For years now I’ve been looking for a quality audio setup for my PC. From both a streaming standpoint, as well a way to boost the quality of the podcast I help produce. I’ve looked at mixers to help boost the streaming quality by introducing multiple PCs to the mix, though products like the GOXLR have been both out of reach - pricing and stock-wise - I’ve been struggling to find something that would fit the bill.
Thankfully, AVerMedia reached out to us with an opportunity to check out their latest hardware in their livestreaming line-up: The AVerMedia Live Streamer Nexus.
Straight up: the Nexus feels like a mix between the GOXLR and an Elgato Stream Deck. Offering the audio mixing capabilities with the former with the PC control of the latter, the Nexus makes for a powerful addition to any streamers set up, whether you’re just looking to start upgrading the quality of your streams or are a seasoned pro.
- Current Price: $349.99 (AVerMedia)
- Interface: USB 2.0, Type B (Driver Required)
- Mic In: XLR (Balanced)/6.3 mm (Single-end) x1
- Console In: Optical In (Toslink) x1
- Computer Inputs: Digital Tracks x3
- Headphone Out and Line Out: (3.5mm TRS, Stereo
- Output Mix: Creator Mix / Audience Mix
- Sampling Rate: Up to 96kHz, 24 bits
- Microphone Effect: Noise Gate, Reverb, Compressor, Equalizer
- Frequency Response: 10Hz to 20kHz
- Dynamic Response: 114dB
- Screen Panel: 5” IPS Touch Panel
- Widget: Interactive and Customizable Grid
- Rotational Encoders: 6 (Physical inputs x 3 / Digital Inputs x3)
- Lighting: RGB
- Power Switch: Yes
- Power Input: Standard 12V DC, Center Negative, 1.5A
- Power Consumption: < 7W
- Phantom Power: +48V, Switchable via NEXUS App
- Without Stand: 21.7 x 14.5 x 6.1 cm (5.7 x 8.5 x 2.4 in)
- With Stand: 21.7 x 14.5 x 9.4 cm (5.7 x 8.5 x 3.7 in)
- Weight: Without Stand: 0.699 kg (24.66 oz), with stand: 0.843 kg (29.74 oz)
- Software: AVerMedia Nexus App
First Impressions and Thoughts
Initially, when the Nexus showed up, I was shocked at how small it actually was. I’ve grown up around audio mixers, in fact, my little brother is a relatively well-known audio engineer here in Las Vegas, and they’ve all been rather large. Even the ones I’ve seen with friends who use GOXLRs for their streams are rather large for the desk space.
Keep in mind too, the Nexus isn’t small - it takes up some pretty good real estate on the desk, but I was shocked it wasn’t bigger, especially when you consider it includes not just the audio mixing suite, but also the interactive touch screen to control your stream.
The device is broken into three major parts: the audio knobs, the four customizable hotkey buttons, and then the IPS panel, which acts much the same way as Elgato’s Stream Deck. I like the overall look, especially the amount of RGB on the device itself. Volume levels on the knobs indicate how loud (or quiet) a certain setting is, the screen itself is sufficiently bright (though that is adjustable), and the four hotkey physical buttons light up based on the icon you have assigned to them. Crucially though, the actual labeling of the knobs aren’t lit up. This isn’t a problem if you’re in a well-lit room, but for me personally, I like to work in the dark. I’ve got RGB LED bulbs in my office and blackout curtains for a reason. As such, it made it hard to remember which knob was which at first, something that could be solved by simply making the names of each knob light up along with the level indicators.
Around the edge of the AVerMedia Nexus is a strip of RGB which is adjustable within the Nexus program. It adds a nice touch to the device overall and also acts as an indicator if you’re recording or streaming using one of the supported programs (more on that in a bit). It’s a nice touch and I remember smiling a goofy grin the first time I streamed and saw the RGB turn from its kaleidoscope of color to a pulsing blue light, indicating I was currently live. The color of the indicator knobs are also adjustable within the app, though the amount of RGB color options might be disappointing to some. Razer Chroma, this is not.
