TC Helicon has taken the brains and functionality of their extremely well selling Go XLR and cut both the size and price in half. How does it compare?
Go XLR Mini is an audio interface made for streamers. Boasting four faders for audio control, mute buttons & censorship buttons for keeping your broadcast accessible, this hybrid piece of gear makes mixing on the fly a breeze. A dedicated optical input for your console plus a MIDAS preamped XLR input to ensure high-quality audio from the get-go. The Go XLR Mini also has four 3.5mm plugs for line-in, out, mic in and headphone out. One thing that makes this a must-buy for live streamers is the headphone out is exactly what is outputted through to OBS or your streaming platform of choice. No messing about with the stream to find out the mix is wrong or worse, that there's no audio on there at all!
Via the app, you can change the device to function in any way that suits your needs. Want to route audio from a program on your computer to one of the faders on the app? Apply EQ, compression and gating to all audio sources? Reprogram the mute buttons to other uses? The Go XLR Mini does it all. The best part of all is that all processing is done in the physical domain which means there's no tax on precious computer processing power and no risk of a stream being cut off by the software crashing. A huge advantage over using virtual audio routing for streaming.
Also through the app, you have the ability to save presets, say for use with different consoles or games which makes using this interface a seamless experience. The Mini loses all the physical effects and motorised faders from the larger Go XLR for housing that's half the size and weight. Personally, this is not a big loss as the effects on the larger Go XLR weren't up my alley and the LED's on the side of the faders indicate when you've loaded a preset, bringing the fader to that level allows the use of it again. The faders, although losing the motorised effect are now smoother and easier to use.
The interface for the app is a breeze to navigate. The EQ, gate and compression settings are enough to achieve a professional sound but withholding all the extra features most people won’t use or miss. The EQ is a simple low, mid and high which is quite analogue in its approach. The gate has threshold, attenuation, attack and release controls, while the compressor has threshold, ratio, attack, release and make-up gain. The ratio control allows the compressor to become a limiter with ease.
The Midas preamp on the XLR input sounds gorgeous and extremely clean, with phantom power switchable via the app for use of condenser microphones or any other input requiring 48v. The audio quality for input processing and digital mixing is done at 24bit/48khz, more than appropriate for online broadcasting. Unfortunately, there is no MAC application for the XLR Mini yet. Sorry Apple devotees.
The Go XLR and Go XLR Mini are possibly one of the only dedicated consumer audio interface built for streamers, podcasters and content creators. From the optical input on the back for direct input from gaming consoles to the inbuilt EQ/compression/limiting, TC Helicon has both the professional and beginner streamers in mind.
Hits and Misses
Quality hardware components
Ease of use
Suitable for professionals and amateurs
No iOS support