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The mixing console is the basis of any conscious and somewhat high-quality sound recording, performance or television broadcast. And the modern market allows anyone – from a novice DJ to a professional sound engineer – to choose equipment for their taste, professional needs and affordable budget. The editors of Expertology magazine have prepared for you an overview of the best mixing consoles in the first half of 2020, according to expert communities and ordinary users.

Rating of the best mixing consoles

Nomination place Name of product price
Best Budget Mixing Consoles one ART ProMIX 7 680 ₽
2 YAMAHA MG06X 10 900 ₽
3 Behringer XENYX Q1202USB 7 650 ₽
four Soundcraft EPM8 12 900 ₽
The Best Mid-Range Mixing Consoles one Allen & Heath ZED6FX 17 100 ₽
2 Soundcraft Ui-16 26 500 ₽
3 Allen & Heath ZEDi10FX 28 500 ₽
four Roland MX-1 39 900 ₽
The best mixing consoles for studio recording one PIONEER DJM-750MK2 103 000 ₽
2 Yamaha MGP24X 103 000 ₽
3 Yamaha TF1 17 000 ₽
four Soundcraft Si Impact 268 000 ₽
The best premium mixing consoles for studio recording one Yamaha CL1 1260000 ₽
2 Allen & Heath dLive-S5000 1900000 ₽

Best Budget Mixing Consoles

Mixing consoles are produced in an almost immense price range – from a few thousand rubles to tens of millions. We will traditionally start with the most affordable price category. The presented models may be of interest to those who take their first steps in professional work with sound, and also to some extent to professionals as auxiliary equipment for the studio.

Also Read: Best Digital Pianos

ART ProMIX

Rating: 4.6

ART ProMIX

And the review opens with the simplest three-channel analog ProMIX mixer from the well-known international brand of musical equipment ART. The model is notable primarily for its portability and autonomous power supply. Of course, this is not a “remote control” in the sense in which it appears to an unprepared person, but the essence is still in the functions.

Despite the obvious modesty of functionality, this miniature mixer is able to quickly and easily solve some important tasks. For example, if there is only one input on the main mixing station for three microphones, then this is almost guaranteed to be a problem. ART ProMIX can take over this area of ​​work.

The mixer is made in a simple rectangular black case without a hint of any design, but we must pay tribute – an infographic with the signatures of all controls is available on the top side. The body dimensions of the device are 143x45x92mm. Weight without packaging – 680g, with packaging – 900g. It works either from the mains through a standard 12V adapter, or from two Krona batteries, which will need to be purchased separately.

In terms of working with sound, this model demonstrates such characteristics. Incoming and outgoing resistance – 600 ohms. The coefficient of non-linear distortion is no more than 0.02%. The output level is not more than +14dB, the input level is -14. The input and output levels can be in the range from -14 to +14dB. The maximum sensitivity is 60dB.

All three mic inputs provide phantom power and are equipped with a low cut filter. The input signal level is regulated by simple mechanical manipulators separately for each channel. There is a balanced XLR output. Each channel is also equipped with balanced XLR outputs. Activated via DIP switches. The front panel has an AUX output, to which you can connect headphones or a studio monitor. On the same panel, there are also power and overload indicators, a power switch and the same level controls on the channels.

Actually, this is almost all that can be said about this model in its essence. The functionality is extremely limited, there is no preamplifier for the microphone, there are no presets, and in general there is nothing other than the above. In this context, the price of the device does not look so reasonable. This is true, but still ART ProMIX is bought, loved and appreciated, not least for its reliability and durability. It is due to its simplicity that the device behaves as predictably as possible, and you can always rely on it.

Advantages

  • quality, reliability and durability;

  • phantom power on channels;

  • balanced output;

  • you can connect a studio monitor;

  • mains or battery powered;

  • visual infographics on the lid;

  • miniature sizes;

  • portability.

Flaws

  • Still overpriced for this functionality.

