Mixing music is an art; it depends not only on skills but also on technology. Hence, getting the best mixing console for the professional recording studio is reasonable. As a musician or music producer, it will prove the best investment you can make. With the help of a mixing console, producing masterpiece music will become a piece of cake for you. But choosing the best mixing console is not a walk in the park. This is why we’ve prepared a list of the best mixing console for a professional recording studio to help you make a better choice.
But before we move on to the list, as a buyer, you need to understand a few things to help you make your decision.
What Should You Look For?/ Criteria For Mixing Console:
You can’t choose a mixing console on a whim, as we mentioned above. You need to keep an eye out for many factors, which we have listed below.
One of the first things you need to understand is your needs and requirements, in other words, the application of the device. In this case, you have to decide why you need the mixing console? It for live playing, or do you want to use it for recording? Or maybe both?
You need to figure this out because types of consoles differ depending upon the application. A mixing recording console that is used for recording should have a high preamp quality mic. Additionally, the console should also have the ability to connect with external processors. These two factors determine what type of mixing console you need to buy.
In contrast, if you want the mixing console for live sound, all you need to do is make sure that it is compatible with the existing sound system. It should also offer a good connectivity and sound processing level to handle the entire band at once.
As a professional, you might be familiar with how much work most of the individual components of a mixing console face. The knobs, sliders, buttons, etc., all face a lot of pressure in every session for music and recording. This is why you need to make sure that the console you are buying is solid and durable. It should perform well for a long time without deteriorating. In this way, you will save yourself from the hassle of frequent repairs or replacing the console for a long time.
Channels are essential part of a mixer. The more channel a mixer has, the more stuff can be drawn. These channels include Input, Inserts, Gain, EQ, Auxiliary sends, Pan, Mute, Channel Fader, Master faders, Master output, etc., to name a few. Every channel has its own specific purpose on the console.
Buses and Signal Routing:
Buses and signal routing play an essential role in recording music. The capabilities mentioned above need to be flexible and durable for a musician who does special-purpose mixes, like feeds to headphones, recording gear, monitors, external effects mixes, etc.
Effects and Other Sound Processors:
Many live-playing professionals pay attention to the mixers that come with onboard sound processing and effects. These tools prove to be quite helpful in, again, live playing. However, these prove to be less valuable if you rely on different tweaking gear like external mic preamps, effect pedals, etc.
Inserts and Direct Outputs:
You need to check how many Inserts and Direct Outputs. This depends on how many Inserts or Direct Output Lines you require.
To manage many channels, VCA groups are used. These are essentially featuring some large-sized mixing channel grouping features known. The working process of groups is relatively simple. But the important thing here is that with the help of these groups, you can easily control all the channels without interfering with each other.
Many professionals prefer to buy a portable mixing console. These console types have to be lightweight, compact in size, and highly flexible.
The mixing console should be flexible enough to operate no matter where it is used—buying a mixing console connected with various devices like professional-level microphones, speakers, and other relevant equipment.
In the case of mixing consoles, the bigger, the better does not ensure you the best quality. Sometimes, it is small-sized consoles that win all the points.
We are trying to say here that you need to look at the size of mixing consoles depending on your need. Does it fit in the space you have designated for it in the studio? Is it small and light weight enough to make it portable? All of that matters in the long run.
Type Of Mixer:
A mixer is supposed to collect audio signals from different resources. After the signals are processed, they are sent to recording equipment or an amplifier. There are actually two types of mixers; analog and digital.
Analog mixers are obviously cheap. They receive the signals directly, which are then processed. Understandably, they don’t come with a lot of flexibility in terms of functions. However, they are cheap. On the other hand, the digital mixers first convert the audio signals to digital and then process them. Because of this, many additional functions are also enabled, like extra effects, pre-programmed settings, automation, etc.
Here is the list of what you need to look for in a mixer console.
Best Mixing Console For Professional Recording Studio:
This behemoth has made its top spot on the best mixing consoles for the professional recording studio. Its intuitive user interface makes it very easy to use, whether beginner or pro. Build for professionals; the BEHRINGER X3 comes with the most amazing digital network that makes you feel like you in heaven.
