The Top 5 Audio Mixers Reviewed
Also known as a recording console, an audio mixer is a versatile piece of kit that can be used in several different settings. From recording studios and TV sets to live gigs and concerts, investing in a high-quality audio mixer provides top-class audio for music, TV, podcasts, and film.
Charged with the responsibility of picking up audio signals and processing them to provide output, an audio mixer identifies two or more audio signals, merging them together to create a new sound. As technology evolves and all kinds of gadgetry are introduced to the world of music production and broadcasting, it’s beneficial to consider your options carefully if you’re on the lookout for a new audio mixer.
There is a vast range of products on the market, and new innovations are providing buyers with more choice by the day. If you are on the hunt for a new audio mixer, it’s wise to narrow down your options based on where and how you plan to use the device, and how much you want to spend. You might be looking for a more basic model for home use and therefore have a relatively small budget, or you may be willing to part with more cash for a state of the art mixer that is suited to professional studio use. Whatever your requirements, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s our selection of the best audio mixers out there right now.
Best Audio Mixers
Part of Mackie’s high-profile PROFXV2 series, this 12-channel audio mixer is packed with features that make it a great choice for home use, live shows and small studio productions. Many of the features found on this desk are synonymous with pricier products, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Features of the Mackie PROFX12V2
The Mackie PROFX12V2 offers a whole raft of features that are designed to maximize quality and ensure you get the clearest sound from your mixer. One of the most eye-catching features is the Vita Preamp, which has been developed with live shows in mind. There are 6 channels with Vita Preamp capability, enabling you to add depth to the sound. This desk also boasts 16 effects and a 7-band graphic EQ for fine tuning and a 3-band low-cut filter.
The Mackie PROFX12V2 is an impressive model, not just because of its dazzling array of built-in features, but also for its versatility. There’s scope to do so much with this machine and a range of input options to enable you to use your mixer with various instruments and gadgets.
The pros and cons
- Compact, easy to transport and versatile
- Huge range of features for the price
- Excellent value for money
- Some buyers may be looking for a larger, more complex desk
If you’re searching for a high-tech audio mixer that is suited to small-scale live shows or home or studio use, and you want to enjoy fantastic value for money, this could be an ideal choice for you.
- Be sure that the volume of the input is the same as it would be during normal use, or you may have to readjust the gain in the middle of a set
- 6 low-noise Mackie Vita mic preamps add life to any input. ReadyFX effects engine with 16 effects including reverbs, delays, and choruses
- 7-band graphic EQ for tuning mains or monitors. You can listen with headphones if you carefully turn up the channel fader and headphones level a little
- Aux output for monitor mixes, venue 70-volt systems, and more
- 3 band EQ 80 Hz, 2.5 kHz and 12 KHz on all channelsand 100 Hz low-cut filter on all channels
This compact Behringer Xenyx X1222USB audio mixer is an attractive option for buyers on the hunt for a mixer that is suitable for live shows and professional-quality recordings. Comprising built-in USB interfaces and the latest tools to enhance sound quality, this mixer also boasts editing and recording software. With this product, you have everything you need to create your own recording studio.
What’s so great about the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB?
There’s a lot to shout about when analyzing the key features of the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB mixer. The main points include:
- 4 state of the art preamps, which are as impressive as a set of stand-alone preamps: Xenyx preamps provide 130 dB of dynamic range and a broad bandwidth from 10 to 200kHz. With the superior quality of the preamps, the clarity of mic sound is ramped up dramatically.
- Professional quality compressor: based on equipment made famous in the 70s, a golden ear for music production, the Xenyx model boasts studio-quality compressors that enhance the clarity of sound while enabling you to experiment with booming bass lines and funky melodies.
- Channel EQ: the channel EQ on the Behringer Xenyx models is a modern take on the British consoles that hit the headlines in the 60s and 70s.
- 24-bit digital multi-FX processor: this mixer boasts a 24-bit digital FX processor, providing you with 16 presets that enable you to play around with different sounds and tempos.
- Feedback-free technology
- Recording and editing software package
Who should buy the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB?
This is an excellent mixer for those who are looking to record at home, as well as experiment with small-scale live productions and shows. With this product, you have the ability and flexibility to create your own recording studio, and you have access to a huge range of features and perks. This unit was developed based on the sounds and production trends of the 60s and 70s, and it pays homage to some of the most significant elements of recording during that era, providing a modern take on a golden age. If you don’t want every single bell and whistle going, and you’re looking for a versatile mixer that produces incredible sounds, this is an option worth considering.
- Premium ultra-low noise, high headroom analog mixer
- 4 state-of-the-art, phantom-powered XENYX Mic Preamps comparable to stand-alone boutique preamps
- 4 studio-grade compressors with super-easy "one-knob" functionality and control LED for professional vocal and instrumental sound
- Neo-classic "British" 3-band EQs for warm and musical sound
- New studio-grade FX processor with 16 editable presets including reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter, multi-effects, Tap function and storable user parameter settings.Phantom Power : +48 V Phantom
Yamaha is one of the leading names in the market, and it’s no surprise that many buyers are interested to see what the brand has to offer in the way of audio mixers. The Yamaha MG10XU is part of the third wave of the MG series, which has gained a reputation for its sleek design, studio-quality preamps and impressive digital processing capabilities.
