In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: April 30, 2023
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You needed a studio console or an analog mixer for mixing music back in the old days. But now, almost all music producers work on DAW, but an analogy mixer for recording is still available within a home studio environment.
But what is an analog mixing console? And more importantly, why should you use it when you have DAW. So, what are some of the best analog mixers for home studios available today?
In this post, we will answer all these questions and many others. We have also gathered a list of the best analog mixers on the market for your convenience.
So, let’s cut to the chase and dive right in, shall we!
You can achieve precise control using the 100mm faders as you tweak your tracks with that familiar EQ and the Aux knobs. There are high-grade preamps that guarantee top-notch performance.
You can conveniently capture it on your internal SD with a 24bt/48 kHz resolution. Furthermore, you will get flexible onboard and routing effects to show your creativity. This console is pretty easy to get along with, and it’s a perfect front-end analog for your DAW.
We were highly impressed with the Model 24 as it allows you far more than just moving the record tracks to or from your DAW. You can use it as your full-fledged 24 in and 22 out audio interface with USB and quality preamps inbuilt compression.
Whether recording in your home studio or live show, capturing anything from your SD card is great. You can punch in or out eight tracks simultaneously.
One of the best features of this console is that it resembles a setup of a Portastudio if you have ever used one. Therefore, using this console will be much simpler, and you will be right at home from the word go.
Furthermore, you won’t have to dive into any menu and complex your entire music recording process. This feature makes it stand out from the crowd.
However, its best features can turn out to be a con too. If you have no experience using a Portastudio and are used to going through those menus, you might have to take some time to get used to this console.
Still, once you get used to it, you will love using this console for music recording.
This is a fully-featured SSL console that you can use with your desktop computer. It comes with 18 different inputs that you can use to transform any project into a production-level powerhouse.
It is paired with SSL’s sonic character and guarantees easier monitoring and routing with better analog summing.
There are full-size 100m faders present on this console, and you will have the true mixing experience paired with mic preamps to add more flavor to your recordings.
Four mono channels come with SuperAnalogue mic pres along with SSL compression. So you can develop a superb front in your recording, and it can also handle your passive ribbon mic.
With phantom power and a high pass filter, you can switch to instrument level with your line input. In addition, we have found that the compressor design of this console makes it easier to achieve better sound in an instant.
You can conveniently include low and high filters as you have full access to its EQ, full-sized faders, and insert points.
You can also adjust from +15 dB to -15 dB with 700 Hz frequency control. So, you can conveniently use it for both live sound and studio applications.
There are 18 different inline inputs that you can use in your mixes. And if that is not enough, this console also features a USB interface, so you can conveniently use its digital features while using this analog mixing console.
It is a classic console with release and attack settings and an updated quad-VCA chip that makes transitions in your recordings much clearer. It is an excellent choice for monitoring and routing, even with a more scaled-down design.
With the features that this console has, it is a top choice for a home studio and live shows. But if you are looking for more channel insets for more complex sounds, this might not be the right option.
Perhaps it should have come with more channel insets for more recording options. If you are setting out, this console works just fine.
It has a classic analog mixture look, and it is a console built to record. The new analog outlook of this console also features 12 different XMAX mic preamps and is USB compatible.
You can conveniently link it with your computer and even form its hybrid internals.
This console has a fully-featured audio interface that can operate at 96 kHz for producing high-definition recording and mixing.
You can conveniently record 16 inputs and the main mix to get more recording options. You can also playback up to four streams and monitor any previously recorded tracks.
Twelve mic preamps can cut down any background noise. You also have access to Bluetooth connectivity and start playing with the inbuilt SD recorder.
It is a perfect voice for both stage and studio setups, thanks to its StudioLive AR 16c interface. It is tightly integrated with quality recording software.
You can easily realize your audio creativity and record multitrack live on stage with just a single click with the live recording application. It also allows you to create full studio productions using your DAW right out of the box.
We love the fact that while still being an analog mixer, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity, and you can start playing your recording and listen to what you have created using any of your digital devices.
It also comes with a USB interface so connecting it with your desktop or laptop is pretty simple. It is a recording tool that is ready to use right from the word go as it features mic preamps with 16 inputs and a simple-to-use interface.
We love that it comes with many applications that you can use for your music creations and recording. But if you already own a DAW, things might be much earlier for you to work out.
Because you will first have to get used to all these applications and then put them to use, things will be much easier if you connect with this console with a DAW at hand.
Why is it special?
Comes with plenty of wired and wireless connectivity options
You can create effects without any latency
Its familiar looks make it easier to use
Comes with full compatibility for Apple and iOS devices
What are the flaws?
There are too many software applications that it comes with
This is a fully loaded mixer that you can use for stage and studio environments. It is a portable rig, and you can also use it for permanent installation if you want.
It comes with D-PRE preamps, and you can squeeze everything about your tone using your mics. Additionally, it can produce natural-sounding bass and handle high pretty well.
