A recording studio mixer is an essential component for producing high-quality audio recordings. It serves as the central hub for all the audio signals from microphones, instruments, and other sources. Choosing the right mixer for your studio is crucial to achieving the desired sound quality for your recordings.
The right mixer will not only allow you to balance the levels of all the inputs but also provide various tools for signal processing and effects. With so many different types of mixers available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the best one for your studio.
In this article, we will discuss some of the best digital mixers for recording studios and provide a buying guide to help you make an informed decision based on your needs and budget. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the different features to look for in a digital mixer and which ones will suit your recording needs.
List of Best Digital Mixers for Recording Studio
Mackie ProFXv3 Series 12
Mackie ProFXv3 Series 12 is a versatile digital mixer that offers excellent value for its price. Its ultra-low noise performance makes it a great choice for content creators who require high-gain preamps. The 24-bit/192kHz quality ensures that your recordings come out clean and crisp. The mixer also has a 2×4 USB I/O, which allows you to create two custom mixes on your computer to send back to the mixer. This feature is particularly useful for monitoring specific tracks during playback in addition to the full mix.
The Mackie ProFXv3 Series 12 is equipped with 7 Onyx mic pres that offer up to 60dB of gain, making it perfect for microphones popular with content creators. It also comes with 24 different FX options, from reverbs to delays, to add some drama to your sound. Additionally, the mixer’s single knob allows you to blend between monitoring your computer’s output and a direct feed from the mixer, making it great for recording overdubs alongside a pre-recorded track.
The Mackie ProFXv3 Series 12 is an excellent choice for those who require a versatile digital mixer that delivers quality performance at a reasonable price. With its range of features, this mixer is a great investment for content creators, home recording, live streaming, and live sound applications. Verdict: Highly recommended.
Behringer Xenyx X1222USB
Behringer Xenyx X1222USB is a powerful mixer designed for a range of applications including live sound, home recording, and content creation. It offers 12 channels, each with 3-band EQ and 2 aux sends, providing ample control over your sound.
One notable feature of this mixer is the built-in one-knob compression on all mono channels, which can help keep your levels in check and prevent clipping. This can be particularly useful for recording vocals or other dynamic instruments.
Additionally, the Xenyx X1222USB offers a USB interface for easy recording and playback, as well as 2 subgroups for flexible routing options. The mixer also comes with a suite of editing and recording software to help you get started.
Overall, the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB is a versatile and affordable option for those looking for a mixer for their recording studio. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of some higher-end models, it provides solid performance and a range of features that make it a great value for the price.
If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable mixer that can handle a range of applications, the Behringer Xenyx X1222USB is a great choice. With its 12 channels, one-knob compression, and USB interface, it offers ample control over your sound and easy recording capabilities.
Allen & Heath ZED-14
The Allen & Heath ZED-14 is a compact mixer with a lot of professional-grade features that make it ideal for use in a recording studio. Its GS-Pre XLR microphone preamps, with exceptionally low noise and plenty of clean gains, make it perfect for capturing the full, warm sound of any microphone. Additionally, the two HiZ connections allow direct connection of high impedance sources without the need for a separate DI box.
The 100Hz high pass filter on every mono input helps to remove unneeded low frequencies, and the 3-band MusiQ EQ ensures that your sound sculpting is always musical. With the built-in, studio-quality multi-FX unit, you get 61 different FX types to choose from including reverbs, delays, and modulation. These FX algorithms are developed entirely in-house by their DSP experts and derived from those found in their flagship digital consoles.
The built-in, high-quality 96kHz 4×4 USB interface makes it easy to capture or stream the whole mix or individual channels with ease. With options to route Aux and FX sends it can even be used to add FX and processing from a computer. It’s also class compliant and does not require drivers, meaning it can be connected to not just Mac and Windows computers, but also many mobile devices such as tablets or even smartphones.
With 4 x Mic/Line Inputs, 2 x Stereo (2 Left, 2 Right), and 2 USB Audio, the Allen & Heath ZED-14 is a versatile mixer that can handle a range of recording studio needs.
With its high-quality preamps, powerful EQ options, and versatile FX, the Allen & Heath ZED-14 is an excellent choice for any recording studio looking for a professional-grade mixer.
Yamaha is a well-known brand in the audio industry, and the MG12XU is a great example of the quality that they bring to the table. The “D-PRE” mic preamps with an inverted Darlington circuit provide clear and transparent sound quality, perfect for recording vocals or acoustic instruments. The metal chassis with XLR balanced outputs and internal universal power supply make this mixer sturdy and reliable for long-term use.
The built-in SPX digital effects and bi-directional USB make it easy to add effects to your recordings and to connect to your computer for recording and playback. The one-knob compressors are a nice touch, allowing for easy control over dynamic range without having to adjust multiple knobs.
Overall, the Yamaha MG12XU is a solid choice for a digital mixer for a recording studio. It offers great sound quality, durability, and a variety of features that make it a versatile tool for any studio setup. The only downside is that it may be slightly more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but for the quality it provides, it is worth the investment.
The Yamaha MG12XU is an excellent choice for a digital mixer for a recording studio, offering high-quality sound, durability, and a variety of features that make it a versatile tool for any studio setup.
Zoom LiveTrak L-12
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is a powerful and versatile digital mixer that packs a lot of features into a compact package. With 12 discrete channels and a range of connectivity options, this mixer is ideal for live performance and recording applications. The high-quality D-PRE mic preamps with an inverted Darlington circuit deliver clean and natural sound, while the built-in SPX digital effects and one-knob compressors make it easy to shape and enhance your audio. The mixer also boasts 14-track simultaneous recording and 12-track playback, making it a great choice for multi-track recording.
The 5 powered headphone outputs, each with customizable and savable mix settings, make it easy for everyone in the band to hear themselves clearly, and the scene-saving function allows you to save up to 9 different mixes and settings for quick recall. The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 also functions as a 14-in/4-out USB audio interface, making it easy to connect to your computer for recording and mixing in your favorite DAW.
Overall, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is a powerful and versatile digital mixer that offers a lot of value for its price. It’s ideal for bands, singer-songwriters, and home recording enthusiasts who want a professional-grade mixer that can handle a range of recording and performance scenarios. Verdict: Highly recommended.
Helpful Buying Guide for Beginners
The number of Inputs and Outputs. Make sure the digital mixer you choose has enough inputs and outputs to handle your recording needs. Consider the number of microphones, instruments, and other audio sources you’ll be using in your studio.
- Signal Processing: Look for a mixer with high-quality signal processing. This can include preamps, EQ, compression, and other processing features. The quality of these processing tools can greatly impact the overall sound of your recordings.
- Workflow and Usability: Consider the workflow and usability of the digital mixer. Does it have an intuitive interface that allows you to easily adjust and changes? Does it integrate well with your other recording equipment?
- Compatibility: Make sure the digital mixer you choose is compatible with your recording software and other hardware. Some mixers may have specific compatibility requirements, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase.
- Brand and Support: Choose a digital mixer from a reputable brand that offers good support and customer service. This can help ensure that you have access to technical support and troubleshooting assistance if you encounter any issues with your mixer.
- Budget: Finally, consider your budget. Digital mixers can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, so it’s important to choose a mixer that fits within your budget while still meeting your recording needs.
There you go, the 5 best digital mixers for recording studios, each with its unique features and advantages. Choosing the right mixer for your studio depends on your specific needs and budget.
Consider the number of inputs and outputs, signal processing quality, workflow and usability, compatibility, brand and support, and budget before making your final decision.
With any of the digital mixers mentioned in this article, you can rest assured that you are making an informed decision for your recording studio needs.