Mixers for Streamers – Sound Equipment for Twitch & Co.
For high-quality vocal recordings, a headset microphone simply isn’t enough. The simplest alternative would be a USB microphone, but such devices often tend to have a high inherent noise level. However, other professional devices are usually connected via XLR, for which there is no suitable connection on the computer. A solution to this problem can be provided by mixers or audio interfaces, which is why we will discuss this topic in this article.
Mixer vs. Audio Interface The differences & what you need them for
As the name suggests, a mixer is used to mix different soundtracks. It has several inputs for different audio signals and offers the possibility to set each of these tracks individually. A mixer creates a mixed signal which is transmitted to the PC via the USB output. Audio interfaces, on the other hand, don’t have so many options and settings, but they can transmit separate signals to the PC which can then be digitally edited with a software. For most streamers an interface is sufficient but we will also talk about mixers in more detail and present some products at the end of the article.
When to use which one
For creative streamers such as musicians, the question can be answered quickly: They will almost always need a mixer for the different instruments and microphones. In most cases, however, the pros and cons are not so easy to compare.
In principle, it depends on the streamer’s working method. If you stream with fixed settings, an interface is sufficient. But if you want to change or remix your sound live, a mixer is the better option. If you work with several microphones or other audio sources for example (e. g. an mp3 player for music recording), the entire sound can be changed live on the hardware via a mixer. In the case of an interface, you would have to open the software, which could lead to disturbances in the stream, due to program crashes.
Of course it’s up to you whether you decide on the one or the other solution. But always keep one thing in mind: Make sure that the device of your choice has a USB port. Especially mixers sometimes only have a jack output, which you can connect to the microphone port of your PC. In most cases, the quality suffers and you could have saved a lot of effort.
Mixers & Audio Interfaces Suitable equipment for streamers
We have extensively dealt with the topic and have researched for you, which devices on the market are particularly suitable for streamers. That’s why we want to present you some of the products you might like. Both audio interfaces and mixers are available in different price ranges and with different features.
Roland UA-4FX II Stream Station Audio Interface An Audio Interface especially for streamers & casters
The UA-4FX2 by Roland is a very special device among the audio interfaces. It is a small USB audio interface specially designed to meet the needs of webcasters and streamers. In addition to the usual features, it offers additional effects that can be added live to the output signal. You control and regulate it via switches and regulators on top. In the middle of the stream station is the output control, which controls the output volume. On the left there are the gain controls for the two inputs Line In and Mic/Guitar. Above there is the advanced effects area with different effects such as Gender Changer, Auto Level, Chorus and Reverb – divided into 4 sections, each with its own intensity controls.
On the left side of the UA-4FX2 there are the different inputs: XLR, Mic/Guitar as main jack and Line In as small jack as well as a headphone jack. On the other side, the phantom power can be activated and deactivated and it can be toggled between the different inputs.
All in all, with the UA-4FX2 Roland offers exactly what most streamers need: Connection options for XLR microphones, phantom power and some adjustment options. The additional effects are nice and can bring fun into the stream from time to time, but in our opinion do not justify the high price. However, anyone who is willing to spend more money on a «carefree package» is in the right place here.
Behringer Xenyx X1204USB Mixer For streamers who want the full package
Mixers offer (as mentioned above) more features than normal USB interfaces. Although it has a lot to offer in this respect, the XENYX X1204USB mixer by Behringer is considerably cheaper than the stream station presented above. With 4 inputs and several setting options, it still provides much more than the average streamer needs.
The X120USB is especially interesting for streamers and casters who want to broadcast large events or discussions with several microphones. In these situations, this mixer is an incredible help and beats simpler solutions. For the beginning, however, you should look for a cheaper solution and upgrade to this model later. A cheap, but qualitatively equivalent alternative is the Q802USB, which we will present in more detail below.
Steinberg UR22 MKII USB Audio Interface Small but powerful: An audio interface with many features
The UR22 by Steinberg is a multifunctional connection option for your microphone with many features. It has two separate headphone inputs, each with its own gain control, a separate microphone booster with 48V phantom power and connections for midi input and output. A special feature is the possibility to switch between an external 5V power source and the power supply via the USB port. This makes it possible to connect the device to an IPad, for example.
Although the robust workmanship, the many functions and the included software package (available via download) are designed for musicians, they also offer everything the average streamer’s heart desires.
Behringer Q802USB Mixer Small price, big impact: Our price-performance winner
The Q802USB by Behringer is virtually the little brother of the X1204USB which we presented above. It hasn’t as much features and in and outputs but for most streamers it still provides much more than they actually need.
It has two microphone inputs and four additional line inputs, is extremely low-noise and is ideal for professional music productions or concerts. As a streamer you will probably only use some of these features, but in case you want to broadcast a complete tournament or other events with several microphones, you are definitely prepared for with this device. The Q802USB distinguishes itself from its larger siblings by a special feature. It has an equalizer for each channel, except for larger devices where the stereo channels do not have equalizers.
The features of the Q802USB can usually only be found with much more expensive devices. So even if you don’t use all of them, you won’t have to spend money unnecessarily. This gives the Q802USB a truly impressive price-performance ratio.