Which Audio Mixer Brands Are The Best?
Over the years, many pastors have asked me which audio mixer brands I recommend. It is not an easy question to answer as it depends on the needs of each person. Some brands make some of the most highly-rated mixers in audio. Some of these brands include Yamaha, Soundcraft and Midas.
These companies manufacture various mixing consoles, including 4-channel analog mixers that can be used for podcasting and 40-channel digital mixers that can be used for large churches or event centers. Some models are simple, while others have all the bells and whistles of complete audio workstations that include equalizer settings, effects, and many more.
The Best Audio Mixers: Top Features
One of the most important aspects to consider when comparing the various brands of mixers is the features offered by each mixer. You should also consider the type of mixer, the number of inputs and mic channels, and how they affect the sound quality.
Most audio mixers can be either analog mixers from the past or digital mixers that are more modern. Some mixers can be called hybrids, but most will use either analog or digital mixers.
Both mixers can produce amazing sound. One mixer may have more advanced technology, but it does not necessarily mean it produces better sound. Many analog mixers can compete with digital mixers. Many audiophiles prefer analog mixers to digital ones. Yamaha and Mackie continue to make excellent analog mixers, as well as digital mixers.
Both rack-mount mixers, as well as desktop-style mixers are available. Both styles have their place and are equally useful. A desktop mixer can be used in a studio or a church sound booth. A desktop-style mixer has controls placed on top of the soundboard. With a rack-mount mixer, many controls can be found on the front of a mixer or controlled via a separate control unit or laptop.
Next, we need to consider how many channels a mixer board has. These range from small 4-channel podcasting mixers to large 40-channel studio mixers. These channels include mic channels as well as other audio input channels. Many of these channels have phantom power to supply power for condenser mics.
It is crucial to choose the best microphone preamps for the mixer. Preamps do not all have the same quality. Midas and Soundcraft are well-known for using high-end preamps on their boards. Mackie has a great preamp for their mixers. A good preamp will produce a better sound system. Good preamps reduce the noise or reverb picked up by microphones and reproduce the recorded primary sound.
Analog versus digital audio mixers
Many audio mixer manufacturers make both analog and digital mixers. While digital mixers are the most advanced in technology, many audiophiles and sound engineers still prefer analog mixers. They prefer routing signals using an analog mixer to the complicated process of digital mixers.
Analog mixers are simple. They are easy to use and are also easier to use by non-tech volunteers and church leaders. Some churches don’t have a sound engineer available to give their time.
An analog mixer’s layout is simpler to understand and requires fewer steps to set up. You can adjust most sound controls using buttons, faders, and physical knobs.
These are usually replaced by a GUI when using a digital mixer. Graphic user interface (GUI) This allows you to control every mix aspect, including volume, tone, and effects. You can also choose where to send the signal using a computer screen or menu options.
A digital mixer usually offers more versatility and features than an analog mixer. You may find additional equalization settings, more FX (effects), and preprogrammed effects that mimic various venues. You can change the sound to sound like it’s in a concert hall or even a coffee shop by simply pressing a button.
Depending on which mix you are making, you can also save your settings and different mixes. You might have a Sunday worship team that meets every Sunday but also offer an afternoon service with traditional hymns and different players. Once you’ve set the mix, you can save it and switch between them with just a click. You don’t need to adjust it whenever a new musician comes along.
Digital mixers offer the advantage of controlling the mixer from any location via a mobile application or software for a tablet. This allows you to mix the sound right there where people hear it. You can adjust the volume or bring up a speaker in the audience.
For touring, you need sturdy construction.
Mixers are made to be used on the road and in studios. Not all mixers can withstand the demands of touring and setting up equipment at different gigs. Equipment is often damaged during tours. Mackie mixer is the brand that has the best reputation for enduring the demands of touring.
Behringer manufactures rack-mountable equipment for road use. However, their use of plastic parts make them difficult to use on the road. Plastic parts can easily break.
Mackie is known for being “built like an army tank.” Midas and Soundcraft also produce durable mixers with aluminum frames.
If you buy a quality mixer from a reliable company, audio mixers can be quite expensive. The least expensive mixers can cost thousands of dollars for a larger mixer. This is the beginning. You may be able to spend as much as $20,000.00 on some options. You should ensure you are getting a high-quality mixer from a trusted brand before spending that much money. The brands that you can trust for audio mixers are…
- Allen and Heath
These brands are my top picks for digital and analog mixers. If you are looking for a reliable, classic mixer, I recommend Mackie. Some churches in my area still use Mackie mixers from 30 years ago.
The X32 is a popular digital mixer from Behringer. It is also the most affordable, considering all of the features and effects it offers.
Yamaha is a great choice if you want great customer service.
This article should have provided you with all the information you require about the top audio mixer brands.