Live Mixers 2023

Now that the lights are coming back on and society is slowly rising from the days of lockdown, the opportunity to experience live music is finally returning to our agenda. Sure, we've all made do with zoom calls, live streams and the like, but nothing can replace the incomparable experience of watching talented people perform their music live. Those eager to step into the spotlight again will probably want to update their equipment.

An overview of current mixer technology

There are a number of companies that are at the forefront of mixing console technology. These include:

  • Allen and Heath
  • Ashly Audio
  • PreSonus
  • Yamaha
  • Midas (Music Tribe)
  • DiGiCo
  • Mackie
  • Tascam
  • Soundcraft
  • Phonic
  • Behringer
  • Alesis
  • Denon DJ
  • Samson Technologies
  • Numark
  • Aviom
  • Ecler
  • AEQ
  • Omnitronic
  • Tamura
  • LAWO

We have looked around at a selected number of manufacturers and briefly introduce them and their latest products. You can find an overview of mixing consoles for live events here.

Placekicker: Yamaha

Mixers are at the heart of every live sound installation. Yamaha positions itself as one of the leading manufacturers here. Yamaha digital and analogue mixing consoles enjoy a well-deserved reputation for excellence in sound, usability, versatility and reliability.

Recently, Yamaha introduced the DM7 series, which benefits from Yamaha's decades of development experience. It combines the strongest elements of previous digital mixing systems with innovative new features. It delivers performance, ergonomics, flexibility and expandability in a compact package.

This series, consisting of two consoles, a control expansion unit and additional software packages, is designed to deliver exceptional results. It enhances the workflow for live music, corporate events, theatre, broadcast, streaming and hybrid mixing where one console is used for independent mixing of multiple feeds.

Yamaha's other products include:

  • The RIVAGE PM10, which scores points for its outstanding sound quality, user-friendliness, functionality and reliability.
  • The CL Series digital mixers, which offer intuitive operation, crystal-clear sound and advanced sound-shaping options.
  • The QL Series all-in-one solutions, which combine mixing, sound processing and sound routing, are ideal for use in small to medium-sized live sound environments and at events with many speeches, as is often the case in companies.

Allen & Heath: Over 50 years of high-quality mixing consoles

Allen & Heath has been manufacturing high-quality mixing consoles for over 50 years and has built a solid reputation in the professional audio community. From compact mixers for musicians, DJs and small venues to comprehensive digital mixing systems for large events and touring activities, Allen & Heath consistently delivers outstanding technology and innovation.

What sets Allen & Heath apart is their dedication to quality. Each product is manufactured and tested with the utmost care and precision to ensure that it meets the exacting requirements of professional users. The quality and reliability of their products have made Allen & Heath a trusted brand for sound engineers, musicians and event organisers around the world.

Allen & Heath's innovative products include the Avantis digital mixing console, which sets new standards in the audio industry with 96kHz resolution. It features a dual full HD touchscreen that, along with a variety of physical controls, provides an intuitive and uncluttered user experience. The 64-channel/42-bus mixer's robust construction is a testament to Allen & Heath's signature quality and incorporates XCVI FPGA processing to ensure ultra-low latency and high audio quality.

The Avantis mixer also comes with a wide range of connectivity options, offering great flexibility for different applications. It includes local inputs and outputs as well as optional SLink or GigaACE modules for connection to the range of Allen & Heath expansion cards and systems. The unit also offers built-in effects and plug-ins from premium brands to allow greater creative control. Avantis can thus be used not only to mix live events at the highest level, but also to realise complex studio productions.


One of Allen & Heath's leading product lines are their digital mixers of the dLive series. The dLive mixers boast unmatched sound quality, flexible configuration and intuitive user interfaces that are ideal for both live sound and studio applications. With a dLive system, you are able to manage, route and mix a wide range of inputs and outputs, all in real time.

The mixing consoles of the dLive series have already accompanied several bands from different countries. With the start of live tours after the pandemic, musicians from a wide range of genres trust in the quality of Allen & Heath.

Behringer: professional music and audio equipment

Founded in 1989, Behringer has firmly established itself in the world of music and audio technology and is known for manufacturing a wide range of equipment, including mixers, amplifiers, speakers and much more. Their goal is to provide professional music and audio equipment at affordable prices, while constantly pushing the technological envelope.

Mixers play a crucial role in Behringer's product range. From compact, portable mixers for home use and small events to professional, high-spec mixers for live sound, studio recording and broadcasting, Behringer offers a wide range of options.

For smaller applications and budgets, Behringer offers the Xenyx mixer series. They are perfect for solo artists, small bands, podcast producers and home studios. They offer impressive audio quality and a range of features normally only found on more expensive models, including Xenyx mic preamps, built-in digital effects processors and USB audio interfaces.

The latest product from Behringer is also from this series: the Xenyx 1003B. The analogue mixer, equipped with ten inputs and five mic preamps, can be used to create a first-class sound that is ideal for live performances, streaming, podcasting and recording. The renowned XENYX mic preamps and 48 V phantom power allow you to connect high-end studio microphones and ensure a warm, ultra-musical sound. In addition, the optional battery operation offers the freedom to create high-quality mixes anywhere.

