The best 16 channel digital mixer no longer requires enormous mixer consoles. With digital mixing software, you can combine audio inputs, process them, and route them to PA systems or wherever you want. Despite digital audio workstations (DAWs) availability, home studio owners and performers still prefer hardware mixers with knobs, buttons, and faders.
Mixers for live sound are also known as sound systems or PA mixers. Performing musicians looking for a digital audio mixer for live sound can check out the following most recommended digital mixers:
Guidelines for the Best 16 Channel Digital Mixer
Several descriptors usually describe the input-output functions of the best 16 channel digital mixer. A three-number descriptor, such as 24:8:2, indicates the number of inputs, output buses, and master output channels. On the other hand, a zero-value descriptor indicates the absence of an output bus. The most popular and high-end mixers at live concerts are Presonus studio live, Allen & Heath, and Behringer x32.
Understanding the Intricacies of Mixer Controls
Channels and the best 16 channel digital mixer are the main components of digital mixers. The number of knobs and sliders on a digital mixer’s channel console can be intimidating for a novice. Having learned how one channel works, you would be able to understand how the digital mixer works completely. This is. This is because every channel has the same functions as the other channels. After entering the mixer, an audio signal travels through the various parts to the slider or fader before output. Digital mixers consist of a myriad of parts, including:
An audio source (e.g., microphone, guitar, keyboard) can be connected to this terminal. For line signals, such as keyboards, the input terminal usually has a 14.5-inch jack and an XLR connector for microphones.
You can use the insert connection to add additional effects by diverting the audio signal from the channel into an “effects unit,” such as the limiter, reverb, or compressor, while restoring the audio submitted to the channel instantly for scheduled programming at the same time. You can also divert the audio signal to another mixer or for recording without having the audio signal return to the mixer. The insert terminal is a three-conductor TRS jack measuring 14 inches. Typically, a TRS phone jack is used for the insert, but a two-conductor T/S phone jack could also be used. Removing the audio signal from the mix is possible if the jack is fully pushed.
The Gain controls the input level in a channel through the first set of knobs under the insert. Gain prevents distortion and overloading of the channel.
This control knob can change the sound’s frequency curve, like when the sound source is bright. This will allow you to reduce high frequencies quickly. Many mixers come with a 3-band EQ that allows you to adjust the low, mid, and high frequencies separately.
“Auxiliary send” or “aux send” creates an “auxiliary” mix that can be used for several purposes. You can use it to create a monitor or headphone mix for performers to hear themselves during performances. Also, it can be used to send audio signals to effects units. Whenever a common effect unit, such as reverb, is selected, controlling all channels with a single effects unit is possible. This is done by connecting the effects unit to the mixer via the aux return input. Connecting the FX unit back to one of the mixer’s channel inputs is recommended if the mixer lacks this feature.
Pan or Panorama
The Pan controls the stereo field where the sound will be heard. When you turn the pan control knob to the left, the audio signal is boosted to the left. You can route an audio signal to a particular output bus in a multi-bus mixer by pressing a button on an individual channel. You can move the pan control to the left when you want to direct to bus #1. Two outputs are associated with each button (e.g., 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc.). You can turn the pan control to the right to direct it to bus #2. Panning should keep vocals, bass guitar, kick and snare drums in the middle.
You can use the Mute control to prevent the channel from sending any signals. When the mixer mute has a “solo” button, it mutes everything except the “soloed” channel.
Channel faders control the level of audio signals being passed to the bus or the master output. A channel fader is also used to control the sound mix fed to a sound system or recording device.
The overall audio level is controlled before it is sent to the bus or the master output.
This is where the “mixed” audio signal leaves the digital mixer for amplification. A master output usually has XLR terminals, a pair of 14-inch jacks for left and right outputs, and a headphone jack.
6 Best 16 Channel Digital Mixer
Last update on 2023-02-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Presonus StudioLive 32SC
PreSonus StudioLive 32SC is an excellent choice if you need a best 16 channel digital mixer with many channels. With its 32-channel digital mixer, it packs a powerful punch. One of its best features is its portability. With it, you can easily pack it away and bring it along to your live performance. The mixer has 40 mix channels, 286 simultaneous processors, and 26 mix buses. This gives you the most accurate studio quality with enough control over your product.
A Presonus StudioLIve 32SC’s sound is anchored in analog circuitry. Digital recall and convenience are provided by its analog XMAX mic preamps. With UC Surface or Studio One, you can also control it remotely. PreSonus StudioLive 32SC is also portable and has an integrated virtual check. To create easy and super simple outputs anywhere and anytime, you can record all 32 channels to your SD card or USB.
