Choosing An Analog Mixer/Console For Your Studio

People have many different reasons for choosing an analog console for their studio. Some prefer the hands on approach of having everything at their fingertips (eqs, aux sends, faders). Others prefer the sound of mixing through an analog console, while many people prefer to track through an analog mixer (running their signal through the preamps and maybe a little big of eq), and then mixing inside their daw. What ever your workflow is, let’s look at a few contenders out there, at various price points that may be a good choice for your home or professional studio. For our purpose, we’ll look at mixers with 16 channels or greater which can be purchased brand new in the marketplace.  Another option is to buy a vintage or restored console, but if you go this route, make sure to have it checked out by an experienced tech. With old mixers, parts can break and they may need to be recapped for optimal performance. Usually, this means spending a lot of money on maintenance and repairs, so factor that into your budget.

Low Priced Mixers

Alesis MultiMix 16 USB FX $299

For a brand new mixer, this is one of most inexpensive you’ll find. It’s a great choice for the home hobbyist recorder or as a live mixer for a small setup.  Here are some notable features:

* 16 Channels

* 8 Preamps

*3-band w/ sweepable mids  EQ on channels 1-4; 3-band   on channels 5-8 ; 2-band   on channels  8-16

*Buit in USB interface

Alesis multimix 16 usb mixer

Behringer Eurodesk SX3242FX $599

You might be in a situation where you need many inputs for keyboards and rack mount units. If you are on a budget, the Eurodesk is a might be a good choice for the price.

* 32 line inputs

*24 preamps

*4 band eq

*4 busses/groups

*100mm faders

Behringer Eurodesk SX3242FX mixer

Allen & Heath ZED-24 $699

If you are looking for a better overall mixer for a small project studio, the Allen & Heath might interest you. You’ll get a better  board with sweeter sounding eqs (and quieter operation).

*24 channels

*16 mic preamps

*great sounding eq with sweepable mid on channels 1-16

* USB interface for computer connectivity

Allen Heath ZED 24 mixer

Mackie 1642-VLZ3 $699

Mackie mixers really are built like tanks. They are reliable, built with high quality components and offer an extremely low noise signal path. They can be found in home recording studios the world over as well as many live venues.

*16 channels

*10 high quality preamps

*3 band eq with sweepable midrange

*4 stereo busses/groups

Mackie 1642 VLZ3 studio mixer

Midas VeniceU16 (16 Channel USB) $1,199

Midas has a great reputation for their consoles. They sound great for both live and studio recording situations. You’ll get high quality preamps and and a nice sounding eq section.

*16 channels

* 4 band EQ with 2 parametric mids

*18, 100mm faders

*USB connectivity

Midas VeniceU16 audio mixer

Mid-Priced Consoles

Toft Audio ATB16 $5499

If you are looking for a sexy centre piece for your project studio, the Toft ATB may be what you are looking for. It really is a step up from the lower end Mackie or Allen And Heath line. You get great preamps and a very high quality eq section. If you are looking for a way to really fatten up your tracks, the Toft is a great contender in the mid priced console market (the ATB range comes in 8, 16, 24 and 32 channel configurations).

*16 channels (premium quality preamps and eq section)

*8 busses/groups with direct outputs

*6 aux sends

Toft Audio ATB16 studio console

Audient ASP4816 $13,450

The Audient ASP is just a beautiful looking console. With class A preamps and a high end channel strip, you can really impress your clients with this board.

*16 class A preamps

*4 band EQ

*flexible routing

*6 aux sends

*exceptional sound quality

Audient ASP4816 studio mixer console

High-End Consoles

API 1608 16-Channel Analog Console $52,000

If you have the budget for it and want an exceptional console for both tracking and mixing, you can’t go wrong with the API 1608. It’s a gorgeous console with the legendary sound you have come to expect from API.

*16 vintage style class A preamps

*8 aux sends

*5.1 monitoring

*12 550A series equalizers

*4 560 series equalizers

API 1608 16 Channel Analog Console

Solid State Logic AWS 916 $52,500

The SSL AWS console can really appeal to studio owners for it’s quality and functionality. You get a small format console with the legendary SSL sound with it’s superb eq on every channel and the legendary mix buss compressor. It also works as a control surface for your favourite DAW, so you really get the best of the both worlds; superior analog sound and complete DAW integration. SSL consoles are really preferred for mixing situations.  Of course they’ll sound great when tracking as well. But if you are spending over $50,000 on a console, chances are you have a nice collection of preamps in your collection with much more character than the stock SSL pres.

*16 premium SSL channels

*4 band eq (E and G Series switch)

*in-line compression and EQ on every channel

*the legendary SSL mix buss compressor as found on their larger 9000 series consoles

*5.1 monitoring

*scribble strips for DAW functionality

*expandable

Solid State Logic ssl AWS 916 console

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