The aim of this article is to guide you so that you can buy the best mixer for your podcasting. Mixers are not made the same, plus what works for you might not work for me. Having said that, the best mixer for podcasting will depend on your preferences, needs, your level of experience in dealing with audio tools, the number of people involved, and much more.
What Kind of Mixer do I Need for a Podcast?
As I mentioned earlier, the type of mixer you need for a podcast depends on several things, but the most important factor is the number of people involved. If you intend to have 3, 4, or more people, and you are all in the same settings, you will need a mixer with 3, 4, or more mic-level XLR inputs.
The number of people involved is a starting point for the kind of podcasting mixer you should get. Other facts that can play a role include your brand preference, cost, and the features of the mixer.
Do I Need an Audio Mixer for Podcasting?
To be honest with you, no you don’t need a mixer to start podcasting. However getting one can significantly improve the quality of your sound, increase your flexibility, and save you tons of time.
Podcast mixers tend to appear in numbers in stock photos and articles reviewing them than in actual podcast setups.
That is because they are not extremely necessary to start a podcast.
BUT, there are reasons you need a podcast mixer in your recording studio or at least put it in the budget for later.
The purpose of a mixer is to take different audio elements and blend them into a single truck that can be recorded on your hard drive. These different sound elements are determined by you, the creator, depending on what your mixer can allow.
A mixer can add fascinating elements to your podcast while you are recording instead of having to add everything later.
In the meantime, you want to wait until you have perfectly settled into podcasting and there is a need to upgrade your sound system.
Why do I Need a Mixer for Podcasting?
A good mixer will massively improve your sound quality. The pre-amps will be much better and will enhance your microphone performance.
But if you already have a quality microphone, a mixer will not suddenly win you lots of additional listeners.
Podcasters add mixers to their setup because of the control and options that the equipment provides as well as the efficiency they bring to the recording workflow.
For a detailed explanation, here are some of the reasons you might want to add a mixer to your podcast setup:
I. Multiple Cohosts in the Studio
If you have multiple mics in your studio, then a mixer presents the best way to mix the microphones into one recording.
Depending on the type of software and PC you are using, you might get away with just a few USB microphones, but you will have to hack together everything and use additional software.
But with a mixer, the process is seamless. All you need to do is plug in the involved microphones, turn their volume up, and you are good to go!
II. Mixing sounds
Adding sounds such as sound clips, music, voicemails etcetera, into your audio will save you lots of trouble post-production. Rather than editing your sounds into your recording, just play them in using your mixer and they are all recorded.
III. Backup and consistency
Computers are prone to crashing, but podcast mixers or digital recorders don’t. Luckily, you can record via software and use a mixer as your backup, transmitting a second output to the digital recorder.
IV. Live production
What live production means is that you are essentially adding sound FX, music, recorded messages, phone calls, and pretty much anything else your show needs. It is like a radio show, thus you don’t need post-production hassle.
Just hit the record button, do your show, and stop when you have accomplished the goal of your episode.
Later, you may want to do some EQ or compression in Post if you want, otherwise, all the sound you need is already there.
Editing is also cut down dramatically.
V. Mix minus
In the recording, mix-minus is a technique that lets you perform live production with a second person remotely, using Zoom or Skype.
If you hook up your recording setup into a videoconferencing app like Zoom or Skype so that your co-host can hear you, then you will be able to hear their voice back, thus creating an unpleasant echo that will ruin your production.
What you need to do is send them everything – your music, voice, and such – without their own voice.
To do this you need a mixer with an ‘FX send’ or ‘Auxiliary Out’ and a knob to control the output.
In reality, you just hook up that Aux or FX into Zoom or Skype and turn down the knob (Aux/FX knob) on the Zoom/Skype channel to prevent the co-host from hearing themselves through that channel, but can perfectly hear any other audio.
How do I Connect a Mixer to My Computer?
Ideally, you need to attach your laptop or iPad, smartphone, tablet, mp3, or any other media device to your audio mixer.
As a sidebar, make sure the mixer you buy is compatible with a variety of operating systems.
To connect a mixer to your PC, follow these simple steps to the later:
- First, you will need a double-faced RCA to a 1/8” mini plug wire.
- Plug the RCA terminals into the RCA output terminals behind the sound mixer.
- Connect the audio terminal to the input port of your PC.
Not all PCs have an input port, in which case, you will need to get a USB Line Level interface to provide the same option. For this setup to work, you will also need a cable that can connect the audio mixer’s output to the input port of the USB connector.
Best Mixers for Solo or 2-Person Podcasts
Behringer Xenyx Q802USB
The Behringer Xenyx can be the answer to your sound quality questions. As the name suggests, this premium quality mixer comes with a USB interface, thus it just plugs into your PC with a USB cord.
To put it simply, this mixer accepts multiple microphones or even other sound sources such as instruments and lets you fuse those sounds into single audio.
As a mixer, the Behringer Xenyx Q802USB offers a wide range of advanced mixing features such as frequency equalization as well as reverb effects, and the possibility to track the main signal.
- Great quality microphone preamps
- 2-track inputs
- Low noise
- Compact design
- Four channels despite eight inputs
- Post fader is quite annoying
Yamaha AG03 & Yamaha AG06
These two mixers – the AG03 and AG06 0 – are two solid, versatile, and customizable that can suit your recording studio.
