Do you want to mix your music to sound AMAZING, but you do not know what mixer is the best for you?
Do you want a mixer but do not know the different types of mixers?
Who KNEW that there were different types of mixers?
Today, we will show you what makes these mixers UNIQUE from the other!
What Does a Mixer Do?
The mixing console mostly referred to as a “mixer,” is the central piece of the audio system.
What does it do?
A mixer’s job is to take audio signals from multiple sources, combine them, and send them to one or more destinations, which in this case is an output like speakers or headphones.
It’s a bit different from an audio interface.
The Differences Between Analog and Digital Mixers
Analog mixing consoles give you INSTANT ACCESS to their features right off the bat. This means that what you see is what you get!
All the processing and editing of audio is done using the channel strips that make workload fast but quite limited.
Meanwhile, digital mixing consoles give you a WIDE VARIETY of features.
But, it takes a while for those features to be accessed because you need to select a channel then put ALL the features you want to.
This makes for a slow workload, but it opens many opportunities to experiment.
These mixers are mixers that utilize analog sound transmission.
Analog consoles contain CHANNEL STRIPS. A channel strip is the columns of knobs and controls you first see in a mixer.
These channel strips are then used by an input channel (where the microphone and others are plugged in) to edit and be sent to one or more destinations. Normally, a mixer would have eight input channels.
It may be overwhelming to learn how to use these consoles for the first time.
BUT after learning how one channel strip works, you know how to operate the entire channel layout!
Practice MAKES perfect!
As you go on mastering and processing how a channel strip works, you’ll learn how to tweak each channel.
You will learn how the graphic EQs sound, how loud instruments should be if played at the same time, and more!
These mixers are mixers that utilize electronic sound transmission.
Digital consoles allow you to gain instant access to all its features compared to analog mixers.
These features are possible because of the processing power in these.
The DOWNSIDE to that is its slow and hassle way of setting it up due to browsing through channel after channel to find the right effect you want to use.
The way to access these features is through a channel-by-channel basis. You have to select a channel you want to process, then select the different effects you want to use.
On a channel layout, you can set up a master section on each channel to access its features.
It slows down work, but it becomes a walk-in-the-park from there once mastered!
Like how analog mixers work, mastering digital ones will allow you to tweak certain effects for experimental opportunities!
How to Choose the Right Mixer
Choosing between analog and digital mixers seems quite a hassle, huh?
HAVE NO FEAR! We will help you decide the right mixer for YOU using the following criteria:
- Cost and beginner-friendliness
- Built-in effects and processing
- Setting groups
Cost and Beginner-Friendliness (Winner: Analog Mixer)
In choosing between analog vs. digital mixers, the former is CHEAPER than digital ones simply because the former has fewer and simpler features to work with compared to the latter.
This also means that analog consoles are MUCH EASIER to operate than digital consoles. As previously stated, you gain INSTANT ACCESS to the console features because “what you see is what you get.”
In contrast, digital consoles have a steeper learning curve and take more time to master, especially for first-time users.
Overall, if you are on a tight budget, you want a fast workload, and you want a simple learning curve, then we HIGHLY RECOMMEND you buy an analog console!
Built-In Effects and Processing (Winner: Digital Mixer)
Analog mixing consoles, in general, do not have either of these.
You need outboard gear and external hardware if you want to add processing and effects into the console. Once you have those, you have to assign those effects to one of the auxiliary send buses.
The downside is that wanting more effects means buying more gear, meaning more money to avail of the gear. Imagine all that hassle of purchasing that gear and setting all of them up!
Most digital mixers already have built-in effects and processing power, which lessens the need for outboard gear to add more effects.
HOWEVER, if by any chance you want to use outboard gear to test the waters, you need to route signal flow through an assignable send.
Overall, if you want a mixer that is less hassle to work with when it comes to effects and one that has great processing power, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying a digital console!
Routing (Winner: Analog Mixer)
For analog consoles, inputs correspond to their respective input channels.
For digital consoles, inputs correspond with fader layers, but they may need to be assigned properly. Said inputs can be tweaked and can be assigned to different channels.
If you want a simple direction on how routing works and easily access the inputs, we recommend the analog console!
