So many new podcasters want to jump right into the deep end of the pool. If I'm doing a podcast, I must have to buy a mixer with enough knobs to make my eyes roll into the back of my head. Well the truth is there are lots of people who will try to sell you a mixer, but you often don't need one.
What is an Audio Mixer?
If you and your co-host are in the same room, and you are playing music in your podcast the purpose of the mixer is to allow you to adjust (mix) the audio levels of you, your guest(s), and the music so the listener does not have to ride the volume knob and make constant adjustments.
Key Word Here is NEED
When I say NEED here, I mean “Can't do it without it.” You can always find a use for a mixer, but I'll explain when you NEED one, and when you WANT one (there is a big difference)
When You Need a Mixer
If you have multiple people in the same room. Everyone should have their own microphone, and that should go into a mixer.
If you are mixing in live music and sound effects.
When You DON'T NEED an Audio Mixer
If you are recording a solo podcast and you are going to add any music or sounds in later.
When You DON'T NEED a Mixer, but Probably Could Use One
If you are doing a show with a co-host or guests who are remote. You could record this with an ATr2100 microphone and a portable recorder (and use Skype as the mixer)
With remote people, you can do what is called a Mix minus with your mixer and have the audio of you and your guests go into a portable recorder. You also can use the mixer to add bass and treble to your voice (although you can do this in software and not use a mixer). You could use a basic portable recorder like the Zoom H1