Best Audio Mixer For Streaming [Buyer’s Guide]
An audio mixer, mixing board, mixing desk, mixing console, or soundboard is a crucial component for managing recorded or live event sound. Yet, very few people understand how audio mixers work and what exactly they do.
For any DJs or traveling musicians reading this, another major consideration is likely to have a laptop. After considering all, some of the highest spec, beefiest laptops in the world also weigh a ton, and you'll quickly tire of lugging those behemoths around. So make sure you get the best laptop for music production and audio.
Also, it should be one that has the best features and performance to help you achieve the best sound possible. So, I have handpicked and made a list of some of the best audio mixers for streaming available in the market.
Read on and find the perfect and best audio mixer that suits your needs.
Table of Contents
- BEST AUDIO MIXERs FOR STREAMING
- 10 BEST AUDIO MIXER FOR STREAMING REVIEW
- 1. YAMAHA MIXER MG12XU - BEST AUDIO MIXER WITH EFFECTS
- 2. BEHRINGER XENYX 1204USB - BEST SMALL AUDIO MIXER
- 3. MACKIE MIXER - BEST 16 CHANNEL AUDIO MIXER
- 4. PYLE PMXU43BT.5 - BEST BUDGET AUDIO MIXER
- 5. ALLEN & HEATH ZEDI -BEST COMPACT MIXER
- 6. YAMAHA AG06 MIXER
- 7. BEHRINGER XENYX Q502USB
- 8. SOUNDCRAFT SIGNATURE 12MTK MIXER
- 9. ALLEN & HEATH ZED AUDIO MIXER
- 10. Behringer XENYX Q1202USB
- FREQUENTLY RAISED QUESTIONS
BEST AUDIO MIXERs FOR STREAMING
why do you need a mixer for streaming?
Audio mixers, also known as mixing consoles, mix, balance, and combines different sounds and audio signals sources. They are pretty much the fundamental piece of equipment you will need for live audio broadcasting. And when it comes to streaming live, there is a great need to mix and control audio in real-time. Having a professional mix will make a huge difference in the overall stream quality.
For live game streams, if the game audio gluts your voice or vice versa, the bad audio mix will create nearly an unwatchable stream. Similarly, if your microphone sounds muffled or blown out, your audience might get an unlistenable experience possible.
Solving these problems before they happen is precisely why an audio mixer is a must-have. With an audio mixer, you can control audio mix at your fingertips which is worth the effort and expense.
So if you are broadcasting live on Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube, you can significantly benefit from integrating an audio mixer into your broadcast setup. Enhance your live streaming experience with professional sound quality by installing a simple plug-and-play audio mixer and get live streaming within minutes of unboxing.
10 BEST AUDIO MIXER FOR STREAMING REVIEW
1. YAMAHA MIXER MG12XU - BEST AUDIO MIXER WITH EFFECTS
- 12 Channel mixer with USB and SPX digital effects.
Let me start this list with one of the top brands. The MG12XU is a Yamaha mixer embodied with an excellent design which includes studio-quality preamps, powerful digital processing, and rugged, reliable construction. It comes with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface and boasts an extensive lineup of compact mixing consoles, which is ideal for all platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and live streaming.
The mixing console features Yamaha's studio-grade discrete class-A D-PRE preamps. They utilize an inverted Darlington circuit comprising two cascading transistors in a configuration that provides more power with lower impedance.
It features 3 band equalizers on all mono channels for precise control of your sound. High-pass filter allows you to eliminate unwanted low-frequency noise for a smoother and cleaner mix. It features Yamaha's SPX digital multi-effect processor which offers a comprehensive suite of editable digital effects and results in perfect audio mixing.
These are perfect for enhancing your mix. It comes with four mono XLR and 1/4" hybrid inputs along with three stereo line inputs.
For installed, recording or live music settings, the solid construction and flexible design of these consoles let you shape your sound with confidence. The 3 band EQ and high pass filters give you maximum control and eliminate unwanted noise, resulting in a cleaner mix.
The one-knob compressors of this Yamaha mixer allow easy control resulting in livelier guitars, punchier bass lines, a tighter snare and a more decent vocal sound.
2. BEHRINGER XENYX 1204USB - BEST SMALL AUDIO MIXER
- Neo-classic "British" Three band EQs.
- Four onboard studio-grade XENYX Microphone Preamps.
The compact BEHRINGER XENYX USB mixer allows you to effortlessly achieve high-sound quality, owing to its four onboard studio-grade XENYX Mic Preamps and "British" channel EQs.
