Roland’s Go:Mixer Pro is a versatile, portable and thus highly useful little audio interface and mixer designed to use with smartphones, although equally able to be used with laptops, with the unique feature of having a phone stand built in. DJs and DJ/producers might find it useful to provide high quality audio for livestreaming, and also for recording their sets and performances to smartphone or laptop. It’s not cheap, but it does have a unique feature set.
First Impressions / Setting up
As always, we’ll start our Roland Go:Mixer Pro review with a first impressions and setting up talkthrough. It is a white plastic box, with plastic knobs – on the plus side, this means it’s lightweight, but on the minus, a bit cheap feeling.
That said it is sturdy enough, with grippy feet to stop it sliding about on the surface – just as well, because it also has a unique feature: A built in, slightly angled stand for your smartphone or small tablet.
It can be powered for 4.5 hours by inserting 4xAA batteries into it – at this price, though, having a built-in rechargeable battery would have been nice. That does mean though that if you’re using it to stream or record from a smartphone, you can switch power on to prevent the unit drawing its power from your phone, thus flattening it quicker.
A rechargeable battery and/or outlet power input, though, would mean the unit might have been able to charge your phone, too.
The phone stand has a grippy rubber base at the bottom of its groove, and the base, knobs and sockets are all in black, making it quite neat looking.
As it’s a device intended for musicians as much as DJs, it has the whole range of possible inputs – a mic XLR, a guitar/bass 1/4″ jack, an 1/8″ mic jack, and a 2 x 1/4″ jack inputs, which gang to stereo and would be the ones you’d ideally use to plug your DJ mixer or controller into. These all have their own mixer knobs.
There are also two extra 1/8″ minijack stereo line in sockets, which don’t even have a volume control on the mixer – you’re meant to adjust the volumes of these on the connected devices. You could use these to have a backup music source connected in case you had issues with your DJ gear during a performance, for instance, or even to daisy-chain the output from another DJ into the rig. It’d get fiddly, but it’s possible.
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Output-wise, there is a mini USB socket (it’s supplied with cables to connect to Android phones, Lightning and USB-C – if you want to use with a laptop you’ll need to source a mini-USB to laptop USB lead), and an 1/8″ stereo minijack monitor out. The latter would be useful for plugging your DJ monitors into if you’ve got a controller with only a single stereo output, which of course you’d have to use to plug into the audio interface instead of your speakers when recording or streaming to smartphone or laptop.
There are other knobs, switches and settings that are really more for musicians, but that’s the basics. But what’s it like to use?
As DJs who like to livestream and also record tutorials, we have used this for a couple of purposes. Firstly, we used it to experiment with livestreaming from our phone, and with the phone perched on its stand and the controller plugged in to the 2 x 1/4″ jack instrument input, it worked perfectly.
We also plugged our monitor speakers into the Monitor Out, because the controller we were using was a basic one (a Numark Mixtrack Pro FX) and it didn’t have two separate outputs, so this was was a godsend.
A great thing is that you can perch the mixer on something to point your phone camera at your decks, meaning it acts as a phone tripod too. It’s not ideal for that because it’s a fixed angle and your phone is vulnerable to be dropped if you yank on a lead attached to the unit, for instance, and the unit topples, but as long as you set this up thoughtfully, it’s good to have.
Read this next: 4 Ways To Livestream From Anywhere
The second way we used this was as a more traditional audio interface in our studio for live teaching, to get a mix of microphone audio and the audio coming out of the DJ gear were were training people to use on our online class. In this instance, we used a mini-USB to USB cable to plug it into the computer, and although this isn’t an advertised use of the interface, as with most such devices it worked perfectly.
One thing we preferred about this over another popular audio interface for DJs, the IK Multimedia iRig Stream, is that it doesn’t seem to suffer from the iRig Stream’s problem/feature of needing to be unplugged and plugged in again sometimes to start working/be recognised by the app or software you’re using. The Roland just remained reliably on and ready for action.
As far as monitoring your audio goes, there is nothing more than a small red “peak” LED, which you should try to avoid lighting up, although it did seem pretty forgiving when we did. Obviously on a small device like this you don’t get individual channel monitoring, but it’ll be pretty obvious what’s causing your peaking with so few inputs.
There are other features – phantom power for mics, loopback audio from smartphone, “centre cancel” on one of the line inputs (beloved of karaoke fans, as it kind-of kills the vocals on tracks), but frankly as DJs, these are things we’d never use.
At the time of writing this (June 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown) the world has gone livestreaming crazy, and audio interfaces are hard to find! This is one of the options you may see available when you go hunting.
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Compared to some of the competition it is pricey, but no other audio interface at this level has so much flexibility with inputs and outputs, a built-in phone stand, and the ability to grow with you should you want to move from DJ to DJ/producer and start adding in a drum machine, external musicians etc. to your performances.
It certainly will do the job of getting your controller audio into your iOS/Android phone or tablet, or indeed your laptop, and notwithstanding my minor criticisms of it being a bit plasticky, and needing batteries rather than being rechargeable/having in the option for external power, it’s a winner.
Certainly if it’s one of the options available to you, it’s in stock, and you can afford the rather steep asking price, don’t think twice – it’ll do the DJ livestreaming job royally, and then some.