Roland’s pocket-sized GO MIXER adds great audio to iPhone movies

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The GO MIXER adds good-quality sound to your iPhone videos.
Photo: Roland

The Roland GO MIXER is a little box that improves the audio on your movies. Aimed mostly at musicians, but usable by anyone with a microphone and the need to shoot a video, the little Lightning-powered box hooks together all your musical instruments and mixes them, live, before sending the audio to your iPhone (or Android device).

The iPhone — Great video, mediocre sound

The iPhone’s camera is amazing. It shoots in super low light, it captures slo-mo video at 240 frames per second, and it irons out shakes and wobbles like a Steadicam. When it comes to sound, though, it’s not nearly as impressive. Adding an external microphone, like the Zoom iQ5, improves regular video a lot. If you’re shooting a music video, though, you want something like the the new GO MIXER.

The GO MIXER takes inputs from various sources, and mixes them together. The resulting stereo mix is them sent to the iPhone (or other device) over a Lightning cable. The device is also powered by the Lighting connection, so you don’t need any extra adapters. The iPhone’s camera automatically uses sound from a connected mic or other audio device, so all you have to do is hook up the GO:MIXER and go.

The GO MIXER can connect to almost anything

The GO:MIXER has more hookups than a Berlin dark room.
The GO:MIXER has more hookups than a Berlin dark room.
Photo: Roland

The GO is bristling with connections, all of which are arranged around the side if its square puck-like body. You get 1/4-inch jacks for guitar and a microphone, as well as a pair of 1/4-inch jacks for an “instrument” (a keyboard, perhaps). There are also two minijack line ins (for an MP3 player, or a drum machine), and finally a minijack “monitor out,” which is used for headphones, or a speaker.

There is also a “center cancel” switch for the minijack inputs. When engaged, this will reduce the volume of the vocal track on any song you pipe in, turning it into a background karaoke track for you to sing along.

Make sure it does what you need

We have a GO MIXER in the Cult of Mac‘s Berlin HQ, already hooked up on the test bench. In early trials, it works just fine. The knobs all over the top allow you to adjust the levels of all the incoming instruments, as well as the level of the overall mix. If you’re hoping that the GO MIXER can also double as an audio interface for your guitar, piping its signal into an amp sim app and returning the effected signal back to your headphones, then you’ll be disappointed. This is a mixer for input only (although you will hear audio from the iPhone’s Music app in your headphones).

If you need a cheap, portable, and pretty-capable box to make your YouTube music videos sound better, then the GO MIXER is worth a look. It’s certainly a lot simpler than futzing with software and fancier audio interfaces, and doubles as a controllable mic input for recording podcasts. And if you don’t need any effects, you can also use it as a way to practice your electric guitar through headphones.

The GO MIXER will cost you $99.