The easy-to-use knob compressors offer total dynamic control for the ultimate clarity. Behringer XENYX's preamps offer 130 dB of dynamic range with a bandwidth between 10 Hz to 200 kHz. It provides a transparent and crystal-clear performance.
The compression is available on all mono channels and is easy to operate, even for entry-level users. It also comes with a bi-directional stereo USB interface that you can connect directly to your PC or MAC.
The Tracktion software brings together outstanding Pro DAW features such as dynamic automation, unlimited track count, MIDI recording and support for VST and AU plug-ins and it is one of the best audio mixer for streaming. It's no wonder this mixer is the most popular choice among professionals on Twitch and YouTube for live streaming.
3. MACKIE MIXER - BEST 16 CHANNEL AUDIO MIXER
- Built-in USB interface for quickly recording your mix or for music playback.
The Mackie ProFX16v2 is yet another best streaming mixers that offer a comprehensive live sound solution with a variety of models and each delivers unmatched performance. The all-new Mackie Vita preamps are explicitly designed for live sound streaming.
The Vita preamps are practically noiseless, featuring a discrete front end design, dual feedback stabilization and bias current optimization for unparalleled low-noise performance.
The all-new ReadyFX effects engine uses floating-point DSP designed specifically for intensive processing of high-audio quality. This effects that are rich and always ready to elevate performance and inspire audiences.
It comprises of all critical tools like multi-band graphic equalization, smart features like channel inserts and foot-switchable FX mute. This mixer comes with a built-in USB interface for recording your mix or for music playback during the show.
This professional audio mixer also includes easy-to-use Tracktion recording software so you can get started right away. Each channel features its individual 3-band EQ and 100Hz low-cut filter for shaping the sound of your inputs.
The ReadyFX digital effects engine gives you access to 16 different effects including reverb and delays, which will be highly helpful and let you control your multiple audio mixing. It even has added chorus effects for your guitar.
4. PYLE PMXU43BT.5 - BEST BUDGET AUDIO MIXER
If you are looking for compact professional streaming mixer then check out the Pyle Professional audio mixer which comes with USB, Flash Reader and MP3 Compatibility. So you can connect your external USB, computer PC, flash drive or Bluetooth device to mix and record.
It also includes Bluetooth wireless music streaming for hassle-free and cable-free audio streaming. The 100V-240V (+/-15V DC power adapter) ideal for worldwide usage.
It supports XLR and has an unbalanced ¼ - inch plug with + 48v Phantom Power button, highly accurate LED Peak Level Indicator and Ultra-musical 3-band EQ on all channels.
Its low noise, high-headroom mixer with super-easy functionality make it ideal for professional vocal and instrumental sound and is one of the best budget audio mixer. It provides you with total dynamic control for the ultimate punch and clarity. It is perfect for on-stage performance, live gigs and Karaoke.
5. ALLEN & HEATH ZEDI -BEST COMPACT MIXER
- Two in/2 out USB (24-bit/96kHz) interface.
The Allen & Heath's ZEDi-8 is one of the finest analog mixers for live sound which offers musicians and recording artists the ruggedness and hands-on control over them.
It is paired with the versatility and convenience of a 2 x 2 USB interface. Also, it features a new GSPre boutique preamp design. It boasts of exceptionally low noise and massive headroom with a signature analog warmth and depth.
The mixer includes a pair of Guitar DI high impedance inputs, which allow guitars to be plugged straight into the mixer without the trouble and cost of carrying separate DI boxes.
It incorporates a studio-quality audio two-in/two-out, 24-bit/96kHz interface (USB) for trouble-free recording. The USB output source can be set up in several ways to match your workflow, which makes it one of the best mixer.
For tonal shaping, the precise MusiQ EQ controls have been calibrated carefully for responsiveness and precision. This makes it easy to enhance each musical source.
6. YAMAHA AG06 MIXER
If you are looking for an professional audio mixer at an affordable price, this Yamaha mixer is undeniably the great deal. It is a multi-purpose, high-resolution mixer with a audio (USB) interface. It was designed to elevate the audio experience for webcasters/podcasters, gamers, mobile musicians and music producers.
The LOOPBACK function allows live broadcasting of all microphones, instruments and other audio sources paired with background music from your PC, Mac or iPad.
Since AG mixer comes with phantom power, you can connect a wide range of microphones including professional-level condenser mics. Its flexible Hi-Z input enables you to connect a wide range of instruments like guitars, bass guitars and synthesizers.