The 1003B is particularly well suited to mobile mixing and recording situations when powered by standard 9V batteries. With this mobile recording system, you can mix up to 10 sources, while the outputs provide crystal-clear audio for monitoring via headphones or high-quality RCA and impedance-balanced ¼" jack connections.

Among Behringer's most popular mixers is the X32 series. The X32 mixers are digital mixers equipped with advanced features including multi-channel audio interfaces, motorised faders, colour LCDs and a variety of inputs and outputs. They are also equipped with AES50 network capability for easy integration into larger systems.

Presonus: Innovative solutions for creative minds

Presonus, an American manufacturer of audio and digital media technologies, is known for its innovative solutions that help artists and producers turn their creative visions into reality. Their range of audio interface, recording and live sound products, as well as music software, offers solutions for every need and budget.

Presonus mixing consoles are particularly noteworthy. They are known for their intuitive user interface, high-quality hardware, impressive processing power and extensive networking capabilities. With a selection of analogue and digital mixing consoles, including the renowned StudioLive series, Presonus offers the right solution for every scenario.

The StudioLive series from Presonus, such as the StudioLive AR series or the StudioLive Series III, has revolutionised the way sound engineers and artists produce and perform their music. The mixing consoles of this series are not only designed as simple mixers, but also as multifunctional systems that integrate audio interface, network connection and a powerful software suite.

The StudioLive AR series, for example, offers an optimal solution for artists, podcasters and producers who need an intuitive mixer with high audio quality. Each mixer in this series offers a USB output that allows recordings to be transferred directly to a storage device, which is ideal for live recording, podcasting and streaming applications.

On the other hand, the StudioLive Series III offers an extremely flexible and powerful platform for professional applications. These consoles offer advanced features such as a touchscreen, motorised faders and AVB network connectivity that facilitates routing and sharing audio between multiple devices.

Presonus not only makes outstanding hardware, but also supports its products with powerful software. All StudioLive Series consoles come with Studio One Artist recording and production software, which provides a fully integrated recording and mixing environment.

Soundcraft: Professional Mixers

Soundcraft, a British brand with an impressive history, is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of professional mixing consoles for recording, broadcast, installation, live sound and touring applications. Since its inception in 1973, Soundcraft's continued focus on innovation and quality has earned it a considerable presence in the global audio industry.

At the core of Soundcraft's extensive product portfolio are their mixers. From compact, portable models for mobile applications to large, modular systems for highly complex production environments, Soundcraft offers a wide range of solutions tailored to the specific needs of users from all sectors of the audio industry.

Among the latest digital mixers is the Vi7000 digital mixer, which brings optional 96kHz processing, expanded channel capacity and more powerful hardware to the proven mixing interface that is so popular in the live arena. It promises outstanding mixing performance by combining a compact control surface with the new Local Rack and Active Breakout Box hardware to simultaneously mix up to 128 inputs and 32 mono/stereo buses.

Sound quality is guaranteed by low-noise microphone amplifiers and enhanced 96kHz* 40-bit floating-point digital audio processing. This is supported by the effects of 8 independent Lexicon multi-FX units, BSS DPR901ii™ integration and a BSS graphic EQ on each bus output. Reliable configuration and powerful automation features, microphone status monitoring and extensive ViSi Connect I/O extensions (EtherSound™, CobraNet™, Dante™, MADI, etc.) complete the package.

Soundcraft's Si Expression series of digital mixers is a prime example of the brand's commitment to quality and functionality. Each mixer in this series offers an impressive number of channels and busses, top-notch preamps, powerful DSP processing and an intuitive, user-friendly interface. All of this is presented in a rugged, tour-ready chassis that stands up to the rigorous demands of professional applications.

What is a mixing console?

A mixing console is an essential device for controlling and enhancing audio signals. It allows signals coming from different sources, such as microphones or musical instruments, to be combined and adjusted. After these signals have been mixed and optimised, they are sent either through amplifiers and speakers for sound reinforcement or to recording equipment.
Mixers allow you to adjust the individual sound channels during live rehearsals, performances or recordings. You can adjust the volume, add effects and much more.

Mixing console - Yes or No?

It is not always necessary to use a mixing console. For simple applications such as using one or two microphones for acoustic performances, band rehearsals or karaoke, an active PA speaker with integrated inputs is sufficient. Portable PA systems can also be a good choice, especially for use in smaller rooms.

For recording, a physical mixing console can be bypassed by using computer audio interfaces and digital audio workstations (DAWs) such as Pro Tools, Garageband or Ableton Live. DAWs have a virtual mixing console that can be controlled from your computer, tablet or even smartphone.

Studio Mixing vs. Live Mixing

There is a difference between mixing audio in a studio and live. In the studio, the mixer allows you to fine-tune the balance of the sound, whether you are working in a professional studio or in your bedroom with headphones.

Live mixing, however, has different requirements. Here, it is important to create a balanced mix for a larger audience whose positions and listening conditions can vary greatly.

