After researching through many contrasting audio mixers on the market, the Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer is the only one that we loved the most. It’s a professional 12-channel compact audio mixer with 16-on board digital effects. While researching this best audio mixer we found that it has excellent sound creation features while maintaining its brand’s high standards of quality and durability. Best used for live performances, outdoor events, and recording, this mixer has simple controls with its onboard effects and USB I/O. Another plus, the product quality is also quite impressive as it’s loaded with long-lasting rewards such as 12 channels, 6 preamps, and active 3-band EQ on all channels.
We have looked at and reviewed 12 audio mixers, and we found out that the Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer has impeccable controls like the 32-bit RMFX processor with 16 Gig-Ready reverbs, choruses, and delays. It is the best of the best on the market because it brings versatility and flexibility to the table, exactly as expected from Mackie’s products that are designed for deliver professional-grade quality and powerful endurance. Another great addition to this best audio mixer is its USB connectivity, which is the most loved and sought-after feature of the Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer by its users. Conventional audio mixers generally come with faulty USB connectivity, they’re often not simple to use; contrastingly, with this best audio mixer, you get crystal clear USB connectivity that allows you to create melodic mixes so effortlessly! It even includes 6 low-noise, high-headroom Mackie mic preamps with easy LED metering, plus 7-band graphic EQ for tuning Mains or Monitors.
Moving forward, the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer was introduced by Presonus as a digital mixer with an already well-built yet advanced studio recording equipment made specifically for beginners and professionals alike. But there are a few key aspects of this impressive piece that makes it our best audio mixer that’s expensively bought for on the market. In-between the paradigms of digital mixing and absolute recording solutions, you’ll find the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer. It features an Active Integration technology that adds more processing power and workflow features at the hands of musicians. And with the defined direction, professionals can make smart mixing tracks, thanks to this best audio mixer’s integrated hardware and software ecosystem. It features both wireless and wired connectivity to any available standard router and networks with Mac, PC, and iOS devices. For better accessibility, it features a multi-touch mixer-control software and Studio One 3 Artist DAW.
The Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer is our ‘for-the-money’ pick that for more functionality that one might expect from an affordable sound recording equipment. When it comes to the Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer, it offers high portability and makes the ultimate instrument to step up your game at creating high quality sound at a low price. Known for its built-in USB interface as plug and play drivers, and 3-band EQ for all channels and a built-in compressor for channels 1 and 2. Of course, it features considerably less complex features that are more apt for beginners than professionals, but it still provides top-notch functionalities for all-skill level players. It features low-noise, high headroom 8-input 2-bus analog mixer with a Neo-classic ‘British’ 3-band EQs for warm and musical sound. For improved connectivity, it caters a built-in stereo USB/Audio Interface that musicians can directly connect to their computers. All-in-all, it’s the best audio mixer to get for its affordable price.
Table of Contents
- What are the different types of audio mixers?
- What are the common best audio mixer features you should know?
- Our best pick: Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer
- Our upgraded pick: Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer
- Our affordable pick: Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer
- Best audio mixer for the money
- Best multipurpose audio mixer
- Best powered audio mixer
- Wrapping it up
What are the different types of audio mixers?
There are 3 primary types of audio mixers on the market that are used for all sorts of sound mixing for live performance, studio recording, etc. You won’t know which one is the best for you until you’ve understood how each type work and what it’s best for in terms of flexibility, durability and construction. They are Analog, Digital, and Powered Audio Mixers.
What are the common best audio mixer features you should know?
The easiest way to feel prepared for an audio mixer is by carefully going through different common audio mixer features that are taken into account by top-ranked brands and professionals. After studying different audio mixers on the market, we can say with certainty that all of these common features can drastically improve your audio mixer vocabulary and guide you to make a better purchasing decision.
As you read more into an audio mixer, you’ll come across something called ‘channels’. An audio mixer that has a large channel features more things to be connected and routed to and from it. These include microphones, line-level devices, amplifiers, preamps, etc.