YAMAHA MG06X

Rating: 4.5

YAMAHA MG06X

The review continues with a Japanese manufacturer that needs no special introduction – YAMAHA and its compact MG06X mixer, presented to the public in 2014. After 6 years, it does not lose its relevance and is in demand. Manufactured in China under strict YAMAHA quality control. Visually, it already resembles a “remote control”, although the dimensions are still more than compact.

The MG06X model already differs sharply from the extreme minimalism of the previous version, while maintaining a rather narrow specialization. This is a passive type analog console with a relatively wide range of sound processing capabilities.

Remote control dimensions – 14.9×6.2×20.2cm. Weight – 0.9kg. Equipped with two mono inputs (mic/line), two stereo inputs XLR / 1/4″, two stereo outputs XLR, TRS and a separate headphone output. A two-band equalizer is provided for mono channels. Almost all connectors and controls are located on the top panel. There is also an LED seven-segment indicator.

The device is able to recognize sound in the range of oscillations from 20 to 20 thousand Hz. According to the key characteristics, regardless of the manufacturer’s statements, independent testers obtained the following results: the coefficient of non-linear distortion is no more than 0.001%, the noise level is about -105dBA. All this speaks of a decent studio level.

A few important notes. Many new mixing consoles have non-standard sensitivity on the line inputs. Here, too, at inputs 3/4 and 5/6 we have -10 dBu, that is, a slightly increased sensitivity compared to the standard. To prevent inputs from being overloaded, use the PAD buttons to lower this figure and allow you to connect a higher signal.

The console’s balanced outputs are capable of producing a high-amplitude signal well above the studio standard of +4 dBu, all the way up to +18 dBu. To connect a guitar, you will need a DiBOX, since all inputs are only linear. The real headphone output range is much wider than the passport 24 + 24 mW and the volume margin significantly exceeds the reasonable capabilities of the human ear.

In this model the professional level in all trifles pleasantly surprises. Even the fact that such a compact model has XLR connectors for output, and not TRS and RCA, already says a lot. And the fact that the connectors are equipped with strong latches emphasizes the high level of technology.

Advantages

  • high quality workmanship;

  • meticulous attention to detail;

  • studio grade D-PRE preamplifier;

  • output XLR connectors;

  • powerful headphone output with the highest volume threshold;

  • reliability and durability.

Flaws

  • some users still lack the RCA connector (tulips).

Behringer XENYX Q1202USB

Rating: 4.4

Behringer XENYX Q1202USB

The third number is a good compromise between professional asceticism, amateur breadth of functionality and affordability. This is the XENYX Q1202USB 12-channel mixing console from Behringer.

This model is of some intermediate level “improved amateur”, when using the remote control you can easily rehearse small ensembles, but at the same time the general class of the device is still closer to the initial one.

The first four channels in this model are monophonic, Xenyx preamplification is connected to them – this is aimed at ensuring the functioning of microphones, including condenser types. Alternatively, mono instruments such as a guitar can be connected to these inputs. Physical connection is via XLR connectors with phantom power and 6.35mm jacks. Directly below the jacks are the input level controls. Even lower are compressors with LED indicators.

To equalize the sound in terms of frequencies and form a more readable picture of the mix, three-band equalizers are used on the second four mono tracks. Low cut filters “cut” the signal below 80Hz, thereby eliminating most of the mechanical noise and interference.

The third four channels are already stereo, equipped with TS connectors. Sensitivity can be slightly adjusted using buttons that switch between +4dBu and -10dBV. Also here, as on all tracks, there are FX Send knobs for sending to third-party devices for processing, signal panning or left and right balancing, sending to the general mix. A dedicated FX TO CTRL RM control button allows you to listen to the monitor sound before sending it to special effects processing.

The general conclusion of the model is as follows. This is a high amateur level, of good quality, reliable and trouble-free with not at all “shameful” functionality. And this is a budget option with natural simplifications and limitations, and if you need an ultra-silent cabinet, effects processor and other add-ons, you can look at the EURORACK UB1202FX or QX1202USB models.

Advantages

  • high amateur/semi-professional level;

  • 12 channels;

  • equalizers;

  • sensitivity;

  • reliable trouble-free operation.

Flaws

  • can give a signal failure on microphone preamps.

