Finest digital mixers of 2022

Up to date Aug 30, 2022 11:03 PM

Digital mixers supply a number of intriguing benefits over their analog counterparts. They are typically extra compact and thus simpler to move. They will course of devices and voices with a spread of built-in results that may require a rack full of substances within the analog area. They offer you highly effective comfort options you may’t get on an old-school mixing board, similar to saving and recalling settings and management through distant app. They will connect with your laptop and function audio interfaces, letting you ship audio forwards and backwards between the mixer and your digital audio workstation, or DAW. Whether or not you’re doing reside mixing, studio recording, podcast manufacturing, or the entire above, even a finances digital mixer can add comfort and productiveness to your workflow. Listed here are our picks for one of the best digital mixers that may assist you maintain your checking account and sign chain completely happy.

How we picked one of the best digital mixers 

When selecting the digital mixers for this roundup, we utilized a selected set of standards. First, the unit needed to be reasonably priced. We selected merchandise that ranged from a little bit greater than $200 to only over $1000. The {hardware} additionally needed to perform as each a mixer and an audio interface, making it usable each for studio and stage. And whereas a few of the mixers we selected additionally supply onboard recording, we checked out that as a bonus moderately than a requirement. Mixing consumer impressions and first-hand expertise, we summed our analysis and chosen 5 digital mixers that ship within the price-for-performance class.

What to contemplate when looking for a digital mixer

Ask your self what you’re primarily going to make use of your mixer for. Will it’s in a studio setting, similar to for music or podcast manufacturing? Or will you be mixing and probably recording reside performances? Or maybe you’re hoping to do all of it. Does the mixer have sufficient microphone, line, and instrument inputs to cowl your anticipated wants with a couple of in reserve? Does the mixer supply sufficient auxiliary outputs, along with the primary stereo pair, to feed your screens or headphone amp when you’re sending a couple of combine to visitors and performers?

Would you just like the potential to make reside recordings whereas utilizing it for sound reinforcement? In that case, you may want a mixer that has an onboard recorder. Alternatively, this gear features as a USB mixer permitting you to file to an hooked up laptop computer. Both means, you need to have the ability to file the person devices and voices onto separate tracks that you would be able to edit and blend later in your DAW of alternative.

Are digital mixers more durable to make use of than analog ones?

Admittedly, getting in control with a digital mixer could be extra time-consuming than with an analog one. Though they’re often fairly related of their primary setup, with channel strips for the person channels and a grasp part on the fitting facet, digital mixers are sometimes much less intuitive. Memorizing what the assorted controls do could be tougher as a result of, not like on an analog mixing console, lots of the controls serve a number of features based mostly on completely different modes or urgent modifier buttons.

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With any digital mixer, it’s best to anticipate that it’s going to take you a while to grasp its operations utterly. However when you already know methods to get round on an analog mixer, you’ll in all probability be up and operating on the important features comparatively rapidly. How straightforward it’s to study relies upon an amazing deal on how properly the consumer interface is designed.

What you don’t need with a mixer, significantly when you’re utilizing it for reside sound, is to must step by means of a bunch of menus to discover a specific perform. You need to have the ability to reply to issues and entry particular channel features rapidly if you’re mixing. It’s a problem for digital mixer designers as a result of they’ve a restricted quantity of controls and large function units.

One of many extra spectacular bits of design from the models on this roundup is the Fats Channel function on the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. With a single button push, you may name up any channel, and its important features are entrance and heart with bodily knobs to regulate them.

Can I change my audio interface with a digital mixer?

Completely. An audio interface offers a number of very important features: It offers you mic, line, and instrument inputs that feed analog-to-digital converters after which ship the digital information to your computer-based DAW. When your DAW’s digital information comes again into the mixer, it converts it from digital to analog to be able to hear it by means of your screens or mixing headphones. And it should present a means so that you can monitor with out perceptible latency (the delay that happens between what you’re enjoying or singing and when the audio comes again out of your DAW) if you’re recording. 

A digital mixer can do all that and infrequently extra and might be a robust hub for a house studio. For one factor, you’ll in all probability get extra inputs on a mixer than on a variety of interfaces. Which means you may file extra simultaneous sources, whether or not they’re devices, voices, or each. And in contrast to on most standalone interfaces, you may EQ and even compress your sources throughout recording, if wanted. The mixer will allow you to simply mix your reside enter sign(s) with something getting back from your DAW with out perceptible latency as a result of you may mix the enter sign and the return sign in your monitor combine. And for individuals who don’t like mixing with digital faders and knobs, a digital mixer offers you tactile controls.

What’s the benefit of controlling a digital mixer with a remote-control app?