I have included the two in a single review because they kind of possesses similar basic features. For instance, they both come with decent mic preamps that are clean and powerful for most versatile microphones.
Moreover, you can also hook up a condenser mic to only one channel and switch on the +48V phantom power.
Both the AG03 and AG06 feature stereo ¼” inputs for line-level sound.
You will appreciate the fact that both these mixers support 3.5 mm sound devices.
- Compact design
- Customizable compression and EQ
- Compatible with 3.5 mm sound devices
- Powered through PC’s USB or just any other micro-USB power source
- The price is quite stiff
- Lack of muting options for individual channels
Allen & Heath ZEDI-8
With great audio quality and an integrated 2 x 2 USB sound interface, this mixer for podcasting can be a piece of great equipment for a small-format studio as well as stage use.
You can connect single line-level signals or two mics without using DI boxes. The mixer comes with two extra stereo channels for synthesizers or even drum machines.
Record and playback 2 channels with 24-bit/96kHz sound through UBS minus an isolated interface.
- Compact mixer with two channels
- No need for DI boxes
- Incredible sound shaping
- Comes with Cubase LE DAW s
- Stiff learning curve
- Lack of home studio essentials
What you will appreciate about this mixer right off the bat is its stereo RCA output for hooking to an amplifier or a receiver.
The USB adapter allows you to plug in your PC or Mac so you can use your favorite DAW tool. In terms of power, the mixer is facilitated through a USB connection.
But if you use it without a PC/Mac, you can just draw power from any wall outlet using the included USB AC connector.
It has pretty convenient controls that allow you to adjust gain or monitor or master output levels.
- Perfect for a project or home studios
- Stereo RCA connects CD and MP3 players
- Compatible with PC and Mac
- Supports microphone or line signals
- Can’t track your signal
Best Mixers for Multi-Person Podcasts
Rode Rodecaster Pro
The Rode Rodecaster Pro comes with plenty of great features whether hidden or visible in the touchscreen display.
What I liked the most about this mixer is that everything you need and want to use is fused in just one unit – TRS I/O, Bluetooth in and out, USB I/O, Save to SD card option, and many more.
It is an all-in-one mixer for podcasting that lets you record to either SD card or computer as well as improve audio quality and allow you to record even phone calls.
- High-pass filter
- Noise barrier
- Compressor to level out volume
- Less sibilant recording
- Can’t hook to camera
- Produces only WAV files
Behringer Xenyx Q1202USB
This compact mixer lets you easily record premium-quality audio courtesy of its 4 onboard studio-grade XENYX Microphone Preamps as well as ultra-musical ‘British’ channel EQs.
It has easy-to-use ‘one-knob compressors that offer total versatile control for the ideal in punch and clearness.
The 01202USB is an incredibly versatile audio mixer for your podcasting. It offers top-of-the-line tools needed to create a professional-grade recording.
In addition to the integrated USB/audio interface, the mixer also features all the editing and recording tools you need to use your computer to record.
- Ultra-low noise
- Studio-quality compressors
- Excellent for podcasting
- Hot up easily
Mackie PROFX12 V2
Currently, in its 3rd edition, the Mackie Profx12 v2 offers plenty of features that make it one of the best mixers for podcasting.
Its design aims to make it easy to use and was manufactured with the user in mind. It features an ergonomic incline that provides you with easy controls.
Moreover, it offers incredibly 12 channels, seven of which feature Onyx preamps.
On the surface, this is just like any other Mackie mixer, but its routing has been instinctively re-designed.
It features contemporary digital upgrades based on the requirements and demands. The mixer also features a USB-B output along with 2 x XLR, 2 x ¼” for left and right, 2 x ¼” for subgroup out, and 2 x ¼” to connect to the control room.
- Up to 12 channels
- Bus-group send
- Decent desktop design
- Doesn’t have wide room for alterations
Allen & Heath ZED-12FX
The Allen & Heath ZED-12FX is one of the most durable mixers you can find on the market today.
Aside from its long lifespan, the mixer also has a transparent sound that is silky smooth. You can use this mixer in whatever manner you want.
It offers 4 mono microphone/line channels, each coming with phantom power. It also features three stereo inputs as well as onboard FX.
However, the stereo channels are not fully featured, with the first channel offering only 15dB gain and high and low EQ.
- Offer value for money
- Great feature set
- Quality onboard effects
- Not as sleek as previous models
Soundcraft Signature 12MTK Multi-Track Mixer
Just like most Soudcraft Signature Series mixers, the 12MTK also features iconic Ghost microphone preamps as well as Sapphyre Asymmetric EQ that offers incredible and professional-grade audio quality.
In terms of durability, this mixer is built tough and sturdy for the long haul. Its robust metal construction as well as premium–quality components mean the mixer can last you many years.
With this mixer, you don’t get the generic, dull processing algorithms. Instead, you get the Lexicon Effects Engine powers to add a professional touch to your recording.
- Soundcraft Ghost mic preamps
- Lexicon effects
- Internal USB power supply
- Premium-quality fades
- Not ideal for beginners
Best Overall: Rode RodeCaster Pro
The best all-around mixer for podcasting is Rode RodeCaster Pro. Rode is one of the leading brands in microphone manufacturing and thus there is no surprise that the company would also have the best podcasting gear.