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Soundcraft EPM8

Rating: 4.4

Soundcraft EPM8

Completing the selection of the best budget mixing consoles according to Expertology is an interesting model from the British company Soundcraft, which has proven itself very well in profile circles and is now part of the Harman Pro Group.

This is the most affordable model in the Soundcraft EPM series. In terms of functionality, it is almost similar to the line of the previous generation Soundcraft Spirit E with differences only in the circuitry of the preamps.

The dimensions of the case here are still relatively compact – 330×90.5x362mm, but the massiveness is already decent – 5.6kg. Average power consumption is less than 20W. It is powered from the mains through the built-in switching power supply unit. The case is metal, strong, the materials are solid. Optimum installation – on a flat horizontal surface. Can also be mounted on a 19″ rack.

Of the ten active channels, eight are mono and two are stereo. New 60mm faders installed. They are more accurate and reliable, and also compact, which made it possible to reduce the size of the console to a minimum.

Mono channels are each routed to a separate XLR input, plus a 1/4″ line input, the same INSERT input and level control. Stereo channels are connected via three-pole 1/4″ jack connectors. So you can connect keys, a drum machine, any signal processing device. The inputs are balanced, support a high frequency signal. An unbalanced signal is allowed with special wiring, but only with the shortest possible cable length.

Mono channels feature a three-band EQ to control high-mids and lows. The average range here is taken in the range from 150 to 3500 Hz. The function is used to manually adjust the frequencies in order to achieve better speech intelligibility, expressiveness of the sound of a particular instrument. The stereo channels have their own high-precision two-band EQ with balance control, PFL and MUTE buttons, pan control and other functions.

Advantages

  • high technological level;

  • ergonomics;

  • convenient connection interfaces;

  • Virtually no background noise

  • flexible equalizers;

  • quality and reliability;

Flaws

  • many users miss the built-in reverb.

The Best Mid-Range Mixing Consoles

In the second selection, we will consider the conditional average price category of the best mixing consoles according to Expertology experts. There is no clear boundary between these conditional groups, and individual models may be better in some ways, and worse in some ways, but in general the level is still higher.

Allen & Heath ZED6FX

Rating: 4.9

Allen & Heath ZED6FX

Let’s start with the mixing console, which is not too expensive for the previous one, but the level here is already felt at the level of the manufacturer – the British specialized company Allen & Heath, headquartered in Penryn. We will even talk about as many as three models here – ZED-6, ZED-6FX and ZEDi-8, since there are minimal differences between them, which we will indicate.

Each model in the series is a six-channel analogue active type console. The ZED6FX case is relatively compact – 88.9x249x236.4, the weight is really small – only 1.36kg. Modification ZED6FX, among other things, is also equipped with an effects processor. ZEDi-8 has its own advantage – a two-channel audio interface adapted to the USB bus.

The key and at the same time unifying features of each model are as follows. Each has two line inputs for microphones with separate TRS and XLR connection interfaces; a pair of stereo inputs on “jacks”; mono inputs on TRS for direct connection of a guitar without a direct box. The two mono channels are equipped with a cutoff filter that can be switched off. 48V phantom power is provided for condenser microphones.

The mixing console includes GSPre mic preamps with good headroom and minimal noise. They not least influence the creation of a characteristic “warm” sound. Each mono and stereo channel in the mixer is equipped with a two-band equalizer. Fader Main Mix 60mm fader with a nice smooth ride.

The master outputs in this model are also based on XLR connectors. This gives a wide range of possibilities for comprehensive monitoring. The remote control is powered from the network through the built-in power supply. Stability is ensured by a strong steel chassis.

Separately, it is worth dwelling on the mentioned effects processor. Through it, 100 ready-made presets are available in ZED6FX. Here you will find everything of high studio quality, including reverb, delay and all sorts of combinations thereof.

Advantages

  • brand;

  • high technological level;

  • combination of cost and quality;

  • microphone preamps;

  • phantom power for condenser microphones;

  • many presets.

Flaws

  • no obvious flaws were found.