Setting Groups (Winner: Digital Mixer)
Digital technology allows it to group assignments much more fluidly and less limiting. These groups that contain fader layers may live on their layer for quick and easy access.
Meanwhile, its competition is limited with its groups due to the limiting circuitry and the limited buttons present on the mixer.
It can be a hassle remembering settings that need to be changed constantly with setting groups.
If you want a much easier and more fluid workflow in setting groups, then we HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting this mixer!
How Will You Use It?
Deciding which mixer to get will only HEAVILY DEPEND on how you want to use it.
Of course, you are more than welcome to experiment, but knowing how to use these consoles will GREATLY help you!
Playing With the Same Band (Winner: Digital Mixers)
The beauty of digital mixing consoles, specifically digital stage boxes in live mixing, is the feature of recall settings.
- This feature allows one to copy, save and recall settings of audio.
- This makes playing with the same band much easier because you can SIMPLY RECALL CERTAIN SETTINGS the band wants to use, especially in a live setting.
It’s like saving a game! You do not have to redo every quest from the start, and you can just start from where you saved.
You can set up many settings in one channel through the master section, and you can just use those settings here and there.
As stated before, if you want to use outboard gear using this mixer, you need to route signals through an assignable send and utilize the processing of the mixer.
Playing With Different Bands (Winner: Analog Mixers)
When different bands play for you, one thing to always consider is how they want to sound.
Analog consoles allow you to easily change audio settings for multiple instruments due to their INSTANT ACCESS TO THEIR FEATURES.
The instant access allows you to change audio settings when instruments are being played at the same time.
You can easily tell how the signal flow is going and change audio settings like graphic EQs, dynamics, and more.
Of course, that’s not to forget that if you want more features, you have to avail of outboard gear to assign those effects to auxiliary send buses.
Analog Mixers Worth Checking Out
Here are some consoles that you may be interested in!
It may look overwhelming, but these will ensure QUALITY MUSIC for you!
Soundcraft Signature Analog 16-Channel Mixer with Onboard Lexicon Effects
Behringer Xenyx 1002b Premium 10-Input 2-Bus Mixer with Xenyx Preamps, British EQs, and Optional Battery Operation
Digital Mixers Worth Checking Out
Here are some of the digital mixers for you to check out!
We guarantee that these will produce some BANGER songs!
Peavey Aureus 28-channel Digital Mixer
PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB 16×2 Performance & Recording Digital Mixer
Final Verdict: What Kind of Sound are You Going For?
The goal of these products is to make music production much quicker and more effective for the best music to come out of the process.
We know what you’re thinking.
What would I choose between analog vs. digital?
It took us a while to decide because these two have great benefits that suit me. In our opinion, as musicians ourselves, we’d recommend buying a DIGITAL ONE.
The benefits of having a wide variety of features, great processing power, and opportunities to experiment led us to this decision!
Regardless, the choice is still ON YOU!
Why Should You Go for an Analog Mixer?
If you are going for a more raw or real sound, you should get an analog mixing console.
These consoles give the raw feel of their music because the audio that bands play does not go through a computer and leaves what it has received as it is.
As stated many times in this article, “What you see is what you get.”
You can hear this type of audio through the vinyl and specific tapes. If you want a sound like these, where almost everything performed and played can be heard, then go for an analog mixer!
Why Should You Go for a Digital Mixer?
On the other hand, if you are going for a more digitized or a more compressed sound, we recommend the digital.
This sound happens because the audio is put in a computer. The audio is then changed so that the computer can read and digitalize it.
Media like YouTube and Spotify are all Digital Streaming Platforms (DSPs). Every day, what you listen to has that digitized sound since it has passed through a computer.
So, if you are looking for that type of sound, we recommend the digital for you!
As fans of artists like Kanye West and Tyler the Creator, the idea of testing the waters and manipulating audio to create new sounds is what influenced us the most.
But at the end of the day, both products have their benefits and weaknesses. Just like music, choosing between the two is entirely subjective.
Hopefully, this article helped you decide which of the two products is best for you!
Check out our comparison guide on Soundcraft UI12 vs Behringer XR12.