It comes with D-PRE discrete mic preamps to deliver natural and clear sound. Moreover, its one-knob compressors ensure dynamic controls that are easy and simple to use.
You can influence shogun shaping pretty well, thanks to the high pass filter and EQ. We also liked that this console comes with inbuilt digital effects to add more professionalism to your recordings and polish out the sound.
This is an excellent choice for both stage and studio performances. But you will have to be careful when everything is dark around.
Those bright yellow lights are pretty glaring and make it pretty tough for you to see those surrounding settings onboard. But with so many options available on this mixer, it is a top choice for any environment.
This console comes with full onboard digital effects and phantom power that you can switch. It also features an ADP switch along with a knob compressor.
There are plenty of I/O options along with LED metering. EQ is pretty traditional on it, and that could have been better, but it still works pretty fine.
The only problem you will have to deal with here is that you cannot fold the effects into the monitor mix.
The main outs have these effects. So, you can’t run effects to your monitor, and there is no workaround either.
Moreover, the 16 sliders don’t correspond with the EQ and the channel setting. So, you will have to be very careful in the mid channels. Apart from that, the glaring yellow lights onboard are pretty bright.
This light is pretty bright in the stage setting and the dark, and you might find it difficult to see the settings right next to them.
Why did it make our list?
20-channel mixer with 6 mic preamps
A top choice for both stage and studio environments
The mic preamps deliver natural and clear sound
Features dynamic controls are pretty user-friendly
It is a 16-channel mixer with a 4-bus design and still has a compact construction with a classic look. But all the controls are pretty easy to access as they are all right in front.
It also has a high headroom, so you can easily access the control right at the top.
With the 16-channel mixer design, this console is pretty versatile. And not only that, but you will also have access to 10 boutique-quality mic preamps. It also features enhanced RF reactions suitable for live show broadcast settings.
You can conveniently adjust those settings according to your needs and easily handle routing and monitoring with this device. Apart from that, this console is built like a tank and is pretty durable.
We loved the fact that this mixer does sound pretty good. If you are a working drummer, this is the console that you will need. You can use it for your in-ear feed as your click unit.
It also comes with an instrument-level button to keep engaged as you are using the feedback. You won’t find any sliders on this console because it has knobs. If you are looking for such a design but don’t want to compromise on sound quality, this is it.
We loved that this console has a compact design by removing those sliders. But it needs some improvements.
For instance, its power cable tends to stay loose, and it can come out during the performance if you move too much. Moreover, the knobs don’t have any grips and have a plastic coating, so they might lack some precision.
What are its best features?
16-channel mixer with 10 Onyx mic preamps
Enhances RF reflections that are suitable for broadcast applications
Features phantom power with condenser mics
16 headroom line inputs for better operational control
What could be improved?
It comes with a loose power cable even with a slight movement
This quality mixer comes with a compact design and has that classic look. If you are looking for a simple design, this is the right option. If you wish to use it for recording or a live performance, it will work out for you.
It comes with different units with 2 stereo channels that come standard. The console has quality audio performance with premium quality preamps.
It means you will always have well-balanced inputs with inserts. Moreover, peak LEDs allow you to monitor the entire signal path conveniently.
This console is a suitable option for both live and studio recordings. You can conveniently connect it with your amplifier. You can easily connect all your gear with this console and can easily create and write in any setting.
Furthermore, it allows you to integrate it into your live radio broadcast conveniently. There are plenty of options available here to create your best quality recordings.
It has a compact design, but it doesn’t compromise on quality. The system is pretty easy to use, and the controls are accessible. So, you can use them in your live or studio setup.
And we were highly impressed that it is available in three different EPM models, so you can pick one according to your preferences and requirements.
But you will notice that this system does need more Aux options and even a couple of subgroups. If you need 8 outs to go with your digital recorder, you will need a different system.
The direct outs that it comes with also have slightly imbalanced signals. So, you might have to look into that before you buy.
What do we love it for?
Delivers quality performances with its premium preamps
Offers balanced inputs with the inserts
12 mic inputs with 2 stereo lines
10-segment output metering LEDs
What were we disappointed with?
It doesn't come with enough Aux and sub-group options
This 14-channel mixer features auto-tune pitch corrections, and it also comes with Bluetooth connectivity and USB features. So, it might look like a regular mixer, but it is not.
You will have access to inbuilt effects, and sound metering LED displays. It is a nice analog mixer that can work in any setting.
This system will work the best if you connect it with your desktop computer or laptop. It comes with inbuilt automatic tuning pitch corrections to ensure that you can create flawless tracks without any problems.
Moreover, you will have access to a selectable hi-Z guitar preamp that is an ideal choice for home recording. Therefore, you can use it for your live performance or studio recording, but it is perfect for your home studio.
We love its auto-tune feature, allowing you to harness this mixer’s power. You will balance all the tunes and make your tracks more professional sounding.
You can also change its onboard EQ and preamp for your electric guitar and put away your DI boxes or any additional hardware that you might have. Run your guitar directly into the DAW and guitar amplification programs with this feature.
