March 2018

    The Maker Hart Just Mixer arrived today, as well as the UGREEN TRRS splitter cable.

    I've played with the mixer enough to have an opinion on it.

    It's a bit noisy, but you can get rid of a fair amount by messing with the output levels of your sources, as well as the mixer's gain settings. I'm only inputting lofi sources, ie. shortwave radio, little Buddha box, etc. so the fidelity isn't all that paramount anyway.

    As mentioned, mics plugged into this must be powered. If they need plugin power they aren't going to work. Even mics that have their own power seem a bit weak. I don't think I'd buy this for mic mixing alone, but it's serviceable in a pinch.

    It runs fine off 2 standard AAA batteries, but it also runs off of a USB powerbank even with no batteries in it.

    It's not perfect, but for what I was looking for... and for the price... it's it a good little portable mixer. I'm glad I got it and am looking forward to mixing all kinds of weird combos with it. However, if I was a performer or needed absolute reliability, high fidelity for live stuff, as well as good mic support.... I think I'd buy something else. The same company has a new model that's specifically for mics and also provides some phantom power, but it's not battery powered and it's twice the price. http://makerhart.com/product_d.php?lang=en&tb=2&id=226&cid=3

    There's one thing that's got me baffled with this though... and it's related to the UGREEN TRRS splitter @Janosax recommended. At first I thought the L/R balance knobs weren't working at all, because when I run a stereo source as input and use headphones for the output, your can hear L/R balance settings. But, when I run it through the UGREEN TRRS splitter and into the iPad, I don't hear any L/R balance setting. All mixed to mono. It sounds like the the UGREEN cable is only mono from the mic input of the splitter. The product description says it's stereo though. The cable splitter supports stereo out on the male end, but the female mic input port is only mono. That doesn't make sense. What's the point of supporting stereo, if the only input is mono?

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y458NA6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  • @skiphunt said:
    I’m searching for an easy and portable way to connect various sources via 3.5mm stereo mini ports, mix and then run into an iPad/iPhone.

    I’d like it to be smallish, battery powered, not need a CCK, accept 3.5mm stereo mini sources like old walkmans, a small shortwave radio, a cheap transitor radio, non-xlr mics that don’t require phantom power.

    Preferably 4 input ports, but could get by with less.

    Preferably only stereo mini input/output because I don’t want to have to get a bunch of adapters.

    This is the closest I’ve found, but the reviews are pretty mixed.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LPT8KQA/?coliid=IGC4BDXOQ28M4&colid=3VFSSHTJD24WF&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder
    https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H6-Six-Track-Portable-Recorder/dp/B00DFU9BRK
    2-track L/R, 4 mono (can be combined into 3 stereo tracks).
    6-track simultaneous recording, Phantom power for all inputs.
    Can record individual WAV files or a single stereo MP3 file.
    Four mic/line inputs with XLR/TRS combo connectors.
    Up to 24-bit and 96 kHz for WAV! 320 KPBS for MP3.
    Multichannel/stereo USB audio interface for PC/Mac/iPad.
    Backup recording, Auto recording, Pre-recording (2 seconds).
    Individual files for each WAV track, stereo file for MP3.
    Mic capsules (X/Y, Mid-Side), Modular design.
    Line In (on X/Y mic capsule), Line Out, Headphone jack.
    Records directly to SD, SDHC and SDXC cards up to 128 GB.
    Color display, Mixer, Pan, Volume, Gain knobs for each track.
    Multi-track to stereo internal Mixdown.
    Monitor/playback individual tracks (press and hold buttons until they turn orange for monitoring).
    Voice memo and up to 99 marks per recording.
    Overdubbing, up to 99 takes.
    Built-in effects: Low-cut Filtering, Compression, Limiting, etc.
    Onboard MS decoding, Normalize, Divide and Trim editing.
    Chromatic tuner and metronome, A/B loop playback.
    Variable playback speed from 50% to 150%.
    Variable pitch per track without affecting playback speed.
    Works on 4 AA batteries or just use a 5V iPhone USB charger.
    Over 20 hours of operation with 4 AA alkaline batteries.
    Standard AA alkaline or NiMH rechargeable batteries.
    USB port for data exchange to and from computer.
    Camera strap mounts, built-in Speaker for monitoring.
    Mountable directly to DSLR or camcorder with an adapter.
    Comes with Cubase LE, protective hard case & windscreen.
    Also perfect for podcasting and Skype calls.
    This is the SWISS-KNIFE of mobile audio recording!

    Podcasting with Zoom H6

    Overdubbing with Zoom H6

    HTH

  • I’m pretty sure that the mic input of the headphone jack is mono only. For stereo input you need to use the lightning port with an audio device that has stereo input.

  • edited March 2018

    @powerobject The zoom H6 is nice, but I already have 3 portable audio recorders and I don’t want to drop another $350. So far, this Just Mixer is almost perfect for what I had in mind for only $40

    @CracklePot I thought about going the lightning headphone adapter route, but this UGREEN splitter gives me a headphone port to monitor from. And, I’m thinking the mic input via the lightning port would likely be mono too? The adapter is cheap so I might try that as well.

    All in all though, I’ve been messing with this for about 3hrs now and it’s pretty freakin cool. I just lay out all these different sources and keep swapping them out while mixing. It looks like mics that don’t need any plugin or phantom power work fine plugged directly into the mixer. Even the cheap contact mics work fine plugged into it. For my condenser mics, I have an iRig that supplies phantom power so I can use those too via the iRig. For my mics that require plugin power, I can just plug them into the external mic ports of my portable recorders. They all supply plugin power. I just put the recorder in record pause and run them into the mixer via headphone jack.

    A fun scenario is plugging a shortwave radio into one channel with it set to scan. Then plug a Chinese Buddha prayer chant box into the AUX channel, and then plug a directional mini shotgun mic into the third channel to add live effects like a singing bowl or pointed toward the neighbors barking dog, etc. Have all that going into one channel in AUM with a little Dischord4 and Kosmonaut fun. Then start adding more generative stuff in other AUM channels. Can get pretty messy as you might imagine ;) but sometimes it gets really wild in a cool way.

    I’d like to take a setup into a noisy space like a bus station or coffee shop and mix stuff live using the sound of the space in one of the channels.

    The only complaint I have is that the mic input via headphone input on the UGREEN TRRS splitter is mono. But, what I might end up doing is just setting up the mixer to record a session of various sources into a portable recorder first. Edit it, then run that in AUM in stereo to add more layers.

    Lots of fun possibilities! :)

    Again, the best all-in-one solution if I didn’t already have a bunch of mics and 3 portable recorders, and had a spare $350 laying around ;) would be the H6 route. However, most of the sources I’m playing with are 1/8in 3.5mm plugs. Unless I’m mistaken, almost all of the inputs on the H6 are XLR accept for one, so I’d have to also have several 1/8th to XLR adaptors too.

    For what I was originally after, and for what I was willing to spend on this, it’s almost perfect.

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