Best USB Mixer For Home Studio: Top 5 Models To Input Your Records 

If you’re looking for the best USB mixer for home studio, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll keep your music flow intact with our top 5 recommended tools.  

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: September 6, 2021

*Products recommended in the post contain affiliate links. If you buy something through our posts, we may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

If you’re looking for a device that can help you mix, add effects, and balance multiple audio sources out during the recording sessions, you should start looking for the best USB mixer for home studio. You can play and record audio directly into your computer without the need for a third-party audio interface.

There are many advantages of owning a USB mixer if you’re a professional producer craving to yield the ideal audio track. But you have to know these three essential factors before buying.

  • Sound quality: Will there be any hissing noise?
  • Function rich: Are there any creative effects, EQ bands, or scene presets (only in digital)?
  • Usability: How convenient is it to operate?

There will be many more factors needed to be considered in choosing the studio mixer, but for now, let’s just dive into the detailed reviews.

In-depth Reviews of Top 5 Best USB Mixer For Home Studio

Choosing a new audio mixer is not an easy task since there are countless options available on the market nowadays. But worry not; we are here to give you unbiased reviews of these top 5 famous products. Shall we check them out?

Alesis MultiMix Mixer & USB Audio Interface

Alesis MultiMix 8 USB FX 8-Channel Mixer with Effects & USB Audio Interface

Editor’s Rating

  • Sound quality: 6/10
  • Function rich: 8.5/10
  • Usability: 10/10

Best Overall: Convenience of Usage

All the buttons and knobs in the Alesis MultiMix mixing board are pretty easy to understand without any hassle. The setup is simple without any advanced features or recording software required, making it utmost user-friendly.

Onboard Processing

Alesis MultiMix offers 4-channel and 8-channel lines, but our reviewed mode will be the 4-channel mixer with dedicated level controls. It’s highly rated for its rich effects, affordable price, and sufficient instrument inputs.

Consisting of 2 pairs of ¼ stereo inputs and outputs, 2 XLR-connected preamps with 48-Volt phantom power, as well as 2 lines inputs, a guitar-level, and a headphone output, the mixer features some very powerful capabilities for your home studio.

The onboard processor features two bans EQs, one effect saturation, and a pan in each channel, allowing you to adjust quickly and accurately. The right corner of the machine offers up to 15 built-in effects that will alleviate your problems in mixing instruments.

The mixing console comprises all the basic and standard features that are not hard to master and get used to.

Who Should Buy This Product?

Alesis MultiMix & USB Audio Interface is ideal for guitarist-songwriters or podcasters who aim at delivering unlimited diction. But overall, anyone who needs a compact yet simple setup USB mixer can go after this product.

Problems With This Product

We've found several problems related to the static noise and hissing sound from the headphone jack. This bug bear is mostly made up for the lost point in our sound quality rating.

There are two ways to solve this malfunction. You can purchase a ground loop isolator for the output analog routing, though it asks for an extra cost.

Or you can turn off the phantom power since boosting the pre-amp gain will leak the noise to the headphone jack. We recognize that most noise occurs as soon as the phantom power turns on, even if nothing is plugged into the inputs.

Advice From Experts And Users

Bands or those who need to record multiple individual tracks should not purchase this audio mixer. Alesis MultiMix 4 channel is not compatible with separating channels for mixing or mixdown.

Alto Professional ZMX122FX Mixer - Compact Audio Mixing Desk with Built-In Effects

Alto Professional ZMX122FX 8 Channel Compact Audio Mixing Desk with Built-In Effects

Editor’s Rating

  • Sound quality: 7.5/10
  • Function rich: 8/10
  • Usability: 7/10

Best Overall: Karaoke Quality

With a high signal-to-noise ratio of 110 dBu, many musicians recommend the Alto Professional ZMX122FX for its ability to control noise during live music like karaoke.

It has sufficient onboard effects, 4 mic inputs, and high headroom circuitry with a huge range for optimum studio microphone quality. This audio mixer is a potential candidate for your best USB mixer for home studio.