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Soundcraft Ui-16

Rating: 4.8

Soundcraft Ui-16

Moving from analog to digital, we present the 12-channel digital mixing console of Soundcraft’s popular Ui series. The British company released similar models Ui12 and Ui16, differing only in the number of inputs and outputs. In the context of all products of the brand, this line is positioned as a budget line.

In addition to digital principles, here we are also seeing such innovations as a wired Ethernet LAN port and even a Wi-Fi module. Such equipment is designed to establish remote control of the remote control using specialized software on popular operating systems, including mobile ones. Moreover, management is supported from several devices at once – up to 10 in total, and also including wearable gadgets.

Let’s go through the main technical characteristics. Of the 12 channels on the console, 8 are connected via TRS Jacks, the remaining 4 via XLR. The master section contains controls for the outgoing signal, the level of the signal to the headphones, there are also two 1/4” TRS Jack jacks for headphones and four master outputs with different connectors – two XLR and two 1/4” TRS Jack. There are also line outputs on RCA jacks, four AUX outputs on XLR jacks. Import and export of files is supported, and directly through one of the two USB interfaces, it is possible to record to an external drive.

The device contains an integrated USB media player. The electronics are wired with Lexicon, Digitech and dbx signal processors. Manual frequency adjustment can be made using the built-in four-band equalizer. The device comes with specialized cross-platform software for detailed sound settings using a software digital equalizer for 31 bands. There are also noise gate and compressor functions.

Remote control Soundcraft Ui-16 also includes the ability to control microphone preamps. The inputs and outputs support RTA purity analysis, and the outputs are additionally equipped with low-pass filters. The built-in effects processor crowns the functionality.

As an additional feature, it is possible to connect a pedal. There is also a full system reset function for emergencies.

Advantages

  • brand;

  • quality of materials and details;

  • Ethernet port;

  • WiFi;
  • joint remote control from 10 different devices;

  • support for many operating systems;

  • import and export of files;

  • recording to an external hard drive;

  • built-in effects processor;

  • you can connect the pedal.

Flaws

  • Wi-Fi connection may be lost.

Allen & Heath ZEDi10FX

Rating: 4.7

Allen & Heath ZEDi10FX

Let’s go back to the British manufacturer Allen & Heath, and even to the ZEDi series, but consider a more interesting product of this line – the ZEDi-10 and ZEDi-10FX mixing consoles. These two modifications are almost identical with the only difference being that the ZEDi-10FX is equipped with an effects processor. The manufacturer positions the models for both concert and studio use.

This is a 10 channel analog mixing console. Includes four microphone line inputs, two switchable Hi-Z inputs, two stereo channels, connection to external electronics – via a 4×4 USB audio interface. The body of the device is predominantly metal, designed for desktop installation. Case dimensions – 332x274x96mm, remote control weight – 2.3kg. The design is strong, mains powered through the built-in power supply.

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics and capabilities of the ZEDi10FX. The console has a built-in audio interface, equipped with high-quality GSPre microphone preamps of the latest edition. The effects processor here is also not “for weight”, but quite a serious studio level, contains 100 presets and the TapTempo function. There is also a separate output for an external effects processor or pedal. To power condenser microphones, 48V phantom power is supplied to the outputs. Manual frequency adjustment can be done with a three-band equalizer. Explicit low-frequency noises are cut off by the Low-cut filter. There is a 60mm master fader with a smooth ride.

There are a variety of ways to connect tools and equipment here. Microphone inputs are tied to separate TRS and XLR jacks. A guitar or bass can be connected directly without a direct box via two DI instrument inputs. Two more linear stereo inputs are tied to standard jacks. A separate innovation is a 4-channel USB audio interface with 24 bit / 96 kHz perception; works directly with Mac and PC systems, and with iOS through an adapter. Balanced Main outputs are also arranged on XLR sockets.

ZEDi10FX provides ample opportunities for analysis and monitoring. Active monitors or even an entire personal monitoring system can be connected via the Aux output. A significant expansion of the functionality of the console can be obtained through the bundled software – the CubasisLE and CubaseLE applications.

