Boss' Gigcaster mixers are designed for live music streaming

They're also useful for podcasters and other creators.


You now have a fresh alternative to Rode's mixing desks, particularly if you're a budding music streamer. Boss has introduced Gigcaster 5 and Gigcaster 8 USB mixers built with livestreaming performances in mind. The touchscreen and physical controls are built to handle common streaming tasks, such as fading a source or playing effects (like delays and voice transformation), using only hardware. They support hands-free control through pedals and similar devices, too. Multiple inputs help you connect instruments and XLR mics, and Bluetooth is available if you're performing through a phone or tablet.

You aren't forced to go live. While the Gigcasters were designed for services like Facebook Live, Twitch and YouTube, you can also use them for podcasting, pre-recorded videos and similar offline content. This is primarily intended to streamline setups that would otherwise require multiple boxes to achieve the same results.

The Gigcaster 5 is the 'entry' model with a direct guitar input, two XLR ports, stereo line in, eight virtual pads and a 16x12 USB interface. Move to the Gigcaster 8 and you get the guitar input as well as four XLR/TRS combo inputs, an onboard stereo mic, eight physical effect pads, a 20x14 USB interface and multitrack recording to microSD cards.

Both mixers ship to the US in May. The Gigcaster 5 costs $479, while the Gigcaster 8 is priced at $699. These aren't casual purchases if you're just starting out, and they don't include a video capture card like Rode's Streamer X. Boss' hardware offers much more advanced audio control than that device, however, and the outlay may be justified if it adds polish to your livestreamed concerts or DJ sets.