Audio Interface vs Mixer – Which is Best For Podcasting?

Audio Interface vs Mixer – Which is Best For Podcasting?

Audio interface versus mixer? What is the
difference and which is better for podcasting? Hey! I am Ryan from and recently
I created an article on The 10 Best Audio Interfaces For Podcasting, which brought out
a whole bunch of different questions that I thought would be helpful to answer for you
guys online. So this question came up a lot as I was researching. Is it better to get
an audio interface when recording your podcast or is it better to get a mixer?
Now there are a lot of people out there who recommend mixers but it is rare that you would
hear someone talk about an audio interface. Why is that? What is the difference? And could
an audio interface actually be the better option for you? So let us look at the difference
of them. A mixer is a device that you put all of your
different inputs in so let us say you have multiple microphones; for this example we
are just going to go really simple. Let us say you are recording a podcast with a friend
and you have 2 microphone inputs. What would happen is, you put those 2 microphone inputs
into the mixer and you would then use the knobs and the sliders and things on the mixer
to adjust the sound of each of those microphones to get them level, to get them sounding good
so the microphones will go through the mixer. You will then send them from the mixer to
the computer which will go as one track to the computer and you would then have, ideally,
a great sounding podcast. An audio interface on the other hand works
a little bit different. It is a simpler device and it does not have all of the knobs and
sliders and things on the front. You do have a gain option so you can turn your gain up
and down but that is about it. And so what the audio interface does is it takes your
analog input, so in the same example, 2 microphones go into the audio interface. The 2 microphones
go into the audio interface and the audio interface acts as a great sound card and it
processes that sound, converts it to digital format, and then sends it to your computer
usually via USB or Thunderbolt or Firewire. It then comes up on your computer as 2 different
tracks and you can then do adjustments in post-production so you can adjust the sound
levels of each person’s microphone. So the difference is a mixer is you do all
of the adjustments of the sound on that mixing board and when you send it through the computer,
you have one track that has the 2 sides of the conversation on there and editing becomes
a lot harder after that. Whereas an audio interface, it actually delivers 2 tracks to
your computer. You cannot do as much editing to the sound in the moment but once it is
on your computer, you can then go ahead and you can do post-production and you can edit
the sound. So which is better?. To answer that question
you need to take into account what exactly you are you using this for? If you are recording
a podcast and you are doing a live broadcast then you may want a mixer because it allows
you that flexibility to adjust things on the fly really easy; whereas if you are just recording
a podcast and you are going to edit it and put it up at a later date, then an audio interface
is probably going to be fine for your needs. Mixers tend to be more expensive than audio
interfaces. Audio interfaces start from as little as $100 for 1 or 2 mic inputs and then
they go up from there. Some of the more expensive audio interfaces are around $600 or $700 for
really high quality ones. It is only when you have a lot of different inputs so you
are recording drums or microphones or you have 4 or 8 different inputs that you really
need to go more expensive than $600 or $700 for an audio interface. However, mixers can
get quite expensive really quickly. And so audio interfaces are also good for when the
audio comes out of your computer. If you send it out of your computer through the audio
interface and then into your speakers or into your headphones, that way you are going to
get better quality sound coming out of your computer than if you were just to use the
headphone jack. So when it comes to audio interface versus
mixer, what is going to be best for you? I would only recommend a mixer for people who
are looking to do live broadcasting and who need to adjust their sound on the fly. Otherwise
I would recommend an audio interface because they are just much simpler devices. They tend
to be cheaper devices and it sends you multiple tracks. So if you have 4 microphones going
into a mixer, you have to mix it all there and then. It is going to send one track to
your computer, whereas if you have an audio interface, it is going to send 4 tracks to
your computer. You can edit everyone’s voice individually and adjust things there. And
as well, there used to be what is called latency with all the audio interfaces. So when you
are recording it, it will take maybe half a second or something like that to playback
on your computer and so it would get really confusing and would be really hard to edit
live, using an audio interface. However lately, as computers have gotten so good and these
devices have gotten so good, the latency is so small that it is basically not noticeable
on these things. And you have devices and plugins and things where you can actually
edit the audio on your computer straightaway and you get instant results. So it acts just
like a mixer but rather than having a board that you adjust, you have items on your computer
that you can adjust using the software. So basically an audio interface is going to
do everything that a mixer does. It is going to be less overwhelming for the majority of
podcasters especially if you are new to audio equipment, you have not used the mixer before.
They can get highly, highly confusing. So using a simple audio interface, one that you
can get for $100 or $200, is going to give you a great improvement in sound quality.
But it is not going to break the bank and it is also not going to overwhelm you in terms
of all the knobs and the things that you have to do. I get very confused with mixers whereas
audio interfaces are just very simple. So the difference is there. What you want
is up to you. If you love mixers, you know a lot about sound, maybe a mixer is going
to be best for you. But if you are like me and you just love podcasting and just want
better sound quality from your microphone, well then an audio interface is going to do
the job for you. And if you do not like playing with the knobs and things like that and adjusting
things then audio interface is going to be fine.
So you can go ahead and check out my Top 10 Audio Interfaces For Podcasting. Go to
to see the article over there and to see the ones that I recommend. These things are cheap
at $100 which are great audio interfaces. Or you can go towards my recommended one which
is the Apogee Duet 2, which is around $600 price range, which is going to give you better
quality sound to really, really great device. So there are so many devices in between that
range and depending on how many different mic inputs you need and depending on what
you want and what your budget is, you can choose the best one for you.
So again that is and until next time guys, do not just podcast, podcast

51 thoughts on “Audio Interface vs Mixer – Which is Best For Podcasting?

