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How to record a podcast

Behringer Xenyx Q1204USB

The Xenyx Q1204USB mixer is the most intimidating device in our collection, but is not as complicated as it sounds for basic usage, especially if you follow the recommendations below.

It supports up to four SM58 XLR microphones and will let you get the best possible sound for group recordings. Install each microphone with its table stand in front of a participant (15-20cm from their mouth), adapt the levels to the voice of each participant, and start recording on your computer.

Important notes

  • Test this device and get accustomed to it ahead of your recording. You will get into trouble if you do not.
  • Do not activate the "phantom power". This is not necessary with SM58 microphones.
  • Remember you can also check out foam pieces from the loan desk to reduce the echo in Library bubbles if you intend to record there.

Mixer Settings 101

Our mixer can be intimidating, but it isn't as complex as you think, at least for what you intend to do. Here are the recommended settings.

For each "line in" (microphone, 1-4), from top to bottom

Low cut switch

This switch should always be pushed down (on): this cuts off some sounds that are below the frequency of a human voice (ambient noise, vibrations, tapping on table).


This is the main setting for the sensitivity (recording volume) of the microphone. Start in the middle, and adapt to the voice of each speaker comparatively to each other. You will probably need to push it close to the maximum for a spoken podcast, as opposed to recording a song.

Comp (Compression)

Should be high if you want the microphone to be sensitive to a wide variety of sounds (including the environment), and low if you intend to focus on the voice straight in front of it. In our case, I would say “keep it low”.

EQ (Equalizer - High, Mid, Low)

Keep them in the middle unless you know what you are doing.

Aux, FX

You will not be using these. Keep them in the middle.


For stereo sound – do you want this microphone to be assigned to the right, left or centre? You probably want to keep it in the centre: toying with this can make it uncomfortable for listeners.

Mute switch

Push this if you want to mute a specific (unused) microphone.

Volume fader

You generally want this on 0. Use the Gain knob to set the appropriate sensitivity before the recording, and use the fader when you want the voice to fade away or be softly muted.

More mixer settings

On the right side of the mixer, from top to bottom

Aux sends / Aux returns / Etc

You will not be using this. Leave them. Do not push the “Main mix/Alt 3-4” switch in that section.

Source – USB/2-TR (red)

Do NOT push this. It gets the sound from the computer back in the mixer and causes interferences (buzzing sound).

Source – Alt 3-4

Do not push this, you will not be using it.

Source – Main mix

This should usually be on: it means the sound from the mixer goes to the (head)phones out.

Phones/Ctrl room

Adapt to the volume you want in your ears from the mixer’s (head)phones out.

USB/2-TR To Main (red)

Do NOT push this – this makes the sound of the computer go to the mixer rather than the sound from the mixer
go to the computer. If your computer does not receive any sound from the mixer, that could be the reason.

L/R volume lights

When recording your main sound, you want the levels to be at the top of the green or in the yellow lights when the sound is loudest.
Adapt individual gains to reach that.

Alt 3-4 fader

You will generally not be using this, you can leave it at the bottom.

Main Mix L/R faders

Leave these on 0. They determine the output volume for the mix into the left and right stereo channels.