There’s no denying that podcasting has become somewhat of a trend now. Highlights of podcast episodes on TikTok or Instagram Reels in that vertical aspect ratio, capturing 30-second highlights of an hour-long show are ever more present. And now, thanks to companies like Focusrite with their new Vocaster Two, it makes it incredibly simple for anyone to jump into the new trend, with their own show, or highlight reels. Anyway, enough about how podcasts are shown online, let’s dive into the tech.
The kit that was sent to me comes in two parts. One box has the Vocoder Two audio interface, and the other, the Broadcast Kit has a single Vocaster DM14v dynamic microphone and a set of HP60v monitoring headphones. There are several packages on the Focusrite website to choose from, to mix and match what you need. The Vocaster Two by itself will set you back around £229.00, though to get the kit featured in this video, it’ll cost around £399.00. For an extra mic and headphone kit, you’re looking at a further £249.00. Of course, if you already have XLR microphones, these can be used with the Vocaster Two. Though to get a full podcast setup for two guests using the Focusrite Vocaster Two, you’re looking at around £649.00. All prices here are correct on the Focusrite website at the time of writing this review.
The Focusrite Vocaster Two is a small unit, measuring at 23 centimetres wide, a height of four centimetres and a depth of 11.5 centimetres. It can sit comfortably on your desk and look good too! The faceplate has got a dark, almost gunmetal grey paint coating, and a red trim, while the base has a grainy kitchen countertop-type design. It’s made from plastic, which is a little unfortunate as something like the Focusrite Scarlet audio interface, which is probably one of their more popular products is metal. On top are three dials, the left and right are for the two headphone volume levels, and the centre is for microphone gain. The knobs, even though are plastic, have a very smooth and accurate turn. They’re secure enough not to feature any kind of noticeable wobble which is nice.
The rubber tactile buttons down below are mirrored on each side for both channels. There’s a mute button on each side which will mute each channel individually, an effects button to activate voice effect presets, but more on that soon and finally two buttons in the middle to select each channel, host and guest, so you can then manually adjust the gain of each channel. Holding down these buttons individually will auto-set your gain level depending on the voice detection of the microphone, so a nice feature there if you wanted to play it extra safe and had no way of monitoring your audio.
At the front are two 1/4-inch headphone inputs, and I did get one in my Vocoder mic and headphone box for the headphones. There are a number of very interesting inputs around back, and some that I am actually super impressed that are featured on this kit. So, boring inputs first. You’ve got a power button to turn on the unit, as well as a Kensington lock. There’s a USB Type-C to connect the Vocaster Two to a PC or laptop, a set of monitor speaker outputs for both left and right audio, and two XLR inputs for your microphones on the right. The Vocaster Two is capable of over 70Db of gain and when using it with the supplied DM14v I had no issues capturing decent audio quality.
You’ve got a button for 48v phantom power depending on the microphones you’re using and also a button to activate Bluetooth. Interestingly though, two inputs that are quite impressive is the 3.5mm aux input to connect a mobile phone. This will enable users to play audio live while recording a podcast. Think along the lines of people reacting to videos, playing pieces of music or even accepting calls while you’re live in real-time. But Bluetooth connectivity will also do this for you. Finally, a 3.5mm aux input to connect video cameras for the ease of use of capturing footage of your podcast when recording audio directly to your camera. It means editing time can be cut to a minimum when recording your shows which is great. There is also a stereo loopback feature when connecting to a PC or laptop, which
There is also software that you can download from Focusrite to make your life a little easier by keeping track of which settings are in use. Everything though can be done from the board itself, it’s really only the preset voice changer that cannot be done from the product, and needs the software to access the drop-down menu. The software can also turn on phantom power per channel too, so if you’re running two different mics you’ve got the option. And usefully, you have a mixer at the bottom too so you can on the fly mix your Host and Guest microphones in with audio loopback channels as well as your aux and Bluetooth audio. The software is extremely simple to use, though I would have liked to have seen a scale on the gain levels. I know it’s meant to be simple and to not confuse beginners, but for the more experienced people out there, might find this a tad frustrating, especially when it comes to mixing and keeping things consistent on different podcast episodes that may feature the same intro for example.
But I will say it is extremely easy to use and extremely well laid out, both physically on the Vocaster Two itself and its partner software. The build quality is absolutely fantastic, although cheapened by its plastic feel, but still a solid product nonetheless. To get everything you’d need to start a two-person podcast is pretty pricey, and on top of the package mentioned above, you’re going to need a couple of mic stands too, though I did buy this tabletop stand from Amazon for a tenner, so if you’re willing to spend £650 on a podcasting kit, then what’s an extra £20 really? The Focusrite Vocaster and Broadcast kit not only looks good, but perform exceptionally well, and to be honest I can’t recommend this product enough if you’re going to be wanting to start your own podcast or even live stream.