This hi-Z guitar amplification software built into this console makes it truly a unique console. If you prefer to use the guitar, these features will come in pretty handy.
It is a versatile mixer that works pretty conveniently with your desktop setup. You can create live tracks without a problem.
The only issue that we saw in it was its power adapter, and it doesn’t come standard. If you don’t have a backup for it, you might get in trouble.
Moreover, the knobs on this console are dark in color, and they become slightly difficult to see for any delicate or precise adjustments.
What stands out?
A nice compact design
Features inbuilt auto-tune features that guarantee flawless correction
Comes with a guitar preamp for improved home recording
What cons did we manage to find?
It has dark-colored knobs that are not easy to see for precise adjustments
Its paper adapter is not that good
Things to Consider
There are different types of analog mixers available on the market. Therefore, choosing the best one can be pretty irksome, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. Consequently, we have developed this buying guide for your assistance.
Benefits of Using an Analog Mixer
Digital mixers have become quite a trend, and they are pretty easy to use as well. But analog mixers still have their advantages.
These consoles are pretty classic, and for that reason, they have been around for quite some time. The best thing about these systems is that they are pretty simple to use. However, here are some advantages that these mixers have to offer.
These consoles are pretty easy to use compared to their digital counterparts. They have very few buttons, and this might seem like a disadvantage, but it keeps things simple.
These consoles are designed to deliver quality recordings with efficiency and simplicity. You don’t have to present any buttons or knobs, and you certainly don’t have to connect numerous devices with them.
Compared to their digital counterparts, these analog mixers are relatively cheaper.
These classic mixers can produce pure sound without any digitization.
If you are a newcomer, you should begin using analog mixers because they are simpler.
Features to Consider Before You Buy an Analog Mixer
Different consoles come with different features, which makes them unique. You need to keep in mind some factors when buying an analog mixer.
Okay, so how many channels do you need in your analog mixer? Well, it entirely depends upon how many tracks you produce or mix. For instance, if you mix 8 tracks, you will need 16 channels with 8 bus desks.
If you are looking to increase the number of tracks, you should go for more channels. But for an effective EQ with at least 3 bands, you will need 10 to 12 channels with 4 aux outputs and integrated effects.
But to keep things simple, it is always better to have more channels as you can hook up more stuff with your mixer. These channels add more flavor, and they can either be stereo or mono.
You can use them to get your input up to an appropriate level. Each channel will also come with its EQ, Aux sends, and pan control. But some mixers do have some rudimentary channels with their master control.
If you are looking for more channels, perhaps you can go for PreSonus StudioLive AR16c, which has 18 channels. But if you are not flying that high, the Tascam Model 24 Mixer features only 4 channels.
These effects come in handy to make your tracks more colorful with different effects. You can use inbuilt effects from your analog mixer or add more by connecting modern devices.
But if you are looking to create high-quality professional tracks that truly stand out, these effects are mandatory. Otherwise, your track will sound like just another piece of recording.
Effects or onboard processors relieve you from adding any onboard gear. The Tascam Model 24 Mixer is a good choice if you are looking for some onboard effects, and so is the Yamaha MG20XU 20-Channel.
Analog mixers are classic and old, but many modern-day analog consoles also have different compatibility options with modern devices. If you use DAW, look for a console with DAW compatibility.
And if you prefer to use your console with your phone or your computer, you will need Bluetooth or USB connectivity. Older analog models didn’t have these features, but the more recent ones come with more connectivity options.
If you are interested in analog mixers that come with different compatibility options, you need to consider the Tascam Model 24, Solid State Logic BiG SiX, PreSonus StudioLive AR16c, and most of the quality analog mixers out there.
Your mixer is a traffic manager, and a signal is connected to one of its inputs. You can steer this input to one or more outputs. Some analog mixers do come with several mixing stages, and you can use them to mix with sub-mixes and other effects or groups.
These groups are further mixed to the stereo output to result in a track. If you are looking for a more complex option 3 or 4 inputs and outs might work. But you can go up if you want to create more complex tracks.
Tascam Model 24 Mixer comes with different input and output options, and so does Solid State Logic BiG SiX, along with other entries that we have highlighted in our list. However, most of the analog mixers on the market come with plenty of input-output options.
The best analog mixer there has to be the Tascam Model 24. This multitrack live recording console comes with 4 channels with 16 mic preamps. And you will also have access to its familiar EQ. If you have used DAW before, you will love using this console as it is pretty versatile.
The runner-up on our list is the Solid State Logic BiG SiX desktop analog mixer with 18 channel inputs. It also comes with 4 preamp channels, compressors, and nine different faders. If you are looking for a full-fledged analog mixer, you don’t need to look further.
The third spot goes to PreSonus StudioLive AR 16c. This 18-channel mixer is a hybrid, and it can function as your digital mixer and your analog mixer. So, it provides you with the best of both worlds. It also comes with multiple connectivity options.