Review: Roland Go:Mixer

Affordable, portable audio interface
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As the iOS recording landscape expands exponentially—and Android invades the music community—there is a real need for affordable, portable audio interfaces. There are a growing number of options available, but many of them are bulky or require an external power source. Roland’s new Go:Mixer ($109 MSRP; roland.com) addresses both of those issues, and then some.

Introduced this year at CES, the Go:Mixer’s promotional material positions it for the YouTube and podcast crowd, for which it is perfectly suited. The 8-in/2-out mixer weighs a mere 4 oz., measures 3.75" on either side, and is USB bus-powered. It even includes a center-channel canceling switch for the stereo mini-jack Line 1 input—perfect for impromptu karaoke parties. (As an aside, if you use center-channel canceling on digitally compressed audio, you’ll instantly learn tons about encoding artifacts, which is no fault of Roland’s, of course.)

That said, the Go:Mixer has plenty of other features suitable for mobile musicians. In addition to its pair of stereo minijack line-inputs, it has separate ¼" mic and guitar ins with individual gain controls for the integrated preamps. An additional pair of ¼" inputs accept line-level signals from an external mixer or stereo keyboard. An onboard peak-level indicator is included. However, there is no XLR mic input on the device.

The center knob is the master control for the stereo minijack output, which is suitable for use with headphones or a pair of powered monitors. (For the latter, you will need a Y-cable that splits the left-and right-channel signals.)

Additionally, the Go:Mixer includes Lightning and Micro USB cables, so you’re ready to roll as soon as you open the box. As for audio latency, it is low enough that I didn’t detect any in my real-world tests using guitar, mic and synth input.

After using the Go:Mixer with a variety of apps and audio input sources, I can honestly say that this is the box I’ve been wanting for my field-recording projects. Its diminutive size and weight make it easy to carry, especially since there is no power supply to worry about, and its feature set is perfect for casual audio and video capture. Two thumbs up.