For reside sound, distant management is massively useful. When mixing a present, you may regulate the channels from a pill or a small laptop computer as you stroll across the venue. That means that you can verify the way it sounds in numerous spots across the room. Distant management is much less crucial within the studio. Nonetheless, when you’re doing double obligation as engineer and musician or singer, you may discover it helpful to regulate the transport out of your recording place. In any other case, you may need to stroll again to the mixer, hit file, and run again to your instrument or mic…making for lots of lifeless air to edit out. Luckily, many digital mixers supply distant management choices. One of many models we’re recommending, the Behringer X AIR XR18, is managed that means solely.

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Do digital mixers sound harsh in comparison with analog ones?

These days, the selection between analog and digital audio is extra subjective than goal. Within the early days of digital audio, within the Eighties when CDs first hit the market, many individuals thought digital audio sounded harsh or lacked “heat” in comparison with vinyl. However loads has modified since then. Analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converter know-how has improved considerably. Additionally, most digital audio manufacturing is at 24-bit decision, which considerably improves high quality and reduces harshness (the CD was and nonetheless is 16-bit). And when you’ve spent the cash on a pleasant condenser microphone, for instance, you need to seize probably the most nuanced sound waves potential.

One massive distinction that continues to be is that when you overload analog circuitry, you usually get pleasant-sounding saturation. On digital gear, overloads trigger harsh-sounding distortion. However so long as you retain your ranges below management, digital audio is cleaner than analog and fewer noisy.

Finest digital mixers: Critiques & suggestions

Whether or not in your house studio or at a reside efficiency, digital mixers can add appreciable energy and comfort to your musical life. The next are our picks for one of the best digital mixers to improve your studio affordably.

Finest total: PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB

Why it made the reduce: An intelligently designed product that offers you the blending and processing instruments you want for reside sound, reside recording, and studio recording.


  • Dimensions and Weight: 16(W) x 15.56(D) x 5.5(H) inches, 16 kilos
  • Mixer Channels: 16 in, 16 out
  • Audio Interface Channels: 18 in, 16 out
  • Audio Interface Decision: As much as 24-bit/48kHz
  • Constructed-in Results: Dynamics and EQ per channel, reverb and delay ship results, 31-band graphic EQ
Execs Cons
  • Complete function set for studio manufacturing, in addition to reside efficiency and recording
  • Dearer than the others on this roundup
  • Fats Channel function makes channel changes and processing straightforward
  • Person interface is perhaps intimidating for newbies
  • Comes with large software program bundle
  • At 16 kilos, it’s on the heavy facet
  • PreSonus has years of expertise making digital mixers and it reveals on this versatile product with a beneficiant array of XLR and 1/4-inch inputs and outputs. Maybe its most spectacular function is the “Fats Channel,” which lets you choose any enter channel on the push of a button and immediately that channel’s key parameters present upfront and heart in a big and intuitive show with bodily knobs. The 16.0.2 USB sports activities two grasp results processors, which offer adjustable reverb and delay results accessible from a pair of results sends per channel (permitting you to route audio from a channel to the grasp results). You need to use the mixer’s 4 aux sends to create monitor mixes for onstage or in-studio expertise. Its 16×16 USB 2.0 audio interface offers you loads of mic and different inputs when recording in your DAW. Additionally, you get an in depth software program bundle with the 16.0.2 USB. The UC Floor software offers you distant management from a laptop computer or pill. Studio One 5 Artist is a model of PreSonus’s DAW for Mac and Home windows and provides distinctive integration with StudioLive mixers. You additionally get Seize, a pc program that makes it straightforward to file every mixer channel to a separate observe when related to the StudioLive. Lastly, you get the Studio Magic software program bundle to your laptop, which options Ableton Reside Lite and manufacturing plug-ins from Brainworx, iZotope, Arturia, and others. All this combines to make the PreSonus the studio mixer to beat.

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    Finest for reside recording: Zoom LiveTrak L-20

    Zoom L-20 product card

    Why it made the reduce: The LiveTrak L-20 provides many well-thought-out options, significantly for reside recording and reside efficiency.