Advantages

  • built-in audio interface;

  • microphone preamps;

  • high quality workmanship;

  • reliability and durability;

  • built-in effects processor;

  • flexible monitoring options;

  • adapted 4-channel USB audio interface.

Flaws

  • no major downsides were found.

Roland MX-1

Rating: 4.6

Roland MX-1

Rounding out the selection of the best mid-range mixing consoles is the multi-channel and feature-packed MX-1 from the renowned Roland brand. The MX-1 is part of Roland’s AIRA series of professional music equipment. This is one of the most affordable options in the professional segment.

Externally, the mixing console is similar to many of its counterparts – a strict metal case with dimensions of 65 × 400 × 264 mm and a weight of 1.81 kg with many controls, sockets, buttons and manipulators on the entire area of ​​the top panel. In terms of design in this kind of equipment there is too little field for action, but here the creators compensated for everything with lighting. Literally every button and every rotary knob is illuminated. Different groups of elements have a different shade of illumination. In combination with high-quality materials, which, even with such close emphasis, do not betray any flaws in the assembly, this produces a bewitching effect.

This mixing console, like the previous model, combines several areas of sound processing – in fact, mixing, as well as adding effects, adjusting individual frequencies, processing with third-party applications on a PC. At the heart of it all is an 18-channel 24bit/96kHz USB audio interface.

Consider the key characteristics and features of the MX-1. The console operates within sampling rates of 44.1, 48 and 96kHz with 24-bit audio signal processing. Nominal input level adjustable from -26 to +4dBu, output set to +4dBu. The input impedance is 100 kOhm, the output impedance is 1 kOhm to the common MixOut and 24 Ohm to the headphone output. The operating frequency range is “classic” – from 20 to 20 thousand Hz. Headroom – 18dB.

A slightly more detailed consideration requires a set of built-in effects and the nature of their application. So, Roland MX-1 allows you to apply Master effects and Beat effects to each of the inputs separately, Master effects also to all at the same time. The Master FX can be interleaved through the Combi mode when the step sequencer is engaged.

There are six types of basic Master FX and three types of basic Beat FX, which combine to produce dozens of unique combinations. Various modes are provided to fully reveal the potential of the mixing console. So, the Mix mode provides for the simultaneous operation of one digital stereo channel, six analog, four AIRA stereo channels, two PC channels, and all this with the use of effects.

Advantages

  • brand;

  • quality of materials and assembly;

  • multifunctionality;

  • many effects;

  • many modes, a wide field for creativity;

  • a wide range of connection interfaces;

  • mesmerizing effect of illumination of each element;

  • affordable price for professional equipment.

Flaws

  • no fundamental flaws were identified.

The best mixing consoles for studio recording

The third selection in the review of the best mixing consoles in 2020 according to Expertology magazine is dedicated to serious equipment that is already suitable for equipping a professional studio. Our experts have selected those models that, despite their high technological and professional level, still remain expensive, but are not completely unaffordable in price.

PIONEER DJM-750MK2

Rating: 4.9

PIONEER DJM-750MK2

Let’s start with the most modest model, if we start from the number of channels – the 4-channel DJ mixing console DJM-750MK2 is well known to everyone by the PIONEER brand. Indeed, it was originally developed as a DJ with adaptation for vinyl players, but, of course, no one forbids using it for other related purposes.

This is a four-channel mixing console, a product of the specialized company Pioneer DJ. The manufacturer itself positions the DJM-750MK2 as the middle class. Recommended for practice in DJing in preparation for club performances and may well cope with those.

The model inherited not only everything good from the previous generation DJM-750, but also took a lot from the flagship DJM-900NXS2: Magvel Fader magnetic crossfader with a huge resource of up to 10 million movements, dithering technologies, 64-bit DSP, 32-bit DACs and ADCs, overall high sound quality in general. There is also a 24-bit USB audio interface and two high-quality effect modules – Sound Color FX and Beat FX. A feature of the PIONEER DJM-750MK2 is the presence of an additional USB port for iOS gadgets, which can be used as additional effect generators or their sources.