Microphones Preamps

Alto Professional has top-quality mic preamps that deliver a decent gain of up to 50 dB. A good range of preamps varies from 30-60 dB, which can boost low-level signals to line level and improve the sound quality.

Normally, people would opt for expensive, dynamic microphones with good preamps, but you don’t need to spend any extra buck with this mixing desk. Owning this Alto Professional ZMX122FX, you have in hand high-grade, quiet, and boutique preamps with versatile inputs and outputs of keyboards, drum machines, MP3, CD, etc.

Inputs/Outputs

The mixing console with 12 total inputs (4 mic channels with XLR, 2 aux return, 4 lines, and 2 stereo inputs) offers decent output numbers of the control room, ¼ main, headphone, and aux sends.

In short, this karaoke mixer can accommodate 4 microphones at once. You also have the impressive feature to professionally control the delay, add echo or other presets from the 16 built-in DSP effects in each microphone. Unfortunately, this piece of equipment does not come with voice cancellation or mute mode like other mixers.

The aux return channels are a standout feature of this excellent sound mixer. We can utilize it to add more speakers in both balanced and unbalanced stages.

Problems With This Product

The power adapter is criticized as a cheap cable since we encounter a defective power cord. After a period of use, there is an overheating issue and a certain stress mark on the power cable, leading to tearing.

Our advice is to buy an external protector for the cables and turn off the mixer for 5 minutes if overheating issues occur.

Advice From Experts And Users

Even though this model is for live music production, it’s not easy to operate. Buyers need to do detailed research or have an expert while using this mixing console.

There are some jargon like aux send/return, noise floor, or XLR cables that you should know by heart to utilize this amazing karaoke mixer.

Numark M6 USB - 4-Channel DJ Mixer with Built-In Audio Interface

Numark M6 USB - 4-Channel DJ Mixer with Built-In Audio Interface

Editor’s Rating

  • Sound quality: 9/10
  • Function rich: 7/10
  • Usability: 8.5/10

Best Overall: Durability

In terms of stability and longevity, this DJ studio mixer with a built-in audio interface beats all other devices in the same range. If you’re looking for a mixing desk for a long-term investment, this is a great option.

Numark M6 DJ mixer has a strong steel frame, unlike other low-cost and small mixers on the market. The M6 can easily be regarded as a sensible investment due to its superb performance.

Inputs/Outputs

Numark M6 is a 2-channel, sleek-design mixer that caters to the needs of classic scratch DJs while also including tons of features for recording software control.

Even though a DJ mixer is slightly different from the standard model, they share a common principle - the more I/O, the greater flexibility, and future-proofing.

In Numark M6, you have 4 full input channels, each with 3-band EQ and a mic output. If you glance around the back of the machine, you'll notice a number of different pro audio outputs: 1 master (RCA), 1 record, 1 headphone, 1 booth, and a USB outlet.

With a full set of outputs and switchable voltage, it provides impressively comprehensive features for beginners on a budget. The USB port on the back panel connects the mixer to a computer to stream and record audio, as the name implies.

Who Shouldn’t Buy this Product?

Since this studio mixer is specially built for DJ purposes, it’s not suitable for bands or singers. All of the features in the control panel are quite distinctive from other standard USB mixers.

And as you might notice, there is only one microphone input for the device. So, it’s not for entertaining purposes, either.

Problems With This Product

The DJ mixer has some issues with crossfading. We sometimes experience a tight crossfader or no changes when sliding the fader back and forth.

Luckily, the Numark M6 has a crossfader that can be readily replaced. But soon after you ask for the replacement, the other crossfaders are also likely to be defective. Therefore, buyers have to carefully check the quality of all crossfaders or contact the manufacturer immediately for a full check.

Advice From Experts And Users

Since Numark M6 was out in the market for almost 10 years, it might lack some updated features for an on-trend DJ mixer, such as filtering or effect presets. Worry not; you can still get to use them in recording software Pro or digital audio workstation (DAW) such as Serato DJ.