These are circuit intersections that are commonly seen in every audio mixer, more extensively in professional-grade ones. In terms of recording, a bus function can prove extremely useful as they provide more flexibility and signal paths.
An audio mixer’s EQ capabilities solely depends on how complex you want your recording to get. For simple recording, you want an easy control over bass, mid, and high frequencies, but for studio recording, you need to make detailed tweaks and changes which is why you should want something with multiple parametric equalizers to achieve high-quality sound level.
Signal routing means you get more control and flexibility on your hands. This also means lots of focused-function mixes that are used with recording gears, monitors, headphones, and external digital effects.
After reading this, you should have a clear idea of what to look for when considering an audio mixer. Of course, there are many more features that determine the overall quality of a best audio mixer, but these are the common ones that our researchers consider to be the most imperative and deciding for any audio mixer on the market.
Our best pick: Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer
Top Pick: Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer
Evaluating any advanced product only makes its efficiency clearer in the eyes of potential buyers. The Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer is much more qualified to be your next audio mixer with its compact design, simple controls, and its adaptable power. With its protective ABS sidecheeks offer powerful resistance to its steel chassis which means that this best audio mixer is extremely sturdy and won’t give you a hard time during long hauls. This impressive gear gets the importance of getting the job done perfectly, every single time. So, with its high-headroom mic preamps, channel EQ, a built-in DI, including GEQ tuner, it gives in everything to make it seem like the perfect live sound toolbox. Chances are that the Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer might lead you to reconsider your current audio mixer’s capabilities because not only does this best audio mixer deliver powerful performance, but it even comes at an affordable price range. This series of ProFX strike the perfect cord between that what a musician ideally requires from a best audio mixer and that which are the right tools required to get the job well done. For allowing more extra functionality to curb senses, this best audio mixer consists of a headphone output with separate rotary level control along with a ‘Planet Earth’ switching power supply for worldwide use. Mackie excels with the Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer with its wide variety of input of 60mm faders for input channels, returns, and Main/Monitor masters, Hi-Z input for direct connection of guitar, bass, and other essential instruments, and finally, the additional functionality that allows a smooth switch mute that pauses all other channels for playback between sets.
To conclude, this best audio mixer is far brighter and capable than the following rest because of its design, performance, and price. It acts as the kind of instrument that professionals would love to push forward to make incredible things happen.
Our upgraded pick: Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer
Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer
A super portable digital audio mixer that is designed to process wide-ranging audio signals using digital signal processing technology, the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer is the best audio mixer for a professional, despite its extravagant price tag. It is powerfully packed with the only amazing front-end software that’s beyond anything ever seen on the market. It features the following inputs: 24 XMAX Class-A Mic, 24 TRS Line, 24 Analog Inserts, 2 Stereo Aux inputs with a Tape and Talkback. It consists of a total of 24 total mix buses with the main L/R and Mono bus. For outputs, it features 10 TRS analog aux inputs with direct, tape and control room additions as well. With the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer you can even store setups for instant recall and handle any sort of recording or performing scenario. It’s pretty evident that an instrument this complex and versatile comes with a price: and yet the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer stands against all odds as being the least expensive on the market still. So, you know we’ve got you covered for a really, really long time. Let’s talk about this best audio mixer’s flexibility, it comes with an analog patch bay, a FireWire s800 interface for simple recording and soundchecks, an optional Thunderbolt, Dante, or AVB for networking, and lastly, a dual processing capability that works on every channel and bus. And for easy configuration, it has 20 advanced mix buses with A/B comparison that is one Fat Channel for every input.
In simple hindsight, you get all the essential controls in one, along with a greater promise of long-lasting performance and sturdy design. The Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2Al Digital Mixer is a tremendous value reliable enough, even though it extends to a few more dollars.
