TASCAM Mixcast 4 Podcast Recording Console: As Easy as It Gets?


Do I have a lavish recording studio in my NYC apartment? No, my 18-month-old son “Tater Tots” insists on using the spare room for a place to sleep. Can I, or someone like me, still pop out a decent panel podcast? Having been temporarily blessed with TASCAM’s Mixcast 4 all-in-one podcast recording console and an industry-standard Shure SM7B vocal mic to write this review, I’m about to find out.

The Mission

The Mixcast 4 is made for people who want to start podcasting stat, so I reckon the best way to test it is through typical usage; claw open the box, disregard all documentation, and release verbal fury if it doesn’t provide immediate gratification. If the Mixcast is as intuitive as it purports to be, I should be able to get away with gratuitous button mashing in place of viewing informative tutorials.

For what it’s worth (probably nothing), I actually enjoy reading user guides and operating manuals, but I will do my best to leave the enticing pages of those nonfiction treasures unseen during this real-world scenario. If I get stuck, scratching my head or stroking my luxurious black beard while the path to podcasting success remains hidden, I will consult the instructions for assistance with my quest.

All Fired Up

As I’m typing this sentence on my vintage MacBook Pro, I have not yet opened the unlabeled Mixcast 4 box. Well, I assume it contains the Mixcast 4, not the backordered beige bezel for my Samsung Frame TV. Let’s see! In the box, I found the Mixcast 4, a USB Type-C cable, and an external power supply with a locking barrel connector (no accidental power cable pull-outs at the Mixcast) and three regional power plug adapters, but no TV bezel.

To my simultaneous relief and dismay, there was nary a pamphlet to be found. I’ll have no problem resisting the temptations of a printed guide because there isn’t one! However, when production units are shipped to real customers in real places, I expect TASCAM will include one as standard. Since I already had an SD card, XLR cable, and headphones lurking about, I supposedly possess all the requisite components for alchemizing my thoughts into podcasting gold.

Complete Podcasting Setup
Complete podcasting setup

Me, Myself, and I

My first priority is obviously myself and the microphone that will be used to capture my voice, which has been described as “rich and low” by my ever-loving mother (love is tone-deaf, by the way). Thanks to the wonderful folks at Shure, the SM7B is for me, for now, not forever. For sonic comparison, I do have an Audio-Technica MB 1k that’s more like the average handheld dynamic mic upon which cash-starved podcasters rely.

Time to get started…. Upon booting up the Mixcast 4, I immediately noticed and applauded TASCAM’s use of color coding; the headphone volume controls and channel indicators for channels 1-4 (green, purple, yellow, and blue) make it extremely simple to keep things straight. Greeting me on the 5" color touchscreen was a graphic, prompting me to plug in a mic, headphones, and an SD card. So, I did just that.

Welcome to the Mixcast
Welcome to the Mixcast

Next, the screen instructed me to raise the fader for my channel and turn up the appropriate headphone volume knob. Out of curiosity, I did a little mic check, “Timothy the tortoise sells used shoes before viewing the daily news.” Channel 1’s LED flashed red to show signal presence, and I heard myself without having to worry about mic preamp gain. So, anyone who can connect a mic and headphones can get signal, struggle-free.

Then, the screen showed me how to record and stop, and that editing is done through TASCAM’s Podcast Editor software. Next to the record and stop buttons lies another button for inserting marks (locate points). After I performed a quick test recording and stopped it, the Mixcast 4 asked me to confirm and name the new recording. I really appreciate this type of file management encouragement.

Here are a couple short dry recordings with the air conditioner running in the background.

MB 1k without Mixcast processing

SM7B without Mixcast processing

As you can hear, the SM7B yields far less ambient sound and significantly reduced mouth noises, whereas the MB 1k seems to highlight the fact that it has been three years since my last drink of water. Being a certified menu-diver, I couldn’t resist poking around for sound settings. I was rewarded with an intuitive symbol-based menu system and a surprising slew of options—dynamic (default) or condenser (for phantom-powered XLR mics), a mic gain slider, and onboard processing such as EQ/exciter, compression, de-essing, noise suppression, ducking, and reverb, all of which have simple presets and manually adjustable parameters. Following a few taps on the touchscreen, I had a vocal presence that a guest (see next section) later described as “super high quality.”

SM7B with Mixcast processing

A Guest, I Guess

I was getting quite bored and lonely hearing only my voice; I needed guests. Lacking the funds and private jet to fly them to me, I settled on remote call-in options. Though I could have started with all three call-in methods (Bluetooth, USB, and 3.5mm TRRS or 1/4" TRS line inputs), I sat myself down and said, “Begin with the basics, my boy.” I paired my iPhone to the Mixcast via Bluetooth and called an unsuspecting friend who happens to be a stellar singer/songwriter with a good set of ears and a bone-dry sense of humor. Listening to the sound file below, you can hear the drastic difference between the SM7B with Mixcast processing and the mic built into my guest’s peasant-level wireless earphones.

