People are always looking for the best audio mixers on the market, in order to achieve the best sound possible. But, it’s also important that you get a model with all the right features.
Reviews are obviously a good place to start finding the best audio mixers. And this review of the 10 Best Audio Mixers for the money aims to do just that.
Read on to find out, not only which one has the best sound, but also the best features and performance…
- Top 10 Best Audio Mixers On The Market 2021 Reviews
- 1 Mackie PROFX8v2 8-Channel Compact Mixer with USB and Effects
- 2 Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer
- 3 Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer
- 4 Mackie DL1608L 16 Channel Digital Live Sound Mixer
- 5 PreSonus Studio 24.4.2 AI Active Integration Digital Mixer
- 6 Peavey PVi 6500 400-watts 5-Channel Powered Mixer
- 7 Soundcraft Si Expression 1 Digital 16-Channel Live Audio Mixer Console
- 8 Mackie 1604VLZ4 16-Channel Compact 4-Bus Mixer
- 9 Behringer X Air X18
- 10 Mackie PROFX12V2 12-Channel Compact Mixer with USB and Effects
- Best Audio Mixers Buying Guide
Top 10 Best Audio Mixers On The Market 2021 Reviews
1 Mackie PROFX8v2 8-Channel Compact Mixer with USB and Effects
Audio mixers are always fun! Moving the sliders, turning the knobs, pushing the buttons, and connecting it all up together, makes you feel like a pro.
But you have to understand what everything is and how it all works together. that’s where the Mackie PROFX8 excels.
This is a portable live mixer that you can use whether you are a musician, a sound engineer, or a producer. People love it for its performance. At any smaller venue, the Mackie won’t let you down.
The model comes with a total of 16 professional effects. All the usual ones are included and the quality is more than acceptable considering the price of the unit.
Recording is made possible, thanks to the use of a USB port. You simply have to connect the mixer to a computer. And your away. Use the recordings to analyze your performance or even get them mixed and mastered and release your own live CD.
To get you going on your recording adventure, you can use the supplied Traktion 3 Music Production Software. It’s not as good as the higher end programs but is great to get you started.
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
2 Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer
Allen & Heath Zed desks are renowned for their great design and fantastic sound. They are very compact and are great for smaller spaces.
The ZEDi-10FX features four mic/line inputs and three stereo inputs and built-in FX inputs. That’s about all you’ll ever need on a mixer of this size.
It also comes with two channels that offer a guitar mode. This allows you to input high impedance instruments such as guitars.
Featuring the same EQs as on some of the companies more expensive models, the ZEDi-10FX should give you the sonic performance you’ve always wanted.
The model looks good, and you’ll be happy to know that it also sounds as good as it looks, maybe even better.
The controls are also very well set out, allowing you to easily change the settings to get any sound you like.
Our Rating: (3.8 / 5)
3 Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer
When it comes to sound, Yamaha is often hard to beat. And that quality is exactly what you what get with this mixer.
The Yamaha EMX5014C is easy to operate and allows for a fast setup.
But it’s not only a mixer with EQ and digital effects, it’s also a power amplifier. Giving you all the tools that you need not only to mixing but also amplify your music. Simply add a pair of speakers and your done. And all this comes in a compact and portable unit.
It sounds great, as you would expect from a Yamaha mixer. The built-in SPX effects also sound good, allowing you to shape your audio in any way you like.
The 14 inputs make the EMX5014C more versatile than our first two mixers. So, if your thinking of putting a lot of mics on your drum kit, this could be the mixer for you.
Our Rating: (4.8 / 5)
4 Mackie DL1608L 16 Channel Digital Live Sound Mixer
Another offering from Mackie, the DL1608L, but this time with a larger frame offering 16 channels.
It also has the option of iPad control, which is excellent if you’re that way inclined.
The idea behind the iPad option is so mixer-musicians don’t have to keep running back and forth to the mixer to make changes during a performance.
It’s very useful if you are a band who does mix themselves from the stage, but not really an advantage if you have a dedicated sound engineer. Plus, the actual stage sound rarely sounds anything like it does in the audience, so mixing on stage isn’t recommended to be honest.
The iPad functionality enables the manufacturer to keep the hardware to a minimal. Even though it is very compact, the model generally feels sturdy and nicely put together.
It comes with 16 inputs allowing for most uses. They are all powered by the excellent Onyx mic preamps.
In terms of connectivity, there is the Ethernet port. You can also connect the model to a wireless router for ease of access.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
5 PreSonus Studio 24.4.2 AI Active Integration Digital Mixer
The PreSonus comes with an analog-like mixing surface, combined with the power of digital mixing.
The Studio 24.4.2 has uncompromised signal processing capability ideal for use in any creative music production environment. You can even store any settings you like for future recall.
The model comes with more DSP power than you get with most of the other mixers in the same class. Allowing you to do more simultaneously.
It looks very impressive, but a little intimidating to those unfamiliar with digital mixers. But the workflow is well thought out, and although difficult at first, you soon get used to working with it.
It understandably sounds a lot better than the first few mixers we featured, but it does cost a lot more as well. If budget isn’t a concern, and you plan on using your mixer to record more than mix live sound, it’s a great choice.
If budget is, however, more of a concern and you only want a live mixer, then stick with the more basic options.
Our Rating: (3.7 / 5)
6 Peavey PVi 6500 400-watts 5-Channel Powered Mixer
Peavey products are renowned for their reliability. The overall construction and design not only making the PVi 6500 durable, but also making it perfect for multiple applications.
These could include using it for churches, schools, bands, carnivals and small audiences of up to 100 people.
It comes with built-in Bluetooth technology allowing it to easily connect to various devices for ease of control and for recording. If you are performing anywhere, you can easily record the performance and analyze it later.
The model features the usual digital effects. They sound good enough for live applications and are reasonably easy to use.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
7 Soundcraft Si Expression 1 Digital 16-Channel Live Audio Mixer Console
This is easily one of the best mixers in its price range and is highly recommended.
It employs some of the best technologies currently available. One of these is FaderGlow colors. This is basically different colors for each of the fader slots corresponding to the fader function. This changes based on the different mixes that have been selected.
The Direct Out Gain Stabilizer is another important feature. This prevents the manual gain control changes from affecting the direct out levels. This is useful when recording from direct outs or if two consoles are sharing the same stage box.
It also features a great copy and paste feature. Allowing you to copy a wide range of functions – channels, mixes, settings and more. And paste them into another mix.
The security feature may also be useful to some, allowing only authorized users to have access. You will never have to worry about people messing with your mixer while you are away ever again.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
8 Mackie 1604VLZ4 16-Channel Compact 4-Bus Mixer
Yet another mixer from Mackie, The 1604VLZ4 features 16 Onyx preamps with the companies excellent high-headroom and low-noise design.
All of the 16 channels, not only feature an Onyx microphone preamplifier, but also a line input and insert in a compact 4-bus design.
The Mackie is built-like-a-tank, with a rugged solid-steel chassis and high-contrast controls allowing tactile control. It is a band-friendly analog mixer that can be used in a number of applications especially professional broadcast and post-production facilities.
Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)
9 Behringer X Air X18
The revolutionary Behringer X18 is a powerhouse 18 input/12 bus digital desktop mixer. It also serves as the launch pad for your favorite computer tablet, including the iPad and Android tablets.
It is ideally suited for both live and studio applications, thanks to its 16 award-winning MIDAS-designed mic preamps.
Also worth mentioning is the convenient integrated Wi-Fi module for wireless control, and its lightning-fast, bi-directional USB Audio Interface.
This gives you the freedom to move around while manipulating any or all the parameters of your mix with the free iOS and PC apps. Letting you dial in the perfect sound you want, from anywhere in the venue, or the tracking room.
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
10 Mackie PROFX12V2 12-Channel Compact Mixer with USB and Effects
The ProFX series v2 sounds better than ever and still supplies convenient, easy to use features at every knob, fader, input and output.
The ProFX12v2 features six extremely low-noise Mackie Vita mic preamps, specially designed to add life to any input. As well as the ReadyFX effects engine. Providing 16 great-sounding effects including reverbs, delays and choruses.
It is easy to integrate with any Mac or PC to provide no-hassle USB Recording and Playback. Using its built-in USB recording interface, which is very simple to set up. The built-in USB interface also allows recorded music to be played between sets.
To get you started it even includes the user-friendly Tracktion recording software bundled with the mixer.
It’s great for live recording and also perfect for home studios as well as many other applications where a quality small mixer is needed.
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
Best Audio Mixers Buying Guide
This is one of your most important considerations. You need to have enough inputs for your current and short-term future needs. But you also don’t need too many. Ending up with a mixer which is either too big and/or too expensive.
The basic rules are for drums you either need no mics, 2 mics (Snare and Kick) or 4 mics (snare kick and a pair of overheads). You would be amazed at how good a sound, you can get from a decent drum kit, with only four quality mics.
If you do want to add more, it’s one extra mic per Tom normally and you’re done. The Hi-hats and cymbals will be caught by the overheads so you don’t need spot mics on them until you hit the big leagues.
Then you need one mic per amplifier if you’re going to mic guitars, then as many vocal mics as needed.
Add all that up and that is how many channels you need, plus a few extra for luck. Just in case a drunken harmonica player wants to join you for a jam one evening.
To be honest, unless you’re doing higher level mixing work, with a dedicated sound engineer changing sounds during your songs, you’re not going to need a lot more than some nice reverbs and a few delays.
It’s obviously great to have more options if your using your mixer for recording, but for live use, that really is all you’ll need 95% of the time.
Some of the mixers featured are very compact, others bigger. If portability is a big issue for you, go for the smaller options, if not choose whichever mixer best suits your needs.
Many of the mixers featured have excellent compatibility with computers, other next to none. Again, if you intend using your mixer to record onto a computer, consider the options. If you only need it to mix live sounds, then go for some of the cheaper options.
This review includes a number of the best models that are currently available on the market.
Which one to choose is yours based on exactly what you are looking for in a mixer. How many channels, what features you need, the quality of the sound etc.
Look at the pros and cons of each one and see which one best suits your needs.