The Best Powered Audio Mixers

Table of Contents

When you’re setting up a sound system, one of the most obvious things you come to realize is that even just setting up a simple PA system requires a number of different parts. From cables, speakers, mixers, amplifiers, microphones, more cables, the list goes on the more complex you try to go. For this reason, wouldn’t eliminating a device and some cables go a long way in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness?

Yes it would! That’s why we’ve found some of the best powered mixers for you to look through so that your sound systems can be up and running faster and smoother than ever before! The benefit of a powered mixer is that because it has a built in amplifier, you eliminate the need for the amp itself and the associated cables. This means your setup is literally quicker, and you’re able to do more with just one piece of gear rather than troubleshooting around multiple devices and cables.

For this list, we have options that are best for modest systems to a larger operation, all without having to spend too much to get there. We’ll go into some more detail after the list, so stick around if you still have questions, otherwise, take a look at some of the best powered mixers below.

1. Editor’s Pick: Alto Professional ZMX122FX

1. Editor’s Pick: Alto Professional ZMX122FX
  • Lots of control and sound adjustment options available
  • Has all the inputs and outputs you’ll need
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Some buyers said the sound wasn’t loud enough through headphones

Key Specs

Channels: 8
Connections: XLR, ¼”, TRS, RCA
Product Dimensions: 32.4 x 15.1 x 39.4 cm; 2.2 kg

This powered mixer is our favourite choice out of the bunch, because it has eight channels for you to use, lots of ways to adjust and tweak your sound, and a superior sound quality. There are some built-in digital FX for you to experiment with as well, like space delays, plate and spring reverbs, or chorus effects — there’s 16 in total. Many of the buttons have LED indicators as well, so you can visually keep track of what’s happening on your board. There’s a wide range of inputs and outputs you can use to plug electronics into this mixer, too, including microphones, keyboards, electronic drums, and it can even pull audio from a CD or DVD player.

2. Runner Up: Creative Sound Blaster K3+ USB Powered 2 Channel Digital Mixer

2. Runner Up: Creative Sound Blaster K3+ USB Powered 2 Channel Digital Mixer
  • Easy to set up, it’s plug in and play
  • Great value for what you get, and lots of audio customization
  • Portable and compact design, with plenty of ports
  • Not the most durable

Key Specs

Channels: 2
Connections: XLR, RCA, ¼”, USB, Aux
Product Dimensions: ‎ 15.98 x 15.98 x 5.49 cm; 498.95g

Here’s another option for you to consider that’s loaded with audio customization features, and there’s lots of ports available for you to plug in all your tech. It’s compact and portable, and you can even plug in your phone to play music directly from your mobile device, so it’s a great machine to bring out on an adventure. It’s perfect for karaoke with your friends if that’s something you’re into. There are nine reverb effects in total for you to play with, which you can fine tune with the turn of a knob, and you can even auto tune your voice if that’s something you’re into.

3. Best Basic Model: Rockville 4-Channel Mixer/Amplifier

3. Best Basic Model: Rockville 4-Channel Mixer/Amplifier
  • Has phantom power so you can use your best condenser mics with it
  • Designed with the ruggedness you expect of a road mixer
  • 90-day return policy
  • Only output is ¼”

Key Specs

Channels: 4
Connections: XLR, ¼”
Product Dimensions: 56.29 x 30.61 x 24.21 cm; 8.45 kg

Perfect for your simple PA: a mic, a mixer, and a couple of speakers. Just what you need and easy to use.

With just four channels and a very compact design, this powered mixer couldn’t be easier to take with you whenever you have a speaking engagement — whether that’s a conference or a standup set. It even has USB and Bluetooth connectivity so that you can use your regular household devices with it in tandem with some more professional equipment (like quality microphones). With all the EQing and effects you could need, this nice little mixer will get the job done for just the right price.

4. Most Versatile Entry-Level: Peavey 5-Channel Powered Mixer

4. Most Versatile Entry-Level: Peavey 5-Channel Powered Mixer
  • Master Mute for channels 1-4 with Master Volume for all inputs
  • Phantom power for your devices that require it
  • Metal chassis and built to last design
  • Basic in terms of controls
  • Some buyers report a hum

Key Specs

Channels: 5
Connections: XLR/TRS combo, RCA, ¼”
Product Dimensions: 45.21 x 29.97 x 29.21 cm; 7.67 kg

Five channels and many options to connect makes this a very versatile and easy to transport Powered Mixer.

The first four channels feature an XLR/TRS combo point so that no space is wasted, get whichever cable you’re working with in the channels they need to go to. The fifth channel is fixed with RCA inputs for dedicated control. This one is even footswitchable, with a port so that if that’s something you want to be able to use, it’s very easy to incorporate it.

5. Sleeper Pick: VOYZ 8-Channel Powered Mixer

5. Sleeper Pick: VOYZ 8-Channel Powered Mixer
  • USB and SD ports allow you to use external storage
  • Dedicated USB and CD/Tape volume controls
  • LCD screen for clearer readouts
  • Non-conventional channel columns take some getting used to and can lead to cables blocking your controls

Key Specs

Channels: 8
Connections: XLR, mono ¼”, RCA, ⅛”, USB, SD
Product Dimensions: 51.56 x 33.27 x 24.89 cm; 10.5 kg

A great powered mixer for the novice and well-versed alike, with a non-conventional layout that is easy to love.