It features 1-Touch DSP that utilizes a premium signal processing technology. COMP/EQ will sharpen your tone while EFFECT adds ambient reverb. AMP SIM delivers a classic, tube amp sound—all at the touch of a button.
It can operate using USB bus power, eliminating the need for an external adaptor. It can also be driven by a mobile battery for use with an iPad providing users with an ideal mobile mixing and audio interface solution.
The high-end D-PRE microphone preamps is combined with 192kHz / 24bit sound capability in a compact yet comprehensive design. It comes bundled with Cubase AI (download) that offers to compose, recording, editing and mixing functions based on industry-standard Cubase music production software.
The AG DSP controller gives you additional control of 1-TOUCH DSP parameters such as COMP, EQ, HPF, reverb, and the AMP SIM.
7. BEHRINGER XENYX Q502USB
- Built-in bi-directional stereo USB.
Next one up in the list is the BEHRINGER XENYX Q502USB mixer's 5 Inputs (1 mic, two stereos) which allow you to easily achieve high-audio quality, owing to its onboard studio-grade XENYX Mic Preamp and 'British' channel EQ.
The easy-to-use 'one-knob' compressor offers full dynamic control for the ultimate punch and clarity while respecting all the power and emotion you pack into every note.
Behringer XENYX's preamps offer 130 dB of dynamic range, with a bandwidth that extends from below 10 Hz to well above 200 kHz. The five-input, two-bus mixer can accommodate either a dynamic or condenser microphone. The two-band British EQ is famous for its warm and musical sound.
These digital mixers comes with a built-in, bi-directional stereo USB interface. So, you can connect these audio mixers for streaming directly to your PC or Mac computer via a single USB cable. It also includes all the software you'll need for audio recording, editing and even podcasting.
8. SOUNDCRAFT SIGNATURE 12MTK MIXER
- 14-in/12-out low latency USB playback and recording audio interface.
- Soundcraft Ghost preamps with low noise performance.
- Lexicon Effects Engine featuring Reverbs, Delays, Choruses and Modulations.
The Soundcraft Signature 12MTK incorporates Soundcraft's iconic Ghost microphone preamps, directly drawn from the company's professional consoles. It delivers high quality audio with high headroom, wide dynamic range and excellent resolution and clarity.
This audio mixer employs Soundcraft's Sapphyre Assymetric EQ for equalizing all vocal and instrumental elements. It includes a variety of built-in Lexicon reverb, chorus, modulation and DBX limiters on the input channels.
Its multi-track USB audio interface allows VST/AU/AAX/TDM/RTAS plugins to be used with any input channel, allowing studio plug-ins to be integrated with live performances.
A low latency USB interface seamlessly captures every channel, which can later be mixed or transferred to a DAW for mix-down and production. The console offers XLR and switchable Hi-Z inputs that enable guitars, basses and other instruments to be directly connected.
It features smooth, premium-grade faders with GB Series audio routing with flexible pre/post switching on each Aux, and subgroups with routing and switching options as well as dedicated outputs. It is built using premium-quality robust metal construction and top-quality components. It also has an internal universal power supply.
9. ALLEN & HEATH ZED AUDIO MIXER
The ZED-12FX is ideal for those who travel a lot. Even though it is so compact, it fits in 4 auxiliary channels and swept semi-parametric EQ.
The configurable USB in/out makes it easy to capture stereo recordings. Just plug in a USB to your ZED, select the USB routing on the mixer and the device on your computer and play. It offers CD-quality audio to and from your PC and Mac.
These streaming mixers are featured with responsive 3-band, swept mid frequency EQ design which utilizes MusiQ – with optimized slope (or Q factor) for equalizing individual instruments. It has an essential selection of 16 time-delay effects, engineered for small groups who don't want to carry around a separate effects unit with its gear but still want great quality FX at their gigs and on their recordings.
The ZED-12FX has DuoPre preamps which use a two-stage design with carefully controlled amounts of gain in each stage. While amplifying the signal from the XLR input, the gain range is huge – 69dB to be exact – and it is very evenly distributed about the gain control, meaning better control of signal level.
10. Behringer XENYX Q1202USB
- Four state-of-the-art XENYX Preamps.
With the +48v Phantom Power for use with studio-grade condenser microphones, the Q1202USB becomes a versatile mixer for your live performances.
It also provides the state-of-the-art tools needed to make stunning, high quality audio recordings. With its built-in bi-directional USB, it comes with all the recording and editing software for live streaming. It will turn your computer system into a personal high-performance home recording studio.
