USB interfaces come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and fill so many different purposes. It is impossible to say which is the 'best'. For example, an average podcaster is not going to need a 32 channel . A similar situation could apply to a musician shopping for a . 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 mixers. Each of these serves a variety of different needs.
Most models we talk about are available in different input capacities too. We have provided links where possible so you can find one that covers the number of channels you need.
One quality all of these mixers had to share for us to consider them a into if you take your seriously. Each of the following has at least one high-quality channel for your . is having quality . You will need at least one to plug a
You can open the contents below to help you navigate to the section that most applies to your needs.
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. 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.
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 mic or instrument. There is also global EQ and reverb to get a matching overall tone.
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.
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 range is a great choice for a simple desktop at a reasonable price. They have become an industry standard and for good reason. They have capabilities but are also great to use live with streaming.
These don't have as many features for streaming as the GoXLR for example but is much more capable when it comes to music. They are a great go-between if you need your to do a little bit of everything and don't need a massive .
These are just as happy being a general upgrade to your PC's , a , plugged into a for , or live instruments. in any case, these provide great .
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.
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 this 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 MultiMix 8 from Alesis is still 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 to mic up a drum kit 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.
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.
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.
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 StudioLive 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.
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 their patented Onyx mic preamps. The 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.
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.
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.