Finding good mixers for your home studio can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re looking for ones that can do some multi-track recording…
Meaning that every single input gets recorded onto its own separate track.
In this article I’m going to list the best mixers for any home- and even professional studio, that can even be used for live performances.
Note: They will be listed from cheapest to most expensive.
Table of Contents
- Allen & Heath ZEDi 10FX
- Presonus Studiolive AR
- Zoom LiveTrak L-12
- Behringer X-Air XR18
- Soundcraft Signature MTK
- Mackie DL16S
- Tascam Model 24
- Mackie DL32R
Allen & Heath ZEDi 10FX
A great addition to any small Home Studio is the Allen & Heath ZEDi 10FX.
This one I would recommend to anyone with a small Home Studio or anyone who doesn’t need an extreme number of ins and outs.
It is a 4×4 mixer, meaning that you can record the four mic inputs on to separate tracks in your DAW.
The sample rate and bit depth are 24-bit / 96kHz which is perfect for home recording applications.
ZEDi-10FX offers four mono mic/line channels (with phantom power), which are the ones that can be recorded separately onto the DAW, plus three stereo inputs as well as built- in FX.
The four mono channels feature balanced/unbalanced TRS and XLR inputs and use the GSPre preamps, which sound pretty damn nice and can even provide enough gain to drive microphones like the Shure SM7B or the Heil PR40.
The stereo Inputs come via TRS.
The first two channels also include a “guitar mode” which engage the high impedance DI inputs. This means that you won’t need to worry about purchasing a DI box.
The next two channels, 3 and 4, have a Line/Pad button which will drop the input level by 20dB.
All four channels have a Low cut button as well as the typical controls every mixer has; like Gain, balance, FX-Send, mix level, Aux send and a three band EQ.
When taking a look at the stereo channels you will notice that they aren’t as fully equipped as the mono ones.
The first stereo channels only supply up to 15dB of gain as well as a two band EQ, while the second stereo channel only offers mix level.
Luckily, the effects sound great, with 61 one presets in total split between the typical effects such as delay, reverb, chorus, doublers, flangers, and more.
This mixer also comes with a ¼” headphone output which should be able to drive most headphones out there.
One huge perk about this mixer is that it comes with these free included softwares; Cubase LE and Cubasis LE.
Lastly, this mixer feels very solid. It’s clearly been made to last and to be road tough.
- 4 in, 4 out USB Audio Interface (24-bit/96kHz)
- Cubase LE Software included
- Cubasis LE App included
- 2 Stereo Inputs with TRS jack sockets
- 2 Guitar DI high impedance inputs
- Internal FX
Check it out on Amazon, where you can see the current price and all the reviews.
You might also want to check out the Allen & Heath ZEDi-10 which is the same mixer only cheaper, but it lacks the effects.
Depending on your needs you might want one or the other.
Presonus Studiolive AR
The StudioLive AR mixers by Presonus offer you a wide selection of mixing desks which range from 8 tracks all the way up to 22. They can do Multi-track recording, sending every Input to your DAW plus the Main mix channels.
These mixers have a nice feature which they call the “super channel” which basically gives you all the inputs on one channel that you could possibly need, RCA (for CD and DVD players), a 1/8” mini jack (For plugging in your phone or anything else you’d like) and even Bluetooth to pair the mixer with your phone.
This comes in handy if you are rehearsing with your band and you want to play the song you are practicing at the same time or if you need to play some music during the breaks.
One extra benefit that the Presonus StudioLive Mixers have is that they can record directly on to an SD card. This is great for live performances, plus you can also playback from the SD card.
Channels 1 and 2 have high-impedance inputs for instruments, this will allow you to connect a guitar or a bass directly on to the board.
The Presonus Studiolive AR mixers provide you with 16 high-quality effects, which include reverb (room, hall and plate), chorus, delay, etc. You can also bypass all of these effects by using a footswitch, which is optional.