Our affordable pick: Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer
Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer
The simplest way to get the hang of any professional sound recording equipment is to start from the bottom, something that’s affordable with professional-grade functionality. The Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer is our best audio mixer on the market that grants more functionality and access to beginners for handling live performances as well as to understand how the right tools work to capture professional-quality recordings. Now, you can use up to 2 studio-quality condenser mics with the Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer’s 2 phantom-powered XENYX mic preamps. A great deciding feature of this best audio mixer is an FX Send control per channel that grants control to musicians to utilize an external effects processor for an everlasting and perfect finish to recording. It even includes high-quality compressors with easy ‘one-knob’ functionality and control LED display. The most noticeable function that our researchers couldn’t miss out on was the free audio recording, editing and podcasting software along with 150 plug-ins that beginners and professionals can easily download on Behringer’s own website. The Behringer Q802USB 8-Channel Mixer is highly reliable for the price you pay because of its incredible features: compression, aux sends, and USB interface. As far as sound quality is concerned, you’re getting way more what you marked for in terms of entry-level podcasting, simple functionality, and construction.
To conclude, we recommend this best audio mixer for beginners, intermediates and professionals alike to carry out accurate and uncomplicated audio mixing at a very low price. Even though it doesn’t sustain all professional-grade functions, it’s got the essentials in check of a large pro board.
Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer
Ideally, one might expect a superior sound recording equipment to be in close proximity with the ‘big-players’ in terms of price, but the Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer is next in line after our most affordable pick on the market. Even though it features a complex USB interface that some might find difficult to operate, this best audio mixer features a couple of impressive capabilities that usually cost maintenance expenditure due to long distance travelling or extra humidity. Speaking of high resistance, this best audio mixer takes seriously the type of versatile gigging, and recording a musician might carry out to ensure peak performance for many years to come. It consists of Discrete Class-A Mic Preamps that are designed to provide realistic bass with extremely less disturbance, and swift soaring high sounds. This feature saves time and effort for the sound engineer on excessive EQing or fixing any additional effects processing to make the fix look absolutely perfect. Furthermore, it has a built-in SPX digital effects system to add polish and professionalism to your music. This system includes a suite of 24 editable digital effects for extended realistic sound quality that grants users with more related options for an enhancing mixes with great depth and high-resolution sound quality. The construction of the Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer is power-coated metal chassis, rugged, impact-resistant with an unrivaled scope of endurance.
Many professionals have common complaints about excessive heating, excessive noise during operation, and considerably less life span from high-grade audio mixers; keeping that in mind, Yamaha introduced this best audio mixer that has a convection cooling construction, a separate power supply system, and a single knob compressor and other impact control placements that eliminate unwanted damage and hence extends the mixer’s total life span by years!
Best audio mixer for the money
Behringer XENYX502 5-Channel Mixer
A state-of-the-art audio mixer that grants an amazing value for the money, the Behringer XENYX502 5-Channel Mixer is everything you need to get for incredible sound quality. It is extremely compact and lightweight to carry around as it weighs approximately 1.2 pounds with a solid construction. It is one of the practical and portable ones on the market that musicians can carry to anywhere they want to- live performances, restaurants, etc. It comes with 5-inputs including 1 mic, 2 stereo, and phantom-powered XENYX Mic Preamp that has a superlative sound quality, making it our best audio mixer on the market for the money. We found that the tone controls of the Behringer XENYX502 5-Channel Mixer worked smoothly and its metal frame is quite sturdy which makes it dead silent. The Behringer XENYX502 5-Channel Mixer offers 130 dB of dynamic range, ultra-musical ‘British’ channel EQ, and a bandwidth that extends from below 10 Hz to over 200 kHz. So, you know this best audio mixer is armed with the right kind of tools to deliver crystal-clear performance without the need to upgrade anything. To add more value to its structure, this best audio mixer comes with a 3-year Warranty program to enhance the production process and guarantee high-quality construction.