Among other improvements, this model received a separate microphone section with a two-band equalizer, two headphone jacks, and overall very good switching capabilities. In addition to the hardware, the console comes with license keys for specialized software – Rekordbox DVS and Rekordbox DJ applications. The value of the programs themselves is emphasized by the manufacturer himself, pointing to their real cost of 248 euros.

From the flagship DJM-900NXS2, this model also takes a well-thought-out, from a professional point of view, the layout of the controls. There is a pleasant illumination of important areas and elements. In general, even externally, the remote makes a respectable impression.

Advantages

  • brand;

  • exceptional quality;

  • improved EQ and fader curves;

  • separate microphone section with equalizer;

  • the ability to connect a gadget on iOS;

  • licensed software as a bonus;

  • spectacular appearance.

Flaws

  • Still, 4 channels are not enough for many.

Yamaha MGP24X

Rating: 4.9

Yamaha MGP24X

Finally, we got to the technique, positioned as professional without any reservations. The 24-channel Yamaha MGP24X mixing console is not the limit, as Yamaha also released a 32-channel version as part of the MGP lineup update. MGP24X we consider as a prefabricated image. Despite the decent price, this is still the lower price segment of professional studio and live equipment.

First of all, let’s highlight the main feature. The MGP24X is a kind of hybrid of analog and digital technologies in studio equipment. A kind of FrontEnd here is made entirely in analog style with knobs and buttons, but at the level of functioning, the most complex digital system lies at the heart of everything. So the developers of the MGP24X successfully combined the analog tactile component with the functionality available only to digital technologies.

Remote control dimensions – 819x169x565mm, weight without packaging – 15.5kg. Materials and assembly do not cause the slightest doubt – a durable, shock-resistant powder-coated case, convenient controls with a well-thought-out arrangement, variable illumination of elements. In operation, the device consumes no more than 86W of electricity.

The high technological level of the model is visible in key features. So, the console is equipped with high-end studio-grade D-PRE preamps using an inverted Darlington circuit. This allows you to get more power at low impedance and broadcast special sound quality with natural bass and natural highs. Further adjustments can be made with the innovative X-Pressive EQ, which captures the unique characteristics of vintage EQs.

Each channel is equipped with 48V phantom power. The console’s mixers have a USB port that can be used to connect a playback device, and this approach results in improved sound quality with more clarity and detail than analog interfaces.

The console includes a dual high-quality effects processor. A separate significant plus is integration with Apple gadgets. Specially for iPod/iPhone, a free branded MGP Editor software has been released, which gives additional control and functionality expansion, especially in terms of effects.

Advantages

  • 24 channels;

  • professional level;

  • combination of analog style and digital technologies;

  • high end D-PRE preamps;

  • innovative equalizer X-Pressive EQ;

  • dual effects processor;

  • tight integration with iPod/iPhone.

Flaws

  • not marked.

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Yamaha TF1

Rating: 4.8

Yamaha TF1

And another mixing console from Yamaha, or rather a whole small TF series with models TF1, TF and TF5, differing in the number of channels – 16, 24 and 32, respectively. The consoles were unveiled to the public in 2015 at the Prolight + Sound show. Yamaha positions the series as highly reliable, with advanced features, useful for professionals and accessible to beginners. The cost of the TF1 console, which we will take as an example, is commensurate with the previous model, and from the point of view of the manufacturer, this is inexpensive.

The mentioned channels are routed to XLR+TRS line-in microphone inputs located on the back panel of the interfaces. Each channel is equipped with Yamaha’s innovative D-PRE preamp, the benefits of which we briefly described in the description of the previous model. Model TF1 dimensions are 225×510×599mm, weight is 13.5kg. Consumes up to 100W of electricity. The older model with a comparable power consumption of 120W is much more massive – 20kg.

To be precise, the total number of inputs on the Yamaha TF1 is 40, and this includes 32 mono inputs, 2 stereo and 2 return. There are 20 AUX buses plus sub bus and stereo, and 8 more DCA groups with roll-out. The console is equipped with 17 100mm motorized faders.

