When you join the incredible world of podcasting, you instantly acknowledge there are many choices to acquire the layout that fits sufficiently for you. Being a rookie podcaster, you might feel like you don’t require any mixer or audio interfaces, and you can make it work just with a USB microphone. However, if you aspire to be a professional podcaster, you will have to care about high-end sound quality for the beginning of your podcast. It is essential to get equipped with suitable interfaces and mixers to prepare your complete podcasting gear. If you want to find out in detail about the audio mixer vs audio interface, we will best clear the concept for all the aspiring podcasters on this topic.
What is an audio interface?
An audio interface is simply a gear that helps a podcaster connect the microphone to his podcasting laptop. Some people might take them for unnecessary tools complicating a recording studio, but this is far from the truth.
Indeed, you can get a laptop that can directly connect to your computer without using any audio interface. But such microphones are customer targeted and fulfill basic podcasting requirements. When we take them to the modern DAW requirements, these microphones fail to offer the flexibility that we can achieve with an audio interface.
When you go for an audio interface, you go for a gear made for podcasting. These gears resemble the hard work of engineers behind them who did their best to ensure that a captured audio will be of high quality and free from any excessive noise and coloration.
Our top audio interface recommendations
The Audio interface unit known as Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is quite a professional and sleek-looking unit. The device is made with a curved aluminum unibody, making it an exclusive device as most of the other interfaces in the same price range are made of plastic. The interface comes with a USB output cable, a user manual guide, a CD that contains drivers for Mac and Windows devices, Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools | First – Focusrite Creative Pack, and much more that can meet your podcasting needs the best.
The 2i2 makes low-latency recording possible at up to 24-bit at 96 kHz, which helps us capture quiet instruments and voices in higher quality and much detailed manner with minimal noise distractions. This exceptional interface has its own unique way of allowing us to monitor correct inputs levels. You find halos around the gain dials on the input channels that indicate green, amber, and red input levels. It signifies the levels from the good to the overload.
You can consider the interface to be best for investing your fund if you want to go for a super-clean recording, an easy setup use, and a decent bundle of plug-ins. All of these features make this Audio interface value for money.
The M-Audio AIR 192|4 is known amongst the most popular audio interfaces that offer top-notch performance at an exceptional price. This 2×2 interface offers some unique features that other competitors fail to deliver.
The interface comes with a direct instrument input, a phantom power switch, and a headphone out on its front panel. The back panel features a USB Type-c connector; also, you get all the compatible cables packed with this unit, so you will be able to connect to a computer device easily. You will also find two balanced 1/4″ TRS outputs that come in handy to connect to your studio monitors. On the right, you will find an XLR/line combo input with an M-Audio’s Crystal microphone preamp.
Unlike any other audio interface with a sample rate of 192 kHz, The M-Audio AIR 192|4 performs most efficiently, as they say in the advertisement. With M-Audio AIR 192|4, you always get more than you expect to form an audio interface in this price range. So you can consider it to be a value for money for your investments.
PreSonus Studio 26c comes in all-metal chassis with blue side panels. This audio interface offers a handy built-in level meter along with four mix knobs. On the front panel, you will get the four toggle buttons for +48V phantom power, direct monitoring, cue A/B, and a line that allows you to select an instrument or line level for the ¼-inch inputs.
The interface also offers you two mic/instrument/line inputs and a combo of XLR and TRS inputs. PreSonus has really done its best work with the Studio 26c audio interface. It might not be the latest piece in the market; however, it is effectively an upgraded unit that comes with a USB C connection.
If you want to go for a good quality audio interface with a compact two-channel interface at an affordable budget, PreSonus Studio 26c should always be on your purchase list.
What is an audio mixer?
An audio mixer is way more complicated than a standard audio interface, although people generally misidentify them with each other. An audio mixer uses more inclusive options for a particular channel. These mixers are not essentially designed to connect with a DAW; however, many of them still hold a capacity to do so. Audio mixers are more compatible for live setups where a person can simultaneously require overall control over all the audio signals.
This ability to modify the audio signal coming through multiple microphones and instruments simultaneously offers a considerable advantage for podcasters. Audio interfaces cannot focus on this function as their primary function is just for recording. It makes it necessary to change the volume afterward.
There are plenty of modernistic digital audio mixers that allow us to connect to our podcasting laptop or computer system using USB or Thunderbolt in the same way as audio interfaces do. It might not offer you full multi-track recording support in your DAW requirements, though. So, always make sure to check its features before you purchase an audio mixer. After all, this connectivity feature allows us to eliminate the need for any additional interfaces without compromising any audio reliability in the process.
Our top audio mixer recommendations
The Rockville RPM45 is a four-channel wooden cabinet-powered mixer that comes with a USB. We can consider it to be amongst the best sounding audio mixer in the market. The mixer offers an exceptional high-end sound audio quality that defines how much power it holds. This audio mixer is rough and tough. It is enclosed in a wooden cabinet which can take quite powerful beatings. With its four channels, the audio mixer proves to be a perfect model for party plays.
The mixer allows you to adjust delay and echo effects, along with separate control over each channel reverb, treble, and bass. You also get a built-in USB input that can be helpful in additional playback. With all these features included at quite a reasonable price, you can always put them on your to-go list.
