Incite
Music

The Best Mixer And USB Audio Interface | Create Magic Sound At Home

These come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and fill so many different purposes. It is impossible to give a blanket statement as to which is the best mixer and USB audio interface. For example, an average podcaster is not going to need a 32 channel mixer.

A similar situation could apply to a musician shopping for a USB mixer. They are not going to need one packed with features intended for twitch streaming.

We have put together a list of many different types of USB audio interface mixers. Each of these serves a variety of different needs.

One quality all of these mixers had to share for us to consider them a quality audio interface is having quality mic preamps. You will need at least one to plug a condenser mic into if you take your audio seriously. Each of the following has at least one high-quality channel for your XLR microphone.

You can open the contents below to help you navigate to the section that most applies to your needs.

A Quick Look At The Best USB Mixers And Audio Interfaces 
The Best USB Mixer For Streaming And Podcasting
GoXLR 4 - Product Image
TC-Helicon GoXLR 4
zZoundsAmazon
The Best USB Mixer For Phones
gomixer_pro - Product Image
Roland Go:Mixer Pro
zZoundsAmazon
The Best Premium USB Mixer And Audio Interface
PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2
PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2
zZoundsAmazon
Our preferred retailer is
zzounds logo
  • Lowest price guarantee
  • Free 30-day return policy
  • Fast and free shipping in the US
  • Excellent customer service

The Best USB Mixers And Audio Interfaces For Streaming

The Best USB Mixer For Game Streaming Or Podcasting

TC-Helicon GoXLR 4

GoXLR 4 - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 1x XLR, 4x 1/8"
  • Outputs: 1x USB
  • Built-in FX
  • Programmable buttons
Pros
  • Feature-rich
  • Intuitive interface
  • Extremely customizable
Cons
  • Only 1 XLR input

If you are a streamer you could get away with using a standard mixer. You could even plug directly into your computer with a gaming headset or USB microphone. However, this mixer has a myriad of inclusions to improve the quality of your live streams. If you want to step up your twitch stream or live podcast, the GoXLR will help you achieve that.

One of the strong points of this mixer is its onboard voice effects. TC-Helicon is one of the most popular brands for voice effect pedals and rack effects. You can trust that the effects of this unit are of extremely good quality.

The button controlled effects are megaphone, robot, hardtune, and a customizable FX button. These are simple ways to add a little flair to certain phrases while you broadcast.

There are also knob controlled effects. These alter reverb, pitch, echo, and even the gender of your voice. Customizable control over these parameters will help you create a unique and professional sound.

Playing samples on the fly is super easy with the GoXLR. There is a [email protected]#$?* button that plays a beep to cover your swear words during your streams. There are also several other buttons on the mixer that are programable. You can assign them any sound you'd like them to play. This could be anything from the intro music to your podcast to any sound effects you use frequently.

There is also a 'cough' button that will mute the microphone inputs while you hold it down. No unwanted noises will interrupt your cast if you use this feature correctly.

The mixer itself has 4 motor controlled faders. They snap back to your presets that you have saved. Having presets allows you to switch between ideal settings for each setup you use. There is also a mute button for each channel. Each channel has its own LCD screen. The screen prevents any confusion about which channel is using which source.

The one drawback of this mixer is that there is only one XLR input. The other inputs and outputs are 2.5mm jacks. This could suit many users that already have gear that plugs into headphones jacks. It's not suitable for more than one studio microphone though so it's not ideal for two-person streaming.

The Best USB Mixer And Audio Interface For Streaming Live Music

Bose T4S ToneMatch

T4S_ToneMatch - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 4x XLR and 1/4", 1x USB
  • Outputs: Balanced XLR and 1/4"
  • Built-in FX and processing
Pros
  • Studio quality guitar effects
  • Integrated streaming features
  • Easy integration with Bose speakers
Cons
  • Power cable sold separately

This mixer comes with 4 XLR/Jack inputs making it perfect for a small band or solo performer. There is also an extra stereo channel and aux-ins. This makes it a versatile little unit but if you after even more inputs the T8S is also available.