Mackie Mixer - Unpowered, 8-30 Channel USB Mixers

Mackie Mixer - Unpowered, 16 Channel

Editor’s Rating

  • Sound quality: 6.5/10
  • Function rich: 7.7/10
  • Usability: 7/10

Best Overall: Live Performance

Though it carries at least 63 decibels of hissing noise from the USB, we still rate the mixer for its high potential for live performing. Having an excellent sound quality does not entirely depend on the noise floor but also on the frequency system, cables, etc.

With a good number of channels, superior microphone preamps, and instrument inputs, the Mackie Mixer is particularly designed for live vocal, instrumental, and band performance.

Mixing Tools

This mixing desk provides a 3-band EQ with adjustable center frequency and a 7-band graphic EQ for running or monitoring outputs. In addition, there is a 100Hz low-cut filter under each channel’s EQ that will remove low frequencies and polish the live audio signal.

Some critics even call Mackie the best mixer for small venues, and they may be correct, given how reasonably priced it is. When it comes to the price, many people are pleased with the return on investment they received from this mixer.

The 16-line inputs also make it simple to connect keyboards, samplers, or other gear on the go. The built-in interface also implies that the Mackie is powerful enough to handle numerous artists without slowing down or affecting the clean sound.

How Long Will The Product Last?

When it comes to Mackie, we know that its product will last for a couple of years to come. Many users who own a Mackie all claim that their very first product stayed from the range of 4-7 years.

The only disadvantage of owning a Mackie is the possible outdated functions. Within 4 years, there might already be other updated features and models on the market.

Problems With This Product

The hissing sound should be the main challenge when purchasing the product. To tackle this problem, you can use a compressor to reduce the dynamic or turn the FX effects down altogether.

Advice From Experts And Users

The system is surely not for beginners since it comes with various components and structures. And if your LED light does not light up when the mute switch is engaged, don’t be surprised. The LED only lights up when the channel is being overloaded.

BEHRINGER XENYX 1202FX Mixer

BEHRINGER, 12 XENYX 1202FX, 3-Pin XLR

Editor’s Rating

  • Sound quality: 8/10
  • Function rich: 10/10
  • Usability: 7/10

Best Overall: For Podcasting Purpose

Behringer Xenyx is a suitable podcast mixer that works up for solo podcasters or 4+ people interviews. With numerous input channels, 4 XLR mic preamps, and 100 mind-blowing effects that you can have fun with during the post-production, we highly recommend this model.

Nothing is more vital to a podcaster than connecting several condenser mics, blending music players, and adjusting each player's own volume levels.

Channel Control

This mixing console has long been a favorite of podcasters, producers, and musicians. It's a low-noise, high-headroom mixer that guarantees little distortion and clearer audio output signals.

It also has four studio-grade compressors for quick sound level reduction, resulting in a more seamless blend of vocals and a cleaner, more forceful instrumental audio output.

Apart from combining and modifying sounds, this electronic gadget can also clean up your recordings, clarify your audio, and fix a few small sound issues that podcasters commonly have when recording.

In addition, the use of sliders (or faders) instead of rotary controls for easier and more precise adjustments of channel volume levels is a noteworthy advance.

Does The Product Feature Any Replaceable Accessories?

If you purchase the device with cables and witness a defective factor in them, please quickly report it to the manufacturer or seller for an exchange. There have been many reviews stated that after several months, their cables are broken.

But keep in mind to check the product right after receiving the mixer. Even though the cables are replaceable, it might require a long period to receive the new cables back.

Problems With This Product

Power cord and power switch are two main drawbacks of this mixer. While the lack of the power switch might result in an inconvenient operation during the broadcast, the power cable keeps coming out without any external impact.

Our solution is to buy an extension cord with a power switch built-in and use tapes to settle the cord.

Advice From Experts And Users

Since the mixing desk consists of up to 100 effect presets, it’s quite hard to fully explore them. Unfortunately, the manual instruction does not wrap any explanation for this feature, causing huge confusion to users.

Please contact tech support and ask for a pdf file of preset names.

Buying Guide

Buyers might feel like they’re swamped in numerous buttons and faders if this is their first time purchasing a mixer. But worry not; you only need to keep these 6 guiding factors in mind for hassle-free shopping.

