4 Best Small Mixers for Live Performance and Recording of 2020

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Mixers are essential in live performances because they keep the audio balanced so one instrument does not overpower the other.

People use mixers to blend the levels of every instrument and vocals, so the audience can hear the audio clearly from the house speakers.

In this article, we will look at some of the best mini mixers with effects that are suitable for small venues like clubs, your garage, or the living room.

Mixers can also be used for recording and music production, especially f you need more input options.

Some mixer even comes with a USB output so you can plug it in directly to a computer and record music using your DAW.

The best small mixer is determined by several factors such as physical appearance, size, number of inputs and outputs, built-in effects, EQ, vocal compression, and phantom power.

For live performances, a mixer would enough channels and onboard effects are an ideal choice.

For recording music at home, a mixer with at least two input channels, phantom power, and a USB output would make an excellent choice since you don’t need to buy an audio interface.

Depending on your needs, I am sure you will find the best small mixer for you on this list.

4 Best Small Mixers of 2020

In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:

Most Affordable
BEHRINGER, 12 XENYX 1202FX, 3-pin XLR, Black
Top Pick
Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer/4x4 USB Interface with FX
Classic Brand
Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer with Open-Ear Headphones
Powerhouse
Mackie, B Box, 12-channel (PROFX12V2)
BEHRINGER, 12 XENYX 1202FX, 3-pin XLR, Black
Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer/4x4 USB Interface with FX
Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer with Open-Ear Headphones
Mackie, B Box, 12-channel (PROFX12V2)
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Most Affordable
BEHRINGER, 12 XENYX 1202FX, 3-pin XLR, Black
BEHRINGER, 12 XENYX 1202FX, 3-pin XLR, Black
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Top Pick
Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer/4x4 USB Interface with FX
Allen & Heath ZEDi-10FX Hybrid Compact Mixer/4x4 USB Interface with FX
Classic Brand
Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer with Open-Ear Headphones
Yamaha MG10XU 10-Input Stereo Mixer with Open-Ear Headphones
-
Powerhouse
Mackie, B Box, 12-channel (PROFX12V2)
Mackie, B Box, 12-channel (PROFX12V2)
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All right, let’s get to the list of best small mixers already:

#1 Allen and Heath ZEDi-10FX

Allen and Heath ZEDi-10FX - best small mixers for live sound

This small mixer is the best choice on this list. It is a compact small mixer that has everything you need if you want to use it for a live show and live recording, or for recording music at home.

It is a smaller version of Allen and Heath’s ZED line of fantastic mixers.

However, despite its size, it still has enough inputs, built-in effects, and phantom power that you can use to intensify any live show and performance.

With its USB i/o, you can also plug it in directly to your laptop and record performances straight from the mixer.

You can plug in acoustic guitars, microphones, keyboards, and drums directly to have better control over the sound output.

Overall, this small mixer looks sleek and it would fit any studio, and it is capable of handling live performances despite its small size.

Specs:

  • Channels: 7 total (4 mono, 3 stereo)
  • Weight: 4.85 LBS
  • Dimensions: 12.1 x 10.8 x 3.8 inches
  • Mic Preamps/ XLR Input: 4
  • USB: Yes (24-bit/ 96 kHz recording quality)
  • Faders or Knobs: Knobs
  • 48V Phantom Power: Yes

#2 Behringer Xenyx 1202FX

Behringer Xenyx 1202FX - best small cheap mixer for home studio

The Behringer Xenyx 1202FX is an affordable but capable small mixer for live performances.

The interface is clean and easy to understand.

It comes with preamps and built-in effects on all channels to enhance any performance.

It is an excellent mixer overall for live performances.

However, without the additional features such as a USB port or Bluetooth, you cannot use this for recording n the studio without buying an audio interface.

Considering its affordable price, it is still one of the best budget mixers that you can use for performing live.

Specs:

  • Channels: 8 total (4 mono, 4 stereo)
  • Weight: 3 LBS
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 9.5 x 1.9 inches
  • Mic Preamps/ XLR Input: 4
  • USB: No
  • Faders or Knobs: Knobs
  • 48V Phantom Power: Yes

#3 Yamaha MG10XU

Yamaha MG10XU - best small digital powered mixers for live sound

This small mixer is another excellent choice.

It is sleek, compact, and it is quite affordable.

It has 4 mono channels with balanced XLR outputs and 3 stereo channels.

The first two channels are excellent for vocals thanks to its built-in compression that helps vocals cut through the mix.

It is also equipped with a USB i/o so you can plug it in directly to a computer for live recording or adding VST effects.

It comes with a mic stand adapter so you can use it on stage.

It allows you to place the mixer at an accessible location while you are on stage if you need to do a couple of tweaks during a performance.

The only thing that I did not like about this mixer is that there is only one effect per channel.  

Otherwise, it is still an excellent compact mixer with enough channels and features at an affordable price.

Specs:

  • Channels: 7 total (4 mono, 3 stereo)
  • Weight: 4.64 LBS
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 11.6 x 2.8 inches
  • Mic Preamps/ XLR Input: 4
  • USB: Yes
  • Faders or Knobs: Knobs
  • 48V Phantom Power: Yes

#4 Mackie ProFX12V2

Mackie ProFX12V2 - best small affordable analog unpowered mixer

This small mixer looks fantastic.

One of the best things about Mackie B Box is its physical design.

The sleek and modern finish with green accents gives this small mixer a futuristic sci-fi aesthetic.

However, this small mixer is not all about looks.

The audio quality and clarity are superb.

I was really impressed with the sound quality of this mixer.

It features enough channels including onboard effects, phantom power, and a USB i/o for recording purposes.

The best thing about the interface design is the faders.

Instead of knobs for volume, the Mackie B Box is equipped with faders for better monitoring.

However, because of the faders, the size of this mixer is not so compact.

It is a little larger than most items on the list but is the only negative thing I can say about it.  

Specs:

  1. Channels: 12 total
  2. Weight: 10 LBS
  3. Dimensions: 15.6 x 17.9 x 7 inches
  4. Mic Preamps/ XLR Input: 6
  5. USB: Yes
  6. Faders or Knobs: Faders
  7. 48V Phantom Power: Yes

Related Questions:

Can you connect guitar amplifiers straight to your mixer?

Yes, you can connect guitar amplifiers to a mixer for better mixing.

Make sure the guitar amplifier has a line out port so you can use a TRS 1/4″ cable and run it through your mixer.

Some guitar amplifiers do not have a line out, so most stage sound engineers use a dynamic microphone and place them in front of the amplifiers to get the sound coming out of the house speakers.

Can you plug in instruments directly to a mixer?

Yes, you can plug any electric instrument directly to the mixer.

However, for instruments such as electric guitar, it might not sound good without going through an amplifier first.

You can always use amp simulators or DI pedals to tweak the gain, but it is better to have an amplifier on stage so that it could also work as a monitor.

You can however directly plug bass guitars, acoustic guitars, and keyboards to the mixer, especially if the mixer comes with onboard effects.

Conclusion

Each of these small mixers on the list can be used for live performances.

However, the best choice for me is the Allen and Heath ZEDi-10FX for several reasons.

It has a suitable number of channels (4 mono, 3 stereo channels), it is a good size that won’t take too much space, and most of all, you can also use it as an audio interface for recording music and vocals straight to your computer. (24-bit/ 96 kHz quality recording)

It is a little expensive, but I am really satisfied with it and with all its features.

I hope this article helped you find the best small mixer for you.

Last update on 2020-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API