Best multipurpose audio mixer
Allen & Heath ZED-10FX
The Allen & Heath ZED-10FX is our best multipurpose audio mixer as it offers a responsive 3-band, swept mid EQ with MusiQ which is designed for perfect equalizing individual instruments. While being well-equipped for versatile sound mixing, musicians can easily carry this best audio mixer around anywhere they want to as its construction is solid and highly portable. One of the most striking features of the Allen & Heath ZED-10FX is that guitars can easily be plugged directly into this mixer with the help of 2 with Class A FET high impedance inputs; plus this best audio mixer has 2 exclusive input sources for MP3/CD players or keyboards. Audio mixers are small, compact, yet powerful sound recording equipments that can process hundreds of mixes and are perfect for performances, studio recording, or even home recordings. These types have only one purpose and that is to create incredible music. With the Allen & Heath ZED-10FX, you get the perfect combination of music production and live performance. Its USB Audio flexibility is beyond compare as it makes the connectivity easy and simple. Other impressive features of this flexible mixer include an illuminated PFL indicator, 12 bar meters, DI level switching for sub mixing, 48V microphone phantom power, and full access to its AmpliTube X-GEAR software.
Best powered audio mixer
Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer
With this best audio mixer, you no longer have to worry about damaging an audio mixer, especially after using it outdoors because the Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer is powerfully durable and made from high-quality material to keep its performance on-point. You won’t such a durable powered audio mixer with 2 500-watt power amplifiers with YSP anywhere on the market. It has 10 channels, 14 inputs, and a single-knob compressor on first 6 channels. To eliminate low-frequency rumble, this best audio mixer features 80Hz high-pass filters. The Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer does everything from providing frequency contouring and adjustments to easy monitoring and eliminating feedback. The Yamaha Feedback Channel Locating system that does the job of locating and eliminating feedback much simpler and easier than other powered audio mixers on the market. Another great feature of the Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer is its Yamaha Speaker Processing system that provides optimized matching with speakers for crystal-clear and solid reproduction that delivers high-quality music with maximum impact. We recommend this best audio mixer for its accurate controls, excellent sound, and easy to use functionality. If you’re someone who loves to get more value out of your sound equipment than what you pay for it, then the Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer is perfect for you.
Below is a list of 5 closely-competitive audio mixers that you can consider as alternatives to the ones we discussed previously. This list will guide you on the different kinds of audio mixers on the market, all with their own impeccable set of features.
Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 16-Channel Audio Mixer
Designed specifically for superior audio quality and performance that can be used for small studios, schools, bands, and clubs, this best audio mixer is yet another impressive fit on our list. It comes with 8 mono and 4 stereo channel inputs with 60 mm faders, and 4 auxiliary buses and 2 internal FX buses. For superior sound quality, the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 16-Channel Audio Mixer features 12 channel inputs with XMAX mic preamps, 3-band semi-parametric EQ, compressor, limiter with graphic EQ on the main bus. It performs like a portable and lightweight analog console with a StudioLive Remote that is free to download on the iPad, plus a FireWire connection between your Mac or PC that can double as a wireless connection as well to make connectivity quicker and smarter. According to our common features research for the best audio mixer, this mixer’s unique Studio One 3 Artist integration is impeccable on the market; it makes music production more advanced with its virtual instruments, intuitive mixing features, etc. To conclude, the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 16-Channel Audio Mixer is design to deliver sound quality in the most unimaginable way possible with complete flexible control.
Peavey PV6 USB Mixing Console
The Peavey PV6 USB Mixing Console is a heavy-duty, compact mixer with a rugged metal construction. Designed for live performances and recording, this best audio mixer has a super quiet quality with less than 0.0007% of total harmonic distortion. It comes with 4 reference quality low noise microphone inputs, 1 effects send with stereo output, and 1 stereo effects return. Because of its versatile and excellent sound quality, many find this mixer to be one of the most solid performers on the market. It features comfortable monitoring options from tape to control room output to mix assignments, and it also features a global 15 volt phantom power for very clean sound and good rugged functionality. It even provides 4 XLR Microphone inputs. Even though it has an unreliable USB connectivity, the Peavey PV6 USB Mixing Console is great for live recording as it provides channels 3 and 5 with stereo line inputs along with the rest. There are enough inputs for smaller combos or for the solo home-recorder. In total, this best audio mixer consists of six different channel inputs, 4 mics and 2 guitars, which make sound adjustments quite easy and simple. To conclude, this best audio mixer is the powerful sound equipment that offers lots of channels and noiseless sound production to musicians.
