The holidays are here and that means it’s time to find gifts for your family and friends. If you know someone who has an interest in the ever-popular world of streaming and podcasting, or you’re looking to get into this exciting industry yourself, B&H has you covered. This comprehensive discusses some of the hottest and most feature-rich podcasting mixers on the market. Whether you’re looking to come up to speed with your podcasting setup or start out strong, we can point you in the right direction.
Zoom PodTrak P8 Multitrack Podcast Recorder
First, we start with the venerable PodTrak P8 from Zoom. This convenient, great-sounding little portable mixer and recorder provides you with just about everything needed to get your podcasts off the ground. The P8 is loaded with six high-gain XLR mic inputs, each with fantastic preamps that will enhance popular broadcast-style mics like the Shure SM7B, thanks to up to 70 dB of gain and plenty of headroom for boosting your signals to optimal levels. And with +48V phantom power on each mic input, you can also use crisp and sensitive condensers without issue.
The P8 sports great features that will make podcast production much easier. It will give you the freedom to create podcasting setups as intimate or raucous as you want with separate headphone mixes for you and your guests, as well as support for big setups with six independent, color-coded 3.5mm headphone outputs. Two balanced 1/4" speaker outputs with dedicated volume control make connection to your home studio a cinch, and you can easily handle echo-free remote call-ins with options to connect your smartphone directly to the P8 via 3.5mm TRRS, a computer via USB, or both at the same time for up to two remote guests. You can even go wireless with the optional BTA-2 Bluetooth receiver and stream directly from your smartphone.
With assignable sound pads, you get direct control of up to nine sounds such as music, jingles, ads, sound effects, or pre-recorded interviews that you can trigger at the push of a button, greatly elevating your podcast production quality. Record up to 13 tracks simultaneously to SD/SDHC/SDXC card, use the P8 as a 2x2 audio interface (16-bit / 44.1 kHz) with your smart device or computer, and sweeten the sound of your podcasts without touching a computer, thanks to powerful onboard signal processing, such as limiters, filters, tone control, and compression, via the color touchscreen.
Best of all? The P8 is totally portable and can run entirely on four AA batteries, USB bus power, or the included AC adapter.
RØDE RØDECaster Pro II Integrated Audio Production Studio
RØDE has made a name for itself in the world of content creation with some big additions to its product line, and one of the most significant is the updated RØDECaster Pro II. Featuring a versatile design that deftly handles applications for podcasting, streaming, and music production, this all-in-one production studio sports four high-quality mic/line/instrument preamps with studio-quality APHEX Processing for a huge array of top-notch effects to mangle and manipulate audio in any way you can think of. It also has the incredibly useful VoxLab editor to edit your processors.
The eight programmable SMART pads are customizable in color and function, making it easy to trigger sound bites, music, SFX, or execute mixer functions like fades, ducking, and bleeping. The big physical faders are a joy to use and let you control the nine-channel mixer (six physical channels with three virtual channels), with each channel offering a pan control, mute button, and listen button (with pre- or after-fader solo).
The RØDECaster Pro II supports stereo pairing of its XLR-1/4" combo inputs, stereo recording, and multitrack recording to a microSD card or USB storage. It can also serve as a high-quality USB audio interface to stream from or record to a computer, with ultra-fast data speeds and up to 24-bit / 48 kHz uncompressed WAV audio, the industry standard for video production.
But wait! There's more! To run through some more functions of this incredibly feature-rich device quickly, you also get four powerful 1/4" headphone outputs with independent, color-coded volume controls, 1/4" speaker outputs, producer talkback for communicating with guests discreetly during a podcast or stream, integrated Bluetooth compatibility for numerous uses including remote streaming and wireless monitoring, echo-free mix-minus on Bluetooth and USB, storable Show settings for switching between different productions, and a 5.5" color touchscreen with haptic feedback for intuitive control of the whole system.
RØDE RØDECaster Duo Integrated Audio Production Studio
If something a little more compact and less expensive than the RCPII is a better match for your beloved content creator, then consider the RØDECaster Duo. This handy little unit offers most of the same revered features and versatility of its larger sibling, but in a smaller, more portable form factor that’s great for intimate, small-scale productions.
The RØDECaster Duo pares things down to two low-noise, high-gain mic/line/instrument Revolution preamps, four faders, six programmable color-coded pads, and two headphone outputs. And of course, the unit is much smaller and easier to take with you to your next production engagement while still retaining the option to receive power from either an AC adapter or one of the two USB-C ports.
TASCAM Mixcast 4 Podcast Mixer, Recorder, and USB Audio Interface
Perhaps lesser known, yet just as worthwhile as its competition from RØDE and Zoom, the TASCAM Mixcast 4 delivers a tabletop mixer and recorder with preamps and faders for podcasts of up to four people, integrated sound effects, mix-minus functionality for live or streamed guests, and more.
Along with the four XLR-1/4" combo inputs that can handle all types of microphones, you also get stereo 1/4" and 3.5mm line inputs and Bluetooth input for wireless devices, increasing the maximum number of participants to six. The Mixcast 4 also includes four independently controlled 1/4" headphone outputs and a unique 3.5mm TRRS headphone output that mirrors headphone output 1 for situations where you only have a 3.5mm headset on hand. And like most podcast and streaming mixer/recorders, the Mixcast 4 includes a talkback function for speaking to participants privately over headphones, USB, and Bluetooth.
The Mixcast 4 includes eight faders and eight sound pads (in eight banks), allowing for a significant amount of real-time control over your productions. There’s also transport functionality for one-touch recording, level adjustment between pads, and even a pad normalization function that’s great for minimizing the amount of post-production work needed to get your content in line with loudness standards.
Finally, with recording in WAV, MP3, and MP4 formats at resolutions up to 24-bit / 48 kHz, and support for recording up to a whopping 14 tracks at once to an SD card, you’ll have no problem supporting any production size, big or small. You can also record stereo over USB directly to your preferred DAW or streaming platform.
The Mixcast 4 ships with TASCAM’s Podcast Editor Software, making it a great place to start for the uninitiated. Keep in mind, however, that the Mixcast 4 is slightly less portable than the previously mentioned devices, requiring power from the included AC adapter.
TASCAM Model 12 Integrated Production Suite Mixer/Recorder/USB Interface
For gift recipients who are eager to raise their podcast productions to new heights and record a real crowd, the TASCAM Model 12 provides you with extensive I/O options, including 10 input channels with eight mic preamps, allowing you to connect eight individual microphones for your guests.
Ideal not only for podcasting and content creation but also for general music recording, songwriting, and multimedia production, the Model 12 gives you some of the typical podcasting bells and whistles like mix-minus, Bluetooth pairing, smartphone inputs, dual-headphone monitoring, and 16 integrated FX. It also provides users with a powerful mixing platform to remote-control DAWs, internally record up to 12 simultaneous tracks, and mix your productions directly with 60mm faders, 1-knob compression, and 3-band EQ on all input modules.
For the more musically inclined (or those looking to integrate live and self-recorded music into their podcasts), the Model 12 sports a built-in metronome and click output with tap tempo. Full MIDI I/O support makes it easy to synchronize with external MIDI gear, including drum machines, synths, and sequencers. You can even connect up to two footswitches for assignment of transport functions, activating FX, and more.
Figuring out the perfect gift can often be a pain, but we hope this article has made things a little easier for you. When you’re trying to decide among these products, just try to keep in mind the needs and preferences of your gift recipient, since portability, form factor, and the number of microphone inputs are the main factors differentiating these excellent products from each other. If you have any questions or concerns, drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to answer all your comments and questions.