It has built-in Bose ToneMatch effects. These are studio quality and will up the caliber of your performance considerably. Some of the effects are compression, de-essing, a noise gate, reverb, EQ, flanger, and tremolo. Each of these effects is per channel. You can customize your sound for each individual XLR mic or instrument. There is also global EQ and reverb to get a matching overall tone. This is pretty much a portable recording studio for live music.

The controls on this mixer are very intuitive making it easy to use and simple to navigate. There are tactile controls that are well lit. This makes it easy to change your settings while performing.

This mixer is not only great for streaming. It is also perfect for live shows. It has many on-stage features such as tap-tempo delay and a chromatic tuner. It also comes with magnetic shielding to protect it in stage environments. This mixer and the Bose L1 speaker system work perfectly together. If you own one of these already you will have seamless integration into your live gigs.

It does not come with a power cable so make sure you buy one of these separately. If you do already own an L1 speaker system it can power the mixer instead of a separate power supply.

The Best Compact USB Mixers And Audio Interfaces

The Best Phone Compatible USB Audio Interface Mixer

Roland Go:Mixer Pro

gomixer_pro - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 1x XLR, 3x 1/4", 3x 1/8", USB
  • Outputs: USB, Stereo 1/8" 
  • USB powered
Pros
  • Tiny
  • Multiple input sources
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
Cons
  • 1 XLR
  • Outclassed by others for computer use

This thing is tiny but still packs a massive 9 input channels! It has a combo XLR/jack input for microphones, an L/R stereo channel for instruments, a ¼" jack for a guitar or bass, and 3 2.5mm jack inputs.

This mixer uses a USB Micro-B connection to plug into computers and phones. You will have to make sure you have the correct accompanying cable to plug in your device. It comes with a USB-C to USB Micro-B cable so it will work fine with a newer iPhone or Android device. If you have something older you will have to buy the appropriate cable.

Whether you are a streamer, musician, or podcaster this interface is perfect for phone use. The built-in mic on your phone can sound dodgy. Access to a powered microphone will make a huge difference. As does direct instrument plugins.

There are better mixers for use with a computer but this will do a fine job if you need to use it for this purpose too. There are only volume control and no EQ knobs. This is the primary difference between this and bigger mixers intended for computers. You could control EQ through third party software to counteract this shortfall.

This mixer is compatible with some other Roland software for your phone. These other apps aim to help improve your live streams too. These include the 4xCAMERA and Virtual Stage Camera. With these apps improving your video, and the Go:Mixer Pro improving your audio, you will be unstoppable.

The Best Compact Computer USB Mixer

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Focusrite Scarlett Solo - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 1x XLR and 1/4" combo,
  • Outputs: USB, 1/8" 
  • USB powered
Pros
  • Versatile uses
  • Clean signal
  • Quality microphone preamp
Cons
  • Only one XLR

The Focusrite Scarlett range is a great choice for a simple desktop recording interface at a reasonable price. Although not technically a mixer, they have become an industry standard for audio interfaces, and for good reason. They have low latency multitrack recording capabilities but are also great to use live with streaming.

These are a good option to pair with an older analog mixer if you have one lying around already. You could take the stereo audio signal from the mixer's analog input and convert it to a digital signal with a Scarlett interface. This will obviously also add USB connectivity to the analog mixer.

These don't have as many features for streaming as the GoXLR for example but are much more capable when it comes to recording music. They are a great go-between if you need your interface to do a little bit of everything and don't need a massive mixing console.

These are just as happy being a general upgrade to your PC's sound card, a USB interface, plugged into a DJ mixer, or recording live instruments. In any case, these provide great sound quality with a boosted signal through the headphone jack.

If you need something small and know you know you are going to leave it in place this is hands down the highest quality budget option.