You can connect the mixer directly to your PC or Mac computer via a single USB cable. The Behringer XENYX preamps offer a staggering 130 dB of dynamic range, with a bandwidth between 10 Hz to well above 200 kHz.
So these are the 10 best audio mixers for streaming. Now let's talk what an audio mixer does and the key components of an audio mixer.
PURPOSE OF AUDIO MIXER
An audio mixer is one of the important studio accessories that most sound engineers recommend buying. This box-like device has a lot to perform; it can take two or more audio signals, merge them and provide one or more output signals. And mainly, it makes sure that the individual sound sources mesh together in one harmonious end product.
You can do this by adjusting levels, enhancing sound with equalization and effects, creating monitor feeds, and recording various mixes.
KEY COMPONENTS OF AUDIO MIXER
These are the key components which you much check while buying a best audio mixer.
Types of Audio Mixer
Analog mixers are considered superior because of their simple interface. It comes with physical knobs and dials that let you control and tune channels, as well as adjust sound levels easily even in the middle of a live performance/stream. They are ideal for most streamers, especially for those who stream podcasts.
Digital mixers offer a wide range of features and audio control capabilities. In this regard, digital mixers are better. They are easier to learn how to use and master. They also support apps that give you convenient access to multiple audio channels and setup sound profiles.
Powered mixers are analog mixers with in-built amplification. These mixers are compact, portable, and easy to setup. Most of the powered mixers include two amp channels. They can power two main speakers or one main speaker and one monitor. With a powered mixer, you don’t have to carry around separate amps. But you don't get a lot of features or output power.
HOW TO CHOOSE AN AUDIO MIXER FOR STREAMING
Like any other studio equipment, the audio mixer comes in different types. Even the products from the same manufacturer are different in many ways and it can be difficult to decide which one to buy. Ideally, a lot of research should be done to identify the best audio mixer in the market. This session of the article is to guide you in the right direction.
Budget and Objectives
Your budget influences your choice of mixer. If you can’t afford a high-end mixer with faders, you’ll have to settle for something that fits your budget. Rather than slipping a hole in your pocket, you should focus on finding the best mixer with your budget. Equally crucial is having a clear idea of where you want to go. Carefully analyze if you need any fancy features at this point, you can find many good mixers at an affordable price.
Digital Or Analog Mixer
The debate over which type of mixer is most suitable for studio installation is sure to continue for decades. The point is, it all comes down to what you like the most and what you feel comfortable using. While some love the crisp, pure sound of digital mixers, others love the warmth of analog instruments. Stick to your preference and you will enjoy using your mixer.
I / O And Channels
Take into consideration the number of mics and instruments you need to connect. For example, a battery can use four or five channels on its own. Also, if you're using condenser mics, you need inputs that provide phantom power. Also, if your band has stereo keyboards and similar instruments, you will need stereo channels. If you want to connect bass or an electric guitar directly to the console (which is quite common), you need enough direct inputs. It's always a good idea to have more channels than you think you need
In general, studio recording requires finer tuning of the sound to soften your mix. Likewise, parametric equalizers for multiband may be required to achieve the level of audio quality you want. Conversely, to control the bass and simplify the mixing of live sound, you need high and mid frequencies.
To be fair, unless you're doing a high-level mixing job, with a dedicated sound engineer changing the sounds during your songs, you won't need much more than some nice reverbs and a few delays. It's obviously great to have more options if you're using your mixer for recording, but for live performance use that's really all you'll need 95% of the time.
There are obviously several hardware and software tools that you use for recording, your mixer should be compatible with them. You must determine this before purchasing a mixer. There are cases where mixers have compatibility issues with certain Mac and PC products. Cases of this nature are very rare these days, but you still need to check whether the mixer you buy is compatible with your workstation setup.
More often than not, cables and microphones are not a problem. You will need to pay attention to your digital audio workstation for any compatibility issues with the mixer you intend to purchase. In most cases, there are also few problems encountered when connecting the hardware. It's always about making the hardware work with the software.
Ease of Use
There are certain type of mixers that increases your ability to use and adapt them and there are mixers out there that are just plain hard to use. If your workflow is important to you and you don't want to be frustrated with the difficulty of figuring out what is what and what does what in your equipment, look for mixers that are easy to use. An intuitive interface is always very desirable in any studio equipment.
Even if you are a fan of the features, it is important that you easily understand them and know how to use and apply them. It wouldn't make sense if you had to take days to mix a single piece of music due to the complexity of your equipment. Your dexterity and understanding of sound won't be much use if you have a difficult interface to understand.
