Podcast recording, and more broadly “content creation,” as it’s sometimes called, is on the rise more than ever, and device manufacturers know it. It is therefore not surprising to see a specialized brand like Focusrite seize the opportunity on the fly, even if it already offers products in essence that meet the expectations of budding podcasters, such as the very popular Scarlett 2i2. Nevertheless, getting to grips with digital audio interfaces (the “sound cards” as they are nicknamed) can require a little learning time for novices, and it is precisely this specific audience that the two models of Vocaster interfaces from Focusrite.
From the point of view of connectivity and functionality, the Vocasters want to make life easier for their owners. In addition to the essential XLR microphone input, headphone output and speaker jack outputs, the Vocasters first offer a TRRS mini-jack auxiliary input to retrieve a music stream or a call from a smartphone, for example. Audiovisual content creators will also find their account with a TRS mini-jack output which allows the recorded stream to be sent directly to a digital camera, among others, and without latency, we are promised. The card plugs in and is self-powered via USB. The Vocaster Two is distinguished by the presence of a second XLR microphone input and above all Bluetooth connectivity, in particular to simplify the integration of a guest on the telephone.
On the main face of the card there is a first gain potentiometer for the microphone (which can also be activated automatically thanks to the dedicated function and button), a second potentiometer for the output level, a button to easily mute the microphone master if needed, plus another button to apply one of four audio processing presets to the voice, again to make using the card as easy as possible.
On the software side now, the Vocasters are accompanied by a specifically dedicated application, “Vocaster Hub”, which of course makes it possible to manage the incoming and outgoing audio streams, the “routing” and the premixing of this whole little world. Interestingly and practical, the software allows two stereo return loops to integrate the sound coming from two distinct software on the computer (for jingles, music…). Finally, little technical information is shared by Focusrite other than the fairly generous microphone input gain range of +70dB”to manage all microphones plugged into XLR”, indicates the manufacturer.
The Vocaster One and Vocaster Two are already available and will save you €220 and €330 respectively, and €330 and €550 if you opt for the pack including a microphone, an XLR cable and the brand’s monitoring headphones. Small sympathetic attention, the manufacturer brings on these products a guarantee of three years. A software suite is also available for recording, simplifying the reception of guests and publishing podcasts.