What does an audio mixer do?

What does an audio mixer do

Are you a brand new creative entrepreneur looking to dip your toes into the podcasting space? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the technical complexities of audio engineering and digital broadcasting? You’re certainly not alone and you’ve come to the right place to begin your journey.

Audio mixers are a vital tool for any professional, high-quality audio production. They enable you to have precise control over a broad range of sonic characteristics and tonal qualities in the human voice. They’re those sleek, high tech consoles with knobs and sliders that allow audio engineers to meticulously sculpt the perfect soundscapes. After the microphone, an audio mixer is one of the most important first pieces of gear for the aspiring podcaster. 

Audio Mixer Functions

The purpose of an audio mixer is to process a multitude of audio inputs and allow the audio engineer to mix and affect them to create the ideal sounding output. Mixing consoles are used in every professional application involving sound systems, and podcasting is no exception. Where audio quality can be the difference between standing out from the crowd or losing listeners, you can’t afford to miss out on quality a mixer.

Mixers typically facilitate the addition of a variety of effects such as compression, gain, equalization, and filtering. Some mixers also provide phantom power to microphones as well. Think of it as the hub and exchange point for all incoming and outgoing audio signals.

It’s your Grand Central Station of sound. 

Mixers and Podcasting

Utilizing the right mixer can be critical in honing your desired professional broadcasting sound. A mixer allows for multiple voices to be compressed and equalized for that smooth and crisp NPR-like quality.

It is important to consider how many speakers your podcast is likely to have as this will affect which mixer is ideal. If you’re just beginning your quest and are airing on the side of fewer guests, perhaps the Behringer Xenyx 802 is right for you. If you’re already a seasoned podcasting veteran ready to host a massive panel, a heavy hitter like the Allen & Heath ZED-12FX may be required.

Allen & Heath ZED-12FX 12-Channel Mixer with USB Interface and Onboard EFX

Less expensive mixers are limited in terms of inputs and voltage but can be perfect for a more intimate setup. Before investing in an audio mixer, make sure to create a plan which realistically assesses your audio needs and pick one that can accommodate the nuances of your podcast. 

Professional, Polished Sound 

Audio mixing is an absolute necessity for any podcast. They are the brains of your entire operation. Without the proper mixing console, it would be impossible to process the audio from multiple microphones and blend them together harmoniously.

Filtering allows for the removal of unwanted frequencies, compression improves overall equalization and clarity, gain allows fine-tuning of tone, and equalization allows for a clean and balanced overall soundscape. You too can feel like a broadcasting bigshot behind the big shiny console. Or the small, inexpensive mixer for your amateur sleuth podcast. There is a huge variety of mixers for any project.

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