When it comes to putting together a home studio, all recording professionals know that having the right equipment is essential. Besides a good microphone, you will need a high-quality mixer to go along with the rest of your setup. After all, it won’t matter one bit if you have the best microphone out there if your sound mixer is messing with the audio quality. But choosing the best mixer for home studios is much harder than it seems, especially with so many different products available. However, the following tips are designed to help you pick the right mixer to enhance your audio experience.

Analog or Digital?

The first decision you have to make is whether you want to go for an analog or a digital mixer. The former relies on a series of electrical circuits and filters, its sound quality depending on the quality of its circuits. The latter converts analog signals into digital audio data before sending it to a processor. After mixing, the audio is converted back into analog before being sent to your speakers or another output device. 

So should you choose an analog or digital mixer? The answer depends entirely on your needs, as both types of mixers offer different benefits. On the one hand, you should pick an analog mixer if you want a less expensive and less complicated mixer. On the other hand, digital mixers offer more tools that allow you to further customize your sound quality. 

How Many Channels? 

The number of channels determines how many sources you can connect to a channel’s input at the same time. In other words, a 12-channel mixer will allow you to connect at least 12 audio sources. It’s also worth noting that some mixers provide both stereo and mono channels, the former counting as two inputs, even if they share the same channel. 

When deciding on a mixer, it’s important to take your time and think about how many sources you will use. Also, if you are a music professional, you might want more channels to be able to add more studio equipment in the future. As an example, most professional mixers have anywhere between 12 and 24 channels, giving you more than enough flexibility. 

Are Aux Buses Important?

Each channel that a mixer has passes the audio signal to one or more output busses. For instance, the main channel outputs to the master bus, and every other auxiliary bus is fed by separate control and has its own output. Aux buses are useful for different mixes and can either be affected by the output fader or act independently. Not only that, but some mixers have special aux buses for effects, which are usually fed by an onboard effects processor. 

What About Recording?

Nowadays, most modern mixers provide a basic level of integrated recording that ranges from track recording of the main mix to multitrack recording. However, keep in mind that some mixers have a low-quality recording solution just to advertise that option. Therefore, you will have to do some research before you purchase any mixer for the sole purpose of recording. Our advice is to pay close attention to the bus type, bit depth, and included software.

Final Thoughts

Overall, choosing the right mixer for your home studio can make or break your whole audio quality. And since there is a large variety of products, you need to be extremely careful when picking one. From the number of channels to recording options, there are some things you need to consider before making your purchase. So remember to do your research, and you may soon be able to find the best mixer for your home studio.