The best mixer for podcasting is a crucial part of your home vocal recording setup. But choosing the right mixer can be complicated. A good mixer will improve audio quality. The preamps will be much nicer, which can really help the best vocal microphone to shine.
While a sound engineer will purchase a mixer in order to achieve better audio quality, a podcaster will buy one because they allow you to get really creative and offer a ton of options.
A mixer can give you more control over each channel of audio. If you have a quiet guest or speaker, the mixer allows you to turn up the sound or turn down the sound for loud talkers. You’ll have more power in post-production and can record people on different channels.
With multi-channel capability, you’ll also enjoy inline enhancements, both of which work to improve the sound. Not only that, but they’ll also save you plenty of time when it comes to post-production work. Mixers come with limiters and compression, plus they’ll allow you to use gain, equalization, and high-cut and low-cut filters.
Unlike computers, a mixer won’t crash. Some pros even recommend cutting out the computer altogether in order to reduce flakiness and noise, or you can use the best laptop for music recording combined with a top of the line mixer for a truly pro setup at home.
Podcasting can be complicated, so you’ll need a mixer that’s easy to handle.
Live production means adding sound effects, music, recorded messages, phone calls, and more into your show and all at a moment’s notice. Since this production is done live you won’t have to worry about post-production work at all, just hit record and go.
After, you can do some EQ or compression, but all of the audio you’ll need is already available.
Adding a mixer to your setup will allow you to handle production needs on the fly. This can be accomplished by plugging in a mixer to play your recordings and sound effects on its own channel.
Buying the Best Mixer
Now that you’ve decided that a mixer is just what you need to handle a live podcast or to make post-production a cinch, here comes the difficult part. There are tons of mixers to choose from, and the choice is made even more difficult when you consider all the new features and specs available.
The biggest issue is the fact that mixers are mainly designed for sound engineers. These engineers are highly trained, so when you shop for a mixer, you’ll notice the spec sheet is packed with techy specs that probably don’t mean much to you.
As a podcaster, there are a few key things to look for:
- Number of channels: Figure out how many inputs you’ll use before you buy.
- FX send or Aux out: For a mix-minus setup you’ll need an FX send or Aux out feature. Check for a stereo out socket that’s labeled with either one, in addition to the volume control on each of the channels with the Fx or Aux label.
- Knobs or faders: Typically, cheap mixers will have knobs. While knobs are fine for gain, pan, or EQ adjustments, pros usually prefer faders for volume control. Unlike knobs, faders allow you to get the right volume level every time. They allow for more precise adjustments and can save you plenty of time.
If you want ultimate control over sound, which can reduce post-production work, then be on the lookout for extra inline features. Typically, you can expect EQ, a low-cut filter, and gain. Aside from that, some models can have limiter or compression features.
We decided to go with the Mackie Profx8v2 mixer, which is a compact eight channel model that comes loaded with the type of features any podcaster would love.
We’re talking sixteen effects including choruses, delays, and reverbs, a seven-band graphic equalizer for tuning monitors or mains, an Aux output for monitor mixes, three-band equalization, venue seventy-volt systems, and much more.
If you’re planning on using the mixer as a compact unit for home or mobile recording then the mixer’s small footprint is great.
The mixer’s seven-band equalizer is easy to use, and you’ll actually love the digital effects it comes with.
It offers USB connectivity for podcast recording, plus if you’re near the unit you’ll enjoy the ability to have a headphone-out onstage.
This model allows you to connect your bass, guitar, mic, or other instruments using the HI-Z input or you can connect your mic using the Vita preamp. On all microphone channels, the mixer produces forty-eight volts of phantom power.
Pros and Cons
Pros: This mixer provides you with all the tools you need for a great sounding podcast. It’s very versatile, allowing you to stream and record via USB.
The headphone output features a separate level control.
Ultimately, this mixer means you can stop sacrificing quality in favor of portability.
Considered a pro-quality mixer, it comes with a ton of convenient features and offers a sound that will rival more expensive models.
The mixer’s USB thru switch allows for impressive recording and live streaming, especially when you use it with music recording software programs such as Pro Tools.
Cons: We noticed that even when using the best vocal recording mic, you’ll need to crank the gain up on the channel in order to get a response.
Others reported that connecting certain models of condenser mics can cause a loud whining sound that you can hear in recordings.
Those new to using mixers felt that this Mackie model was difficult to use. However, the customer service team is quick to respond if you have any troubleshooting issues regarding setup. We also recommend hitting up podcasting forums or audio engineers forums to get some feedback and advice from the pros who have more experience with this particular model.
A great mixer for the price, despite its compact design, this model offers the user total control over effects, volume, and sound quality. Perfect for podcasts, live performances, and vocal recording, this pro-quality mixer can greatly improve the quality of any type of performance or recording.