Best Mixing Console For Home Studio: Take Control of Your Sound

Best mixing console for home studio
If you’re a diehard music creator, you’ve probably dreamt of using those massive mixing consoles in million-dollar studios. With rows of faders and knobs to fiddle with, we don’t blame you! But did you know that you can have a similar mixing experience at home?
The best mixing console for home studio use gives you a lot of the same flexibility and control. The only difference is that they’re much smaller and way more affordable!

Mixing Console vs. Audio Interface

When engineers talk about home studio setups, you’ll often hear arguments over standalone mixing consoles and audio interfaces. It’s a point of contention within the community. Some favor one avenue over the other.

The truth is: Both options have their merits. Both pieces of equipment can take your recording capabilities to the next level. What’s right for you will depend on your needs.

So, what’s the difference? 

Contrary to popular belief, mixing consoles and audio interfaces aren’t the same things. Nor do they perform the same duties!

An audio interface is a little box that’s built to turn an analog signal into a digital one. Most have only a handful of input options, allowing you to connect microphones and instrument cables. Beyond that, these boxes are pretty simple. You may see a button for phantom power and a gain knob. That’s it!

Think of it as the front-end of your “in the box” recording setup. Interfaces communicate with your computer software. Once your music comes in, you’re free to process it as you please within the DAW.

Now, mixing consoles have a lot more features to explore! They are built to act as full-fledged mixing stations. Some consoles may have an audio interface built-in so that you can marry analog and digital technology into one. But for the most part, consoles are all about mixing analog audio at the source.

Consoles have several channel strips with their own signal flow. Depending on the design, you might have enough to record an entire ensemble in just one go! Each channel routes to a single output. But before it gets there, you can manipulate and process every channel individually to get just the right sound. That means routing it through EQ, controlling dynamics, or sending it to external gear.

The main difference between audio interfaces and mixing consoles is how you finesse the sound. With audio interfaces, it occurs after recording. With mixing consoles, you can take control on the fly as the artists are recording or performing. Keep on reading to see the best mixing console for home studio we found out there.

Who Needs a Mixing Console and What is it For?

Now that you understand what a mixing console does, when should you use one?

A mixing console can come in handy anytime you want to lay down some tracks! Honestly, many up-and-coming engineers utilize them because they better simulate the experience in a professional studio. If you can learn the signal flow and on-board processing early on, why not?

These devices are also handy if you need to record multiple artists at one time. If you only a couple of inputs on an audio interface, recording a band will require multiple sessions. But if you have an 8-channel recording console, you can record everyone at once! Not only is it more efficient, but you can also capture more authentic sound when the artists are vibing off of one another.

You can also utilize a mixing console to get a more precise mix. For example, say that you’re only recording one instrument. Why not use several mics to make the audio record as accurate as possible? Record a drum kit from every angle, pick up room noise, do overheads, and get creative! Mixing consoles give you that flexibility you need to fine-tune your sound before you “go to the tape.”

Finally, mixing consoles are a must-have if you’re fine-tuning the sound for a live band. Audio interfaces aren’t up for that task. In a live venue, you need to take control of the mix on the fly. A top-notch console is a must-have for any front-of-house or monitor engineer.

Our Top Picks of 9 Best Mixing Console for Home Studio

Hi recommend you to go for the Behringer 32 as the best mixing console for Home Studio in our list. Multi-channel audio interface, fully motorized faders, and premium preamps to record without all of the distortions, plus a full-color screen and onboard effects. Check it out!

1. Best Digital Mixing Console:
BEHRINGER, X32

BEHRINGER, X-32 COMPACT 40-Input 25-Bus Digital Mixing Console

Check out this premium console from Behringer. Behringer is known for making some of the best USB mixer consoles on the market. The X32 is no exception. Take one look at it, and your imagination will run wild with all the possibilities!