All of them, except the smallest one which is the 8-channel mixer, use faders which are really responsive and feel great!
The 8-channel mixer uses knobs to control the volume, these are of great quality but I personally enjoy faders a lot more!
All of these Mixers can record up to 24-bit/96kHz and you also get a 48v Phantom Power control switch which enables it globally.
- Studio One artist Edition (Presonus DAW) and Studio Magic Plug-in Suite for Mac and Windows, which includes seven Plug-ins in VST, AU and AAX formats.
The presonus StudioLive AR mixers are the most versatile ones out there, the 22-track one sells for almost the same price as the Soundcraft Signature MTK22 Series but has a lot of added bonuses.
These mixers I would definitely recommend, especially the StudioLive AR16 and StudioLive AR22 since they will give you a good amount of inputs, plus they are the kind of equipment that you buy once and probably won’t have the need to upgrade from ever again!
Links to Amazon for each model:
- StudioLive AR8 (8 Channel)
- StudioLive AR12 (12 Channel)
- StudioLive AR16 (16 Channel)
- StudioLive AR22 (22 Channel)
Zoom Livetrak L-12
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 will allow you to record up to fourteen individual tracks to your DAW or to an SD card.
The first 8 tracks have XLR inputs, one and two having a Hi-Z instrument level input while the remaining six have pads, which allow you to reduce the incoming level by 26dB.
The final two channels are stereo inputs which can be on ¼” TRS jacks or RCA connectors.
There are fourteen tracks being recorded because you get the 12 inputs as well as the master output, which is stereo.
The L-12 can also be used to overdub additional parts either in your DAW or internally. The maximum recording quality of this mixer is 24-bit/96kHz.
This one is different from the other ones on this list because it provides 5 headphone outputs and you can create different mixes for each one of them. Each of these outputs has individual volume control also.
Each of the mono inputs (channels 1-8) include a one knob compressor and a 3-band EQ with sweepable mids. You can choose from a variety of effects to add to the tracks while also being able to add a Low-cut. Every channel also has a pan control.
Each channel strip can operate in three different modes; In Audio Interface mode the L-12 transforms into a 14-in/4-out USB interface for your device with flexible routing options.
In USB mode, you can transfer projects and files to a connected drive.
Card Reader mode allows you to transfer files to and from your computer.
The L-12 has the auto record function, which will basically start recording as soon as it detects a certain dB level.
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 (link to Amazon) is an extremely versatile mixer/interface/recorder.
There’s also a bigger version which supports up to 20 channels. Here’s the Link to the Zoom LiveTrak L-20.
It does everything you need it to do, be it recording a live band, rehearsals, or even just for doing some solo home recording, this mixer will do everything while still being very easy to use and intuitive.
Another option would be to go for one of these two Audio Interfaces which are affordable and have a decent amount of inputs.
Behringer X-Air XR18
The Behringer XR18 is a digital mixer which features a 18-in/18-out USB audio interface.
16 of the inputs are XLR/TRS combo Jacks which feature their famous MIDAS preamps, and an additional two line inputs, as well as MIDI I/O.
The quality of these preamps is actually pretty good, providing you with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio and good headroom.
It also comes with 6 aux outputs which can be used to create headphone mixes, or for live monitoring, as well as a headphone output.
Lastly, it comes with the “Ultranet” port which connects to the Behringer’s P16 monitor distribution system and allows every musician to create their own headphone mix or their own monitor mix on stage.
As you can see it doesn’t provide any knobs or faders like most consoles, so how do you actually control it?
It can be controlled via Wi-Fi -with a built-in router- or ethernet using an Andrioid or iOS device by using the X-Air App which gives you an overview of what’s going on in the mixer.
This app works almost like a DAW and comes included with loads of effects.
It even has an Auto-Mix feature which can manage fully automated mixes with up to 16 live microphones…
This feature is not really intended for mixing live music, but rather conferences.
When it comes to cost-efficiency, the Behringer XR18 is one of the best ones…
It super affordable for what you are getting.