Dealing with feedback

One of the challenges of using mixing consoles is avoiding feedback. This occurs when a microphone picks up its own emitted frequencies, which can result in unwanted sounds. Mixers can help combat feedback by reducing volume and equalising settings.

Mixing console types and their features

Analogue mixers

Analogue mixing consoles are particularly well suited for live sound. They allow you to see the settings at a glance and make adjustments quickly. They tend to be less expensive than digital models, but lack some features such as automation and wireless remote control. They also offer fewer audio effects.

Power mixer

A power mixer is an analogue mixer with an integrated amplifier. They are compact, portable and quickly ready for use. However, they are not intended for recording and usually have only two amplifier channels.

Digital mixers

Digital mixers offer a wide range of control, including saving and restoring setups, wireless remote control and applying multiple audio effects to each channel. However, they can be challenging for quick changes during live performances, often requiring navigation through menus on a touchscreen.

Here you can find an overview of digital mixing consoles 2023.

Digital vs. analogue

In this day and age, digitally designed mixing consoles are increasingly replacing their analogue counterparts. The initial resistance to digital mixing consoles has now faded, as they no longer have to hide from the once cherished analogue jewels in terms of sound characteristics and ease of use.

In addition, you can do without a siderack packed to the brim with signal processing peripherals, as digital mixing consoles already have these functions integrated. They also allow for quick reconfigurations of the console that would be difficult to implement with analogue systems.

studio mixing analogue

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Some mixing consoles have already visually lost their traditional function: they consist only of a black box as hardware, in which signal processing and inputs/outputs are integrated. With the help of an app provided by the manufacturer, the tablet becomes the mixing console surface. Equipped with this technology, the sound engineer can check the sound from every corner of the venue, and musicians can set their preferred monitor sound on the tablet, and so on. Dedicated audio DJ mixers meet the needs of DJs who want to edit and mix audio without having to connect a huge amount of equipment.

Optimum use of your mixing console

Before you start struggling through a random mix of mixers, it is crucial to be clear about how you intend to use the equipment. Here are some contexts and corresponding recommendations.

Live Acoustics: The Active Mixer

For soloists or a small acoustic band, an active mixer is ideal. Their compactness and modest output power make them the perfect choice for performances in coffee houses, classrooms and other small spaces.

Live Rock: Variety of input channels

A simple mixer with a few vocal microphones may be sufficient for rehearsals and house concerts. But if you are aiming for larger gigs, an analogue or digital mixer with many input channels for each band member is recommended. These can add up quickly. Remember that you need a separate channel for each instrument and voice.

Portable sound system: versatility and expandability

For churches, schools or businesses, an analogue mixer with multiple inputs and one or more active PA speakers offers flexible options for future expansion. An active mixer with a few non-networked speakers is ideal for events in small auditoriums and conference rooms.

Fixed PA system: invest in features

For permanently installed systems, such as those found in churches, clubs or theatres, a mixer with the most features and input/output options that your budget allows is recommended.

Studio recording: Choosing the right mixer

For analogue recording with an analogue mixer on magnetic tape, use the same balanced XLR or 1/4" outputs as for live music. Some mixers also offer USB outputs for digital recording.

Podcasting: streaming and uploading

If you want to create podcasts or radio shows, you need a small digital or analogue mixer with a USB output to stream your mixes or upload them to the web.

Must-have functions of a mixing console

When you consider a mixing console, there are many things to consider. Here are some universal features to consider when buying a mixer.

    • Microphone preamplifier and phantom power: Every microphone input on a mixing console has a preamplifier to bring the signal to the correct level. Condenser microphones require 48-volt phantom power, which is activated by a switch on most mixing consoles.
    • Analogue and USB outputs: To get an output signal for live sound or analogue recording, most mixers have both balanced and unbalanced outputs. For digital recordings, a mixer with USB output is necessary.
    • Frequency Equalisation (EQ): Each channel on a mixing console typically has a frequency equalisation control. This allows you to eliminate feedback, add fullness to an acoustic guitar or better emphasise vocals.
    • Input Loop (I/O), Auxiliary Buses and Pan: With an input loop jack, you can add external signal processors such as reverb, EQ or compression. An aux bus is a secondary output of a channel that can be used to feed an effects processor or monitoring device. The pan control sets the left-right position of a channel in a stereo mix.
    • Pad, meters and peak indicators: A pad can be switched on to reduce an excessively strong input signal to a manageable level. LED meters indicate the relative strength of the signals in the mixer. The peak LEDs light up when the mixer detects distortion.
    • On/Off or Mute buttons and PFL and Solo: These functions allow you to mute channels and outputs when they are not needed. The PFL or Solo function allows you to check the level and sound quality of a channel without being distracted by other sounds.
    • Other useful functions: Subgroups allow you to merge parts of the music and control the volume of multiple microphones with just one fader. Many mixers have built-in digital effects to add feeling and dimension to your music. Some mixers also have built-in dynamic compressors, headphone and control room outputs, digital inputs and scribble strips.


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