Having an audio mixer for streaming is essential to improve your live streaming setup. Especially, if you plan to incorporate more than one audio device during your broadcasts.
But how do you choose a streaming audio mixer? What are the best audio mixers out there?
Worry not because this article will discuss all of those. But first, let’s understand what an audio mixer is and why you need it.
Why Do You Need an Audio Mixer for Streaming?
An audio mixer takes two or more audio inputs and combines them into an output. This is in contrast to the audio interface that most PCs have, which only accepts one input.
That being said, you can plug multiple mics, computers, gaming consoles, and musical instruments into a streaming mixer and present their sound to the audience.
But that is not the only purpose that a PC audio mixer serves. Since they come with control dials, you can adjust volume, gain, equalizers, and other settings for each input.
For example, gamers can use an audio mixer for streaming to balance the volume between their microphone and gaming PC or console so that their voice is loud enough without overpowering the game audio.
Software for video streaming like Streamlabs also allow you to configure audio settings just like mixers. However, being able to do it off-computer can be more convenient as you do not have to switch between windows.
In addition, a streaming audio mixer is mandatory if you want to use microphones with an XLR connection. Without this device, you cannot connect such microphones into your computer.
Now that you know the importance of mixers in relation to streaming, let’s dive into the list of best audio mixers.
Audio Mixer for Streaming: 9 Recommended Options
It is easy to find many good streaming audio mixers in the market. Currently, though, the followings are the best choices we can recommend:
Alto Professional ZMX52 ($65)
Looking for a beginner streaming mixer? Alto Professional ZMX52 can be your decent companion.
It features one XLR channel and three TRS inputs, with two of them being stereo. So, this audio mixer is good enough for chatting, gaming, and sharing multimedia.
The audio controls in this audio mixer for streaming are also adequate. You get a gain dial and a two-band equalizer for the XLR channel. Meanwhile, each TRS channel has a volume and a pan control.
However, ZMX52 does not offer compression. This feature helps to eliminate sound clipping when you scream or speak too loud, which can sound unpleasant. Therefore, you need to set the compression in your streaming software.
Another aspect that can become a drawback to some users is ZMX52’s build quality. Since it is mainly plastic, this PC audio mixer is not the most durable.
Mackie Mix5 ($69)
If you want an alternative budget audio mixer for streaming, Mackie Mix5 is the closest you can get. It shares similar features with Alto Professional ZMX52, including the supported channels and audio customization dials.
For just $4 more, however, Mackie Mix5 offers a better build. Since it is based on a metal chassis, this streaming audio mixer can be considered one of the most rugged options below $100.
While that means more weight, this mixer’s small size makes it quite portable. Thus, streamers who often move between studios will most likely love Mackie Mix5.
Unfortunately, Mackie Mix5 does not support USB inputs. This absence may prevent new streamers from buying this mixer since they normally opt for an affordable USB mic to save on their budget.
Pyle PMXU83BT ($100)
Those who want a more advanced audio mixer for streaming that does not break the bank should choose Pyle PMXU83BT.
The PC audio mixer comes with six channels that consists of four XLRs and two stereo TRSs. That being said, Pyle PMXU83BT is suitable for streamers who broadcast live interviews or invite guests to their events, which requires multiple microphones.
Apart from XLR and TRS input support, Pyle PMXU83BT offers a bluetooth receiver and USB port. So, you may use mics or other sound sources that use one of those connection methods.
What’s more, Pyle PMXU83BT provides a recording function that you can use by connecting a USB storage. In addition to that, you may play background music and sound effects from a USB device as well.
With all of those features in mind, it is hard to believe that this audio mixer for streaming is only $100. Nonetheless, it does have a shortcoming, which is the unavailability of compression.
Creative Sound Blaster K3+ ($139)
Musicians searching for a simple yet reliable streaming mixer would probably like Sound Blaster K3+.
Apart from providing two XLR inputs and one TRS channel, Sound Blaster K3+ comes with a reverb and delay effect. Both effects are easily adjustable through the dials on the interface. Thus, you can treat this mixer as a mini effect board for a guitar or other relevant musical instruments.
While it can be useful for musicians, this audio mixer for streaming also boasts features for those hosting live events.
One of them is a “voice-over effect”, which reduces the volume of all sources except your mic as you talk. Therefore, your voice will stand out even when a video game or music is playing.
While this streaming audio mixer works for various use cases, it is quite expensive since there are only two XLR inputs and one TRS channel. Also, its two-band EQ is only for the mic input.
Maonocaster AME2 ($169)
As someone who is just starting as a streamer, it is understandable to not have the budget for all necessary broadcasting gears. That is why Maonocaster AME2 is a recommended audio mixer for streaming.
This streaming mixer comes with a condenser-type XLR microphone, which is good enough for studio settings. Considering that the best microphone for streaming can cost as much as mixers, it is a good thing to get a starter mic along AME2.
That is not the only benefit that you will get from AME2, though. It offers 11 customizable sound pads which you can program to play sound effects like laughter and hand claps to make live events more exciting.
The sound controls on this audio mixer for streaming are more than decent. While sporting a three-band equalizer, it also provides pitch adjustment and noise reduction. These two features can help ensure your voice’s clarity.
Apart from that, however, AME2 is pretty limited and will not suit more ambitious streamers. It only supports one XLR and TRS input, so you cannot connect many audio sources together.
Behringer Xenyx 1204USB ($189)
If you often do live podcasts with multiple guests, Xenyx 1204USB is one of the mid-tier PC audio mixers to look for. Boasting a total of six channels with four XLR inputs, the possibilities this mixer brings is abundant.
Unlike the more affordable options on this list, each channel on this audio mixer for streaming gets dedicated EQ dials to adjust low, mid, and high frequencies. Thus, there is a high degree of customization for different sound sources.