The Best Compact USB Mixer For Live Music

Behringer 302USB

302USB - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 1x XLR and 1/4" combo, 3x RCA
  • Outputs: USB, 1/8" 
  • USB or AC powered
Pros
  • Unobtrustive
  • Clean signal
Cons
  • Only one main input

This is the smallest USB capable unit from the Behringer Xenyx mixers. Behringer is a low-cost brand that provides a good quality to cost ratio. The Xenyx mixers are a classic example of how good a Behringer product can be for its price.

This little baby gets its power through USB so there is no need to bring an external power cable with you. A great feature if you're using this on-the-run. You can also use the included power supply if you're not connecting it to a computer for any reason.

You have control over the gain, EQ, and volume for the main input and for the line/USB input. This allows you to find and eradicate unwanted frequencies. These controls are very small though which can be a little finicky. There is not any way to avoid this as the entire unit is just 4"x 5".

If you purchase this mixer you get access to free software from Behringer too. This includes recording software. If you're getting started and haven't purchased a DAW yet this software will get you by. There are also 100+ plugins and effects available through their website.

The Xenyx series also come in a range of different sizes that you can find here.

The Best Midsize USB Mixers And Audio Interfaces

The Best 8 Channel USB Mixer And Audio Interface

Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX

alesis_multimix8usbfx - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 4x single channel XLR and 1/4", 2x 1/4" stereo channels
  • Outputs: 1x balanced 1/4", 1x 1/4" headphones, 1x USB
  • Built-in DSP FX
Pros
  • High impedance channel for guitar
  • Quality DSP Effects
  • Fairly priced
Cons
  • Only half its channels use its best preamps

The MultiMix 8 from Alesis is compact enough to fit inside a small bedroom home studio. It also has enough channels to run a whole rock band through it. You will need more channels if you plan on recording drums alongside the rest of a band though.

This mixer has built-in DSP effects and uses a footswitch for external processing. There is also a detailed 3 band EQ for each channel and LED meters for visual feedback of levels. The effects are easily controlled by knobs on each channel. The external routing options are also impressive for a smaller mixer.

The second channel on this mixer has a higher impedance resistance. This makes it great for plugging a guitar directly in. Having this will help prevent pops from the plug of your guitar or from hot pickups. This inclusion makes it a standout for musicians working as a solo performer or in a duo. It saves using an external pre-amp to address this issue.

If you're a fan of the features of this mixer but need something smaller it is also available as a 4 channel mixer.

The Best 12 Channel USB Mixer And Audio Interface

Yamaha MG12XU

MG12XU - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 4x single channel XLR and 1/4". 2x  XLR or 1/4" stereo channels, 2x 1/4" stereo channels
  • Outputs: 1x balanced XLR, 1x balanced 1/4", 1x 1/4" headphones, 1x USB
  • Built-in FX
  • Class A mic preamps
Pros
  • High quality D-PRE preamps
  • Clean and pure signal
  • Also available in a range of other sizes
Cons
  • No tonal personality

Yamaha has unmatched sonic purity in its price range. As such, this mixer does not add a lot of color to the inputs. This should please the sound perfectionists out there. Conversely, it may discourage some others who are looking for a signature sound.

The MG series of mixers use Yamaha's class-A D-PRE preamps on the first 4 inputs. These provide a clean signal for your microphones. These preamps are adept at handling signals from any audio source. These inputs also come equipped with compression control. This will help you to squash any peaks and maintain a steady signal.

The built-in effects processor is easy to use. This is true whether you use them through the controls or with software on your computer. There are tonnes of effects that you can use and you are also able to create presets on the mixer for later use.

The Yamaha MG series also comes with a range of different sizes. They can be anywhere between 6 and 20 inputs. If you're after a pure sounding desk of any size we stand by our recommendation across their entire range. For example, the Yamaha MG10XU could save you a little money over the 12 channel option if you don't need as many inputs.