Yamaha TF1 Digital Mixer
You can quickly expand your creativity with the Yamaha TF1 Digital Mixer. The console has 16 inputs and a TouchFlow operation interface. You can immediately access what you need, thanks to its layout. Using the multi-touch screen, you don’t have to think about which knob to turn or which button to press.
You might not need the precise parameter control on the Yamaha TF1 Digital Mixer. Its Touch & Turn knob lets you adjust its 1-knob EQ, and 1-knob Comp functions simultaneously.Moreover, it is an excellent monitor board with onboard effects based on Yamaha’s SPX. Additionally, this TF mixer offers a rewarding and engaging experience as a Front-of-House Console. Thus, it is an ideal choice for live sound mixing.
Allen & Heath QU-16C Digital Mixer
The Allen & Heath QU-16C Digital Mixer is a budget-friendly, compact digital mixer. With its power and compactness, the QCHECKEDU-16C Digital Mixer is rack-mountable. GLD and iLive mixing systems are used in this system. 16 AnalogiQ preamps with zero-crossing detection and paddle (1 dB) step gain stages are included in the Allen & Heath QU-16C Digital Mixer. A spectrogram display and 16 additional channels (automated mic mixing) are included in this Chrome Edition. A 5-inch touchscreen, a dedicated data encoder, motorized faders, and 14 mixes are among the features of the QU-16C Digital Mixer.
With your iPad, you can control the critical functions of QU-16C. The iPad can monitor mixes, control key settings, and manage other functions. It features 16 buses, 16 TRS/XLR inputs, 4 stereo-effects returns, and 3 TRS stereo inputs. Additionally, you’ll be grateful for the connectivity it provides.
In addition to loudspeakers, QSC offers a range of PA-related products, including mixers. As far as mixers are concerned, QSC’s TouchMix-16 epitomizes its excellence. The mixer focuses on ease of use and portability without sacrificing audio quality, control depth, or connectivity.
Considering its portability, it weighs around 5.9 pounds, making it one of the lightest mixers available. Yet, despite its portability, it still has the same number of channels as the other standard mixers, including a handy touchscreen interface for easy control of the faders. This product is appropriate for bands, musicians, small performance venues, and AV professionals.
In addition to providing valuable tools like Wizards and Presets, the TouchMix-16 transcends mixing by making it easy for novices and experienced audio professionals to get superior mixing results. With 22 mixing channels and 12 outputs, it offers an extensive range of signal management options.
Mackie DL1608 16-Channel Live Sound Digital Mixer
A powerful 16-channel digital live mixer provides seamlessly wired and wireless mixing. Using the highly intuitive Mackie Master Fader app, the sound engineer also has complete control of his iPad. The reliability of this digital mixer has been attested to by many sound engineers worldwide. With millions of gigs worldwide, it has proven to be impeccable at providing excellent live sound mixes. An iPad provides impressive ease of use and is convenient and portable.
It is ideal for band productions and other audio productions. This app provides users with wireless control of the mix and powerful plug-in processing of audio within the venue. Finally, its hardware with 16 high-quality Onyx preamps and Cirrus Logic converters would deliver outstanding and unparalleled sound quality.
BEHRINGER X AIR X18
In response to the growing popularity of stage boxes/mixers, Behringer did not waste time introducing an affordable mixer model for live sound. Furthermore, it has many great features in addition to being affordable. As it is remotely controlled, you won’t be able to see the mixer’s usual mix controls.
A combi-type connector on the Air X18 lets you connect any standard 6.3mm or XLR jack plug to the 16-mic inputs. All instruments can be connected, including guitars, microphones, playback devices, and keyboards. In addition, its 17 and 18 inputs are only line-level. Compared to the 16 other channels, they do not offer much processing power.
The main screen layout of this mixer is easy to understand if you are already familiar with the digital mixer setup. If the XR18 is not connected to a device that runs the X-Air control app, it will not work. You can download this app online for OS X, Windows, iPad, and Android devices.
The best 16 channel digital mixer is an exciting and broad subject, and there are several types of best 16 channel digital mixer on the market today, each with some advantages and disadvantages. You will surely need an advanced digital mixer for your live sound if you are a performing artist. You will either make or break your performance based on the mixing console you choose. To ensure that your live sound mixing is successful, choose the equipment you purchase carefully.