- Are You Sure A Mixer Is Right For Your Setup?
- My Top Podcasting Mixer Choice!
- What Does An Audio USB Mixer Do For A Podcast?
- Options To Consider In A USB Mixer
- Ready To Choose Your USB Mixer?
Podcasting is a great way to do some great experimental stuff. There are a number of different tricks that van be done in order to enhance the listening experience, and thus increase the value of the podcast. It is just a matter of obtaining the best mixer for podcasting, and that usually means a USB option. When it comes to choosing the best podcasting mixer there are some basics to keep in mind, but that extra concern can be well worth the extra effort. Given what it can mean for your podcast, it may be well worth the investment in equipment for your production studio.
Are You Sure A Mixer Is Right For Your Setup?
When you are just starting out, there sometimes can be some confusion on whether or not to go with a one of these or an audio interface. If you are sure that this is right for you, continue on. If not, maybe take a look at our mixer vs audio interface article here first.
My Top Podcasting Mixer Choice!
I can save you a lot of time and give you my top recommendations right now – the Samson MXP124FX – Get it here on Amazon. Take a look at it below:
- It’s got plenty of inputs so you shouldn’t have to upgrade later if you happen to need a lot of mics – I consider these one of the best.
- Onboard phantom power for any of your mics that may need it.
- Nice and small so it doesn’t take up too much desk room.
- Built in digital effects and professional quality mic preamps.
The Samson MXP124FX is a great all-in-one package at a reasonable price for your budget from Amazon. When you click to purchase on Amazon, there is also an option to upgrade to the bigger version if you need more channels for an additional microphone, extra sound options, etc. It is even cheaper than a Behringer which I consider to be some of the lowest priced.
For a second option for a lot of the same reasons, the Mackie PROFX8V2 is another great option for just a slightly higher price.
Here are some more options as well:
- Looking for something under $100? Behringer Q802USB or Behringer Xenyx Q1202USB
- Mackie ProFX 8
- Mackie ProFX 16
- Mackie 402VLZ4
- Mackie Onyx 1220i
- Behringer X1832USB
- Behringer Xenyx 1204
- Behringer X1204USB
- Allen & Heath Zed-12FX
If you are looking for other options, keep reading…or check out this best podcasting mixer article.
What Does An Audio USB Mixer Do For A Podcast?
First off, it is important to realize what it does. In the simplest sense a mixer is an electronic device that allows for the combining and modification of sounds. At the minimum it can be used to clean up audio tracks and make them sound clearer, as well as eliminating a number of minor audio problems. It can also be used to create special effects, combine and modify tracks, and any number of audio tricks. By using one, a podcaster can make any number of adjustments to his audio, and have a lot of fun when it comes to their sound.
With that in mind we can explore what it can do for a podcast. For those running an interview show, it means that the interviewer and interviewee can be assigned different tracks, which can actually add some additional clarity, especially if the podcast is done as a stereo track and rigged so that one voice is heard in one ear and the other voice in the other. Any music and special effects can be set on its own track so that it be shared control between the two tracks when the audio is combined.
Options To Consider In A USB Mixer
How many mixer channels do you need?
This is actually a fairly easy question to answer. Basically, how many mics are you going to be using to record a live podcast episode. Let’s say you use one mic and headphone per person. You’ll need that many channels. However, I wold highly recommend that you buy something that has more than you need in case you need more later and don’t want to have to upgrade or buy a new one.
Do you want the ability to add special effects to your podcast?
An important option to look at is the ability to create special effects. For most podcasts it may not be that important, but for others it can add some fun to the experience. For example, it can be used as simply as adding censor bleeps or even drum rolls. In the hands of someone who knows what they are really doing, a number of different effects ranging from storms to closing doors can be added to heighten the drama or for humorous effect. In short, sounds can be added to make the podcast more appealing to the listener, thus adding value to the experience.
Do you need to include other audio devices for inputs?
It can also be used to tie in other audio devices to the computer so that they can be used to add additional sounds and other effects. For those that compose and play their own music, this means that electronic music can be added. While the obvious is an electronic keyboard, a drum machine or electric guitars are other options; the individual tracks can be recorded, modified as desired, and then added together. This music can then be added to the podcast to provide either filler, breaks, or even accompaniment to an audio play.
Let’s look at an audio play for a moment. A mixer can be used to modify the voices used in the play, as well as any foley work such as slamming doors and shattering glass. A lot of music can be added as well, such as dramatic piano music or even background music. A low frequency sound can even be added for a little extra fear. It is even possible to have different voices heard on different ears so as to allow a listener to really follow a conversation. While this is an extreme example, it is nonetheless worth considering what it can do and then applying that to your podcast.
How much do you want to spend on a mixer?
When looking at one, it is important to consider what you will be using it for and how much you are willing to pay. The price is less of a factor than you might suppose but it may be useful to help limit options. With that as the cap, it is also important to debate what the mixer will be used for and what you have planned for it. Keep in mind that most people will never use every possible option provided by a mixer, and thus it is very useful to consider exactly what you need the mixer for. Once you have an idea what you will be using it for you can begin looking in earnest.
Used or new?
There are some other considerations that need to be debated. The condition of the mixer is one, as used mixers are cheaper but are more prone to breaking down. An older option will also be cheaper, but may not have the connections that you need. However, there may be some great options when it comes to older used versions that may make them worth the issues that they carry with them. As such remember to look carefully at whatever mixer you end up looking at, and be very careful before you put down any money.
What types of input and output connections do you need?
Be very careful when it comes to the connections that a mixer has. While it is a given that you will be looking for at least a USB connection, keep in mind what other devices will be connected to the mixer. For those attaching musical instruments make sure that those connections are there. Make sure that all of the connections work; there is nothing worse than finding a mixer to record a podcast that looks like it works only to find out it does not.
Ready To Choose Your USB Mixer?
A mixer can be you best friend if you know how to use it. Just remember that when choosing USB mixer for podcasting there are a wide range of options available to you, and that you need to know which options you are looking for when it comes to dealing with a mixer. Once you know which options are important it is just a matter of applying those to the mixer you want and grabbing the most important features. Your podcast will definitely be the better for it, so make sure that you have the mixer you want.