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that this unit offers tons of control. You’re getting 16 dedicated channels complete with LCD strips and motorized faders. There’s also the main channel to control the output. The tracks are bankable, so you’re not just limited to 16 channels.

In fact, the console does double-duty as a 32-channel audio interface! Connect it to your computer and DAW for ultimate control. Or, use it for performances and mix everything on the fly. The mixer gives you tons of flexibility to work how you want.

Pros:

  • 17 motorized faders
  • Digital channel strips
  • Built-in audio interface
  • Built-in effects
  • Versatile connection options

Cons:

  • More performance-based features

Key Features:

  • 32-channel audio interface
  • 40-input channels
  • 25 buses
  • 16 mic preamps
  • USB and ethernet ports

2. Best Professional Quality:
Rode RODECaster

Rode RODECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio

Rode is a well-known brand that produces one of the best broadcast microphones in the industry. It only makes sense that the company would release a broadcast-centered mixing console! The RODECaster is geared towards podcasters or radio specialists. It excels with vocals. Though, you can still use it for other music-based projects, too.

The console has eight separate faders. Four of them control the four XLR mic connections. The others manipulate additional connections coming from a USB-connected or Bluetooth-connected device.

You have plenty of flexibility to route other signals into the console. It’s also smartphone-friendly. With the included app, you can set up jingles or sound effects to trigger with the onboard fingerpads.

Pros:

  • Super easy to set up
  • Direct headphone connections
  • LCD level monitor
  • High-quality mic preamps
  • Compact shape

Cons:

  • Not ideal for instrument recording

Key Features:

  • Eight channels
  • 4 XLR inputs
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Sound effects triggers

3. Best for Portability:
Zoom L-8

m LiveTrak L-8 Podcast Recorder

Here’s another broadcast-centered console. It’s one of the best USB mixer devices for on-the-go podcasts. Thanks to its compact design, you can carry it anywhere. Best of all, it offers tons of flexibility with connections.

You’ll find six XLR/TRS connection ports are on the top of the console. The placement is unorthodox. However, it helps you to keep things clean and organized as you record in tighter spaces. You don’t have to worry about routing stuff from the back and figuring out which fader controls what. It’s all laid out cleanly!

Like other broadcast mixers, this one has multiple connectivity options. You can connect multiple monitors, a smartphone, and more. There are even programmable sound pads for off-the-cuff sound effects.

Pros:

  • Small and compact
  • Programmable sound pads
  • Good for broadcast
  • Simultaneous recording capabilities
  • Straightforward controls

Cons:

  • Not the best for music production

Key Features:

  • Eight channels
  • Digital mixer
  • Four monitoring outputs
  • Six mic/line inputs

4. Best Versatility:
Mackie ProFX4 v2

Mackie Mixer

Mackie is another brand that creates well-rounded gear at an affordable price. The ProFX mixer is a fine example of Mackie’s dedication to flexibility. The console adapts to most engineers pretty well, as it offers a wide range of recording and mixing options.

The console has four onboard mic preamps. They sound great and give you instant control over the sound. The same goes for the eight line inputs. Each channel has three-band EQ, filters, a fader, and a pan knob.

The sound changes immediately, allowing you to monitor sound directly during live performance. Alternatively, you can create the perfect mix before recording.

Pros:

  • Low-noise preamps
  • Easy to connect
  • Clear and straightforward channels
  • EQ and filters on each channel
  • Compact design

Cons:

  • Lights can be finicky
  • May produce static when connected to USB

Key Features:

  • Four XLR inputs
  • Eight line inputs
  • Ready FX engine
  • USB connectivity

5. Best All-in-One USB Interface:
YAMAHA MG10XU

YAMAHA MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer

Yamaha is no stranger to the audio engineering world. The MG10XU is a unique take on USB mixer consoles. It’s an all-in-one system that acts as your mixer and audio interface!