    • Dimensions and Weight: 17.5(W) x 15.3(D) x 3.3(H) inches, 16 kilos
    • Mixer Channels: 20 in, 8 out
    • Audio Interface Channels: 22 in, 4 out
    • Audio Interface Decision: As much as 24-bit/96kHz
    • Constructed-in Results: 3-band EQ and compressor per channel, reverb and delay ship results
    Execs Cons
  • Constructed-in 22-track SD card recorder
  • Audio interface has solely 4 outputs
  • Create as much as six monitor mixes
  • Wi-fi adapter vital to make use of distant app
  • Class-Compliant mode for iOS units
  • No management app for Android tablets
  • With its capacity to perform as a reside console, an audio interface, and an inner SD card recorder, the Zoom LiveTrak L-20 is a triple risk. The biggest of the LiveTrak line (Zoom additionally makes L-12 and L-8 variations) has sufficient inputs—16 mic/line and two pairs of stereo line—to be the entrance finish of a band’s PA system. Results-wise, every enter channel has 3-band EQ and a one-knob compressor. Zoom outfitted the grasp bus with reverb and delay, which you’ll entry from a pair of results sends per channel. The unit options six aux outputs that you should utilize as monitor sends for wedges, headphone amps, and in-ear monitor methods. With its built-in 22-track SD recorder (card bought individually), you may file reveals at as much as 24-bit/96kHz high quality. It additionally features as a 22×4 USB interface, permitting you to make use of the LiveTrak L-20 for band-sized periods in your house studio. If you wish to file to an iOS-based DAW, the L-20 has a handy Class-Compliant swap, so that you gained’t want an adapter when plugging in an iPhone/iPad. However when you’re going to make use of L-20 Management, Zoom’s remote-control iPad app, you’ll have to buy a BTA-1 or different suitable wi-fi adapter. Zoom additionally makes the L-20R, a less-expensive, rackmountable model with fewer bodily controls, designed solely for remote-control use.

    Finest for tone bending: Behringer X AIR XR18

    Behringer Air XR18 product card

    Why it made the reduce: An intensive function set and a surpassingly low worth.


    • Dimensions and Weight: 16.1(W) x 14.1(D) x 4.3(H) inches, 8.8 kilos
    • Mixer Channels: 20 in, 10 out
    • Audio Interface Channels: 18 in, 18 out
    • Audio Interface Decision: As much as 24-bit/96kHz
    • Constructed-in Results: Per-channel EQ, compressor, gate; 4 addressable results busses with quite a few results and processing selections (insert or ship) and grasp EQ
    Execs Cons
  • Glorious worth
  • No standalone operation—requires laptop or desk
  • Massive assortment of results
  • Complete function set
  • The XR18 is a rackmount unit (which you can even place on a tabletop) that has no onboard controls. You make all of your changes on a pill (iOS/Android) or laptop (Mac/Home windows/Linux) utilizing Behringer’s free X AIR management software program. The mixer creates a Wi-Fi community that you would be able to entry from a cell system or laptop computer. Alternatively, you may join your laptop to the XR18 with an Ethernet cable. In a live-mixing scenario, you don’t want a snake (a single, hefty cable with quite a few inputs/outputs at its ends). You’ll be able to place the XR18 onstage when you combine from different components of the room. Its 16 mic preamps and its instrument and line inputs are sufficient to totally mic up most bands. Not solely does the mixer supply per-channel dynamics and EQ, but it surely additionally has 4 grasp results processors that you would be able to entry with any one of many 4 results sends per channel. The X AIR app offers a formidable vary of results, together with reverbs, delays, compressors, EQs, modulation, overdrive, and even consists of emulations of some traditional processors. The XR18 additionally makes a robust audio interface, with 18 in and 18 out over USB to your DAW. When you don’t thoughts the dearth of bodily controls, the X AIR XR18 provides a variety of mixing energy for the cash.

    Finest for versatility and visibility: Keith McMillen Ok-Combine

    Keith McMillen K-MIX best digital mixer

    Why it made the reduce: Its vibrant design, amazingly compact dimension, and affordable worth make this an intriguing and extremely transportable choice.


    • Dimensions and Weight: 9.3(W) x 6.4(D) x 1.6(H) inches, 3.7 kilos
    • Mixer Channels: 8 in, 10 out
    • Audio Interface Channels: 8 in, 10 out
    • Audio Interface Decision: As much as 24-bit/96kHz
    • Constructed-in Results: Dynamics and 3-band semi-parametric EQ per channel, grasp reverb
    Execs Cons
  • USB bus powered
  • Solely two mic inputs
  • Compact and sturdy; no shifting components
  • 3.5mm (1/8-inch) headphone jack moderately than 1/4-inch
  • Mixer, interface, and MIDI management floor
  • Distant management software program not out there for cell units
  • Your first have a look at Ok-Combine could also be a double-take. As a substitute of faders, it sports activities backlit contact strips that, relying on the mode you set, perform as channel faders or degree controls for aux sends, enter trims, and reverb sends. The lights you see by means of the translucent faders present their positions or perform as VU meters. As a substitute of knobs, you get 4 “Rotaries,” that are spherical, multifunction controllers for panning (Ok-Combine even helps encompass panning) and adjusting the parameters of the channel-based dynamics processors, 3-band EQ, and grasp reverb. Ok-Combine is remarkably compact and might slot in a backpack or laptop computer bag. It’s additionally bus-powered over USB out of your laptop computer or cell system. However don’t let its diminutive dimension idiot you. Ok-Combine is impressively versatile. It could perform as a standalone mixer, albeit with solely two mic inputs and 6 line inputs, a USB audio interface, and a MIDI management floor with transport controls to your DAW. The free Ok-Combine Editor software program (Mac/PC) offers you visible management of each perform. You’ll be able to even swap the road inputs to phono degree within the software program so DJs can plug of their turntables. And, when you’re a livestreamer with a battlestation that stands out because of extremely seen RGB-equipped gear, the Ok-MIX will add much more distinctive aptitude to your lair.

