Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Audient EVO 4: Double the… fun?

Writing about podcasting! Is that all that I do?

Well, technically sometimes I also podcast. Which feeds the writing about podcasting. Really, it’s a vicious cycle.

For more than a decade, I’ve been happily using a Blue Yeti for all of my podcasting needs. While it has its detractors, it’s been a good fit for me: a USB mic that sounds good with my voice, and is simple to connect to my Mac. It’s not the most portable mic (for that I have an Audio Technica ATR2100), but as the anchor of my at-home studio, that wasn’t a real concern.

However, I recently ran into a scenario for which the Yeti has not been ideal. To wit, A Complicated Profession, my Star Wars recap podcast over at The Incomparable. For our coverage of The Book of Boba Fett, I’ve been joined not only by my frequent podcasting collaborator Tony Sindelar, but also my wife Kat.

And therein lies the rub. Though I had two USB mics, the Yeti and the ATR, allowing us to both record at the same time, I lacked fine grain control over those mic setups. The biggest impediment was that in order for both of us to hear Tony over Zoom, I had to setup a virtual interface with Rogue Amoeba’s Loopback, but such a setup also made it more difficult for Kat and I to hear each other. Add in that the ATR is a very directional mic, and it was difficult for me to tell when it might not be set up correctly.1

Audient EVO 4
The Audient EVO 4 is a compact interface, but it is pretty feature-packed.

Time, then, for an equipment upgrade. After consulting with Jason, I ordered an Audient EVO 4, a small USB audio interface that boasts two XLR inputs for connecting external mics. Since the ATR2100 has both a USB connection as well as an XLR jack, I already had one mic that would work with it.

To supplement it, I picked up a Pyle PDMIC58, as recommended by Marco Arment: it’s an affordable dynamic mic that runs about $20 and sounds pretty good, although I do find that I have to get pretty close to it to be audible, even with the gain up. I added a cheap windscreen and a $15 shock mount and swapped it onto my boom arm in place of my Yeti.

Pyle PDMIC58
The Pyle is affordable and sounds pretty good.

The result was a pretty simple little setup that not only allowed me to easily grab audio from both mics, but let us (via a good old-fashioned headphone splitter) easily hear each other through our monitors, as well as Tony via the computer.

While I don’t intend for this to be a full review of the EVO 4, I do have some thoughts I want to share about the interface now that I’ve used it for a few weeks.

First, the good: it’s an incredibly compact box that can support a combination of XLR and line level input, and features a single multifunction dial on the top that can be used to control volume levels, gain levels for each mic, and the mix levels between your monitor and computer audio. It also uses USB-C, can link both inputs for stereo audio, and supports phantom power for mics that need it. At $129, it’s also pretty affordable, though you can find other two-input audio interfaces for around the same price. And one nice touch that I haven’t seen on many other audio interfaces: pressing and holding an input selector mutes that input; pressing and holding on the volume selector mutes all inputs.

(There are also a few features like Smart Gain, audio loop-back, and speaker outputs that I haven’t really played with.)

All of that’s pretty good, but it has a few downsides. First, though I like the multifunction control, the EVO 4 uses LEDs arrayed around the knob to indicate gain, volume levels, and the current pan of your mix. With the device on my desktop, it can be tricky to read those LEDs, and also tough at times to tell when input might be clipping. (It does seem, from what I can tell, that the buttons for the audio inputs flash red when clipping occurs, but it’s not always as obvious as on a traditional meter.) I also wish that it didn’t require a 1/4-inch headphone adapter, but as that’s a professional standard, it’s neither here nor there.

The construction of the EVO 4 is only fine: it’s all plastic on the outside, which can make it feel a bit flimsy, compared to other audio interfaces. (But that also means it’s a bit less hefty.)

The biggest issue I’ve run into with the EVO 4, however, is sound. Which is definitely a bit of a problem, given that it’s an audio interface. For one thing, it’s not very well shielded: having my phone closer than about two feet causes some pops and clicks to make their way through unless I put it in airplane mode.

Secondly, I’ve been noticing a little click at the end of people speaking: I’ve tested and it’s audible over both my headphones and a pair of monitors I have on the desk, but not on the recording track itself, which leads me to believe it’s connected to the interface’s output. That’s been annoying, and I’ve been trying to work with Audient’s support to track it down, though their response time has been…not exactly reliable. It’s possible this unit itself is a dud, which might mean returning it and switching to a different interface or back to my Yeti until it comes time to record another podcast with two people in the same room.

While I am a professional podcaster, I’m not an audio engineer, so some of this stuff is, frankly, a little bit above my pay grade. I’m intrigued in what breaking out my setup to include an audio interface can offer in terms of flexibility and power, but I do miss some of the simplicity of a mic that plugs straight into my computer. And I have to admit, that I have still cast an envious look at the Shure MV7 to replace my Yeti, since it too has both the USB and XLR interfaces. But I’ve probably spent enough on new audio equipment for one year already.


  1. There was one week where I used Audio Hijack to essentially create a monitor, but even at its lowest latency setting, software just isn’t sufficient here. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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