The actual knobs themselves feel good to turn. They don’t feel cheap and give a satisfying click as you turn the volume up or down on the device itself. You can quickly mute a function by pressing on the knob, and when you unmute the device your previous audio levels are right where they were originally. It’s something simple, but I was pretty happy when I realized this, as I was simply turning the knobs down all the way initially to mute my mic or one of the three digital feeds.
Back I/O provides options for XLR mics, line-in audio, optical and more. Unfortunately, the device only supports a single XLR, and unlike competitor TC-Helicon’s GOXLR there is no separate input for a 3.5mm mic connection, instead, you’ll need to use the line-in port. For me this feels like a miss, as using multiple mics for podcasting is a potential use for this device, though unlike in the Before Times, it might be a bit longer before face-to-face podcast recording is a thing you’ll need to worry about again. While you can, theoretically, hook two mics in using the line-in feature, you’ll then miss out on the fantastic mic effects the mixer provides on that second microphone.
The XLR input provides options for Dynamic, Condenser (using its built-in Phantom Power for those mics that need it) and even USB mics (using a 6.3 adapter), and this affords a range of mixer effects to customize your sound. If you’re in a noisy room you can enable a noise gate, tailored to the level of aggressiveness you’ll need. Additionally, if you’re like me and don’t want the Dynamic XLR mic mere millimeters from my mouth, the Compressor feature is a nice touch.
You can also tweak the exact sound you want using echo, reverb as well as a full equalizer on offer. If you’ve headphones plugged directly into the mixer, you’ll get instant feedback as well, allowing you to monitor the mix right from the device itself, something that is standard on mixers like this. I appreciate this - virtual mixers I’ve used include a frustratingly distracting delay causing me to turn the monitor off altogether. Here it’s perfectly melded into the overall mix, allowing me to tweak in real-time without the frustration.
Controlling Your Stream
Obviously, one of the major use cases for the AVerMedia Live Streamer Nexus is right there in the name: Live Streaming. Connecting either a single PC or even a dual PC setup is made much easier thanks to the mixer, allowing you to feed your gaming PC or console’s audio right into the mix being sent to your streaming PC.
Setting this up is rather easy, at least on paper. It does require a good capture card, as well a system able to handle streaming, but offloading the streaming to another PC can save you valuable performance, both in your game and on the stream itself.
To route the audio, the Nexus has multiple digital outputs which can be independently mixed, as well as the three physical outputs in the I/O. These are all mixed together in either a single mix, or a dual-mix (Creator and Audience Mix) which can then be picked up by the streaming software. Routing the audio from your gaming PC to the mixer is as simple as plugging into the Line In port in the back. Then it’s just a simple matter of a quality capture card and good internet to do the rest.
The mixing channels are nice too, even if you’re doing a single PC setup, which I ended up doing most of the review period (Constantly moving PCs, especially during workdays and with a kid in the office during school hours is hard!). Routing Discord through the Chat input, while my games were all routed through the - you guessed it - game input made it easy to simply mix what I was hearing in my headset, and ultimately what was sent out to the stream.
With a regular mixer though, that’s where the review would end. You get the audio mixed properly, it’s done it’s job. Review over. However, the Live Streamer Nexus doesn’t just stop at being the source for your audio, but you can also control your streaming software like OBS, Streamlabs OBS or AVerMedia’s proprietary RECentral by using the screen on the device. If you’ve ever used a Stream Deck, the concept is the same: there is a grid of slots you can use to transition scenes, open programs, map hotkeys, or even control the media player on your PC. If you want to run a digital soundboard for radio-like sound drops you can do that too.
