Whether you are new to live streaming or are making the jump to a professional, everyone can benefit from the addition of an audio mixer. It’s the simplest way to connect all of your live streaming hardware together and the easiest way to manage sound with the precision required from the best audio mixers for your live streaming needs.
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Why Do You Need Audio Mixers for Streaming?
What oftentimes separates one product from another comes down to features and price. This is no different when discussing audio mixers for streaming, however, there are a few use cases that will help you to make an informed purchasing decision.
When detailing features, how you’re planning on using an audio mixer will be key. Do you have multiple XLR microphones and a couple of gaming consoles that require individual sound level adjustments? If the answer is no, then perhaps you would be better suited to an audio interface and one microphone for a more modest live streaming setup.
Are you looking to run a 2 PC streaming setup? If so, then an audio mixer is perfect for you. The ability to independently control sound levels from multiple sources provides a level of control and ease of use that most other hardware and software options cannot provide.
Once you have decided that an audio mixer fits your live streaming environment, the final consideration is price. In this case, the market is segmented by how many inputs you need; more inputs and knobs, generally means a higher price.
With our understanding and expectations set, let’s find out which are the best audio mixers for streaming:
The Best Mixer for Streaming
The GoXLR Mixer is a 4-channel mixer designed to be an all-in-one solution for streamers and online broadcasters.
Features include a studio quality MIDAS preamp that was designed to make your XLR microphone sounds it’s best by providing 48V phantom power, an equalizer, compressor, limiter, de-esser, and a Gate.
The backside of the GoXLR mixer also includes an 3.5mm input for your headphones, line-in, an additional 3.5mm microphone input, a USB input and a optical input for either an XBOX or Sony Playstation.
GoXLR is fast becoming the most popular USB mixer for those streaming to Twitch, Facebook and YouTube. Combined with it’s ease of use and a compact body, it can easily fit with any of your live streaming equipment.
Behringer Xenyx QX1002USB Mixer
The Best Audio Mixer Under $100
A compact audio mixer with a built-in audio interface, if you’re looking for a fully-featured audio mixer with additional inputs to grow into, then look no further.
The Behringer Xenyx QX1002USB Mixer comes with a handful of features that aim to separate itself from the rest of the competition. The first feature on this list is their 3-band EQ, designed to provide a warm and musical sound akin to the classic British rock and pop songs from the 60’s and 70’s. Next, there are 6 channels for connecting multiple devices like a 2 PC streaming setup, multiple gaming consoles or additional streaming hardware.
Additionally, the 2 mic preamps for multiple XLR microphones are state-of-the-art Xenyx preamps, designed to provide crystal clear audio reproduction and 130db (Decibels) of dynamic range; which is the difference between the loudest sound that can be recorded without distortion and the quietest sound that can be recorded without disappearing in the background.
Finally, the two compressors onboard the QX1002USB mixer allow for a super-easy, “one-knob” functionality and control. This feature alone makes it easy to balance out the loudest sounds and softer sounds to find the best balance of audio for your streaming setup. The QX1002USB mixer comes with all the features needed to turn your streaming setup into a high-performance studio and recording environment.
Yamaha Mg10Xu Stereo Mixer
The Best Mixer Under $200
Yamaha has been around for over a century and is well known in the audio world for top-notch quality products and the Yamaha Mg10Xu Stereo Mixer is no different.
As the name suggests, this mixer comes with 10 channel inputs, four of which are XLR designed to provide 48V phantom power in order to operate high-end condenser microphones. Along with the aforementioned Behringer Xenyx Q1002USB mixer, this also has 3-band EQ made to produce rich bass, clean vocals, and crisp highs. Additionally, this mixer comes with a one-knob compressor, this feature works the same on any mixer and should be standard amongst all products in the stack, however not all companies choose to include it, thankfully, Yamaha did.
The Yamaha Mg10Xu Stereo Mixer is very well built, constructed of a metal chassis it’s compact enough and rugged enough to be tossed into a bag and taken on the road. This mixer will survive a fall off the side of a gaming desk onto the floor, you’ll be able to pick it up, dust it off and get right back to streaming. The Yamaha Mg series of mixers incorporates many features of more expensive, professional mixing consoles in a compact and rugged design without sacrificing key features.
Alto Professional ZMX52 Mixer
The Best Budget Audio Mixer
As the smallest, most compact audio mixer on the list, it is still packed with all of the features needed to successfully get professional quality audio up and running within five minutes.
The Alto Professional ZMX52 Mixer only has five channels in comparison to the other mixers in the list, however, if you’re only using one XLR condenser microphone and need minimal inputs for the rest of your streaming equipment, then this is the choice for you. The price-to-performance ratio of this audio mixer is unparalleled, it is the most affordable audio mixer for streaming and remains amongst the bestseller list on Amazon.
That being said, there were some features cut for the sake of price and some features removed in order to keep the audio mixer as small and compact as possible. It supports 2-band EQ, only providing adjustments to bass and treble ranges and it also lacks a compressor. If compression of the audio signal is something that’s required for your live streaming setup, then perhaps choose a more expensive audio mixer or consider purchasing an external compressor in order to have the best possible audio.
All told, the Alto Professional ZMX52 Mixer is quite impressive for the price and remains one of the most popular audio mixers on various online retailers.
Behringer Xenyx 302USB
Best Audio Mixer for Streaming Under $50
The Behringer Xenyx 302USB is a lot like it’s aforementioned big brother, the QX1002USB. It sports some of the very same hardware that makes it a great USB audio mixer, but trimmed down the inputs in order to make a more compact and more affordable.
Sporting 5-inputs along with a 2-band ‘British’ EQ, it also provides phantom power for your XLR microphone. More features include a premium quality Xenyx preamp, the very same as the QX1002USB and a built-in stereo USB/Audio interface.
