BEACN came in hot today with the launch of their first three products, The BEACN Mic, The BEACN Mix and the Mix’s more robust companion, the BEACN Mix Create. It is a hardware solution along the lines of the GoXLR with a few differences and a lot of improvements. It’s compact, it’s beautiful, and it may just be the next step in the evolution of streaming and content creation.
Out of the box, you have a light, yet solid, device with a USB-C to USC-A 2.0 cable (freeing you up to plug the device into any port on your PC). It, like the BEACN Mix, has four infinity scroll knobs and a crisp, clear 5” screen. What it adds is seven elastomer buttons; four to mute each individual channel, one to switch between the controls for your personal and audience mixes and two to switch pages between your sources on the device.
Setup is extraordinarily easy. All you need to do is install the app, which installs drivers for the Mix Create, and plug in the device. The app will instantly recognize the device and populate the profile window and device column. The Profile window allows you to create and select from multiple profiles to customize your setup for different use cases (e.g., one for your podcast, one for your stream and another for everyday PC use).
The device column allows you to select what device’s controls you see. Selecting the mixer will open it to the right of the device column, and you can see at first glance how in depth these controls are. Across the top, you’ll see all the selected sources, and, under each source, you will see two faders, allowing you to create submixes. One fader is for your personal mix and another for your audience mix. They can be individually controlled by unlinking the two (click the chain link below the faders) to listen to a source at a different volume than what you are sending to your audience.
“BEACN came in hot today with the launch of their first three products, The BEACN Mic, The BEACN Mix and the Mix’s more robust companion, the BEACN Mix Create.”
Below, you will see a window that will show what sources are assigned to each fader. Under the microphone fader, you will see all the available microphone sources that you can choose to be your primary mic. The fact that it can utilize any microphone you have and not necessitate a BEACN mic to work is wonderfully refreshing.
When you install the app, you will see that a number of audio stems will appear as new destinations for your audio sources. For example, you will see things like GAME (BEACN Mix Create) or MUSIC (BEACN Mix Create). This allows you to assign your sources directly to these stems. You can also assign multiple sources to a single stem.
To assign audio sources to each of the faders, you can do it in a couple of different ways. You can either assign them to the appropriate audio stems within the application (where available) or by selecting an application’s default output in Windows’ App Volume and Device Preferences menu.
“When you install the app, you will see that a number of audio stems will appear as new destinations for your audio sources.”
Just below that you will see a really cool feature of the Mix Create. There is a button with a dropdown that is defaulted to “Mute to All.” This is the command for the button below the knob for the selected channel. Pressing the button on your mic’s source, for example, will mute your mic to yourself, your audience, and your mic chat (Discord, Zoom, etc).
With the dropdown, you can specify what you want the mute to be for. You can leave it at Mute to All or specify which destination you want to mute it to, be it yourself, your audience, or your chat. Say, for example, you were playing a game with friends on stream, and you get killed early. While you wait for the next round, you want to chat with your stream audience. You can select Mute to Chat under your mic and they won’t hear you talking until you unmute, but the stream never loses your audio. This is a feature that really shows that BEACN was thinking about the content creator when designing this device.
Below all of that, there is a spot for you to select sources for your personal mix and your output mix (defaulted to audience mix). Your personal mix is whatever you are listening to the sources on, be it speakers or headphones. BEACN went to the trouble of making a two-source setup for your personal mix, so you can select between two sources by clicking the switch on the side. Most people would include headphones and speakers. I use my wired and wireless headphones.
The Audience Mix, in most situations, is the direct output to your stream. If you are running a 2 PC system, however, you may decide to send the output of the MIX Create out of your PC, so you can send that audio to the other PC. This is an incredibly innovative solution for a mixer without any inputs and outputs to leave this device open to all content creation scenarios.
At the very bottom, you have the routing table. Here, you can select where each individual fader will send its audio between your personal mix, your audio mix, and your mic chat. It is defaulted to the most standard setup, keeping your mic from being sent to your personal mix (because there isn’t zero latency over the software) and allowing only your mic to go to the mic chat. This keeps your discord from hearing your music, game, alerts, etc. You can customize it, however, to suit your individual needs.
“BEACN went to the trouble of making a two-source setup for your personal mix so you can select between two sources by clicking the switch on the side.”
It is also worth noting that you can control everything from within the app, not just the Mix Create. You can mute, control the faders and everything else that you can do on the hardware. To some (especially those used to software like the Wavelink), operating on the software may help you acclimate to the BEACN device.
The BEACN Mix Create is the very best of the GoXLR meeting the very best of the Elgato Wavelink. There are few creators out there who would have to sacrifice any aspect of their content by making the change. It packs all the punch of the larger mixers, but its design is compact, roughly the size of the Stream Deck XL. This is a tool that should find its way into the hands of every content creator out there.
For people wondering about the differences between this device and the smaller BEACN Mix, there are quite a few. Aside from the things that are obvious when looking at it (the buttons), The Mix Create can be sent out to your stream, DAW, or wherever you need as one complete source. The submixes, routing table, mute modes, and ability to control more than four sources are all exclusive to the Mix Create, but the Mix has the simplicity of the drag and drop functionality for the audio sources (which the Mix Create should adopt in an update).
“The BEACN Mix Create is the very best of the GoXLR meeting the very best of the Elgato Wavelink.”
The question is, is it worth the extra $50 USD ($199 total) to go with the Mix Create? In my humble opinion, yes, it is. There is a bit more of a learning curve on this one than the BEACN Mix, but its added functionality could have garnered a much larger price tag.
I was trying to find flaws in the Mix Create, but really what I came up with was more of a wish list. The things that are missing don’t make it a worse device. They are just things I’d like to see. Most of which can be provided with a software update.
For starters, the ability to press in the knobs exists on the Mix Create, but it isn’t doing anything. I’d love to see them use the pressing of the knob as one mute mode and the button as a second one. So, I can mute my mic to chat or to everyone without having to go into the software to make the change. VST support for third party microphones would also be huge (Though I read a tweet from BEACN that indicated that this is in the plans).
Testing was done on a Beta version of their software, which had some small issues. None of these issues were hard to overcome and every one of them that I experienced was already identified by BEACN and being addressed for their official software rollout.