The Best 14 Channel USB Mixer And Audio Interface

Peavey PV-14AT

PV_14_AT - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: 8x single channel XLR and 1/4", 1x stereo 1/4", 1x USB stereo channel, Bluetooth
  • Outputs: 1x balanced XLR, 1x balanced 1/4", 1x 1/4" headphones, 1x USB
  • Built-in FX
  • Auto-tune on first 4 channels
Pros
  • Built-in auto-tune
  • Guitar preamp
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Expensive

This mixer is a particularly good one for vocalists. This is because of the inclusion of onboard Auto-tune. It is available on the first 4 channels. It is perfect for correcting that one backup singer in your band that is a little off. It is also great for over the top effects that artists such as Kanye West, Future, and Cher use. Even if you're an awesome singer sometimes at the end of the 3rd or 4th set for the evening your voice can start to waver. A little Auto-tune can help with that.

A second standout feature this mixer has is a Bluetooth input. This is a nice touch for live shows as you easily can put background music on during your breaks. It is also perfect for practicing with backing tracks at home. You could also use a USB drive with the built-in LED screen to navigate it for this purpose.

You have EQ and compression controls readily available and onboard effects to boot. There is also a built-in guitar pre-amp. This helps to control the direct signal from a guitar pickup to prevent any mishaps from that signal.

If this mixer is a little out of your price range, it is also available in a 10 channel model. There are also models from Peavey that are much cheaper. These come without the auto-tune inclusion though.

The Best Premium USB Mixer And Audio Interface

PreSonus StudioLive 16

PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2

Specs

  • Inputs: 12x XMAX XLR and 1/4", 4x stereo 1/4", 2x RCA, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Outputs: 2x balanced XLR, 1x mono XLR, 4x 1/4" AUX, 2x balanced 1/4", 1x USB
  • Built-in FX, WiFi
Pros
  • Plenty of high-quality XLR inputs
  • Wireless connectivity
  • StudioLive Fat Channels
Cons
  • Very Pricey

This mixer provides 16 channels of studio-quality sound in the smallest package possible. 12 of these inputs are XMAX Class-A mic preamps which is a huge amount for a smaller mixer. Additionally, there is a MIDI I/O and 4 auxiliary inputs. It is unlikely you will run out of inputs when using this mixer in a home studio. Having this many channels is often enough even in a commercial setting.

The Presonus Studio Live mixer uses 'Fat Channels' which use controls that are easy to read. There are studio-quality effect processors included on the Fat Channels. These include low and hi-pass filters, gate, compression, limiter, and EQ. The interface for the Fat Channels is very intuitive. It has clearly labeled physical controls. The LCD display also helps to navigate these channels. This makes it one of the easiest to use mixing consoles out there.

There are many useful presets to get the most out of your instruments. These presets can be edited and saved too. You can also start from scratch and create your own settings. You can save these individually or make them a part of a 'scene'. A scene stores and recalls every setting on the console when needed. This is super handy if you are working as a producer and want to save settings for a particular band or room.

This mixer also comes equipped with wireless connectivity. This means you can control the mix from anywhere within range. You can do so with a Mac, PC, or tablet. Individual musicians can even control their own foldback mixes through the QMIX-UX app.

The Best Studio Sized Mixer And USB Audio Interface

Mackie 3204VLZ4 32-Channel

3204VLZ4 - Product Image

Specs

  • Inputs: XLR and 1/4", USB
  • Outputs: Balanced XLR, 1/4"
Pros
  • Fantastic preamps
  • Plenty of inputs
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Too big for most home studios

Do you never want to run out of channels and have a huge space at home for a mixing desk? This is an excellent choice to fill that purpose. Most of us can't have the luxury of such a large mixer in our homes but having all those extra channels has its benefits. You can leave all your instruments plugged in permanently. When you want to play, and simply switch the channel on that you're using. You can also have a massive number of musicians playing simultaneously. You can use all the channels for recording, streaming, or playing a venue with no problems.