This will provide you with the best outlet for your creativity and passion for music without any problem.
- Number of channels: 40 input channel
- Weight: 45.4 pounds
- Dimensions: 20.79 x 35.43 x 7.87 inches
- Standing screen display size: 7
- 25 bus digital mixing console for Studio and Live application
- 32 MIDAS-designed, fully programmable mic preamps for audiophile sound quality
- 25 Fully automated motorized 100 mm faders allow for instant overview, powerful scene management, and DAW
- 16 XLR outputs plus 6 additional lines in/outputs, 2 phones connectors, and a talkback section with integrated
- Individual and dynamic LCD Scribble Strips on all channels and buses
- A digital mixer with 40 Input channels
- 25 Bus Digital Mixing Console with 32 Programmable MIDAS Preamps
- 25 Motorized Faders
- Channel LCD’s
- 32 Channel Audio Interface
- iPad/ iPhone Remote Control
- 7″ Main Display
- Very flexible as it is capable of connecting with any device.
- A long list of features that are rarely present in one place.
- High contrast performance and visibility.
- Intuitive user interface.
- Easy to use.
- Not capable of having a super jack in XLR and HDMI video output hook, which any customers demand at this level.
By far, Mackie ProFXv2, 8 A-B Box, 8-channel (PROFX8V2) is the best mixer console you can get. Want to prove that you are a professional? Then this analog mixer should be the first choice for you. The console truly offers a professional setup. It is perfect for either solo performances or professional setup. The FX effects engine, in addition to 16 different effects, make it seem like you are going on a musical adventure.
Due to its numerous professional-level qualities and high specs, it is considered the best mixing console for the professional recording studio.
- Brand: Mackie
- Number of Channels: 8
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 14.1 x 11.4 x 3.6 inches
- Weight: 7.1 Pounds
- Power Consumption: 20 watts
- Hardware Interface: USB
- Musical Style: Live sound
- 4 low-noise Mackie Vita mic preamps
- Ready FX effects engine with 16 effects, including reverbs, delays, and choruses
- 7-band graphic EQ for tuning mains or monitors.
- Operating Temperature: 0 ̊ – 40 ̊C
- Aux output for monitor mixes
- venue 70-volt systems
- 3-band EQ and 100Hz low-cut filter on all channels
- Ready FX effects engine with 16 different effects, including reverbs, delays, and choruses to enhance sound
- 7-band graphic EQ for tuning mains or monitors.
- 4 low-noise Mackie Vita mic preamps that reduce noise and distortion during amplification
- 3-band EQ and 100 Hz low cut filter
- Compact design
- Reduces noise and distortion during amplification
- Multiple sound effects plus FX effects engine
- It can be used with professional microphones
- perfect for recording guitars and vocals, as well as podcast or commercial
- It has a complicated design that can make the operation difficult for those who have never used it before.
Presonus Studiolive SL-1602:
In search of the best mixing console for a professional recording studio? PreSonus Studiolive SL-1602 is ranked the best professional-level mixing console by the experts. The availability of wireless connectivity makes it perfect to set up with any device. The settings can be easily personalized with the help of multi-touch surface control.
This model makes a perfect blend of analog interface with digital power that enhances your experience to the max.
- Brand: PreSonus
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 15.56 x 16 x 5.5 inches
- Weight: 20 Pounds
- Standing screen display size: 2.5
- 12 Class A XMAX solid-state mic preamplifiers (12 channels + talkback)
- 16 channel inputs (4 stereo and mono channel inputs with 60 mm faders (12 faders))
- 4 auxiliary buses (pre/post-fader send) plus 2 internal FX buses
- 2 stereo 32-bit digital effects processors
- Fat Channel signal processing on all channels and buses, with 3-band semi-parametric EQ, compressor, downward expander, and limiter
- Stereo, 31-band graphic EQ on the main bus
- 18-in/16-out USB 2.0 audio interface (24-bit/44.1 kHz and 48 kHz) records all channels and central L/R mix
- Scene and individual settings store and recall
- MIDI I/O: control main and effects output levels, recall effects presets and Scenes, and serve as a MIDI interface
- Software library includes PreSonus Studio One Artist DAW and Capture live-recording software for Mac and Windows and UC Surface mixer-control software for Mac, Windows, and iPad.
- Mixer Channels: 16 in, 16 out
- Audio Interface Channels: 18 in, 16 out
- Audio Interface Resolution: Up to 24-bit/48kHz
- Built-in Effects: Dynamics and EQ per channel, reverb, and delay send effects, 31-band graphic EQ
- Professional to the extreme. Perfect for every scenario; studio production, live playing, and recording.
- Memory recall function.
- The sound quality is excellent.
- Disturbing fan noise
- The user interface can intimidate new users.
Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer/4×4 USB Interface with FX:
The Allen & Heath ZED-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer is worth the money you spend. The console provides features that you only get in the most expensive models with an easy setup. If you are a guitar lover, then this is the best mixing console for a professional recording studio, as it comes with two extra channels that come with guitar modes.
Pretty handy for guitar lovers.
- Brand: Allen & Heath
- Number of Channels: 10
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 10.8 x 13.1 x 3.8 inches
- Weight: 5.1 Pounds
- Connector Type: USB, Cubase LE included
- Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
- Signal Format: Analog
- Supported Software: Cubase (software and app)
- Mixer Channel Quantity: 10
- Speaker Size: 4
- 4 in/ 4 out USB audio interface (24-bit/96kHz)
- 2 stereo inputs with TRS jack sockets
- 4 mic/ line inputs with separate XLR and
- TRS jack sockets
- 2 Guitar DI high impedance inputs, hence no need for the DI boxes
- internal FX Engine with Tap Tempo.48V Phantom Power for condenser mics
- Lo-cut filter for cleaning up unwanted low-frequency noise
- Three-band EQ for easy creative and corrective tonal shaping
- Two dedicated guitar channels.
- Lo-cut filter for cleaning up unwanted low-frequency noise
- Three-band EQ for creative and corrective tonal shaping
- internal FX Engine
- Comes with two guitar channels. Perfect for guitar lovers.
- Gives a high-quality performance with a clear and loud sound.
- Easy to use.
- Even though it is cheap, it still looks like an expensive model.
A loud hum is present on the microphone input, which is really annoying.
Zoom LiveTrak L-12 Digital Mixer & Multitrack Recorder:
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 Digital Mixer & Multitrack Recorder is perfect for Music and Podcasting. It comes with a 12-Input/ 14-Channel SD Recorder, 14-in/4-out USB Audio Interface, 5 Powered Headphone Outputs, which make up an exciting list of specifications. The perfect thing about this model is that you don’t need to connect a computer for control. The onboard USB interface is enough to handle that.
It is an all-in-one console; there is nothing it can’t handle from small solo performances to large audiences!
- Brand: Zoom
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 17.5 x 3 x 11 inches
- Weight: 5.65 Pounds
- 12-channel Digital Mixer with 24-bit/96kHz 12-track Recorder, 5 Monitor Outputs, 3-band EQ, 16 Built-in Effects, and 14-in/4-out USB Audio Interface – Mac/PC/iOS
- 12 discrete channels (8 mono plus 2 stereos) with XLR or 1/4-inch connectivity
- 14-track simultaneous recording, 12-track playback
- 5 powered headphone outputs, each with its own mix
- 14-in/4-out USB audio interface connectivity
- Record to an SD card and computer simultaneously
- Save up to nine scenes at a time
- Featuring 16 built-in delay and reverb effects that can be customized
- Automatic recording starting/stopping capability
- Each channel is equipped with a 3-band mid-parametric EQ and 16 built-in effects.
- An automatic recording starts when a certain dB level is detected by the master fader.
- Before recording begins, capture data for up to two seconds. This is in case if performance starts ahead of time.
- Built-in slate mic for the purpose of recording comments or talking back.
- It comes with a long list of features that will make any professional salivate over it.
- Automatic recording and stopping functions.
- To keep the band in sync, the band has an onboard metronome
- Easy to create, mix or edit music.
- Not built to perform for live playing or sound for the entire band.
Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer:
The Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer does not disappoint its users. With its numerous features and ability to produce high-quality sounds, the Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Input Powered Mixer has earned its position in the list of best mixing consoles for professional recording studios.
The sturdy and compact design makes it the biggest mixing console for professionals.
- Brand: Yamaha
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 21.9 x 15.9 x 15 inches
- Weight: 24.3 Pounds
- Size: 14 input
- 12 inputs: 8 mono and 4 stereo
- 6 inputs with built-in compression
- FCL (feedback channel locator)
- Two 500-watt power amplifiers with YSP
- Rugged console-style design
- Two 500-watt power amplifiers with YSP. Switching between amplifiers makes it easy to produce the type of sound you want.
- 9 band graphics make it easy to keep track of the sound you are producing.
- Built-in SPX.
- High power amplifiers.
- Easy to monitor the produced audio.
- First choice of professionals.
- A bit expensive.
Comparison Chart Best Mixing Console For Professional Recording Studio in 2022
Presonus Studiolive SL-1602T n
Allen & Heath ZEDi
Zoom LiveTrak L-12
Allen And Health
20.79 x 35.43 x 7.87 inches
14.1 x 11.4 x 3.6 inches
15.56 x 16 x 5.5 inches
10.8 x 13.1 x 3.8 inches
17.5 x 3 x 11 inches
21.9 x 15.9 x 15 inches
USB Hardware Interface
Number of channels
The best choice for creative and passionate professionals in music. The BEHRINGER X3 has the best features, along with a delightfully intuitive user interface that makes the use very easy. It is rare to find such professional-level mixer consoles at an affordable price range, but this model achieves that goal seamlessly.
A professional-level mixer console that is perfect for any type of performance. With its FX effects engine with 16 effects, including reverbs, delays, and choruses for sound enhancement, this is by far the best mixing console for the professional recording studio.
Presonus Studiolive SL-1602:
The Presonus Studiolive SL-1602 is the perfect professional mixer console. It’s a perfect blend of analog and digital features that enhance your experience to the max. The best professional mixer console should be your first choice if you’re looking for the best.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do I Need A Mixer For Recording Studio?
Ans: For a home studio, no. However, we’re talking about professional studios here. So for a professional studio, the mixer console is a must. But even for a home studio, the mixer console comes in handy even though it is unnecessary.
Q: Does A Mixer Console Improve Sound Quality?
Ans: A mixer console enhances the sound quality significantly along with voice quality. This is because the mixer comes with many features like sound effects and frequency control for bass, hiss, etc.
Q: What Is the Most Important Feature To Look For When Buying A Mixing Console?
Ans: The first thing that you need to look for is the number of inputs and outputs that the console is able to handle. A high-quality mixer console should be able to connect with multiple devices like microphones, speakers, etc. Other than that, you should look for functionality, durability, and channels.
Q: How Should I Choose A Mixing Console?
Ans: The following qualities are important to look for in a mixing console:
- Channel count
- Connection types
- Aux buses
- Type (Analog or digital)
- Onboard signal processing
- Recording options
- Sound Effects
Q: How Many Types Of Mixing Consoles Are There?
Ans: There are three types of mixing consoles in total. They are analog, digital, and powered analog.
Q: What Is The Lifespan Of A Mixing Console?
Ans: That depends mainly on your use of the console. Like we said earlier, the knobs, slides, and connections face a lot of work and pressure on a daily basis, so they get worn out in a short time if they are not durable. But proper maintenance is the key. A mixing console can last for up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance.
So there you have it, the list of best mixing consoles for professional recording studio. Buying a console is not an easy task. However, we hope that this list will help you in making your decision. As always, before buying, check the necessary features that you want. Keep in mind your requirements, what you want, and what you can afford, and then make your choice.