Types of Mixers

If you’re looking for a mixer with USB that is compatible with your recording studios, you can consider the two types of analog and digital mixers.

Both are capable of conveying extremely high-quality audio. Analog mixers are more popular for their low cost and ease of usage. People might find operating an analog mixer much simpler than a digital one since it relies on access controls. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to opt for an analog mixer.

On the other hand, digital mixers require skills and time to master all the functions. However, they have the major advantages of saving and retrieving mixes from the previous performance.

Channel Count

Do you see those rows of buttons and knobs in a mixer? These are all channels, and each channel is responsible for one recorded instrument or microphone.

A simple home studio setup will require 2-4 channel strips. But if you want a more complicated mixing board that offers you more audio chances to mix, you may require as many as 24 channels.

What is contained in a single channel strip depends on different mixing consoles. For example, in our reviewed Mackie Mixer 16-channel mixer above, its one channel includes two types of inputs, inserts, gain, EQ bands, aux sends, pan, mute, and faders.

Audio Resolution

Audio resolution or excellent sound quality is the key for every instrument device.

If you want to go after a high-quality sound mixer, you should look for a high-frequency response system and a high-bit sound. It’s possible to look for various EQ bands since it will make the music sharper and brighter.

But be careful with the highs. If you’re not familiar with controlling the frequency, it can induce sibilance in the vocals, as well as a piercing, screechy sound that can be irritating to the hearing.

Onboard processing

Onboard processing consists of effects or sound modification as a setup when playing live. The DSP effects such as flange, chorus, reverb, or more advanced SPX presets can help spice up your recording sessions. Having on-hand control of effects and sounds might be the critical factor for your audio.

Some USB mixers are capable of processing your audio entirely onboard, so you should be looking for such a type. Having an onboard mixer means you won't have to handle any external gear or inputs unless you really want to.

Microphone Preamp

In case you are working with a band where there is no main vocal or the need for a condenser microphone, this factor is unnecessary for you. But if you’re going to use microphones throughout your entire performance, you’ll need good sounding preamps.

A mixer with unstable preamps will add to the noise in your mix, producing unwanted records. It's helpful if your mixer already includes a few preamps since you want to plug your mics directly into it.

Usability

Understanding your ability and the mixer you want to buy is the most critical factor. If you have bought a mixer that has a high-frequency system, good numbers of effects, EQ bands with various channels and input sources but does not know how to operate, then you certainly have wasted all your money and effort.

What is the use of owning a high-end system but failing to utilize it?

A good tool improves the way you work. But remember - if it weren’t for Thor, then his hammer is just an unliftable piece of Uru metal.

FAQs

Do I need an audio interface if I have a mixer?

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to buy an audio interface if you already own a USB mixer. You just need to get additional hardware for your computer, and it will work on its own natively.

Former Mackie president and now founder of HUI Audio, Bill Dudleston claims that the USB mixer can easily replace a multi-channel audio interface used to record music. Moreover, if you own a high-quality mixer then there’s no need for you to spend much money on upgrading your sound card and invest in additional external hardware.

In addition to that, Dudleston also believes that a USB mixer can make everything much cheaper. It’s because you won’t have to buy new wiring and install additional equipment for your home studio. Moreover, he claims that this device is very user-friendly.

You can easily connect the audio inputs on your computer and begin playing without any lag. The best part is that you don’t need to buy any hardware changes for it to work on the computer. It can even be used for a long period of time too.

Conclusion

The best USB mixer for home studio will allow you to mix a recording or live performance without the requirement for an audio interface. But finding a suitable USB mixer will never be completed if you neglect these 6 factors of mixer types, channel counts, audio quality, onboard processing, mic preamps, and usability.

According to our experience, the best USB mixer is the Behringer Xenyx 1202FX. Even though we consider it a podcast mixer, it’s a versatile mixing console for guitarists, singers, or home recording producers.

Given the low price, it offers a good number of channels, effects, and less leaked hissing noise. Though users might need time to learn on running the device, it’s not difficult to master it.

crossmenu