Whether you want a small mixer for recording your tracks or podcast or a large channel count for a live venue, PROFX4V2 will always get you covered. The mixer offers an inclusive solution with a vast range of models, and each of them delivers unmatched performance. Its latest preamps and effects engine plus tools perform out to be truly a game-changer when it comes to performing live sound plays.
The vita preamps offer a noiseless interface, featuring a discrete front-end design, dual feedback stabilizations, and bias current optimization for unmatchable noise-free live performance. ReadyFX effects engine employs floating-point DSP, made particularly for thorough audio processing of high-end audio. This results in effects that are rich and ever-ready to elevate performance.
3. Yamaha AG03
Unlike any other audio mixer, Yamaha AG03 comes with a control panel mounted on the top rather than the front, along with complete knobs and faders. The audio mixer comes with three channels interface.
The first channel includes Yamaha’s popular D-Pre mic preamp. The second one lets you switch between Hi-Z instruments or line-level sound sources. It also comes with impressive control options; including a dedicated fader for channel one. The third one features built-in DSP effects (reverb, compression, filtering) and Loopback that allows you to broadcast via real-time online streaming platforms.
If you are looking for an audio interface that can offer you mixer qualities as well, the Yamaha AG03 will be a must recommendation for you.
What is the difference between podcast mixer and audio interface?
An audio interface is best for home recording and mixing. A mixer is better for live podcasting situations as it allows you to mix live. When we use an audio interface, it receives a signal from a microphone or instrument cable, then changes it into digital signal information that your computer system understands. Upon playback, the interface takes the digital data and outputs the sound through your monitors. Audio interfaces tend to be cheaper in comparison to podcast mixers.
On the other hand, podcast mixers are suitable for live podcasts, are bulkier than audio interfaces, and have many additional inputs and functions. The mixer provides all of the vocals to your computer as a single tread. Mixer can propose you a grade of security that an audio interface cannot furnish. There’s also an advantage of the additional SD card to save an instant backup recording.
Which option is best for you?
If you are documenting a podcast or performing a live broadcast, you may require a mixer because it enables you to modify things. In contrast, if you are recording a podcast, then the audio interface is possibly going to be sufficient for your requirements. Mixer VS audio interface, which should you prefer? An audio interface connects with multiple mics to interface and feeds the audio to your software. The audio interfaces are more geared for recording and allow you to record on separate tracks.
A mixer doesn’t record audio; they send the output to various devices. The audio interface has only two units and allows you to record in the multi-track task. Mixers provide more control and are built with a set of sliders and knobs. Cheaper mixers barely have few inputs and have limited compression and equalization options. Mixers with interfaces are helpful for broadcast and streaming.
Mainly an audio interface is built to record delicate audio signals onto your computer system, whereas the mixer is designed to mix multiple audio elements on top of a stereo stream.
Both types of products work similarly but each offers its own advantages and disadvantages. If you want to make sure that you get the most out of your investment, consider what type of product would suit your needs best.
What do I need before purchasing a Podcast Mixer vs Audio Interface?
There are some important factors to take note of when choosing whether to buy a podcast mixer or audio interface:
Mixers can come with rates as high as $600 to $700. The audio interface is still pocket-friendly. Audio interfaces range from $100 and you can control real-time adjustments to your audio with an audio interface.
2. How Much Time Do You Have To Spend On It?
If you’re just starting out, then you’ll probably be able to use either one. However, if you’ve been podcasting for years, you may find that you prefer working with a mixer rather than an audio interface. This is especially true if you plan to add effects later on.
3. Your current setup
You might already have a microphone connected to your PC via USB. If so, you don’t necessarily need another mic input. A good-quality headset could suffice.
4. Compatibility Issues
Some audio interfaces won’t play nicely with certain programs such as GarageBand. Some mixers aren’t compatible with Macs at all. Make sure that your device works well with whatever program you intend to use.
5. Warranty & Support
The warranty period varies between manufacturers. Most companies offer 1-year warranties while others go beyond this time frame. Check their websites to see how long their support lasts.
In conclusion, whether it is an audio interface or audio mixer, it should allow you to produce the sort of illustration your viewers want. Audio interfaces furnish a lot of streamlined power in a reasonably compact form. Mixers on the other hand are better for live streaming or multiple inputs. For this objective, many podcasters will take both a mixer and an audio interface. Typically, setups with copious amounts of hardware that require constant tweaking are better suited towards a mixer.
Here are a few recently asked queries on the audio interface vs mixer for podcasting that most aspiring podcasters are excited to know:
When to Use an Audio Interface vs Audio Mixer?
- There are many situations where using an audio interface makes sense over using a mixer. For instance, if you want to record from multiple microphones at once. An audio interface lets you do this easily because they have lots of microphone inputs.
Can you use a USB mixer as an audio interface?
- Yes, if the mixer has a built-in audio interface. Multitrack recording can’t be done by some mixers, so they will mix all tracks into a single stereo file, which will be recorded onto your DAW.
Which is the best setup for home studio recording?
- For pure recording on your computer, probably a good quality audio interface with the appropriate inputs for your recording needs. But if you also want to connect external mics, it’s better to invest in an audio mixer.