If you're looking for a new mixer, then you've probably noticed that there are two different types to choose from. But it's hard to understand the difference between analog vs digital mixers.
Analog is old school while digital is the future. But which one should you choose?
We've got you covered. Here at ItsAboutMusic we'll tell you everything you need to know about analog vs digital mixers in great detail so that you can make an informed decision about which one will be the best fit for your needs.
What's The Difference Between Digital And Analog Mixers?
The difference between digital and analog mixers is the way that they process sound.
Analog mixers run the signal through a series of resistors, potentiometers, and capacitors to create an electrical analog waveform. The waveform will then be converted back into a sound on the other side.
Digital mixers convert everything to digital format, which means there's no conversion process needed. Digital mixers are also able to process signals in real-time, meaning latency is not an issue with them. Digital mixers are more expensive than analog ones.
Analog mixers have more inputs than digital ones, but they don't allow you to sample and playback audio in real-time. This means you can't use one as a sampler or remixer. Because of this limitation, analog mixers are best used by DJs and live performers.
Digital mixers are best for making music at home and among the most common devices used in professional studios.
They have more types and numbers of inputs, which means you can sample audio from multiple sources and create music in real-time.
Another important difference is how much feedback an analog mixer will allow before it starts to distort the sound. The higher the value, the better for live performances because it will take a lot more volume or audio gain before it starts to "howl".
Digital mixers don't have this issue because they process the sound digitally. This makes them ideal for recording, as they won't distort when you add processing or effects.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Mixer
The advantage of digital mixers is that they are easier to use because all of the processing is done internally. This helps with latency, as well as the time between what you do and what you hear.
This type of mixer generally offers a lot more inputs than an analog one, which means that it's better if you're trying to sample audio and make music at home.
It's also easy to add effects or processing on top of your sound with a digital mixer because it has no feedback loop.
The disadvantage is that you can't record sounds in real-time, which means you won't be able to use the mixer as a sampler or remixer.
Digital mixers require a lot of time and processing power to make each sound at the highest quality possible. This means it may take several minutes for your computer to render the audio track, which is why external help in the form of a USB flash drive is required.
One more disadvantage of digital mixers is that they are more expensive than analog ones. You'll also find that they usually have fewer inputs.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Analog Mixer
The advantage of recording with an analog mixer is that there is no latency with the signal, meaning it will always playback as it originally sounded.
The disadvantage is that because your sound isn't being processed digitally, any processing or effects you apply later might result in distortion. This is not an issue if you're DJing or spinning at a club and rely heavily on loops or samples in your set.
Which mixer should I buy, analog or digital?
The first thing you need to consider when you're trying to decide which mixer to buy is what you'll be using it for.
If you're interested in playing, recording, or mixing live sound, then a digital mixer is a good idea because it can accommodate a wide variety of inputs, such as microphones, guitars, drum machines, and other instruments.
If you're DJing or spinning at a club and are relying heavily on loops or samples in your set, then an analog mixer will allow you to get the smoothest sound possible.
Analog mixers are also excellent for recording due to the fact that your sounds remain in their original form, which means you can add any processing or effects after the fact.
A digital mixer is best for live performances and capturing quality audio on a home studio project, although it is more expensive than an analog unit. Digital mixing has no latency issues, which means your performance can be recorded accurately.
These mixers also allow you to sample audio from different sources in real-time and play it back at will, making them a good option for remixing popular songs or creating music from scratch.
I hope you now understand the differences between analog and digital mixers, as well as their uses. These two options are both really good for different situations, so it's important to take what you've learned here and find the one that is right for you.
It's not easy to decide which mixer is best, but you can narrow down your decision by asking yourself what you'll be using it for.
If live sound and recordings are the most important features of a mixer, then digital would be ideal because they're easier to process digitally than analog units.
On the other hand, if DJing or spinning at clubs is more in line with your goals, and analog unit will allow smoother playback due to no latency issues.
When deciding on which type of mixer might work best for you we encourage that you ask yourself: What am I going to use this for?
The answer could very well make all the difference when considering whether or not one kind of mixer is better than another!