Q: “Can the FW-1884 be used as a standalone mixer without a computer?”
A: The FW-1884 can be used as a standalone 18×2 mixer in MON MIX mode. The primary purpose of MON MIX mode is to provide a means of monitoring your audio inputs in a zero-latency environment. But you can connect mics and instruments to analog inputs 1-8, and digital inputs to the ADAT and S/PDIF inputs and route your entire signal to the analog outputs. If your FW-1884 is connected to a computer, though, there are limitations to your control over some of these levels.
In MON MIX mode, there are three banks that correspond to the three types of audio inputs available on the FW-1884. The three banks are labeled above the BANK switches as follows:
- ANLG – Controls the monitor levels of the eight analog inputs
- ADAT – Controls the monitor levels of the eight ADAT inputs
- D IN – Controls the monitor levels of the S/PDIF digital inputs (Note that in the third, or D IN bank, channels 3-8 are inactive.)
It is important to understand that in MON MIX mode, the FW-1884′s channel strips are addressing the monitor levels of the FW-1884′s 18 inputs, and not the levels of any return from your DAW computer. You will still hear the audio return from your DAW, and the FW-1884′s transport controls will still control your DAW’s transports, but moving the faders will have no effect on your DAW’s internal (software) mixer.
Another important point to note if you’re also recording your performance is that in MON MIX mode, the faders do not affect the levels the inputs send to your DAW. The levels to the DAW inputs from analog inputs 1-8 (Bank 1) are controlled solely by their respective trim pots. The eight ADAT inputs (Bank 2) and the two digital inputs (Bank 3) are passed to your DAW application at unity gain; their level must be regulated at the digital source.