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can check the price and read the reviews of the Behringer X-Air XR18.
Soundcraft Signature MTK
The Signature MTK 12 and 22 series from Soundcraft are analog mixers which also come with onboard effects and USB multi-track recording and playback.
They both allow for 12 or 22 multi-track recording respectively.
It is important to make the distinction between the MTK series and the regular ones;
Both can be connected to the PC via USB but the regular ones only offer two channels for stereo recording and supports 24-bit/192kHz resolution, while the MTK ones offer 12 or 22 Multi-track recording but at a reduced 24-bit/48kHz sample rate.
The MTK series are fantastic for anyone who is building a home studio and wants a good Mixer with loads of inputs and other features.
They come with the Ghost preamps, which are the ones featured on their Ghost Consoles.
These preamps are considered the top of the line and are of extremely high quality giving you a lot of headroom, wide dynamic range and good signal to noise ratio.
These preamps also come with a Sapphyre Asymmetric EQ, which has two separate mid-bands, allowing you to EQ everything thoroughly.
This Mixer’s interface will also give you the option to use the plugins on your DAW for actual live performances in real time as well as for studio monitoring without any latency at all.
They come loaded with studio-quality effects from Lexicon like Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Modulation and other effects and dbx limiters on the input channels.
One would think that these effects are not that good and just here to add something to this mixing desk, but not only do they sound great, even better than some commercial plugins, but they are also extremely easy to set with just a pair of parameter knobs.
The consoles have XLR and switchable Hi-Z inputs that enable guitars, basses and other instruments to be directly connected.
The quality of the faders is extremely good, they are really smooth, responsive and accurate.
You get a 48v Phantom Power control, which is global, and also a High-Pass filter (for all mono inputs).
The channel strips have a total of 16 mono and 4 stereo channels, 2 effect busses, 4 group busses and a master fader.
- Free downloads of the Lexicon MPXL native plug-in and Ableton Live 9 Lite.
The Soundcraft Signature MTK 12 and 22 Series (link to Amazon) are simple and easy to use, the recording quality is extremely good and they will serve you well either for live performances or for your home studio.
The great thing is that they are affordable and most gigging bands can afford one.
Or even for a musician who is recording at home and needs a step up in quality and channel count from his regular audio interface, these mixers will be a huge upgrade.
If you find that buying a mixing board like this one is either too expensive or simply too much for what you actually need, you can always read this article I wrote on the best Audio Interfaces under $300 which offer great recording quality at an affordable price!
The Mackie DL16S is a wireless digital mixer that features a 16-in/16-out audio interface.
All of the inputs come with the Onyx+ preamps which are one of the best preamps out there that should provide you with a lot of headroom and a great signal-to-noise ratio.
One cool feature about the Mackie DL16S, as well as the Mackie DL32R which is the last one on this list, is that it can be controlled wirelessly with an iPod, PC, android device, etc.
Why would you do that?
- One example is if everyone in the band wants to be able to control their own monitor mix.
Out of the 16 inputs, 8 are XLR and the other 8 are XRL/TRS combo jacks.
It also provides 8 XLR outputs…
On top of that, you also get 13 output buses, 6 stereo-linkable aux sends, 6 stereo-linkable subgroups, a Main L/R bus, and a headphone output.
Not only that but it comes with a router directly built inside which allows you to connect up to 20 devices to it.
Now, how do you control it?… since it doesn’t have any knobs, faders, or any kind of channel strips?
It comes with the Master Fader Control App which can be used on any device such as iPod, PC, Android device, etc.
What this means is that you can set the mixer up on stage and control it from anywhere you’d like.
Same goes for your home studio, since you can set it up in a way where it’s completely out of the way, and then all you need to do is use the app to control it.
The App itself is like a DAW which comes with a lot of plugins and effects.
All in all, I think that the Mackie DL16S is a great mixer that works great both in live- and home studio scenarios.