Moving up in the amount of channels available to use, this is a cool model from VOYZ that takes a different approach to the standard mixer layout. Typically, a sound mixer has long columns of controls so you can follow the signal from the input down through the settings before it’s sent out to the speakers, this model has all controls and input ports in one little square. In doing this, you don’t run the risk of mistaking on channel for another — everything is conveniently in reach.

6. Best Budget Pick: Xtuga A4 Audio Mixer

6. Best Budget Pick: Xtuga A4 Audio Mixer
  • Compact and portable unit
  • Lots of connective options
  • Great value for the low price
  • The microphone inputs tend to have a low volume

Key Specs

Channels: 4
Connections: USB, Aux, RCA, XLR, Bluetooth
Product Dimensions: ‎8 x 24 x 24 cm; 710g

Maybe you’re not sure if you’re ready to invest in a more expensive mixer — that’s okay too. This model is affordably priced and still offers you most of the customization and sound quality that you’ll need, so it’s a great unit to learn on. It’s built with lots of ports and ways for you to connect your devices, including through Bluetooth, and there’s a wide variety of ways you can customize your inputs, including their treble, bass, and output sound. Even though it’s a more affordable option, you wouldn’t really miss out on much.

7. Also Consider: Alesis MultiMix 4 USB FX

7. Also Consider: Alesis MultiMix 4 USB FX
  • Great build and sound quality
  • Comes with plenty of audio control options
  • Built-in audio effects
  • Some buyers had difficulty setting it up

Key Specs

Channels: 4
Connections: XLR, ¼”, USB,
Product Dimensions: 21.79 x 18.59 x 6.81 cm; 1.1 kg

Although it could be a little tricker to set up than some other powered mixers, the process is worth it — this unit offers lots of sound customization and built-in effects, like reverbs and phasers, for you to build up your music. It also includes the ProTools software, which can help you out. If you happen to produce music on your iPad, you can hook this mixer up to it for inputting sound and for even more customization, but keep in mind for that you’ll need a special connection kit that’s sold separately.

8. Honourable Mention: D Debra M6 Mini Audio Mixer

8. Honourable Mention: D Debra M6 Mini Audio Mixer
  • Good mixer for small set ups
  • Inexpensive for the quality of performance
  • Easy to learn
  • Not the longest lasting mixer

Key Specs

Channels: 6
Connections: USB, XLR, 6.35mm, Bluetooth
Product Dimensions: ‎ 27.6 x 24.1 x 9.4 cm; 1.04 kg

Here’s another powered mixer to keep on your radar, which is affordably priced, can be used to adjust the gain and bass of your inputs, and is lightweight and compact enough to bring on the road with you. It’s Bluetooth compatible, too, which you can use for wireless streaming and mixing a signal with other input channels. There are six channels available, which is quite a lot considering the low price, and there are lots of connective options for you to hook up your other tech or instruments.

Tips & Tricks

Why Analog?

Analog sound mixers are typically the first sound mixer an engineer or technician will learn for many reasons, but mostly because what you see is what you get. The traditional layout for an analog mixer is with inputs along the top end, with each channel’s controls lined up in nice neat columns.

They’re also fantastic for live performances because it has just the controls you need, and without the confusing layers and menus associated with digital mixers. Even when you have up to 20 channels, they’re so easy to learn and so fun to use live.

Why is powered better?

When you add the amplifier into the mix (as opposed to elsewhere in the signal path) you’re able to get your setup complete so much faster and more efficiently, so that you can hit the ground running once the band (or whoever) gets there.

These are fantastic options for musicians who do gigs all over town and want to make sure they can use their own equipment, and when you’re investing in something that is pretty well the basics, like the Rockville RPM45BT, you’ll be able to easily use this mixer for yourself.

Being able to easily plug in, sound check, and live mix as you perform, regardless if it’s a public presentation, a comedy set, even a simple guitar and vocals open mic performance, a powered mixer is just the easy and convenient solution.

Connections

The standard high quality cables that you’ll use will be an XLR for your mics, and a ¼” for your instruments — of course there are other alternatives but for the most part, your gear will use one of these two options. When looking for a Powered Mixer, it’s always a good idea to know how you’re going to use it.

If you know this is simply to take on the road with you for presentations, either in workplaces, community functions, even schools, something with at least 1 XLR input is pretty well all you need. Throw in a media channel via ⅛” or a USB, and you’re set up for a high professional and easy to create presentation.

If you’re unsure or you know you’ll be using it for music, then you’ll want to make sure you have something with everything, like the Peavey PVI8500, which has literally all the different connections you’ll ever come across.

A really nice option as well, are the XLR/TRS combos — it looks like a powercon or Speakon — it fits your XLR and ¼” jacks so you can save space on your mixer, and not worry about making sure you have enough channels for the various cables you need to plug in.

Note: Most outputs will be a simple ¼” out, so if you need RCA out or XLR out, you’ll either have to find adapters, or rethink how you’re connecting.

When you’re trying to save time, work more efficiently, and get to sound checking and performing in a faster time than normal, investing in a powered mixer is a great way to get there. With the five options that we’ve found for you to look through, there is something for you no matter the size of your gig. From halls to clubs downtown and everywhere in between, a Powered Mixer will make your mixing so much better.

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