The console has four mic preamps. The fourth channel even has phantom power. You can simultaneously record several channels, mixing up XLR and line inputs to fit every artist on the board. Connect it to your computer with a single USB cord, and you’re ready to start communicating with your DAW for recording!

One thing we like about this system is that it comes with built-in effects. The effects have their own “bus” send knob, allowing you to blend them into your mix perfectly.

Pros:

  • High-quality preamps
  • Built-in effects chip
  • Compact footprint
  • Single-knob compression

Cons:

  • No traditional faders
  • Weaker audio interface output

Key Features:

  • Four XLR inputs
  • Four line inputs
  • Dedicated FX send bus
  • Phantom power
  • USB and line connectivity

6. Best USB Audio Interface Mixer:
Yamaha AG03

Yamaha AG03 3-Channel Mixer

Another fantastic choice from Yamaha, the AG03 is geared towards podcasters and live streamers. It’s a three-channel mixer with a single microphone preamp. While you’re not going to record a full band, the components in this mixer are top-notch!

The preamp is solid, producing little noise. It has phantom power and a built-in DSP. There’s also one-touch compression and sound equalizing, which is very convenient.

The mixer is a cinch to connect to a computer or tablet. It comes with Cubase AI. You can also connect external gear to the mixer and combine signals for an innovative live stream experience.

Pros:

  • Ultra-compact
  • Loopback feature
  • Comes with Cubase AI
  • Good for podcasting and live streaming

Cons:

  • Not great for music production

Key Features:

  • Three-channel mixer
  • One XLR with phantom power
  • Built-in compression and EQ
  • Integrated monitoring controls
  • USB 2.0 for tablet or PC

7. Best Studio Quality:
Samson Mixpad MXP124FX

Samson Mixpad MXP124FX

You can’t go wrong with the Samson Mixpad MXP124FX. It’s not as full-featured or fancy as some other mixers. But when it comes to studio recording, it covers all of your bases. Not only is it compact and efficient, but it’s also very affordably priced.

The mixer has four professional mic preamps. They sound great and produce very little noise. You can use them with any mic thanks to the onboard phantom power! For the rest of the 12 channels, you can use the various line inputs.

From a design standpoint, the mixing and recording console is super simple. But as long as you understand signal flow and know what you’re doing, you won’t miss any of the extraneous stuff!

Pros:

  • Professional-quality preamps
  • Simple level LED lights
  • Straightforward signal processing
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons:

  • Not great for music production

Key Features:

  • 12-channel mixer
  • Four mic/line inputs
  • Phantom power
  • Digital effects
  • USB connectivity

8. Best Bluetooth Mixing Console:
Pyle PMXU83BT

Professional Audio Mixer Sound Board Console

This Pyle mixer is an exciting device worth checking out. It’s best-suited for live performances. However, it does have some recording capabilities for laying tracks on the fly. This mixer does exceptionally well for monitoring small-venue performances or karaoke sessions.

You’re getting all the core features you need. These include four mic/line inputs, built-in EQ, and gain control. The console also has built-in effects, which you can send to the various channels for seamless blending.

Overall, the mixer has a lot going for it. It’s not made for full-fledged recording. But, it’s certainly capable of handling your mixing and recording needs when you’re in a pinch.

Pros:

  • DSP effects
  • Easy to use
  • Good for live performances and karaoke
  • Beginner-friendly

Cons:

  • Lacking some key recording features

Key Features:

  • Eight-channel mixer
  • Four mic/line inputs
  • Phantom power
  • USB flash drive reader and computer connection
  • Bluetooth receiver

9. Best Value for Entry-Level:
BEHRINGER, XENYX 1202FX

BEHRINGER, XENYX 1202FX

If you’re still new to the world of mixing, try this console on for size! From Behringer, it’s a beginner-friendly unit that anyone can learn on. The controls are straightforward, making it easy to follow the signal flow and manipulate audio as you see fit.