    Finest transportable: Zoom PodTrak P4

    Zoom PodTrak P4 best digital mixer

    Why it made the reduce: The PodTrak P4 is a complete, easy-to-use podcast manufacturing studio that you would be able to maintain in your hand.


    • Dimensions and Weight: 4.4(W) x 6.1(D) x 1.9(H) inches, 0.64 kilos
    • Mixer Channels: 4 in, 2 out
    • Audio Interface Channels: 2 in, 2 out
    • Audio Interface Decision: As much as 16-bit/44.1kHz
    • Constructed-in Results: Limiter, low-cut filter
    Execs Cons
  • Document your podcast to SD card
  • Solely data at 16-bit/44.1kHz high quality
  • Sound pads for triggering music, adverts, and sound results
  • Outer physique fabricated from plastic
  • Document cellphone calls from cell units by means of 1/8-inch TRRS enter
  • Audio interface has solely 2 inputs
  • If you wish to produce a podcast and don’t have a lot audio manufacturing expertise or studio gear, you may discover the P4 to be a revelation. This small mixer sports activities 4 XLR mic inputs, with acquire knobs and switchable phantom energy, inside a transportable plastic housing. The mic preamps supply a whopping 70dB of acquire, so you may increase the sign to seize one thing regardless of how tender the supply. Every channel options digital processing, together with a limiter to quash overloads and a low-cut filter to cut back low-frequency background noise. The P4 additionally consists of 4 headphone outputs with impartial quantity controls. If you wish to create a multi-person podcast, simply collect across the espresso desk, add top-of-the-line podcast microphones and a few headphones, and off you go. Distant interviews are an enormous a part of many podcasts and the P4 provides a 1/8-inch TRRS jack that allows you to plug any system with a regular headphone jack to file an interview, whether or not it’s on the road or on a display from Zoom or one other on-line supply. To forestall these strange-sounding delays you typically hear on such interviews, the unit has a Combine-Minus function, switchable on any channel, which mutes the sound of the interviewee’s voice from being despatched again to them. Document your podcast to an onboard SD card after which switch the person information—together with a stereo mixture of the entire podcast, with devoted tracks for the sound pads—to your laptop for enhancing in your favourite podcast software program. Or use the built-in audio interface to ship a stereo combine to your laptop for livestreaming.


    Q: Do I want a mixer for my house studio?

    You don’t essentially want a mixer to your house studio. However you may want one when you plan to file bands or ensembles that require a number of inputs. Most audio interfaces have wherever from two to eight inputs, and if they provide enlargement, it’s a must to purchase a second system. In distinction, you will get mixers that present 12, 16, 20, 24, and extra inputs. A mixer will even possible provide you with higher amenities for organising headphone mixes and allow you to EQ and compress on enter, which most audio interfaces don’t supply.

    Q: Are digital mixers higher than analog?

    Answering whether or not digital mixers are higher than analog is dependent upon the way you outline “higher.” Some folks just like the sound and relative simplicity of analog mixers. However, in lots of instances, you will get extra to your cash with a digital mixer as a result of digital processing offers you elevated capabilities and adaptability. What’s extra, there are lots of options on digital mixers which can be unimaginable to implement with analog circuitry. Some examples embody saving all of the settings from a processor or all the state of the mixer for later recall or controlling the mixer with a distant app.

    Q: Which sound mixer is one of the best?

    Which sound mixer is one of the best is dependent upon your wants and your style. Of the mixers lined on this article, the Behringer X AIR XR18, PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB, and Zoom LiveTrak L-20 are one of the best when you’re mixing and recording bands or ensembles. They offer you plentiful I/O, a wonderful choice of results. The PreSonus and the Behringer have sturdy interface options. When you’re planning to file your band onstage, the L-20’s onboard SD recorder may win you over. But when tight integration with a DAW, an expert function set, and a variety of included laptop software program are vital to you, look to the StudioLive. If portability, sturdiness, and bus-powered operation are your main wants, the Ok–Combine is the reply. And if you wish to produce podcasts on a finances, the PodTrak P4 is a sexy choice.

    The ultimate phrase on selecting the right digital mixers

    Digital mixers are extremely helpful instruments for mixing of all sorts. Whether or not you’re utilizing one as an audio interface in a house studio or mixing your band reside, one of the best digital mixers could make your musical life extra handy, productive, and enjoyable.