May 14

7 Best Digital Mixers: Top Picks in 2024

We’ve noticed digital mixers gaining traction in all kinds of audio setups. From live sound and recording to streaming, these devices are becoming increasingly popular. It’s no wonder, considering digital mixers provide more features, flexibility, and superior sound quality compared to their analog counterparts.

But with so many options out there, finding the best digital mixer for your needs and budget can be pretty overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the top digital mixers available to help you find the perfect match. Let us take the guesswork out of this process and help you make the right choice with confidence.

Best Digital Mixers

Check out our top picks for the best digital mixers below:

Behringer X32 Digital Mixer

This mixer is great for aspiring musicians and producers, offering a balance of affordability and top-notch features.

Pros

  • 32 gain-programmable mic preamps
  • 25 motorized faders
  • Virtual FX Rack

Cons

  • Slightly heavy at 63 pounds
  • Might be overwhelming for beginners
  • No wireless control option

The Behringer X32 Digital Mixer provides a wide range of options, allowing users to create and tweak their sound with ease. The 32 gain-programmable mic preamps and 25 motorized faders let you take full control of your mix. Plus, you can add various effects using the virtual FX rack.

Nonetheless, its weight might be a concern. Weighing in at 63 pounds, it’s not exactly portable. You’ll need to factor in extra space to accommodate this mixer. Also, as it features multiple functions, beginners may find it challenging to understand at first. Don’t worry, though – with time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

Overall, we highly recommend the Behringer X32 Digital Mixer for its versatile capabilities and excellent sound quality. If you’re looking for a mixer that can handle large projects and offers a wide range of options, then this is the perfect choice for you.

Mackie DL32S Digital Rack Mixer

You’ll love this mixer for its versatility, power, and convenience.

Pros

  • 32-channel digital mixer
  • Stage-friendly design
  • Built-in Wi-Fi networking

Cons

  • Requires external router
  • iPad not included
  • Master Fader app learning curve

We’ve been using the Mackie DL32S Digital Rack Mixer and it’s been a game changer. Its 32-channel capacity and Built-Like-A-Tank design make it ideal for both small and large gigs.

What sets this mixer apart is the built-in Wi-Fi networking, allowing you to control the mix from anywhere in the room using the Master Fader app. Note that you will need to purchase an external router and iPad separately.

The only downside is that the Master Fader app can be a bit complex for beginners. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Give the Mackie DL32S a try and see for yourself.

Midas M32 Live Unpowered Mixer

A must-have for musicians in live performances and studio recordings, thanks to its versatile features.

Pros

  • 40 simultaneous input channels
  • 16 Midas PRO microphone preamps
  • 25 phase-coherent mix buses

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • No SD/SDHC cards included
  • Reports of poor customer service

First off, we appreciate the extraordinary 40 simultaneous input channels available in this Midas M32 mixer. This feature lets you manage and produce fantastic music, making it an excellent companion for live performances and recording sessions.

Another significant advantage of this mixer is the 16 award-winning Midas PRO microphone preamplifiers. These are instrumental in ensuring outstanding audio quality and helping you produce some high-quality tunes. We also love the 25 time-aligned and phase-coherent mix buses. This cool feature helps create a well-balanced audio output for your recordings.

However, we noticed that the learning curve with this mixer is a bit steep. As a beginner, it might take some time for you to understand all its features and make the most of them. Additionally, the mixer requires dual SD/SDHC cards for live recording and playback, but they aren’t included in the package, which is a bit of a letdown.

Finally, we came across some reports speaking of the poor customer service provided by the company. While this might not be a dealbreaker, it’s essential to be aware of before making a purchase, in case any issues arise with the mixer.

Overall, the Midas M32 Live Unpowered Mixer is a great option for those who need a versatile mixer for live performances and studio recordings. The device’s extensive features and capabilities outweigh the drawbacks, making it a solid investment for aspiring musicians.

Zoom LiveTrak L-20 Digital Mixer

We highly recommend it for its versatility and great sound quality in both live and studio settings.

Pros

  • 20 discrete channels for recording
  • 6 customizable headphone outputs
  • 22-in/4-out USB audio interface

Cons

  • A bit heavy at 11 pounds
  • Wireless control requires optional adapter
  • Learning curve for new users

The Zoom LiveTrak L-20 offers exceptional versatility for creators. It allows you to mix, monitor, record, and stream complex productions with ease. Its 20 discrete audio channels and 22 tracks of recording make it suitable for bigger, bolder arrangements.

You’ll find 6 individual custom monitor mixes on this digital mixer, along with a dedicated engineer’s output. Plus, it has 20 built-in effects with adjustable parameters that can be applied to any channel via two dedicated EFX busses. This means you can add a touch of creativity to your mix.

When it comes to connectivity, the L-20 features a 22-in/4-out USB audio interface mode, making it easy to route inputs to DAW or streaming software. You can even record to an SD card simultaneously. For wireless control, you’ll need to use the free iOS app and purchase an optional BTA-1 adapter.

Overall, the Zoom LiveTrak L-20 Digital Mixer is a solid choice for any artist, producer, or singer-songwriter looking to upgrade their mixing capabilities. Just keep in mind that you might need some time to get familiar with all its features, and it’s a bit on the heavier side at 11 pounds.

Allen & Heath SQ-5 Digital Mixer

This mixer is perfect for aspiring musicians who need a versatile, high-quality digital mixer.

Pros

  • Low latency and 96kHz processing
  • 48 Input channels, 12 Stereo mixes + LR
  • Touchscreen and automatic mic mixing

Cons

  • Can be complex for beginners
  • Multi-tracking may require troubleshooting
  • Heavy and bulky

The Allen & Heath SQ-5 delivers impressive low latency and a 96kHz XCVI FPGA core. This means you’ll get clear, accurate sound from your instruments and microphones in real-time.

The mixer offers 48 input channels, providing plenty of flexibility for your projects. Plus, with 12 stereo mixes and an LR output, you’ll be able to create the perfect balance for your music.

One feature that sets the SQ-5 apart is its 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. Navigating settings is a breeze, and the automatic mic mixing adds another level of convenience when working with multiple vocalists.

On the flip side, the SQ-5 may be a bit complex for those just starting out with mixers. Make sure to read the manual and watch some tutorials to get the most out of this device.

Some users have reported issues with multi-tracking, but there are many resources available to help troubleshoot, including the Allen & Heath forums. This should not deter you from trying out this exceptional mixer.

Lastly, the SQ-5 is a pretty hefty piece of equipment, so keep in mind its size and weight when planning your studio setup. Despite this, the mixer’s high quality and advanced features make it a solid investment.

Behringer FLOW 8 Digital Mixer

Definitely consider this mixer for its ultra-low noise, affordability, and convenient setup.

Pros

  • Great value for the price
  • Wireless remote control
  • Compact and sturdy design

Cons

  • Lacks advanced EQ
  • Learning curve for navigation
  • Needs better preamps

We recently tried out the Behringer FLOW 8 and it’s an impressive option for a tight budget. With ultra-low noise and a compact design, this digital mixer is perfect for small gigs and home studios.

One of the coolest features is the FLOW App that lets you control the mixer from your phone or tablet. It enables you to make adjustments on the go, giving more flexibility to your setup. The 60 mm channel faders and master rotary control with an LED collar are also an added bonus.

However, there are a few shortcomings. The preamps could be better, and the EQ/compression options might not be enough for more advanced users. Be prepared to spend some time learning the navigation process as well.

Overall, the Behringer FLOW 8 8-Input Digital Mixer is a strong option for its price range. It may not be perfect, but it provides solid performance and useful features for an affordable digital mixer.

Soundcraft Ui24 Digital Mixer

This mixer is perfect for musicians and engineers who want superior sound and wireless control.

Pros

  • Wireless control with up to 10 devices
  • Studer-designed preamps and Lexicon effects
  • Multi-track recording capability

Cons

  • Learning curve for beginners
  • Manual not always included
  • Potential Wi-Fi connectivity issues

We’ve been using the Soundcraft Ui24 Digital Mixer, and it has really changed our mixing experience. With this mixer, we can control the sound from anywhere in the venue, using multiple devices. This means we can collaborate on mixing without being glued to a single spot.

The sound quality is superb, thanks to the Studer-designed preamps and Lexicon effects. We have noticed that our mixes have more depth, warmth and clarity with this mixer. Plus, the built-in multi-track recording feature is extremely useful, allowing us to record directly to a USB drive or connected computer.

However, there is a learning curve for beginners with this digital mixer. We initially struggled with the setup and controls, but after spending some time with it, we got the hang of it. We recommend checking out online tutorials or consulting with fellow musicians who’ve used this mixer before, for some guidance.

Also, we noticed that some users faced Wi-Fi connectivity issues, so keep in mind that while the wireless control is a huge advantage, it might not always be flawless.

Overall, we’re more than pleased with the Soundcraft Ui24 Digital Mixer and highly recommend it to fellow musicians and sound engineers who require superior audio quality, flexibility, and wireless control. Just be ready for a slight learning curve and potential connectivity hiccups.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Digital Mixer

When choosing a digital mixer, there are several important things to think about that can affect how well it works and how easy it is to use. The right mixer can make a big difference in your live shows and studio recordings by giving you better control over your sound. Let’s go over the key factors you should consider.

Number of Channels

Channels refer to the number of inputs and outputs in a digital mixer. Depending on your application, you’ll need a different number of channels:

  • Live sound: Think about the number of microphones, instruments, and playback devices you need to mix, such as when comparing a small band to a large orchestra.
  • Studio recording: Consider how many microphones, instruments, and audio sources you’ll record simultaneously.
  • Podcasting: Typical setups include microphones, guest lines, and sound effects.

Keep in mind, some mixers offer expandable channel options through external units.

Sound Quality

High-quality sound is important in a mixer. Several factors affect sound quality:

  • Sample rate and bit depth: Opt for mixers with industry-standard rates like 48kHz/24-bit for better audio fidelity.
  • Preamp quality: High-quality preamps provide clean, transparent amplification to weak microphone signals.
  • Converters: Look for mixers featuring top-notch analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters for better signal quality.

Built-in Effects

Various effects processors are typically found in digital mixers, such as reverb, delay, compression, and EQ. These built-in effects can improve your mixes and reduce the need for external processors. Consider the variety and quality of effects offered by different mixers—some even allow you to edit effect parameters for customization. However, using outboard effects processors might be preferable for a broader selection or specific sound traits.

Ease of Use

A user-friendly interface is important, particularly for beginners. Elements that contribute to ease of use are:

  • Layout: A clear, intuitive layout with well-labeled knobs, buttons, and faders is crucial.
  • Learning curve: Evaluate how quickly you can learn the mixer’s basic functions and navigate its features.
  • Control surface: Assess the physical controls offered (knobs, faders, touchscreens) and their usability.
  • Automation features: Investigate the user-friendliness of the automation features if you intend to automate mixes (save and recall settings).

Portability

Portability is vital for mixers used in live sound or mobile recording applications. Consider these factors:

  • Size and weight: Take into account the mixer’s dimensions and weight, as you might need to transport it often.
  • Ruggedness: A mixer with a durable construction is essential for mobile use, ensuring it withstands the rigors of transportation and various environments.
  • Power supply: For locations without AC power, look for mixers with battery operation or alternative power options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a digital mixer?

A digital mixer is a device we use for combining and processing audio signals. It allows us to adjust levels, EQ, and effects, all within a digital environment.

What is the difference between a digital mixer and an analog mixer?

Analog mixers use physical components like knobs and faders, while digital mixers have a screen or software interface. With digital mixers, we can save and recall settings easily, unlike analog mixers.

What is the difference between a digital mixer and a digital audio interface (DAW controller)?

A digital audio interface captures and sends audio signals to and from a computer, while a digital mixer mainly processes and mixes audio signals. A DAW controller, on the other hand, controls the functions of a Digital Audio Workstation.

Do I need an audio interface if I have a digital mixer?

Not necessarily. Many digital mixers have built-in audio interfaces. If your digital mixer doesn’t have one, you might need an audio interface to connect to your computer.


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