The range of analog mixers for your recording studio stretches from tiny 2-channel mixers, to massive consoles with many dozens of channels, preamps, EQ, compression, automated faders and myriad other features and functions. Add to that the many, sometimes overlapping, applications and scenarios in which analog mixers can be used and the number of options available quickly balloons.
When deciding which studio analog mixer is right for you, it's likely to come down to how many channels you can afford and the audio quality you need. It's useful to frame your search in terms of how much you want to pay per channel, followed closely by which features each channel strip needs to have.
Sometimes your use case is the dictating factor. If you're after a professional mix quality summing mixer, you're likely looking at just two channels. This means your budget per channel can be substantially higher than it would be if you're looking for a fully automated 48-channel console loaded with features. If you're using a studio analog mixer as a front end for your old school reel-to-reel, ensure the mixer you choose has the same number of outputs as your deck's input tracks in order to maximize the number of tracks you can record simultaneously.
Another big consideration is whether you're going to rely solely on the preamps built into your studio analog mixer, or if you have a good supply of outboard pres at your disposal. If it's the former, try to maximize your per channel spend in order to provide yourself with the best microphone preamps possible. You might even consider going with fewer channels so you can get better preamps.
While we're on the topic of using outboard gear with your console, consider the number of effects you want to be able to connect via simultaneously via your mixer's effects sends. At a minimum, account for one reverb and one delay. No matter the number, allow for an extra send or two so that you always have the ability to patch in that weird "color" piece without having to unplug one of your go-to units.
Speaking of sends, don't forget to consider your headphone mix. Sometimes the headphone mix ends up being the red headed stepchild in many recording set ups. At the very least, you'll want to be able to build two separate mixes for your cans - unless you never plan on recording a drummer.
Need help deciding? Our Sales Engineers are rigorously trained to understand all of the features available and how they fit within every potential use case. But beyond that, they are experienced sound engineers. They've been in the trenches and they're chomping at the bit to help you find the analog mixer that is right for your recording and studio application. Learn More
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.