The 10 Best Studio Mixers
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in January of 2019. Whether you're putting together a professional recording space or are preparing to launch the next hit podcast, investing in a reliable studio mixer is a wise choice. There's a huge array of options on the market, varying in capacity, capability, size, and price. Included in this list are models that can work for everyone from the true novice to the professional producer. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 14, 2020:
Shopping for a studio mixer can be challenging, not only because of the variety of boards available but because the term “studio” has become increasingly fluid in the past decade. Sometimes it refers to a professional recording space intended for music production. Sometimes it refers to a closet that’s been sound treated for home podcast creation. Sometimes producers need a flexible studio solution, allowing them to easily set up a recording space on the road. Which studio mixer is right for you depends on your recording needs, the space in which you intend to use it, and your budget.
This update was crafted to address those shifting needs, with the removal of a number of high-cost professional-grade boards to make room for picks for a wide range of configurations and budgets. While this does, in some cases, limit the audio customization options, it also reflects market demand for solutions that are easier to learn and use - not to mention easier on the wallet.
The Yamaha MGP32X Console, for instance, is undoubtedly a powerful and versatile mixer from a well-respected name in the industry, but it was difficult to justify its inclusion relative to the similar but more affordable Mackie ProFXv3 Series.
On the other side of the spectrum are options best suited for vocal recording. As both podcast consumption and amateur production have soared in recent years, options like the Mackie Mix Series and Rode RODECaster Pro have become more relevant, popular, and worthy of consideration. Though they feature fewer inputs and audio customization elements, they are well-suited for podcasters for whom the majority of such mixing will take place in post-production.
It’s also worth noting the introduction of USB boards to the list. Studio mixers like the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB, for example, eliminate the need for purchasing a separate audio interface to get your audio through the mixer and onto an external computer, saving you money and cutting down on the number of cords you have running through your space.
These picks are primarily of concern if you’re working with instruments or a mic that relies on an XLR connection, as many condenser microphones do. If you’re just looking to record a podcast, or if budget constraints or portability are your primary concern, it might be worth skipping a studio mixer altogether. Though they arguably provide less versatility, there are a number of high quality USB microphones on the market that still offer robust audio quality while cutting down on the costs of getting your production off the ground.
January 31, 2019:
There are plenty of great entries on the market for building out both home and professional studios, and names like Mackie, Yamaha, and Behringer certainly carry their weight. Allen and Heath also makes an appearance here, with a model that seems intent on finally taking the company into the 21st century.
Coursera Sound Engineering Courses Even if you manage to figure out its basic functions, the best studio mixer in the world is relatively useless if you don't understand its role in the overall production process. Whether you're looking to record some of your music for the first time or want to launch a new podcast, the free sound engineering courses offered by Coursera are a great way to make sure you're ready for takeoff. coursera.com