Yamaha MG10XU features
The Yamaha MG10XU is 10-channel mixer, which boasts an easy-to-use USB interface and a set of studio-grade preamps with an inverted Darlington circuit. The technology involved is ideally suited to prominent bass lines and fat, chunky beats, as well as softer vocals. With this mixer, you can maintain precise control over the sound and filter out audio impurities thanks to the 3-band EQ and high-pass filters. It’s also a mixer that is straightforward to use. There’s no stress involved, with single knob compressors making the task of recording and modifying the dynamics as simple as possible.
Another major benefit of the Yamaha MG10XU is its built-in digital SPX effects. These effects help to polish musical recordings and audio broadcasts, elevating the finished article to a professional level.
Who should buy the Yamaha MG10XU mixer?
This is a mixer that is perfectly suited to those looking to create professional, studio-standard recordings without blowing the budget. Packed with preamps, digital effects, and an interface that facilitates simple operation, this device will appeal to those looking for value for money and a brand name that has a flawless track record.
- 10 Channel mixer with USB and SPX digital effects
- Featuring studio grade discrete class A D PRE amps with inverted Darlington circuit providing fat, natural sounding bass and smooth, soaring highs
- 3 band EQ and high pass filters give you maximum control and eliminate unwanted noise, resulting in a cleaner mix
- 1 Knob compressors allow easy control resulting in livelier guitars, punchier bass lines, a tighter snare and a cleaner vocal sound
- MG Series mixers feature a rugged, impact resistant, powder coated metal chassis; Equivalent input noise 128 dBu, Residual output noise 102 dBu
One of the most affordable audio mixers on the market, the Pyle Professional Audio Mixer offers an impressive display of features for less than $70. If you want to amp up the quality of the sounds you produce, and you’re on a budget, this could be the one for you.
Introducing the Pyle Professional Audio Mixer
The Pyle Professional Audio Mixer is a compact mixing desk, which is ideally suited to life in the 21st century. With USB ports, a built-in Bluetooth receiver and direct connection compatibility with your computer, this is an option that will undoubtedly appeal to those looking to produce music or run a podcast at home.
This is not a mixer that ticks every box and showcases the technical wizardry that is involved in putting together cutting-edge studio-grade machinery, but it has a lot to offer for the money. You might not be blown over by hundreds of features, but you will undoubtedly be impressed at what you can achieve without spending more than $70.
Pros and cons
- Great value for money
- Bluetooth wireless streaming
- MP3 compatibility and USB flash reader
- Easy to use and transport
- MIC and stereo line inputs with 3-band EQ and ultra-low noise settings
- Simple, swift connection with external devices
- More basic than other models
- No mic mute option
If you’re looking for a mixer to polish audio recordings, podcasts or music, and you don’t want to part with hundreds of dollars, this mixer should make your short-list.
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A budget-friendly option from a well-known brand, the Behringer Xenyx 502 is a perfect companion for singers, public speakers and those looking to make a splash with a new podcast. At less than $50, this is a great product that will enable you to enhance the quality of recordings and live broadcasts without breaking the bank.
Features and benefits of the Behringer Xenyx 502
The Behringer Xenyx 502 is a compact, neat, portable mixer, which is designed to bring life to intimate settings and small spaces. Whether you’re preparing to play a few songs to a select audience at a trendy bar in the city, you’re making an announcement and you need to be heard, or you’re recording a podcast or audiobook, this desk could work for you.
Although it’s small in stature and more affordable than many other mixers on the market, the Xenyx 502 model has a lot to get excited about. The main feature is the studio-quality mic preamps, which rival stand-alone mics. There are 5 inputs, including 1 mic and 2 stereo, and a unique EQ, which is modeled on the British desks of the 1960s and 1970s.
The pros and cons
- Price: this mixer is significantly cheaper than some of the bestsellers
- Ultra-low noise
- Powerful, studio-grade preamps
- CD/tape inputs
- More simplistic than other models
- Not as powerful as more expensive mixers
Is the Xenyx 502 the right option for me?
If you’re looking for an affordable mixer for a small gig, or you’re getting into recording or podcasting, and you don’t want to pay out a huge amount of money, it’s well worth considering the Xenyx 502.
- Premium ultra-low noise, high headroom analog mixer
- State-of-the-art, phantom powered XENYX Mic Preamp comparable to stand-alone boutique preamps
- Neo-classic "British" 2-band EQ for warm and musical sound
- Main mix, stereo CD/tape plus separate headphone outputs
- CD/tape inputs assignable to headphone output or main mix outputs. Power consumption 13 W
If you’re on the hunt for the best audio mixer, hopefully, these reviews have given you food for thought.
How To Use An Audio Mixer
Here is an excellent video on YouTube that explains how to use an audio mixer board: