I consider multiple considerations when selecting the right small mixer for live performance. Only a few are physical height, weight, number of channels, onboard effects, vocal compression, and phantom power. Let’s get a look into the best small mixer for live performance.
Obviously, preamps of excellent quality, low noise, high headroom, and reliability are tremendous considerations too. Only several small mixers will serve as digital I / o via a USB port. I like using USB as an input alternative as it provides my backing tracks with crystal-clear digital audio. For me, it’s a basic interface, stable results, and biggies onboard effects.
I like different mounting choices as well since I normally do my own mixing on stage and want easy access to the mixer. Consider the Behringer Xenyx 1202FX, the Mackie PROFX8V2, the Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX, and the Yamaha MG10XU and focus on their use during a live show. This would potentially help me narrow down my options and find the right small mixer for my upcoming gigs.
|Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX - Compact Hybrid Audio Mixer/4x4 USB Interface with 61 Studio Quality FX...||$399.99||View on Amazon|
Last update on 2023-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Full Detailed Review Of Small Mixer for Live Performance in 2023
Behringer Xenyx 1202FX
The Xenyx 1202FX Behringer is a good little budget mixer with clear preamps and built-in effects on all channels. There are only 4 mono channels with balanced XLR inputs and 4 stereo channels with balanced 1/4′′ inputs, but don’t let the 12 channels trick you. There are no other features, including Bluetooth or USB, besides the built-in multi-effects processor.
The Xenyx 1202FX does; however, it provides both a key stereo mix as well as a control room mix, which can be good on stage with a monitor mix. The element in weight, size and form is just right for putting just about anywhere on stage. This board is an outstanding budget option if you don’t need Bluetooth streaming or a USB.
A more outstanding deal from Mackie’s small mixer range is the Mackie PROFX8V2. Back in the nineties, I used a Mackie 1604 and was always blown away by the consistency and definition which the mixer provided.
This 8 channel board features 4 of Mackie’s own Vita low-noise preamps, on-board effects, phantom power, USB stereo input/output, and a graphical EQ that can work either for the main mix or the monitor mix. One of my greatest grips about this mixer is the fact it’s a mixer with eight channels.
It is currently a five-channel mixer (three are stereo channels). There is one more stereo channel (a total of six channels) with USB digital input.
This board checks all the boxes for me, however. I consider the USB input invaluable for live performance, as it provides my laptop with a clear digital signal. For my purposes this small mixer has some downsides.
I do not think this mixer has enough input channels to match my tastes. The actual faders are good but it also adds to the board’s own wider footprint.
Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX
Allen & Heath is an incredible name in consoles for pro audio mixing. The ZEDi-10FX is a compact mixer, derived from the popular ZED mixing board line from Allen & Heath. The frame holds 7 channels (3 in stereo).
The ZEDi-10FX is equipped with all the bells and whistles including USB digital I / o, phantom power, even onboard effects with a tempo key! Channels 1 and 2 provide inputs from the Hi-Z device to remove the need for direct boxes.
That is an excellent plus in my opinion. I still play acoustic guitar with a friend singing and playing the acoustic guitar! Channels 1-4 have synchronized mics XLR inputs with a low-cut turn and three-band EQ.
Channels 5/6 are a stereo pair of 1/4′′ balanced inputs that make it perfect for a keyboard, drum machine or any other stereo line source device.
In addition to these features, there are plenty of monitoring options including the ability to assign each channel individually to the headphone mix. The Zedi-10FX is a small, powerful mixer, for sure. It’d be sparkling in a studio or a live show.
The last in the lineup is the Yamaha MG10XU. This has 4 mono channels with synchronized XLR inputs, as all of the other mixers in this review; however, channels 1 and 2 offer compression to help vocals cut through the mix!
The MG10XU has 3 stereo channels, two with 1/4′′ unbalanced inputs paired with stereo and RCA paired inputs, and one with 1/4′′ unbalanced inputs paired with stereo and USB I / o. Only one caveat, this board has an effects processor and adequate control options: Each channel only sends one result.
All other boards have a different monitor / aux-send and send an effect. One major plus that makes this mixer excellent for live performance is that Yamaha is making an optional adapter for mic stands. This ensures the mixer will be safely within reach at all times during the output for easy access.
I settled on the Yamaha MG10XU after evaluating the functionality of each small mixer. I truly do think it is the perfect small mixer for live performance.
I’m personally torn because there are so many cool features on the Allen and Heath board that would be perfect for recording purposes, but I had to note that this mixer is mainly used for live performances.
I’m a solo artist, so it’s not a major deal for me to lose an optional aux out for tracking. I’m just using a small line series speaker and only sitting on the side of it so I don’t even need a monitor!
The MG10XU supports my backing tracks with a USB connection for multimedia playback, which is a major bonus for me. Yamaha also makes a mic stand adapter for this board, which was in fact the factor that made me decide.
If it weren’t for those two features, due to its minimal size and price point, I might have gone with the Behringer board. I hope my journey to pick the best little mixer for my needs will help you find the right compact mixer for yours!