The general specifications of the mixing console are as follows. The total coefficient of non-linear distortion is less than 0.05%. The operating frequency range is from 20 to 20 thousand Hz. Dynamic range – 107dB. The signal delay time is no more than 2.6ms.

The main output channels, as well as AUX buses one through eight, feature a 4-band parametric EQ plus a 31-band Flex12 GEQ. The console contains as many as eight powerful effects processors capable of solving a wide range of tasks.

An integrated audio interface for USB2.0 bus, in combination with the corresponding port, allows direct two-track recording of a digital stream to an external hard drive or playback.

Here, as in the previous model, integration with Apple gadgets is qualitatively arranged. So, iOS devices can be used here for monitoring, and up to ten gadgets can do it at the same time – a special MonitorMix application is used for this. Other programs – TF Editor and TF StageMix™ provide remote setup/control and wireless control via iPad respectively.

Advantages

  • professional level;

  • universality;
  • informative display;

  • remote control from wearable gadgets;

  • monitoring from several gadgets at the same time;

  • 8 powerful effects processors;

  • wireless connection;

  • solid appearance.

Flaws

  • not marked.

Soundcraft Si Impact

Rating: 4.8

Soundcraft Si Impact

Completing the selection of the best professional mixing consoles for studio recording according to Expertology magazine is the most expensive model in this nomination from the British company Soundcraft.

This is a professional studio level console with all the innovations and hi-end technologies available to Soundcraft. The device combines 40 input channels – 32 mono and 4 stereo (8 if you count left and right separately for each). Each channel is equipped with a DSP preamplifier. The output is 31 buses, also completely with digital signal processing (DSP) and equalizers. Full parametric 4-band EQ per bus and channel.

Console dimensions – 750x160x500mm, weight – 20kg. Power consumption – no more than 130W. The case is classic with a strict design. Illumination of control elements, as in any mixers of this class, is used not so much for beauty, but for ease of control. So, the console has 20 subgroups of elements. Each subgroup is activated by pressing the corresponding button, after which the entire working group is highlighted in the corresponding color.

What is even more remarkable, each channel is equipped with a multi-color LCD screen that displays its status. Basic control and function settings are made through the main 5-inch touch screen. All 26 faders are naturally motorized and automatically adjust to the active group. Fader layers – four, each supports flexible settings.

Soundcraft Si Impact also uses a multi-processor approach to generating effects. Built-in effects processors (here it is Lexicon) in this model are two times less than in the previous one, but this is still redundant filling for most of the studio tasks. There is also an integrated MADI interface for connecting a stagebox.

For high-quality multi-channel recording and playback, there is a 32×32 USB audio interface similar to the previous model. In addition, the manufacturer completes the mixing console with Ableton Live 9 Lite software.

This console, like the neighboring models in the selection, is of such a high technical level that it is difficult to detect objective flaws in them that would cause systematic complaints from users. As for the reviewed remote control, one can only note the fact that the backlight of the faders and indications “go blind” in open space in daylight. The phenomenon is common in other models, but they rarely complain about it.

Advantages

  • high technological level;

  • many channels;

  • wide switching possibilities;

  • well-thought-out scheme of grouping controls with backlight;

  • studio quality Lexicon effects processors;

  • color LCD displays for each input fader;
  • USB audio interface 32×32.

Flaws

  • poor visibility of the backlight and indication in daylight in open space.

The best premium mixing consoles for studio recording

Our review will be completed by a special category of mixing consoles. These are top-level hi-end solutions, where there is practically no invisible ceiling in terms of price. Indeed, the price tag of millions of rubles greatly narrows the audience of potential buyers, but for our readers we will make such a short digression into the world of audio equipment, which is at least worth striving for. We add that we still did not consider the top-end consoles with a price approaching tens of millions of rubles due to the obvious availability only to an extremely narrow circle of potential buyers.

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Yamaha CL1

Rating: 4.9

Yamaha CL1

The final selection will be opened by a premium-class mixing console, which is still at least somehow affordable not only for top studios with multi-million dollar budgets, but also for less ambitious teams. Again, it will be Japanese Yamaha equipment, this time an order of magnitude more expensive than the above-described TF series. The same production and marketing move was even applied here – three modifications were released at once – CL1, CL3 and CL5, differing in the number of channels – from 48 to 72, plus 8 more stereo channels.

