Setup question when recording drums with USB interface + mixer + DAW


New member
I have a bit of a newbie question about my chain of devices when recording drums at home.

My gear:
- Behringer UMC1820 with 8 microphones connected to inputs 1-8
- Behringer Xenyx 1204USB mixer
- MacBook Pro running Cubase

Normally I would record with the MBP connected directly to the 1820 via USB. This works without issue and I can hear the click from Cubase back through the 1820's headphone output. However, I wanted to increase the volume of the headphone output and decided to put the 1204 into the chain; the 1820s headphone output is a bit too low for me.

First, I patched outputs 1-2 (Main Out) on the 1820 to lines 1-2 input on the 1204 and I get the expected output of channels 1-8 on the 1820 through the mixer and to headphones out. No problem there.

However, next when I connect the USB from the 1820 to the MacBook (with the same configuration as above) I get no output sound from the DAW (even when the DAW is configured to send output via channels 1-2 on the 1820). Input is working and I CAN record to the DAW (I just can't hear any playback or the click while recording, etc).

Most setup videos I see have the lines go into a mixer and then out to an interface, then computer.

Am I just setup incorrectly?

Thanks in advance.
If you are getting a good result with the UMC 1820 stay with it, simply feed its headphone output to the mixer and use that as a headphone amplifier,i.e. don't try to use it as another USB interface. (TRS to two 1/4" mono jacks or RCAs)

That seems a bit of a waste but that is how it goes with gear acquisition! We end up with stuff we didn't really need (ESI 1010e anyone?) You could sell the mixer and buy a headphone amp? The Behringer HA400 is really very good for $25 or so and has 4 controlled outputs, handy for 'silent' jams!

But, you would get naff all for it so just buy an HA. There are few things as useful in a home studio setup than a spare mixer.


The mixer definitely has other purposes but I was hoping to incorporate it in a more useful way.
I'd agree with Dave. Trying to use the mixer as another interface is only going to result in confusion. The HA400 works well - I have a couple here for headphone foldback. I probably wouldn't use them for really critical mixing but for general use they are fine.
I'm not trying to use the mixer as a USB interface, only for mixing headphone output to amplify volume.
Have you tried setting up a headphone mix in Cubase? I do that with Reaper and it helps quite a bit.
Have you tried setting up a headphone mix in Cubase? I do that with Reaper and it helps quite a bit.
The chap's problem is headphone level which is a common one when folks track at around -18dBFS, as indeed they should. Few AI designs allow enough gain in the headphone path. Bit of the dead hand of the nanny state there methinks?
I have not tried the HP setup in Cubase nor Reaper but do they allow more signal gain or just change the routing?

... I have not tried the HP setup in Cubase nor Reaper but do they allow more signal gain or just change the routing?

Both... for headphone monitoring. This example is for Reaper on Win 10, don't know how it might be accomplished in other DAWs.

Say you've got 3 Tracks. Add a 4th Track and name it Headphones (I like to put my Headphones Track at the top). Drag each track's Routing icon to the Headphones Routing icon. Click open the Headphones Routing icon. Deselect Master send in the upper left corner. Go down to Audio Hardware Outputs and select Out1 / Out2 or Headphones if listed (mine only has 1 & 2.. no Headphones). This routes them through the interface for your headphone monitoring.

You should now see a Hardware Out1 / Out2 window with faders. On the right, you should see similar windows for each of the tracks routed to Headphones - Receive from track #.. Receive from track #... etc.

You can increase the Headphone volume using the Hardware Out1 / Out2 fader without affecting the Master or Track levels. Increasing the individual track's Receive faders will increase their volume in the headphones but will also affect their Track meter level (but not the Master level). Use the Receive faders to create the Headphone mix without affecting the actual track mixing.
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I have suffered a similar problem from time to time, vxla.
It may have to do with what you are monitoring in Cubase.
You can display on the screen mixer, input channels as well as recording channels.
I can't remember exactly what I did, but did eventiually hear what I needed.
This doesn't sound much help, I'm just saying 'Tinker with Cubase'.