BENEFITS OF CHOOSING A USB AUDIO MIXER
As we mentioned earlier, when purchasing an audio mixer, one should consider the ease of use. Unless you are a pro in handling recording studio gears, choosing a user-friendly audio mixer with standard output is recommended. Most standard industry audio mixers do not have a USB interface to connect them to a pc or laptop. Therefore, such types of analog or older mixers need to be plugged with an audio interface. Only then will it be able to communicate with a computer while streaming.
But now, with the help of a USB mixer, you have the scope to mix audio sources or live performance without using an audio mixer. USB audio mixer works similar to an ADA audio interface. A USB MIXER includes one or more USB ports that allow you to play and record audio directly into your computer.
- USB mixers have an in-built audio mixer interface. It is more like a 2-in-1 mixer. It can function as both a standalone mixer and USB output connected directly to a computer and record your mix.
- Allow you to connect multiple audio sources based on the number of channels.
- Easily record each audio source on a separate track and at the same time within your software.
BEST AUDIO MIXER SOFTWARE FOR STREAMING
Broadcasting sound and video online require a minimum of equipment, in particular a decent internet connection, a device that can be connected to the internet network (for example, a computer or a smartphone), but above all to get a good audio mixer software for streaming, unless you have a USB mixer. Now let's take a look at the best streaming software.
This streaming mixer software is produced by Telestream. Wirecast is a live or on-demand Internet streaming program. The Studio version of this product supports Main Concept's high-quality H.264 encoder with an easy-to-learn user interface. Meanwhile, the Pro version brings more features with richer graphic content, 3D virtual templates, backgrounds, dashboards, sharper audio settings, support for the On2 VP6 format, and a wide choice of peripheral inputs.
This paid streaming software is quite simply revolutionary. It mixes the audio/video broadcast directly. His video recordings are professional work. Easy to use, it is intended for both video game enthusiasts who would like to record and broadcast their best games and companies wishing to use a simple tool to make videoconferencing or video advertisements.
OBS Studio is an open-source streaming software with monstrous performance and has as only objective to be of service to you for the pleasure. Yes, that means OBS Studio is free, and it looks good. Its interface is presented under two themes to choose from light or dark.
For professional processing, paid streaming software is a good solution. However, this does not mean that the free ones do not do their job well. OBS, for example, even being free, is a very powerful streaming software capable of broadcasting in a very satisfactory way. I would even say that if you are just starting, you don't need to pay for streaming software. Turn to one of the free streaming software on this list and wait until you have more experience before investing a fortune in purchasing a complete tool that will meet more advanced needs.
FREQUENTLY RAISED QUESTIONS
Technically, a USB mixing console can only be used as both an audio interface and a standalone audio mixer. But in addition, USB mixing consoles can offer many more features and functionality than most audio interfaces. Moreover, many streamers and podcasters without luxurious studio equipment prefer audio USB mixers for editing and recording. Overall, USB mixers give a better grasp of your audio output.
The best audio mixer is the one that provides all the features you need for your live streaming environment. The Behringer Xenyx Q502USB and the Yamaha MG12XU Stereo Mixer are two of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use audio mixers available. They both pack tons of inputs and outputs, compressors, a multiband EQ while still being compact and well-built.
The best mixer for live broadcasting is the Yamaha MG12XU stereo mixer. Fully equipped, with plenty of inputs and built to last, you can't go wrong with this blender. The metal chassis makes it a streaming gear that will survive the harshest of treatments, and it's designed to be the best mixer for streaming with 10 inputs, 3-band EQ, and compressor for professional-quality sound.
If you have a mixer that applies good quality reverb, EQ, and compression, it will improve your sound quality. The only way to manage and control all aspects of multiple sound sources is to invest in an Audio mixer. The grip and playability of audio mixers make it a worthy and rewarding experience. By addressing your soundtrack with your video, you will find a dramatic increase in audio quality in your video productions.
Audio mixers are commonly used in recording studios, PA systems, sound reinforcement systems, night clubs, broadcasting, television etc. If you work in any of the above-mentioned places/departments, the chances are that you are looking for the best audio mixer for streaming that suits all your needs and makes recording or streaming music as effortless as possible.
So this is the list of some of the best audio mixer for streaming that I have compiled for you. You might notice that most of these deliver excellent performance for the price, i.e., they are highly cost-efficient. Plus, they are compact, so you will not face any problems even if you are travelling.
Most of them are powered by phantom power, while some are powered by your PC/Mac/iPads. And all of them are compact and reasonable lightweight. I hope you found what you were looking for. Happy recording!