Pro vocal sound vs. guest caller sound

Mix-minus, a vital podcasting function that lets callers monitor the overall mix without hearing an echo of themselves, is present for the Bluetooth and line input, and can be enabled in the menus for the USB source. With USB mix-minus turned on, I called a Colorado friend on my iPhone and used Skype on my wife’s iPad Pro (connected via USB Type-C) to link up with another pal in California. We talked, laughed, and cried throughout my fake podcast, “Fiddly Bits with Phil,” and everyone could hear each other clearly with no echo/delay, as if we were gathered ’round a table sharing brews and making memories.

As you feature more guests, you’ll come to value the per-channel solo and mute buttons AND the talkback function. Perched at the top of channel 1, the non-latching talkback button temporarily cuts mic 1 from the stereo mix while it remains audible to in-person guests using the local headphone outputs. This lets you address your cohorts without disrupting the main feed.

Sounds on Hand

When spicing up the podcast with sound effects feels like the right thing to do, the Mixcast 4 is ready and waiting. It has eight color-coded trigger pads with a bank of factory preset sounds and 64 user slots (eight banks of eight), so you can immediately use useful sounds like applause and the classic sensor bleep, or incorporate custom SFX and music later on.

Mixcast Sound Pads
Mixcast sound pads

On the Mixcast 4, you’re able to record sounds into the pad slots, assign them a color, and customize the sample playback behavior (e.g., latch, loop, etc.). From the Podcast Editor companion software, you’re given the ability to load samples, cut and fade them, and name the sample/pad. On the subject of loading samples, stick to the ol’ drag-and-drop method. If you instead use the Podcast Editor software’s built-in file browser, you’ll have to navigate from scratch each time because it doesn’t recall the file path you previously accessed.

A single fader controls the sound output of all pads, so it’s in everyone’s best interest that you even out the volume of your sounds before you load them or record them in. Otherwise, a cricket chirp may end up unnervingly louder than the raucous cheering of a crowd, and that’s just weird.

Riding the USB

Not only is the Mixcast 4 a competent standalone podcast recording console, but it’s also a hassle-free multichannel audio interface. Continuing my theme of “Try It and See,” I plugged the Mixcast straight into a USB-C iPad Pro, launched Garageband, and found the Mixcast functioning as a 14x2 audio interface. Nice!

Testing the Mixcast and my old MacBook Pro with a USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable gave me the same success, even with Pro Tools. Though no drivers are needed on devices plucked from Apple’s tree of life, TASCAM has a driver prepped and ready for Windows machines.

The Software Isn’t Hard

To make your podcast truly polished, expect to do some work on the back end. For this, TASCAM has created its Podcast Editor software. Will it replace your special DAW (e.g., Logic Pro, Reaper, Studio One)? Definitely not. Is it designed to? Definitely not.

Podcast Editor Software
Podcast Editor software

This free software is packed with enough basic playback, recording, editing, and mixing options for a DAW-less user to quickly clean up their podcast recordings, insert SFX/music, balance the levels, and even sweeten the sound with stock or VST plug-ins. Plus, it unlocks the ability to export Mixcast 4 projects as a stereo mix to be shared with the eager ears of the world, individual multitrack WAV files (up to 24-bit / 48 kHz) for use in a DAW, or a poly file that can be transferred to the Mixcast.

Stereo Mix Export Options
Stereo Mix export options

Some very cool additions to the Stereo Mix export options include file format (WAV, MP3, or MP4), quality settings, loudness normalization to a user-specified LUFS level, and upload shortcuts. Though the Podcast Editor software alone is ample for taking a podcast from nothing to done, I prefer my long-term partner, Pro Tools. After hastily exporting some multitrack files and popping them into Tools, I was comforted by the complete lack of problems I encountered during the process, knowing that DAW users everywhere should experience equal smoothness.

Saying Goodbye

While packing up the Mixcast 4, I wondered if TASCAM missed anything. Mic inputs and headphone outs for four people, line/USB/Bluetooth inputs for remote call-ins or additional audio sources, eight sound pads with up to 64 user sounds, tactile controls, a touchscreen, multitrack recording, and simple, yet comprehensive companion software… it’s all there. Is this as easy as it gets? Until AI and robots take over and literally do everything for us, I think the answer is “Yes.”

Are you convinced the TASCAM Mixcast 4 is “as easy as it gets”? Let’s hear your thoughts on this podcast recording console in the Comments section, below.



I wish that I could properly evaluate the quality and usefulness of this unit.  However, after listening to the sound samples it is clear that the reviewer knows nothing about gain staging, setting proper recording levels and mic technique. I do this professionally so maybe I'm just picky but, the samples are bad and it's obvious that it is the way the unit was used and not the unit itself.

Hello Keith! The mission of this review was to test it as a beginner, because the unit is tailored for people who are just getting started, rather than for experienced pros. My approach was from a beginner's mindset (e.g. tear open the box, grab a mic, and try to get going asap), so the recordings were executed from that same standpoint; an attempt to replicate the sort of results achieved by someone who didn't know much about audio. This piece was not intended to get into the subtleties of mic positioning, gain staging, and proper voice prep, because those are outside the scope (and length limits) of the review. Maybe it was misguided on my part, but I felt it could be misleading to incorporate professional production techniques into the recordings, considering the mission of the review. Something else to consider is that since the samples hosted via SoundCloud, there could have been encoding/decoding glitches there or even a network bandwidth issue that degraded the sound quality. Thanks and be well!