  1. I have an XR18 digital mixer and can get 18 separate channels. It also has a lot more features than an audio interface has built in. You can also get multi channel mixers for less than the Duet. So lots of inaccurate statements in this one.

  2. there are a lot of comparisons and reviews an this topic but your explanation is pretty clean and easy to understand!!

  3. If I get an interface will it allow me to record google phone calls or do I need an audio recorder as well? Would an audio recorder do? I will be traveling and need smaller equipment

  4. Right now I have Behringer Xenyx 302USB and I'm using it with one XLR microphone and also audio coming form PC so I'm recording in Adobe Audition both microphone sound and audio from my PC. Will I be able to do the same with Focusrite Scarlett Audio interface? Or USB audio interface doesn't mix sound coming form pc and record it in Audition?

  5. Hey thank you for the video. very clarifying.
    I noticed you wearing the headphones I was going to buy ath m50x in blue brown. Would you recommend them or buy them again if they broke? I'm really interested in what you think of them . My name is jim

  6. Hey thanks so much for this video. T'was super healpful! (: So basically this entire time I have been struggling with the thought of oh gosh would it be fun to play with eq/compressors/gain on the spot with KNOBS haha I know kinda ridiculous considering the fact that I just bought Abelton Live yesterday and that I can adjust all of that afterwards. Until know it wasn't clear to me that with Mixers- they only send it to your DAW in one recording (no individual xlr recordings).

    May I ask, can I plug a midi keyboard + xlr mic into audio interface while listening to my recording in real time? If so, which audio interface would you recommend?

  7. Thanks for posting this, as have been using a mixer to record my music to pc/Daw, great to have so much control pre-pc however the mixer doesn't filter noise, so are now looking at switiching to an audio interface, the problem i keep reading about is as pc / windows technology evolves, a lot of the audio interfaces a few years old, ie: m-audio, etc arent
    producing drivers that are keeping up with this technology, i'm mainly referring to the introduction of Windows 10, hence
    are now looking at plug/play audio interfaces as theoretically this should remedy this issue, here's hoping !

  8. if you want to make a podcast with just another person, do you really need any of these devices? My Mac has more than one USB ports and I'm planning to use a microphone that plugs in with USB.

  9. who knows how do a +/- (cellphone connect) with a two channel audio interface podcast setup?
    i have a two channel mbox 2 interface

  10. i want to know if the Behringer XENYX 1204USB 12-Channel Mixer
    better than the Yamaha MG10XU USB Stereo Mixer
    i need to know because i wanna purchase
    the best one to suit my needs

  11. i want to know if the Behringer XENYX 1204USB 12-Channel Mixer
    better than the Yamaha MG10XU USB Stereo Mixer
    i need to know because i wanna purchase
    the best one to suit my needs

  12. Okay I'm thinking of getting a Scarlett 2i2 but there's a mixer called Yamaha mg10xu what's better for sound? Because the mg10xu a youtuber has and he sounds great with it and I notice when he had the Scarlett 2i2 he sounded weird

  13. Thanks for the video! Very useful.
    Only one observation, if you have an USB mixer, you can also record multiple tracks at once and the audio interface will not be necessary. 😉

  14. I purchased a behringer mixer 1002 (not usb) and a behringer uphoria umc202hd. I will be doing live shows. How will I set this up. I have no clue.

  15. Misinformation. He said that with a mixer the recording for two microphones will go on one track. I believe that with a mixer you can even record multiple people that can go on different tracks on your daw. Mixer is better there is not doubt about it.

  16. Do you have a tutorial on how to use and set up an audio interface? And maybe some recommended devices/brands?

  17. Hi Ryan, podcast newbie.. I noticed I lost audio everytime our host answer a call. Is there a duplex mixer or something?

  18. And what is with a Audiointerface with a DSP chip, like the steinberg UR242. This Audiointerface can edit your voice without a latency in a Software Before you record your voice.
    You can edit all that stuff that a Mixer can do in a Software on the fly.
    Also you have a great PreAmp and a HeadphoneAmp on Board

  19. Urgent question please,I have a laptop and a Shure SM7B mic ,and I'm recording rap ,music only from computer some times I use guitar or piano,so what is better for me mixer or interface? Plz an answer

  20. Is there a way to do a "mix minus" for Skype with an audio interface or is a mixer the only way to go for that? Thanks.

  21. Mixers usually have audio interface and mic pre built in and audio interfaces sometimes don't come with mic pres

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