What’s more interesting, Xenyx 1204USB has a compression dial to avoid sound clipping. Together with a low frequency cut button, you can create a balanced output with ease.
If there is anything to not like about this streaming mixer, it is the tendency to overheat. But with a preamp to power four XLR channels, that issue is a given.
Yamaha MG10XU ($350)
Yamaha is a renowned brand in the audio and musical instrument industry. So, it is unsurprising that the MG10XU is geared towards musicians searching for the best audio mixer for streaming.
Apart from four XLR mics, you can connect up to three stereo instruments or audio sources into MG10XU. Each channel is highly adjustable with equalizers, pan control, and compression.
In addition to that, MG10XU comes with 24 built-in sound effects, including delay, echo, and phaser. That being said, this streaming mixer allows users to be creative with sound customization.
Unfortunately, this mixer requires you to get a USB cable separately. Otherwise, you cannot connect it to your streaming computer.
TC-Helicon GoXLR ($385)
Do you want a high-end audio mixer for gaming? Look no further than TC-Helicon GoXLR.
From the first glance, this audio mixer for streaming can already improve your setup’s appearance by adding a futuristic look. Combined with its customizable RGB light, you can create a cyberpunk-style stream.
In terms of audio quality, you cannot go wrong with GoXLR. Its single XLR channel is powered with a MIDAS preamp that offers minimum noise, hence boosting sound clarity.
Also, it comes with six programmable sound pads to add fun audio effects to your stream. What’s more, the mixer allows you to play with a few voice effects, enabling you to sound like a robot or using a megaphone.
Despite the cool features, please mind that GoXLR does not have the best operating system compatibility. The audio mixer for streaming only supports Windows, so Mac users should look somewhere else.
RODECaster Pro ($600)
If you are willing to invest a lot for the best mixer audio, RODECaster Pro is among the options you might consider. Priced at $600, this streaming mixer promises some advantages that you cannot find on other options mentioned before.
One of them is the ability to receive smartphone audio through a 3.5mm input. This feature makes it easier for streamers to include phone call interviews into their mix.
On top of that, RODECaster Pro lets users insert a microSD. That means you can record audio output for post-processing with this audio mixer for streaming.
What’s more, the mixer comes with various features to improve sound quality, including noise gate and high-pass filter. In other words, it ensures a professional-grade audio.
Compared to other expensive products in this article, RODECaster Pro only lacks equalization and has limited sound pads. So, you may keep that in mind.
How to Choose An Audio Mixer for Streaming
With a couple of options on this list, choosing an audio mixer for gaming or other live streaming agendas can be overwhelming, To make it easier, you can consider the following criteria:
Number of Channels
How many audio inputs are you going to use in live events? The answer will determine the number of channels you need in the streaming mixer.
For conventional purposes, streamers use two to three channels. As an example, for a main PC, a secondary PC, and a microphone. Nonetheless, you can use more as needed.
However, be aware that an audio mixer for streaming with more channels tends to be bigger than those that have less. Although this is not an issue if you leave the mixer in your studio, it can be an issue to those who wish to carry the device around.
In general, you want to get a streaming audio mixer to use multiple sound inputs in a broadcast. Depending on your needs, though, choosing a mixer with certain features can up your game.
For example, musicians may want to use an audio mixer for streaming that has programmable buttons. This capability allows them to save sound presets that can be handy during their performances. However, such a feature is not necessary for streamers who play games or chat with the audience.
Another instance of special feature is recording sound inputs. Broadcasters who often do interviews will love this ability since it helps them to transcribe their dialog later on.
PC audio mixers usually feature more than one connection type, including XLR, TRS, and USB. Some even support wireless inputs through Bluetooth.
While XLR inputs are common on most mixers, other types of connection are not. That being said, you need to choose an audio mixer for streaming that supports the kind of connection your sound device has.
Normally, you would set a budget before getting a product. When it comes to streaming audio mixers, though, that should come second.
While expensive mixers tend to offer various capabilities, the more affordable ones are not far behind in some aspects. Pyle PMXU83BT, for example, offers eight channels, three-band EQ, and 16 sound effect dials for just $100. Those features are enough for most types of streamers.
With that in mind, think about what you need from an audio mixer for streaming first. Once you list the necessary features, you can look for options within your desirable price range.
Which Audio Mixer for Streaming is Your Choice?
In this article, we have taken a look at some of the best audio mixers. So that you do not miss any details about each mixers, let’s recap with the table below:
|Alto Professional ZMX52
|– One XLR + three TRS channels
– Two-band EQ and pan control
|– No compression
– Bad build quality
|– Similar features to ZMX52
– Rugged build for just $69
|– No USB port
|– Four XLR + two TRS channels for an affordable price
– Recording feature
|– No compression
|Creative Sound Blaster K3+
|– Adjustable reverb and delay effect
– One button to reduce the volume of sources other than the mic
|– Limited number of channels
– EQ is only for the mic inputs
|– Comes with a condenser mic
– 11 customizable sound pads
– Pitch adjustment
– Noise reduction
|– Limited number of channels
|Behringer Xenyx 1204USB
|– Six channels with four XLR inputs
– Compression control
– Low frequency cut
|– Can overheat easily
|– Four XLR channels + three stereo TRS channels
– EQ and compression dial for each input
– 24 built-in sound effects
|– Does not come with a USB cable to connect with your computer
|– Customizable RGB lighting
– MIDAS preamp for minimum noise
– Voice changer
|– Only supports Windows computers
|– 3.5mm input for smartphones
– MicroSD slot for storing recording
– Noise gate
– High-pass filter
|– No equalization controls
– Limited number of sound pads for the price
Among the options we discussed in this article, which one would you like to choose? Tell us in the comments!