The Mackie 3204VLZ4 uses patented Onyx microphone preamp technology. These preamps are low noise and have plenty of headroom. There are 24 onboard effects on this mixer too. You will be able to mold your sound for each individual channel or through global settings.

There are several USB connections so you can plug into more than one device at a time. This gives a number of additional options for recording live shows.

This thing is built like a tank so if you can bother moving it around between venues it will last accordingly. The physical controls on the mixer are also sturdy and primed for years of use and abuse.

This 32 channel mixer is the largest in Mackie's flagship VLZ series . You could also get the awesome reliability tone features in smaller and more cost-effective models from this brand.

Related Content - The Best Mastering Plugins

 

Related Content - The Best Mastering Plugins

 

USB MIXER FAQ

 

What Makes A Good Mixer?

There are so many bells and whistles you can get with your USB mixer these days. These include digital screens, single-knob compression, built-in reverb, and fancy pre-amp types. However, the most important inclusion with a mixer is a clean signal. Having a buzz or hum in your signal is equally as bad for a streamer as it is for a podcaster or musician.

All of our recommended mixers and USB audio interfaces are from reputable brands. This means you won’t get any dodgy, dirty signals from within the mixer. You should also be aware of the quality of your cables, microphones, instruments, and power source to avoid this problem.

Other than a clean signal, what makes a ‘good’ mixer is up to the user’s needs. For example, someone that already has high-quality rack reverb likely doesn’t need this inclusion from their mixer. On the other hand, reverb might be a good inclusion for someone that does not have a lot of studio gear. This makes their mixer great for live gigs as well as in their studio. You need to think about what inclusions you need and what best suits you.

Explanation of how inputs work on a mixer

How Many Channels Should I Get?

If you're using the mixer for one microphone then you should only need a single channel. However, you can't add more channels later if you need to plug in another microphone or an instrument at a later date. For this reason, it is a good idea to overestimate how many channels you need. This is preferable to buying a mixer that only has the bare minimum. There have been times at gigs where I have had to find dodgy ways around plugging in extra instruments. It's nowhere near as convenient or reliable as having extra channels.

Most mixers will have some stereo channels included with them. This means the number of single inputs is actually less than the number of channels. For example, an 8 channel mixer may have 2 inputs that are stereo. So, 6 instruments or microphones can be plugged in. You can only get 8 if you are willing to divide the last few channels into left and right.

Stereo channels are great for electric piano but can be a little misleading in regard to how many instruments can be plugged in at once. For a traditional style mixer, the safest bet is to look at how many XLR inputs the mixer has. These are usually the inputs that have the highest quality preamp and perform the best. They are definitely suited for single input instruments and microphones. In the example above there are 4 XLR inputs circled in red.

You could also look at the crossfaders at the bottom. There are 6 faders in the mixer that means there are 6 available single channels with the last 2 being stereo.

Final Word

Whether you are just looking for a single microphone input or intend to plug a whole band into your computer there is a huge variety of quality gear out there. Every brand we mentioned has other options available that may suit your needs too. Stick to an industry-standard brand and you shouldn't be disappointed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Author

Hi, I'm Chris, the owner, creator, and head writer for InciteMusic.com 
I have been a touring cover musician and a teacher for the last 10 years and take helping people to achieve their musical goals very seriously.
On this website, we try to provide the best reviews possible by actual working musicians so you can find gear, lessons, and software to help you perfect your craft.
Check out the link to our about page in the footer if you would like to know more.

Quick Links To Our Best Content
Affiliate Disclosure
We unbiasedly and independently review products on our website. We are funded by affiliate links. We may earn if you make a purchase through our links. As an Amazon affiliate we may earn from qualifying purchases
Contact details
(use contact form first please)
Email: info () incitemusic.com 
Address: 308 Circus Drive
Icksberg  PA 17037, USA
Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Phone: +1(717) 220-9204