When it comes to combining some sounds to create beautiful masterpieces for others (and yourself, of course) to enjoy, grabbing one of the Best Audio Mixers is always a wise investment. We have seen that a large number of musicians and artists use mixers for a large number of applications: some DJs and MCs, other musicians performing live (who might as well try to build their own PA system), not to mention those in a studio (at home or professionally) that contributes to their arsenal of recording equipment. Even if they are not digital like many today, analog mixers are also a popular choice.
First of all, we have one of the best audio mixers on the market when it comes to overall affordability, channels, ins/outs and other features that are considered essential in one of these components. The v2 is a part of their ProFX series that came out just a little bit ago and it already has quite a lot of highly rated reviews on different channels around the net. With the v2 you get options from 4 channels all the way up to 30 (the price naturally goes up), a few high-quality microphone preamps to connect your microphones there, excellent FX engine (16 of them, ranging from reverberation to delays and more) ), as well as a 7-band graphic EQ to help you monitor your sound.
When it comes to the best audio mixers, Mackie comes up time and time again (they are of course also famous in the DJ mixer lake). What’s cool about this series is that you can choose from a range of channel numbers, so you’re not limited to what we have here and can choose what is best for you (or what falls within your budget). The Mackie ProFXv2 is the best option for those looking for a mixer with the highest specifications and not for breaking their wallets completely.
Allen & Heath ZED-10FX
When it comes to music stuff, especially consoles for mixing in the DJ and the realm, it is Allen & Heath’s turn. This specific audio mixer is great for both live sound and for recording, and when it comes to affordability, we’re still within the affordable price range (at least when it comes to mixers). With the ZED-10FX you have a very solid and stable portable build, configurable USB in/out, two stereo inputs, 4 microphone and line inputs, two of which are equipped with a Class A FET input. 2 XLRs, great surveillance section and of course some handy FX to add to your tracks.
Another mixer with just the essentials and a few extra functions to start up. There are not as many channels (there are 10) as some others, but most will call that more than adequate for most applications (for both recording and studio). The Allen & Heath ZED-10FX is another one of the best audio mixers out there, especially if you wanted something affordable and you didn’t feel the aforementioned Mackie model. Overall, this is one of the best audio mixers right now.
This is when the price of audio mixers starts to rise considerably, but for good reasons, if you have the money to invest. It is also when we start seeing some more advanced features that, once you learn to use them, will really separate your mix from others. You get no less than 14 inputs, 10 channels (one button compressor on the first 6), stereo master faders (with AFL and PFL monitor buttons), 80 Hz high pass filters (helps with rumble), a Feedback Channel Locator system (helps you with locating and eliminating feedback) and high power with its amplifiers (500W, 200W or 75W per channel).
What stands out with the Yamaha EMX5014C are the single button compressors, which really help you to control the vocals or keep the bass tight. The interface is also user-friendly and advanced to be able to accurately monitor audio (9-band graphic representation is assignable). Overall, this is one of the best audio mixers that you can buy right now on the market.
Behringer XENYX 1202
We love Behringer for the super budget-friendly audio device that they offer to the market. This specific audio mixer is one of the cheapest we found worth watching, and if you wanted a simple solution without bells and whistles that would give you some of the functions needed to get your mixing experiences going, give it a try. There are 12 inputs, 4 microphone preamps, a post-fader FX per channel, 3-band EQs for great sound (they call them “British”, but we don’t know exactly why), CD inputs and some great high headroom and low-noise sound.
The preamps are not groundbreaking or anything (we don’t expect much because of the costs), but they get the job done, especially if you are focused on performances in smaller environments. The 48-volt phantom power helps with every microphone you have, and the EQ (again, “British” says they are a little “warm” and “detailed”) will give you a sound that is worth being shown to others. The Behringer XENYX 1202 is one of the best audio mixers for those who want a very simple solution for smaller applications.
If you want one of the best audio mixers on the market that is super digital (connects to your iPad with Lightning connector), offers 16 channels and high quality 24-bit audio quality, here’s another Mackie model to keep in mind. It has no less than 16 mic preamps (their “Onyx” build), wireless mixing function and some essential effects (compression, reverb, delay). Oh, it also has a 4-band parametric, 31-band graphic master bus.
As you can see in the photo, it has a nice appearance and an elegant design for excellent portability for those traveling to record or play. What is also impressive is that you can connect up to 10 wireless iPad connections to its 6 aux sends in one go (we don’t know exactly who would do that and why – we might see a few, but 10?). This is a fairly accurate mixer for a specific group of performers or recorders, but if it sounds like it fits in your studio or performs a rig, the Mackie DL1608L might be the perfect mixer to buy.
PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2AI
Now we are talking about top-of-the-line. If there was no money, this is by far one of the best audio mixers on the market. If you have the money to invest in something big to really separate your mixes from the rest of the world of music recording and performance, the StudioLive series from PreSonus should be taken seriously. With this specific model (and there are others in this series that offer more functions, but we found these the best for most), you are equipped with 16 channels, a FireWire 800 audio interface, 16 microphone preamps.
There is also a wireless remote control and “Fat Channel” processing (4-band fully parametric EQ, numerous dynamics, etc.). It also comes with their Studio One 2 Artist DAW software, so if you were interested in getting some help when it comes to recording and performing, it will help you. For some extra channels you can also view the 24.4.2AI or 32.4.2AI (of course for more money). The PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2AI mixer is for those who take their sounds seriously.
Peavey XR 8600D
This is one of the best audio mixers out there. Peavey is a brand we’ve heard before when it comes to more analog, old-school types of music equipment. For microphone preamps, you have 8 of them and 10 line outputs to give you some options. There is a 3-band EQ on each channel (with a monitor send on each channel), a 25dB path on the first 6 channels, a special 7-band EQ for main / monitors (with FLS) and 16 presets with parameter control.
For power in the amplifiers, there is 600W per channel which is reasonably achievable for most applications that exist. It also has its own Feedback Localization System as we have seen in other popular mixers to help you determine the cause of what hassle, which is especially useful for those who perform live. Many of the mixers here are not powered, so if you wanted one that is not completely digital and plan to use yours to perform live, the Peavey XR 8600D is a great option if you can afford it.
Soundcraft Si Expression 1
This is one of the best audio mixers that really dominate others when it comes to the overall quality of sound and capabilities that it brings. It’s great whether you’re recording live or recording in a studio (at home or professionally). The Express 1 has 16 channels and microphone preamps (can be called up), 4 line-ins, 4 internal stereo FX returns and the possibility to use a maximum of 66 processing channels (with the 64 x 64 expansion slot). Each channel also has its own special processing (high pass, delay, gate, compressor, and 4-band EQ).
What justifies the advanced manners and overall price of this mixer is the fact that the processors are very advanced (Lexicon FX processor and an EMMA DSP processor for sound quality – in other words, a costly digital processor that really stands out when it comes to quality versus normally priced mixers). They indicate that it is recommended for broadcasts, churches, music locations of most formats, band exercises, recordings in the studio and theaters – so basically any application that you can see yourself tripping – this is very versatile. The only thing that leads you away from the Soundcraft Si Expression 1 is a price tag, or if you are just starting out, the inflated functions might be too much for you.
Behringer XR18 X Air
Then we have a much appreciated Behringer mixer that is not necessarily budget-friendly, but a model that might be perfect for your needs. The XR18 has a slightly different look as you can see, and it’s 18 channels, 12 buses and 16 gain-programmable preamps (‘Midas’ build) are more than enough for many musicians and artists out there. It has an integrated Wi-Fi module (see that antenna?) To connect seamlessly to your smart devices or laptops, a built-in multi-channel USB audio interface and six aux send.
The construction is also great because it has rack ears and protection bumpers, which is great for stage boxes and rack-mount chassis. The channel processing is of high quality and you have 100-band RTA for all channels and bus EQs. The Behringer XR18 X Air is great for those on location, not only because of the handy construction, but also because of the many features it has focused on the back stairs to make their work a lot easier – you actually get a full remote about many of the functions that a mixer usually has, which is never bad behind the scenes. Overall, this is one of the best audio mixers right now.
Finally, and certainly not least, we have one of the most famous and one of the best audio mixers out there – the Mackie VLZ4. There is a reason why they have made more than one appearance in this best audio mixer shopping guide – they not only give us countless options in different shapes, sizes, and channel counts, but have also received great feedback about their builds and quality. The 1604VLZ4 is a solid mixer to check out because it has 16 channels, 4 buses, 16x Onyx preamps, 3-band EQ, an LED meter and a super compact format to help with portability and travel.
It has a high headroom and low noise design, and quite a few extra features that you can really steer in this direction: things like improved RF rejection (for broadcast), the microphone pre-amplification setup, 4 stereo returns, 4 aux sends, level, pan, and solo overload, as well as dampening LEDs on each channel, and rack mount design if that’s how you plan it to fit into your repertoire. The Mackie 1604VLZ4 has stood the test of time when it comes to longevity and user reviews, where a backup of the mixer is more than worth the money.
The Best Audio Mixers have really grown up, from the traditional analog mixers to the new digital mixers that can control everything in music production. Digital mixers offer versatility and many new functions by pressing a few buttons. However, analog mixers still have functions that are enjoyed by young and old alike. On the other hand, if you press physical buttons to adjust the sound and other aspects, you can look cool. With digital mixers, you can also save disc mixes that you have performed elsewhere and reuse.