If you are contemplating about starting your own podcasting studio, it is only a matter of time before the thought of purchasing a capable mixer crosses your mind. The secret behind running a successful podcast lies in choosing the right kits to go along with your microphones, software and pop filters.
Here’s a guide on what to look for when buying a podcast mixer for your audio channel. However, if you are also looking at getting the entire set up along with a great mixer, you may want to look at out article on podcasting kits. It is a great way to get everything all at once in a very convenient package.
First off, if you are looking for a quick recommendation, these are great depending on your needs, budget, etc:
Best Podcasting Mixer Recommendations
Under $100 – BEHRINGER XENYX Q802USB
Under $200 – Yamaha MG10XU 10-Channel Mixing Console
Why you should get a podcast mixer
There is no doubt that a mixer will improve the quality of your audio output. The Pre-amps will feel a lot nicer thus making your microphone truly shine. People buy sound mixers for different reasons. Audio masters are in it primarily for sheer quality whereas podcasters are more concerned about the options and control that these gadgets offer.
With so many products in the market, the challenge lies in deciding on which type of mixer to purchase for your podcasting needs. Though manufacturers do provide technical information on specifications and features of each model on their website, it doesn’t make your choice any easier. Below are the five guiding principles on what to look for when buying a podcast mixer.
Inquire about the superiority of the processing features of the mixer in question, before you make a purchase. Advanced features will contribute to better control of your sound and lead to a reduction in post-production time. Basic components include an equalizer, a cut filter, and a gain control. However, high-end pod-casting equipment will sport either a compression or a limiter.
The type of controls
When it comes to controls, most gadgets will have either knobs or sliders. Your choice here is a matter of taste. However, most experts agree that sliders offer superior control compared to buttons. This fact is especially true when you are dealing with volume adjustment. Knobs, on the other hand, are ideal for adaptations that tend to remain intact when recording; these include gain and Pan.
Number of inputs and channels
When selecting an audio mixer, you really ought to think about how many inputs you intend to use. Most setups will support between 3 to 6 channels at a go. A 4 channel setup could appear as follows, the first input your microphone, the second for your co-host, a third for your phone and the fourth one for Skype input. Unless you are a Professional podcaster, a four-channel mixer will suit you just fine.
Note that many low-end models will feature either one or two XLR inputs; this puts a cap on the number of microphones you can use within the studio. The more XLR inputs you have, the more breathing space you have regarding microphone use. All in all, purchase a gadget with adequate channels and inputs.
Mix- minus setups
Mix-minus is a feature that aims at eliminating echo, primarily when you are working with a co-host stationed in a remote location. To get around this problem, choose mixers that have an auxiliary out or the FX send feature.
Compatibility with other equipment
If you are going to invest your money in a mixer, you ought to select one that is compatible with other recording gadgets such as microphones, and digital recorders. Make sure that the frequency response of the item is in line with that of your amplifiers. It is pointless to have world-class equipment that is not compatible. Take the initiative to inspect packaging labels to get a grip on what to expect.
You ought to seriously consider how much money you intend to inject into your broadcast project. The market is littered with a wide range of mixers; some are budget friendly while some cost a fortune. Low-cost options are desirable for people who are new to podcasting. One of the best price friendly mixers out there is the Yamaha MG10 which retails for just under $150. Even at this price, it still manages to deliver incredible low noise floor due to the built-in compression.
Professionals looking for the very best in the business should look no further than the Mackie PROFX8 or the Behringer 1204. The latter, in particular, offers unrivaled pre-amps and refined sound which makes it ideal for live production.
A final verdict
Though there is a tonne of reasons why you should get a mixer, it is important not to rush your purchase decision. It pays to wait until you establish the right mix of quality and reliable audio sources. A sure way to keep more people tuning in to your channel and enjoying your content is by having excellent broadcasts. If you are in it for the long haul, do not be afraid to splash the cash for a high-end mixer. Take the time to learn how to operate the equipment; you can check out online tutorials on prominent podcast coaching academies to get past complicated setups.