Whether you’re in a garage band, a moving artist or a podcaster who likes to be heard around the world, there’s a lot to like about this model right now, and for $150 (about €126), it’s also a relatively good investment. modest for something you can easily carry in your back pocket. The latest model, the “Pro-X”, brings some modest but important updates from the original Go: Mixer Pro.
The main new addition to the Pro-X mixer from Go: Roland Mixer, is less about audio and more about compatibility: Roland claims that Pro-X adds better support for Android phones and iOS devices. Don’t worry, there are some extra audio features.
Namely, a new “pad” for guitars (to attenuate the volume on pickups) and the headphone/monitor port which is now bidirectional (ie it’s also an input). Roland introduces the latest model as a way to record from a microphone built into your headphones, but you can also connect a lavalier / 3.5mm source.
Roland’s Go: Mixer series has found a fan base with musicians looking for a pocket-sized recording solution – and for good reason. The tiny mixers are lightweight, offer plenty of connectivity, and don’t break the bank. The rest of the Pro-X is the same as the previous Pro. There is a single XLR combo port on the right side for microphones and 1/4-inch devices.
Also on this side you’ll find the phantom power button (for when using condenser microphones), a 3.5mm line-level / smartphone input and a guitar / bass port. The front edge hosts two more 3.5mm line-level inputs, that new pad switch, the updated two-way headphone port, and the phone’s loopback switch. The left side has just a pair of 1/4-inch instrument inputs and the battery cover for the four AAA batteries needed for phantom power.
In short, if it has, or can be converted to, a 3.5mm port, a quarter-inch connector, or an XLR connector, you can probably use it here. The top face of the Pro-X is where you’ll find all the entries. A few things to note: the 3.5mm input of the “smartphone” doesn’t have a control, you’ll need to adjust it on the phone itself.
However, you can also connect a phone to one of the quarter-inch ports with an adapter, in which case you’ll have volume control with one of the ports, if that’s important. It’s also worth mentioning that the main volume is also the monitor gain, which is a bit inconvenient if you want high monitoring levels but low gain in your recording or vice versa.
Since the Pro-X is designed to work with your phone, there’s a handy ledge along the battery compartment that doubles as a slot for your phone. Of course, this means you don’t need to have your phone as a tethered weight, but it also provides a good position for the camera if you want to broadcast a live performance. The author of the article mentions that his iPhone 12 with the case doesn’t fit perfectly in the socket, but enough for the phone to be stable when using it. If there’s one immediate thing to change, it’s the “peak” indicator.
Unlike a DJ mixer, which would have a full range of LEDs indicating the volume of each channel and a separate one for the main volume, the Pro-X has a single LED that will flash red when any input exceeds the maximum limit (or ie, clipping). It is quite possible to set these levels so that there is no red light appearing during your checks. If there was a way to constantly see how close it is to 0dB, that would be much more useful.
Worse than that, however, the article’s author says that he found that some of his recordings that didn’t trigger the red light can be a little distorted in playback. When speaking into the microphone, everything sounded fine, but the recording used to be “crunchy” in the higher sections. Luckily, you can actually hear that in your headphones while , and then you can adjust the levels before breaking the record, but in the end, what good is the clipping light if it’s not keeping you from overloading things in a way. reliable? After a few tests with different mics, it was clear that dynamic mics are good, but any condenser tested needed a lot more space to avoid a harsh sound.
It’s not clear if this is a preamp or phantom power issue, or just the extra sensitive nature of the capacitors. When testing a Shure SM59 (dynamic / no phantom power), for example, the article’s author says he was able to – in fact almost had to – set the gain to maximum, and even if the main volume was 75 per cent, there was still plenty of free space. And that brings us back to the fact that the monitor’s level control is the same as the main gain. You’ll probably want your levels very modest to make sure you don’t clip, but in doing so, your monitoring levels are also low, making it harder to hear your mix the way you want it.
Getting started aside, once you’re done, it’s all very simple. As mentioned above, it’s preferable to connect a phone (or any other 3.5mm source to be fair) through the guitar port. Have the rotary knob for the volume
lets you adjust the volume quickly and much more fluidly, which is useful if you want to use music beds or other sources where you might want to change the volume dynamically. Likewise, if you want to use two XLR mics – say for a podcast or a vocal and an instrument with a microphone) – you can co-opt one of the 3.5mm ports with something like an iRig Pre 2. That means spending money on equipment, but if you record frequently, having a 3.5mm XLR adapter / interface is very handy to have around.
As for the new ability to record with the microphone built into the headphones, all you can say is… does it work? These built-in microphones are never good, but it’s never a bad thing to have more inputs and can work well for more conversational podcasts or just for recording phone interviews. As already mentioned, you’ll be able to feed other inputs if you don’t need to monitor, if you’re recording a narration or something for a multitrack piece that you want to edit later.
Perhaps the most interesting thing for me, says the author of the article, is what else can you use it for? The credentials as a portable mixer for musicians are obvious. But it will only be a useful thing to have around if you work with audio at all. I’ve become something of an audio adapter collector. I have all kinds of cables, interfaces and various types of microphones, and so the article’s author points out that something like the Pro-X appeals as a simple way to put several of them together in a portable setup.
The wealth of inputs means that it’s also quite flexible, which is a very attractive combination. The problem with the levels mentioned above is more about learning how to set things up, and it would be preferable for the monitor volume to be separate from the main volume for those occasions when you really want to record bass but still hear how the mix sounds together, he says. the author of the article. Perhaps this is something we can look forward to in a future model.