Behringer Xenyx 1202FX Analog Mixer
Our third competitive audio mixer is the Behringer Xenyx 1202FX Analog Mixer with studio-grade stereo FX processor with 100 impressive presets. It has sonically superior mic preamps crafted by expert audio engineers in the industry that offer supreme audio technology and a dynamic range of 130 dB. With its 24-Bit Multi-FX Processor, the Behringer Xenyx 1202FX Analog Mixer the ideal match for musicians looking for professional sound quality and even better competitive performance that’s better than even the most expensive audio mixer. This feature gives 100 versatile digital effects that can be applied to any channel, monitor, and main output. The overall running of this best audio mixer is altogether extremely handy, versatile, and useful for many years to come. It comes with a 3-year warranty, plus a good customer service experience so you don’t have to worry about production workflows and any immediate product failure assistance.
Mackie Mix Series Mix8 8-Channel Mixer
The Mackie Mix Series Mix8 8-Channel Mixer is a solid compact mixer with low-noise performance 8-channel structure. It is made of a rugged metal chassis that maintains quality performance and offers superior durability for years to come. It has a dedicated stereo RCA input/outputs for easy playback and recording, plus it consists of headphone and stereo control room outputs. This best audio mixer is popularly compact and portable since it’s a Mackie product. With its 3-band EQ on all channels, you get more controlled music adjustments and accurate mixes. The only time this audio mixer feels slightly difficult is when the sounds play on both the monitor and headphones when you connect the headphones, but all you have to do is disconnect the monitor to solve the issue. It makes an economical solution to small band situations for those searching for a reliable analog mixer with solid XLR connections that provide excellent studio-quality sound. Additionally, the Mackie Mix Series Mix8 8-Channel Mixer comes with a USB input, a built-in DI, and a pan, level and overload indication setting.
Behringer XENYX X1204USB Premium Mixer
Many of Behringer audio mixers are designed for small live-performance setups as well as home-based recording, they are well-equipped to handle versatile controls and accurate adjustments. The Behringer XENYX X1204USB Premium Mixer features consistent and powerful mic preamps with a bandwidth that extends from below 10 Hz to well above 200 kHz. Furthermore, it comes with 4 studio-grade compressors with its exclusive ‘one-knob’ functionality for all mono channels to achieve the perfect rate of compression for instruments. Its most compelling feature among other audio mixers is the ‘Planet Earth’ setting that switches power supply, noise-free audio, superior transient response plus low power consumption for drastic energy saving. For better portability, this best audio mixer comes with rack mount brackets. Perfect for all musicians, the Behringer XENYX X1204USB Premium Mixer includes many versatile features, few of them being 2 multi-functional stereo aux returns, a built-in stereo USB/Audio Interface, and a free audio recording, editing and podcasting software with 150 amazing digital effects plug-ins that can easily be downloaded from Behringer’s own website.
Wrapping it up
So, now we know why an audio mixer is an ideal tool for performances and jam sessions. With this information you’re now better equipped to search for the best audio mixer for you that match right with your needs. Combing professional features and durable construction, is the Mackie PROFX12 12-Channel Compact Effects Mixer. This best audio mixer has the kind of professional touches you would want at such a market price. And for those who want a bit more of a challenge in terms of purchasing a new audio mixer, we’ve also compiled a list of 5 competitive mixers that will seal your deal definitely! Once musicians know their way around one, they can 100% experiment and create outstanding sounds with any of these audio mixers. We know what goes into the workings of an audio mixer, but the most primary aspect of any is its capabilities such as channels, EQ features, signal routing, etc. While you should be more concerned about the basic workings of an audio mixer and how it benefits your sound production, our expert researchers have committed a good amount of time into finding the best audio mixers on the market.