Mixers and Audio Interfaces
You need to get your audio into your computer so that interview guests can hear you. For years, I did this using a Mackie mixer board. I recommend one of the following mixer boards, depending on how many inputs you need.
- Mackie 802VLZ4, 8-Channel Ultra Compact Mixer
- Mackie 1202VLZ4 12-Channel Compact Mixer
- Mackie 1402VLZ4, 14-Channel Compact Mixer
I like these because they are simple and affordable. Some come with digital effects built in which I don’t find helpful because I want to record the cleanest sound possible. All of the real editing and effects are done in post-production.
I also found the USB versions unnecessary because I used a mix-minus setup to send and return audio to and from the computer. Mix-minus is a way for you to send the guest you’re interviewing the audio from all of the mixer channels that you’re using, except his or her own. This eliminates any feedback looping.
Make sure you have at least one AUX input/output. Besides the quality and dependability, these all have at least one AUX channel. Having an AUX channel is necessary for recording interview guests over the computer via a mix-minus setup.
Another way to get audio from your microphone into the computer is through an audio interface. I recently had a friend let me borrow his Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and I was immediately sold. It’s small, easy-to-use, and has a great sound. This is a high-quality, affordable option for most people’s studio setups.
Personal Thoughts: I used a mixer board for over four years. It was a great solution, especially for recording with multiple people in-studio. However, it had a few downfalls.
- All of the audio was recorded onto one channel. This meant that my guest and I were recorded on one audio track. If my guest coughed while I was talking, it was recorded on the same track and was very difficult to get rid of.
- Mixers are big. The mixer took up a lot of space on my desk compared to the Scarlett and for someone who likes tidy spaces, this was a problem.
- Mixers are more technically challenging. They are a pain if you’re just starting out. You have multiple places to tweak the audio and input cables. If you don’t have a background in audio, they can be overwhelming.
- Mine got fuzzy. After using mine for several years, it started to produce an electronic buzz sound. I think it was from dust getting inside the device.
For all of these reasons, I retired the mixer from my setup and replaced it with the Scarlett 2i2.
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