Do I really need a mixer if...

…my podcast is primarily me, using my laptop and a Blue Yeti? There will rarely, if ever, be someone else there in-person with me. Other speakers will be either recorded calls, or contemporaneously-recorded files/tracks recorded on the speaker’s PC and sent to me for synchronization on my end. The podcast would be primarily discussion-focused, and any music would come from pre-recorded files.

If so, is a mixer necessary for a quality podcast, or can mix within Audacity and skip the mixer?

Totally new to this, so I apologize if the question is foolish.

Thank you!

There will rarely, if ever, be someone else there in-person with me.

In which case you switch your Yeti to bi-directional and put the guest exactly on the other side of the Yeti from you. It may take a couple of passes to get the volumes right (there are no independent volume controls for each of you). Radio soap operas did it that way for years.

You can totally record the voice parts of the podcast and then slide the music in later.

“Let’s listen to Glenn Miller, ‘In The Mood.’” [cut here later] That was Glenn Miller, ‘In The Mood,’ recorded on a World War II troup ship in the North Atlantic."

You just bang, bang, bang through the dialog and cut it up and slide the music in later. You can do fades in post, too, and make it sound like a real radio program.

Similarly, If you have a sound file with a telephone conversation, you can integrate that later in post as well. You can even use a half-recording. You’ve heard more of those than you think. The host asks questions and then the guest answers. If you’re paying attention, they never talk at the same time. One was recorded two weeks before the other.

So if that’s the show, no Skype or other conferencing or communications, then yes, you don’t need anything more complicated than a computer, Audacity and a Yeti.

I want to stress there’s no internet connection during the live portion of the show. The instant you get into Skype and two-way conversations, it gets much more complex in a hurry.

Also a setup like that is aggressively non-expantable. You can’t get bigger just by adding another Yeti—or you can, but it’s not as versatile as you think. You can’t add three.

Under some conditions, Yeti microphones have noise problems. Frying Mosquitoes or “The Yeti Curse.” It sounds like this (listen when I stop talking):

There is no good solution. Buy from a reputable supplier and save your receipts.


The short answer: no you don’t have to have a mixer, you can mix within Audacity.

The main advantage of a mixer is that it adds flexibility for more complex recording setups (as described by Koz in the previous post).

Thanks to you both for the guidance. Based on your responses, it seems that if I ever want to do want to do Skype recording or conferencing, a mixer is a must?

A mixer becomes important when you need to be able to mix multiple live streams - for example, if you want to interview someone, and play CDs, and do it all “live” (in real time), then you would want a mixer. On the other hand, if you record each thing separately and mix them later (in “post production”) then you can do it all without a mixer.

Skype interviews are best done with purpose-built software such as Pamela. The upper two Pamela licenses, Business and Professional, will provide, at your option, split sound tracks with the two directions on different files suitable for post production filtering and adjustment. There are free ways to do this, but you are warned to avoid solutions that insist on delivering a mixed file or worse, only work in MP3. Never do production in MP3.

But that’s not how I did it. As an experiment, I joined two computers and a mixer and did a fully produced, live Skype show with music beds and full duplex, live connection (unzoom your screen to see the whole thing).

It didn’t go perfectly. I messed up one of the music connections, but would you guess that Denise and I are four time zones apart? I did cheat in one other area. My two Macs are slightly older units with full Stereo Line-In connection and will interface directly with the mixer. Windows machines and newer Macs will need USB adapters.

That’s how Pando is doing it on their podcast.


The machine on the left is playing music into the mixer and recording the mixer show in Audacity. The machine on the right is managing Skype. Some people have gotten the whole thing to run in one computer like Chase in his podcast.

Reel Life Podcast

But he got supersonically lucky. Most people fail when they try that. Skype does not Play Well With Others.