Podcasting as we know it today is much easier to get into than it was when I started my first podcast 16 years ago. The gear was larger, required every kind of cable, and the software wasn’t very user-friendly. Today, we have products like the Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer that allow you to easily create a quality podcast on the go or without setting up a full home studio.
During the last few years, everyone has either started a podcast, been on a podcast, or is streaming their epic gaming battles live. I had my first podcast in 2006 — and we didn’t have as many audio options as we do today. This was before USB mics became popular, and finding gear that plugged into a computer was prohibitively expensive. Today, joining the world of podcasting is far more accessible.
Let's take the Aten Podcast AI, Audio Mixer, for a spin and see how it performs.
Sample Rate: 24-bit 96kHz
Weight: 0.93 pounds
Size: 5.14 x 7.12 x 2.47-inches
Power: 48V phantom power
Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer MicLive 6-CH price and availability
The Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer list price is $277, but I found it on sale at Provantage for $185, which is a good value for what this little mixer can do. In the box, you will find the Podcast AI Audio Mixer, one USB-C cable, and one user manual.
Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer MicLive 6-CH design
The Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer (MicLive 6-CH, UC8000) is made entirely of sturdy black-and-white plastic and the visual aesthetic is clean and simple. When you look down at it, the control knobs and buttons are on the main flat surface with an easy-to-read white font.
The XLR, 3.5mm, and USB-C input ports run along the back edge.
The dual 3.5mm headphone jacks are on the right side.
Weighing just 0.93 pounds and measuring a tiny 5.14 x 7.12 x 2.47 inches, you can toss the mixer into your backpack, along with a mic and a laptop, and you’re all set to podcast from anywhere.
Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer MicLive 6-CH audio recording quality
I opened the box, took everything out, and got right to it. I set up as if I were mobile podcasting from a café. I pulled out my laptop, plugged it into the Aten, plugged in an XLR mic, and booted up the free audio recording software — and I was off to the races.
The Podcast AI Audio Mixer has a 24bit sample rate at 96kHz, so you’re going to get a quality audio recording with it. Particularly when using an XLR mic, record excellent audio — and I did. The XLR mic was powered by the mixer's phantom power, which is pulled from your computer, in this case, the HP ZBook Studio G8. Since I was using my laptop unplugged, it did drain my battery faster, but I got a good hour and a half of recording time while testing out all the different EQ features and sound effects like crowd laughing and clapping. The Auto Ducking feature worked flawlessly when I cued up some music, lowering the tune so that my vocals were featured.
There are 24 different pre-programmed voice effects you can use. I quickly played with them and they worked fine. Honestly, the Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer would be perfect for beginner podcasters and streamers. I found that my recordings were crisp, clear, and fun with the help of the built-in effects. The buttons and knobs are easy-to-control, solidly built and sturdy. The soft-touch pads feel good without being too squishy. The input level knob rotation is continuous with no physical minimum or maximum limit. Some may prefer knobs that have a limit, but in this case, it doesn’t bother me because I can hear the difference in levels while monitoring the audio. The two headphone outputs on the side of the unit worked well and provided excellent audio quality while monitoring my recording.
When I played back my mock self-interview, the recording matched small studio quality. It sounded equal to most podcasts you hear today.
Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer MicLive 6-CH software
The Aten OnAir audio software is user-friendly with a clean interface that’s self-explanatory. You have full control over every aspect of your recording. It’s so simply laid out, it’s foolproof. With the software soundboard, you can control the volume, mute mics, and external audio sources, implement special effects, and add reverb if you wish to.
It’s not as robust as something like the Rode Procaster Pro II, but at less than one-third the cost, it delivers a lot of the same features in miniature.
If you’re looking to start a podcast, or have a family member who wants to launch one, the Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer is a perfect starter option. It is a good device for getting into podcasting and will allow you to record quality podcast audio at a reasonable price. The mixer has enough basic features that even budding young podcasters will find it easy to use while giving you a few more advanced tools to grow into. . It may lack some of the more powerful tools you will find in competitors, but with its blend of portability, audio quality, user-friendly software and affordability, the Aten Podcast AI Audio Mixer is an excellent choice for beginners.