Product Profile: TASCAM's Mixcast 4

TASCAM’s Mixcast 4 is an all-in-one portable Podcaster solution featuring a high-quality Touchscreen and a simplified audio interface. The Mixcast 4 is designed to record up to four in-studio guests simultaneously as well as up to three call-in guests remotely via Bluetooth, USB or direct connection using web enabled apps such as Facebook, We Chat, etc.

The entire podcast production process on the Mixcast 4, from plugging in your microphones to post-production, has been streamlined and simplified as much as possible so that prior pro audio experience while helpful, is not a prerequisite for successfully using Mixcast 4. A tutorial explaining the basic functions of the Mixcast 4 boots up on the unit the first time it is turned on and helps you get oriented to the Mixcast 4’s graphical user interface, which as mentioned above is designed to be as dead simple to operate as possible. 

Mixcast 4 uses full-size SD cards for recording and playback (64GB or higher storage capacity is recommended). The SD card can record up to 14 channels simultaneously. The Mixcast 4 has built-in Bluetooth and USB 2.0 connectivity capability allowing you to interface with external input and output devices as well as to add background music and effects. 

If you need more real-time control over playback and editing of your podcasts you can automatically launch the free TASCAM Podcast Editor software and connect to the app from the Mixcast 4’s touchscreen. From there you can perform such tasks as editing waveforms, splitting takes combining waveforms fades, sends and more. 

The back of the Mixcast 4 features four XLR Combo jack inputs, which are designed to work with microphones with both balanced and TRS connectors. There are additionally on the back of the unit two line-level input jacks immediately next to the combo connectors inputs that can be used to facilitate talent with guitars, keyboards, and other external line level external devices. There is also an eighth-inch TRRS input jack so you can plug in your phone, MP3 player, iPod, or similar devices. 

On the front of Mixcast 4 can be found dedicated talkback, mute and solo controls on top of each channel input. Channel one on the left side of the unit is reserved for the local podcast host or producer. On top of the producer/host channel is a non-latching talkback button that when depressed temporarily disconnects microphone one from the stereo mix while keeping you audible to the up to four in-person guests connected to the four stereo headphone outputs. Its important to note that muting a channel on the Mixcast 4 will not only mute your audio to other listeners, it will also prevent that selected channel audio from being recorded. 

There is a dedicated TRRS input on the front of Mixcast 4 that allows you to monitor your entire mix via headphones as well as allows for two-way communication with your talent via the Mixcast 4 utilizing an external microphone/headset headphone. The faders themselves are color coded to match inputs one through four and have easy-to-see color coded icons for phone, USB, TRRS and Bluetooth inputs. The last fader on the right is there to dial in the bank of eight color Pads and which are designed to allow you to trigger up to 64 different sound effects or music on the fly. Sound effects can also be inserted into your podcasts from the included TASCAM Podcast editor onboard effects library. All the sound effects are designed to be used real-time and automatically dropped into the dedicated sound pad track.

Once all your inputs and levels are set, you move to the recording page which is relegated to Recording and Stop. There are no dedicated real-time play or fast-forward or rewind controls as would be found on a conventional recording interface. If you do need to play back your podcast, that can be easily facilitated from the touchscreen’s drop-down menus. If you want more control, the advanced playback mode allows you to manually fast-forward or rewind to anywhere on your recording timeline. 

The Podcast editor also features a comprehensive selection of plugins you can use for your post-production editing. The Podcast Editor’s included suite of plugins covers a typical suite of effect processors including compression, limiters, reverb, EQ and more. You can also assess any other VST plugins you may have on your computer. The Podcast Editor can also be used to export your podcasts into your DAW of choice as well as assign sound effects to Mixcast 4’s trigger pads.

TASCAM has over 50 years in designing portable audio interfaces, so it is no surprise that they would produce a product as well designed at the Mixcast 4. Podcasting is here to stay and the Mixcast 4 will find a home in many different production environments, both in and out of the music industry. 

The Mixcast 4 is available now for $599.

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