For gigging, recording, or practice, MixingLink provides a wealth of interconnectivity, no matter what instrument you’re using. MixingLink is a mic preamp/DI with mono effect loop, mixer, and stereo headphone amp. Built into a stomp box and designed for stage, studio, or a pedalboard, MixingLink creatively interconnects disparate audio sources and processors, even with different operating levels, impedances, and connectors.
As a simple mic/preamp with an XLR mic in/TRS line in combo jack, MixingLink worked well, providing up to 65 dB of gain to amplify a low-output Royer R-121 ribbon mic to full, balanced line level for recording into Pro Tools HD. I found the preamp to have good headroom, low noise, and similar sound to small, midpriced consoles.
The Input Gain control, with Hi/Lo level switch, sets gain staging for both the balanced mic/line and 1/4" instrument inputs. The XLR output is switchable between -10dBu DI level or +18dBu line level, and there are switches for ground lift and 9V battery/phantom power. The included power supply is required for 48V phantom power.
All audio signals within MixingLink go to its headphone amp, which has a separate volume control: The volume knob doesn’t affect the XLR DI/line output level but does control the level going to the 1/4" To Amp jack designed to drive any guitar amp. This could allow you to use the MixingLink to connect a phantom-powered condenser mic to your guitar amp in order to sing through it.
MixingLink saved me time and many trips between the control room and live room to position microphones. By plugging my Shure SRH940 headphones directly into the MixingLink, I could set a mic just the way I wanted while hearing the results.
You can also use MixingLink to split and send an instrument signal to two amps, switch between two instruments going to one amp, re-amp a track, or process vocals through a stompbox.
It also provides a handy set of features for adding effects to your input. I set up a Gauge Precision ECM-84 SDC mic on a Martin D-28 guitar, and then sent a line level signal to the control room while connecting a delay pedal in MixingLink’s effect loop. Because the guitarist wanted to switch the delay in and out for certain notes, I set the FX Loop button to Hold mode: The FX Loop stomp button will work in Latch mode, or Hold mode, which engages the loop only when your foot presses the button.
I connected the To FX send jack to an Ogre Kronomaster delay pedal and returned the signal to the From FX jack—simple! My guitarist wanted to refer to a rough mix on his iPhone, so I connected the phone’s headphone jack to MixingLink’s Aux 1/8" minijack input. The iPhone output is heard in stereo on the MixingLink’s headphones but mixes to mono into the effects loop. This feature could also function as a track mix input for practicing on phones.
The Aux jack is actually a bidirectional TRRS (4-conductor) path that sends the same To FX send signal out and returns a stereo signal from an iOS device in mono to the effects loop. In this way, I could blend in one of my IK Multimedia amp simulators.
With the effects loop enabled, there are three effect mixing modes: Dry+FX keeps a dry signal level fixed, and the knob sets the effect return level; in Mix mode the knob works as a wet/dry control; FX Only mutes the dry signal and the knob sets the effect level.
Overall, the MixingLink is flexible, uses high-quality parts, and is handy for connecting just about every piece of musical gear you might have.
Interconnect lineand instrument-level signals. Effects loop. Phantom-powered mic input.
Mono operation only. Must be tethered to a wall-wart when using phantom power.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer based in Los Angeles.