With the introduction and evolution of digital mixers, analog mixers have begun to fade out. These new-age mixers have the advantage of being compact and versatile. In addition to this, they eliminate the need to engage in the setup process every time. So, for the rest of this article, whether you are searching for a digital mixer for a home studio, rehearsal session, or live performance, we have taken it upon ourselves to present you with the best digital mixers in 2021.
The digital mixers that made it to this selection are easy to set up. They also bestow upon you the power to mix, record, and save jobs conveniently and at the touch of a button. Let's hook you up with the best available today!
As we can see in the review section above, a digital mixer is a must-have for every music producer, musician, church, and generally anybody or group that desires more from their musical instruments. These devices not only tweak audio signals from audio sources but also finetune received signals and send them to output devices like speakers and amplifiers. Here we'll show you what makes digital mixers so unique and how you can choose the best digital mixer that will suit your needs.
Analog Vs. Digital Mixers
Today digital mixers have become the more popular choice among many sound engineers, producers, instrumentalists, and musicians. Let's take a look at some situations where each analog outshines the digital mixers and vice versa.
No doubt, when it comes down to cost, analog mixers win. This is because they priced way less than digital mixers.
Without a doubt, digital consoles win the flexibility contest as they offer a more comprehensive compatibility range than analog mixers. These digital mixers are also blessed with the ability to pre-program and recall settings whenever they are needed.
Ease of Use
Although many manufacturers try as much as they can to make their digital mixers easy to use and master, you cannot compare their simplicity of use to analog mixers that require an effortless learning curve. Also, with the different digital mixers available today, you might need to re-learn how to operate every new digital mixer you come across; this issue isn't prominent with analog mixers.
Digital mixers win when it comes to lesser susceptibility to noise because they are designed to resist noise. However, analog mixers get very noisy, especially over large distances.
General Information That Everybody Should Know About Digital Mixers
Let's be honest - music engineering is a complex process that not everybody is a pro in. Even the most experienced music producers and engineers consider themselves learners as there are just a plethora of details to these cool gadgets and the mysterious world of dealing with sound frequencies. Here are some things you must be on top of if you're planning to use a digital mixer:
A channel refers to the path of a signal. First, you must know that digital mixers have a varying number of channels. A mixer with plenty of channels can accept more devices and instruments. Typical devices that are connected to these channels include mics, musical instruments, preamps, and amplifiers.
Picture buses as integrated circuits through which the output from different channels meets one another. So, like the regular buses we all know, signals from the various channels exit the mixer output via a bus or group of buses.
Also, you need to know that every digital mixer has a master mix bus fed by channel faders; this bus sends output signals through a speaker or recorder. Additionally, auxiliary buses (aux send) are provided by the channel's volume control, and this aux send buses exit via an output jack.
It is also possible for aux send buses to act independently of the volume controls; this makes them particularly useful for headphone and monitor mixes.
When you have a mixer that features many channels, it becomes imperative to have a group function. To achieve this, the channels are divided into groups, and each group of channels can be controlled using a single command using a single fader. Many mixers also have the mute group function that allows you to mute and unmute several channels at once!
Inserts and Direct Outputs
When you need to add compressors and equalizers to each channel, you need to consider opting for a digital mixer that has Inserts. These inserts work by simply diverting the audio signal into the effect's unit; while this is happening, the audio Submix is instantly returned and queued up for programming.
Direct outputs need only send out a similar version of the signal the preamplifier creates.
How to Choose the Best Digital Mixer?
This section would include factors that will help you choose the top-quality digital mixers; we would also answer questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a digital mixer.
Purpose of the Digital Mixer
When choosing a digital mixer, you need to ask yourself where you intend to use the mixer; this means you should decide if you want to use the digital mixer in a studio or during a live performance.
Digital mixers purchased for live performance purposes need to be rugged, durable, and portable since they will see many moving around. They also need to support effects like reverb, delay to save time, and a sufficient number of channels.
Studio mixers should support multiple channels; they should also be easy to use. Lastly, the availability of a preamp and connection to external processors are crucial additional features to consider when choosing a digital mixer for use in the studio.
If portability is important to you, you need to choose a digital mixer with less than 16 channels since the bigger they get, the harder will it become to move them easily. The mixer also needs to be sturdy, easy to set up and dismantle. Some of the best digital mixers reviewed above even feature metal chassis and magnetic covers that guarantee added protection.
The compatibility of whatever digital mixer you are about to cart home is also crucial in selecting the best digital mixer for your needs. Check and ensure the digital mixer is compatible with software programs you know how to use; this will prevent the need to learn how to use a new software from scratch.
You should also ensure that the digital mixer can connect through a USB connection. If Wi-Fi and ethernet connectivity is crucial to you, you can also confirm its compatibility.
When choosing a digital mixer, ensure that the mixer has an easy learning curve. A difficult-to-learn digital mixer is considered a waste of time. But if you are ready to embrace the challenges of a difficult to master digital mixer, you will find mixers that match your taste.
Putting A Pin On Your Desired Digital Mixer
As mixers are complex and very detailed gadgets, you can only purchase a well-sought product if you're aware of the basics. If you're a beginner, we suggest that you move forward by learning the basics on a DAW and then move towards a digital mixer so you're not left absolutely clueless.
Regardless, whatever you purchase, be sure to scour through the customer reviews about each product to put a pin on your purchase. The above-mentioned digital mixers are some of the best in the market - as of 2021. We assure you that you aren't going to regret investing in one of these good boys!
People Also Ask
Q: What is the difference between Analog and Digital Mixers?
A: The simple difference between a digital mixer and an analog mixer is the type of sound produced. Analog mixers are purely electrical. Therefore, once the sound is received, it is not split into frequencies, and the feedback is a natural sound. On the other hand, digital mixers split the sounds into component frequencies and convert them into binary codes. Here, the feedback is a reformed electrical signal.
Q: How to connect your digital mixer to a computer?
A: To successfully connect your digital mixer to a computer, you will need a 1/8-inch RCA to mini-plug cable. Once you have this, insert the RCA plug to the RCA output on your digital mixer, then connect the mini-plug into your computer's line input port if your computer has one. That's just one way.
Nowadays, you get digital mixers with USB, Wi-Fi, and ethernet connectivity and that's a completely hassle-free process.
Jack has been a touring guitarist for almost 20 years, playing in a number of country music and rock bands. Jack loves the road and defines himself as a never-ending student of the guitar and other important instruments or tools that make a musician.