If you’re looking for the cheapest and yet best audio mixer for streaming, then the Behringer Xenyx 302USB should be at the top of your list. Very affordable, great features and a compact body that will fit nearly anywhere.
What are the Benefits of Choosing a USB Audio Mixer for Streaming?
When considering your purchase of an audio mixer with the sole purpose of streaming, one must consider ease of use. Unless you’re a professional in a recording studio with ample supplies of RCA connectors and redundant pieces of audio equipment at your leisure, you’re better off choosing an audio mixer with a common, everyday output.
Both the Behringer Q1002USB Mixer and the Yamaha Mg10Xu Stereo Mixer have a USB out, which could be connected to any modern day laptop, gaming computer or even a USB hub in a plug and play manner. Only the Alto Professional ZMX52 Mixer requires the use of an RCA cable as an output signal to a gaming PC and therefore might require you to purchase additional hardware in order to use.
Your mileage may vary here, but depending on your live streaming setup and the additional pieces of streaming hardware you have in use, i.e. an Elgato Stream Deck, a green screen and/or a high end gaming desk, you might benefit from choosing a USB audio mixer for streaming instead of a professional mixer in this particular use case.
What about the Best Mic and Mixer for Streaming?
When you’re shopping for an audio mixer it’s important to pair it with the proper microphone. To be clear from the get go, you won’t be using a USB microphone in order to leverage the features of an audio mixer. You will require the use of a more professional product, a higher quality, XLR microphone.
XLR microphones are unique in this regard and require something called phantom power:
Phantom power is a 48V DC supplied to the microphone on Pins 2 and 3 of the XLR cable, while ground is supplied by Pin 1. It figuratively “piggybacks” on the AC signal and is invisible in operation. … Put simply, it’s the power your condenser mics (and occasionally some dynamic mics) need to functionhttps://www.sweetwater.com/insync/how-phantom-power-works/
Any of the aforementioned audio mixers and even USB audio interfaces can supply phantom power. It’s also important to take note of the specs for both the audio mixer and microphone of choice, as sometimes cheaper, more budget audio mixers can only supply 18V of phantom power.
This can be tricky because most high end, professional XLR microphones require 48V of phantom power and this particular combination would leave you with poor sound recording and playback.
Can an Audio Mixer Connect to Streaming Software?
What an audio mixer does it provide a single piece of hardware that accepts all of your sound inputs and provides one, single output. Whether you choose to use OBS, Xsplit or Streamlabs, any of the popular streaming software applications can accept an audio mixer and allow you the freedom and simplicity of controlling all of your audio signals.
In most cases its as simple as choosing the audio mixer under the sound options in Windows and selecting the audio mixer as the default option. This will then allow you to select it as an option within OBS, Xsplit or Streamlabs as the input source.
What is the Best Audio Mixer Software for Streaming?
Most of the professional audio equipment you can find online also comes with some form of DAW or Digital Audio Workstation software. This is designed for use with podcasting, recording musical instruments and professional recording applications.
However, if you’re streaming to Twitch or YouTube, then this isn’t something that applies to you. Connecting an audio mixer or USB audio interface to your streaming PC, it will be used as the Audio Input Source in your streaming software.
There is another option, should you not require a physical audio mixer and are interested in a software mixer in it’s place, this brings us to Voicemeeter Banana.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Audio Mixers for Streaming
What is the best mixer for streaming?
The best mixer for live streaming is the Yamaha MG10XU Stereo Mixer. Fully featured, plenty of inputs and built to last, you cannot go wrong with this mixer. The metal chassis makes this a piece of streaming equipment that will survive the roughest treatment and it’s designed to be the best mixer for streaming with 10 inputs, 3-band EQ and a compressor for professional-grade audio.
Can USB mixers be used as an audio interface?
Technically, a USB mixer could only be used as an audio interface, however USB mixers can provide far more functionality and features than most audio interfaces. The difference between an audio interface and mixer is an audio interface converts the analog audio signal from a microphone and connects it to a computer, whereas a mixer can handle multiple signals at once and allows you to add reverb or delay.
What is the best audio mixer?
The best audio mixer is one that provides all of the features you require for your live streaming environment. The Behringer Xenyx Q1002USB and the Yamaha Mg10Xu Stereo Mixer are two of the most fully featured and easy to use audio mixers available. They both pack it tons of inputs and outputs, compressors, multi-band EQ, all the while remaining compact and well built.
What is a sound mixer used for?
If you have multiple microphones, a handful of instruments, a couple of sound sources like PC’s, game consoles, mp3 players, etc., you can compartmentalize the sound coming from each of these devices into one piece of audio hardware called a sound mixer. This will allow you to toggle and adjust the audio for each device and find the perfect balance of audio amongst all of them.
Do I need an audio mixer?
If you are live streaming to Twitch, Facebook or YouTube, you can benefit tremendously from incorporating an audio mixer into your streaming setup. Improve your live streaming experience with professional quality audio by setting up a simple plug and play audio mixer and get live streaming within minutes of unboxing.
What are the Best Audio Mixers for Streaming?
If you’re upgrading your live streaming experience to multiple XLR microphones, a couple of gaming consoles and expanding to a 2 PC streaming setup, then researching the best audio mixers is on your to-do list.
The only way to manage and control all aspects of multiple sound sources is to invest into hardware specific for the task. Thankfully, researching which features you require has never been easier and the plug and playability of audio mixers makes it a worthy and rewarding experience.
Your audience, whether it be on Twitch, Facebook or YouTube will also be thankful, as you have now transformed your live streaming experience into one of professional and studio quality.