You can check the price and the reviews of the Mackie DL16S on Amazon here.
Tascam Model 24
The Tascam Model 24 has a very unique design and despite having been released on 2018, it has a retro look.
The Tascam Model 24 can record up to 22 simultaneous tracks plus a stereo main mix at 24-bit/48kHz and on the first 16 channels you get XLR inputs with high-quality Tascam preamps in addition to multiple sets of stereo line inputs.
On the first two channels you also get an Instrument/Line-in jack with the ability to switch between them with the press of a button. Also, those two channels have an extra insert on the front.
It can record either to your DAW or to an SD card. It also allows for immediate playback of the tracks you recorded on to the SD card.
Just like the Presonus StudioLive AR ones, the Tascam Model 24 comes with RCA, minijack and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming Audio.
This mixer also provides 16 built-in effects such as Reverb, Chorus, Delay, Flange, etc.
The Phantom Power can be supplied globally, sadly not individually, but this shouldn’t be that much of an issue.
It also has the Routing Mode selector, which is common to all channels. This allows for input assignment of your choice, the live incoming signal, the return from a DAW channel or the return from the internal multitrack recorder to each channel for EQ, processing, etc.
This enables you to overdub in the studio or to play backing tracks, etc.
The Tascam Model 24 also features a one knob compressor on the first 12 channels plus a 3-band EQ with Sweepable mids, plus also a low-cut.
On the rest of the channels you only get a regular 3-band EQ plus the low-cut.
A stereo 7-band graphic EQ can be additionally applied to the main mix or monitors output, which will allow you to shape your mixes to your liking and prevent feedback.
This mixer is fairly similar to the Presonus StudioLiveAR22, in that it shares many of its features.
This one is a bit more expensive, but you get the 7-band graphic EQ which really comes in handy during live performances.
The Tascam Model 24 (link to Amazon) is an excellent option for gigging bands who also need to do some multi-track recordings…
And this mixer will do a fantastic job at it!
The Mackie DL32R is a wireless digital rack-mounted mixer which comes with the Onyx+ preamps.
It’s built like an absolute tank which means that it should last you forever.
It has built in Wi-Fi so that you can connect it to your PC, iPad, Android Device, etc. and control it using the Master Fader Control App.
This really comes in handy since it doesn’t provide any sort of channel strips.
The number of Ins and Outs on this mixer is just absurd, with 32 analog inputs which are divided into 24 XLR- and 8 XLR/TRS combo jacks…
And 1 AES/EBU (XLR), 14 XLR (Assignable), 2 TRS (Monitor), and Headphone Outputs.
On the back it comes with the USB connector which allows you to connect it to a PC and to use it as an 32 -in/32-out Audio Interface, as well as a second USB connector to connect an additional USB hard drive.
This means that you can also record directly onto the hard drive itself without needing a PC.
This mixer is both great for large recording studios as well as home studios, but it’s also excellent for live performances for the simple fact that you can control it directly from an iPad…
Which basically means that in a live scenario you can have the mixer on stage while controlling it from anywhere you’d like.
The Master Fader Control App is fantastic since it’s basically an entire premium DAW which comes with effects, compressors, EQs, and more.
- Master Fader App
- Free Avid Downloads
If you are just building a small home studio, then I honestly believe that the Mackie DL32R is a bit overkill.
You probably will never take advantage of the 32 channels…
However, if you’re looking to expand, or if you need a great mixer for live situations that will allow you to control it from anywhere in the room wirelessly, then it’s definitely a good purchase!
You can check the price and the reviews of the Mackie DL32R on Amazon here.
I know that all these mixers are quite different, especially when looking at their price tag.
However, they are all excellent, but you should really know which one to buy depending on your needs.
If you need something bigger just look at the channel count and go from there.
The Mackie DL32R, which is by far the most expensive one on this list, might be a bit too much for a home studio…
But depending on your circumstances it might be your best alternative.
I hope this information was useful!
Have a wonderful day!