This is a pure analog mixer. It’s useful for live monitoring or recording to tape. The console even has a noticeably vintage sound. The individual channel EQ has circuitry modeled after British consoles from the 60s and 70s. No matter what you’re playing, you can give your music an old-school touch.

To push the unique sound even further, you can use the built-in effects processor. Mix the effects in with the dedicated send bus for seamless integration.

Pros:

  • Built-in effects processor
  • Tuned sound for EQs
  • CD/tape outputs
  • Easy to use
  • Boutique-quality mic preamps

Cons:

  • Prone to producing noise

Key Features:

  • Twelve-channel analog mixer
  • Four mic/line inputs
  • Three-band EQ
  • Phantom power

What to Look for in the Best Mixing Console for Home Studio

Finding the best mixing console for home studio use is no easy task. These devices are pretty high-tech and have tons of intricate parts that could make or break the recording experience. There are many nuances to consider.

We could spend hours talking about some of the more complex details. But to keep things simple, here are some of the most important factors to consider in your search.

Preamp

The first thing to look into is the preamp. Mixing and recording consoles use a preamp to amplify low-level signals. They’re a critical component that puts everything on an even playing field, putting all of your mics and instruments at line level.

The issue with preamps is noise. With every gain stage, the preamp will introduce a bit of noise into the signal. If you’re already dealing with a loud preamp, your tracks will become unusable!

Preamp quality matters. Stick to premium preamps if possible. It’s better to pay a little more for a high-quality preamp that produces very little noise than to cheap out and get a noisy one!

Analog or Digital

The constant battle between analog and digital technology never seems to go away!

Both analog and digital systems bring a lot to the table. But, they have different strengths and weaknesses you need to keep in mind.

Analog mixing consoles are usually more affordable and more comfortable to work with. They’re pretty intuitive and can help you understand signal flow very well. Every channel is laid out for all to see, making it a reasonable choice for beginners. However, seasoned professionals often prefer analog technology, too, because it works so efficiently.

With a digital mixing console, you get a little more flexibility. Some have built-in audio interfaces and double as a control surface to manage your DAW. But with great flexibility comes more headaches!

Digital consoles are pricier, notoriously more challenging to use, and somewhat complicated to set up. They can be a real joy if you set things up correctly and really learn the system. But if you just want to start mixing and recording, analog consoles may be your best bet.

Connectivity

Finally, you can’t forget to pay attention to connectivity!

Most consoles will have a specific number of channels that you can use to connect mics or instruments. Each one will have either an XLR input or a line input. You might also see additional inputs based on the features. For example, main outputs, speaker outputs, MIDI connectors, SPDIF I/Os, and more are pretty common.

If you have a digital mixing console, you might also see ports for tablets, computers, or storage media. The best USB mixer will have all the tech-focused connectors you need to mix efficiently.

Choose a console that has all the connectivity options you need. Think long and hard about how you work. You can’t add more connection options later, so make sure to consider all of your needs.

Wrapping Up

The best mixing console for home studio use can change the way you create music. It enhances your workflow and gives you ultimate control over the magic you create(How to write a song).

The Behringer X32 is clearly the best mixing console for recording home studio of the whole selection. There’s no denying that this console is a powerhouse! It’s sporting a multi-channel audio interface, fully motorized faders, and premium preamps to record without all of the distortions. On top of all that, the console has a full-color screen and onboard effects.

It’s the best USB mixer out of the bunch. The other consoles don’t hold a candle to the X32! It offers all the flexibility you need. Whether you’re recording a band as they perform live or you’re laying down tracks at home, the Behringer mixing console has you covered. But don’t take our word for it. Check it out yourself! You’ll never look back!            

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Giorgio P
Giorgio P
Music has always led the path and I’ve been following doubtlessly. After many years of recording in studios as a singer of a swing/cabaret band, I decided to create my own home recording studio and built a blog about it. It involves exactly the things I love the most which are writing, creating, and learning. And that’s why I called the blog Sounds Wow. It really does!