Where the screen on the Nexus sets itself apart from Elgato’s Decks is the additional functionality of it being, well, a screen versus simply buttons. You can host your stream chat on the Nexus itself, ridding you from needing to use a second screen to keep an eye on what people are saying. You can also track active viewers on Twitch and Youtube, current subscriber counts, as well as tie your Spotify account into the Nexus App and control it with on-screen buttons as well.
It’s all pretty nifty, and I was pretty happy when I tested streaming that I could clearly and easily read the chat on the screen. I was fearing that it would be too small or pixelated to do so, but was thankfully proven wrong.
You can also map launching programs, websites and more to the screen, making it simple to get into EVE Online or The Lord of the Rings Online by tapping a button as opposed to going through Steam or the launcher. Want some added personalization? The screen’s background can be customized with any color (in the limited color options) or even an image from your PC. Thankfully there is also a way to get rid of the default grid on the screen too, cleaning it up a bit as well.
Pretty much all the Live Streamer Nexus’ functionality is driven through the companion app, and while it’s pretty easy to pick up, I do wish there were more tooltips for some of the more obscure settings or even screen widgets. It took me a bit to realize the soundboard widgets were for a radio-esque soundboard, and the microphone effects could do with some explanation for those beginners setting up their first mixer and XLR mic.
Speaking of the XLR mic (we used the AVerMedia Live Streamer Mic 330, separate review incoming this week), one crucial tooltip I’m glad is there is when you switch from the XLR Dynamic profile (which requires no phantom power) to the XLR Condenser with power on the Nexus App. There is a warning message that pops up by default, making sure you meant to click that as you can seriously damage a Dynamic mic that doesn’t require power if you suddenly start sending some its way. It’s a nice touch that does help out those beginners who might not know - or a great safeguard for people like me with random click syndrome.
The app itself is robust with a lot of customization, however, there are blind spots. There isn’t a way to tie XSplit functionality into the screen like you can OBS, so if you’re a user you’re out of luck right now. Spotify control is there, but if you use other music streaming apps like Amazon, YouTube Music, Apple Music or even something like Pandora, you’re not going to have the same level of functionality. Hopefully, as the months go on more functionality is added to the app, allowing for more granular control over your complete setup.
As I’ve used the AVerMedia Live Streamer Nexus for the better part of three weeks now, I actually can’t see myself going back to any other setup. I love the level of control it gives me over the audio I have on my PC. I can independently turn down Discord conversations when they get a bit too wacky, while turning my game audio up to enjoy sweeping soundtracks. Setting up a dual PC stream, which I thought was daunting, actually was made really simple with the Nexus. And I’ve found myself using my existing Elgato Stream Deck less and less since starting this review.
But that brings me to a huge question mark as to who this device would be for. If you’re already incredibly embedded into Elgato’s ecosystem, the functionality of the Nexus’ screen won’t completely replace your Stream Deck, as many of the functions like turning on and off Elgato’s Key Lights, simply aren’t possible with the Nexus. And it makes sense, AVerMedia seems poised to try to disrupt the streaming hardware space with the Nexus, their new 330 Mic and more. Supporting their competition’s products within theirs isn’t something that is naturally going to be expected.
If you have a Stream Deck already, this isn’t going to be a wholesale replacement. But, it provides so much additional functionality that my Stream Deck has effectively been relegated to an expensive light switch. It’s a hard ask then to expect people who are more embedded into Elgato’s ecosystem to simply make the switch.
However, the fact that this device is more than just a fancy screen might entice some to check it out. A mixer that provides much of the same functionality as the GOXLR, while also having the utility of the Stream Deck - and it’s cheaper than the other mixer? It’s a win in my book - assuming AVerMedia can keep up with demand.
I know for me, the AVerMedia Live Streamer Nexus was exactly what I’ve been looking for over the past few years. A solid audio mixer with a ton of functionality, while providing some unique utility its competition simply doesn’t provide in their mixers. It’s not perfect, but with more support down the road, the Nexus itself feels poised to take GOXLR and Elgato head-on.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.