Let’s describe some of the features of this top console to give you an idea of ​​the scope of the Yamaha CL1. The remote control is equipped with one of the best, as recognized by expert communities, control interface. Most of the settings are made through the large color touch screen. Extensive connectivity is represented by 8 inputs and 8 outputs on XLR connectors, AES / EBU outputs, 5-pin Midi interfaces, word clock input / output, GPI, USB audio interface, Dante interface, wired LAN connection. There are also three Mini-YGDAI card slots.

This console provides ample opportunities to work with sound from a variety of sources – dozens of effects, 8 studio plug-ins, all kinds of combinations, plus a special software algorithm that gives the operator the opportunity to develop his own, unique author’s sound. High-quality digital stereo sound can be recorded directly to an external USB storage device. You can record multi-channel audio in the same way using the Dante protocol.

In the Yamaha CL series, remote control and integration with wearable electronics are implemented in the same careful way as in the younger models. The console has a whole range of built-in complex functions, each of which is a separate achievement of Yamaha engineers. So, the Dan Dugan function provides automatic mixing – intelligent algorithms allow you to hold any event with a large number of speakers with minimal manual control by the sound engineer. Other functions are designed to allow you to apply the Flex15 GEQ equalizers, monitor key parameters in detail through the display, patch an arbitrary input to any output (while the console can work as a stagebox for any other console of neighboring series), automatically apply gain compensation on the digital stage after its analog adjustment .

Advantages

  • impeccable quality;

  • one of the best Centralogic control interfaces;

  • many channels;

  • wide switching possibilities;

  • high-quality studio effects;

  • a wide range of original Yamaha features;

  • unique innovative technologies;

  • multiplayer mode;

  • conditionally affordable price in the premium segment.

Flaws

  • not marked.

Allen & Heath dLive-S5000

Rating: 4.8

Allen & Heath dLive-S5000

Rounding out this short premium preview is a high-end Allen & Heath digital mixing console. It is one of the most flexible and full-featured consoles, ideal for high-profile events with many participants – teleconferences, live radio and TV broadcasts, group concerts, etc.

This model includes 28 physical control channels, supports customization of colors and channel names, there is an RTA and a signal generator, four giga ACE / DX ports are allocated for connecting the Stagebox with support for enhanced Cat5 switching. The console is compatible with the Aviom monitoring system. Separate two I/O ports are dedicated to expansion boards.

The main setting is carried out through two touch screens on the panel. You can connect an external screen through the standard VGA port. There is an integrated FX module. The scheme of remote control from wearable gadgets on Android or iOS OS has been implemented. Three USB ports are allocated for recording a digital stream to external media. The console is powered by the mains, as many as two power supplies with the possibility of “hot” replacement of one with another in case of a malfunction.

The entire dLive series of mixing consoles maximizes performance with the ability to configure any number of groups and for each configuration individually implement different stereo effects, both on channels and on master outputs. A set of programs for automatic mixing and sound control is provided.

dLive S5000 contains a large set of effects, has a large scene memory (up to 300), supports the connection of any number of digital monitoring consoles of the ME series. The WiFi module allows you to control the console remotely via a PC. Special branded applications connect wearable gadgets to work. A special USB audio interface is used for direct recording of a digital stream to external media.

In the context of this model, one nuance is important – in order to connect analog sources to the mixing console, you need an additional Stagebox for a live event or a special expansion card for studio recording. So through giga ACE / DX32 sockets you can master up to 300 channels, and through an expansion card – up to 128.

Advantages

  • many customizable channels;

  • innovative technologies;

  • two touch screen controls and settings;

  • exceptional reliability;

  • support for expansion boards;

  • remote control via mobile gadgets;

  • automatic mixing modes;

  • two power supplies with hot-swappable support;

  • one of the best mixing stations for studio stock.

Flaws

  • not marked.