Live sound mixing consoles are the heart of any live event’s audio setup. With the right mixer, engineers can shape stunning sound that engages audiences and enhances performances. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right mixing desk for your needs?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll highlight the top 5 live sound consoles available today. We’ll break down their key features and ideal use cases. We’ll also provide tips on prioritizing mixer features based on your goals and budget. Let’s dive in!

Overview of the Top 5 Live Sound Mixing Consoles

A mixing console balances and enhances all the microphones, instruments, and other audio sources used in a live show. The engineer mixes these elements together to create a great-sounding mix for the audience and performers.

When shopping for a live mixer, here are some of the most important factors to consider:

Balancing these factors will lead you to your ideal mixing solution. In this guide, we spotlight the top 5 consoles spanning various sizes, capabilities, and budgets.

1. Soundcraft Signature 12MTK

The Soundcraft Signature 12MTK is a compact, budget-friendly analog mixer loaded with features. It’s ideal for local bands playing smaller gigs.

Key Features:



Ideal For: Local and regional bands playing bars, clubs, weddings, private events

Price Range: $250 – $400

2. Allen & Heath Qu-16

A step up in functionality, the Allen & Heath Qu-16 provides flexible digital mixing in a compact form. It’s great for regional bands and medium-sized venues.

Key Features:



Ideal For: Cover bands, corporate events, medium-sized venues, houses of worship

Price Range: $1000 – $1500

3. Midas M32

The Midas M32 is an industry-standard digital console for mid-to-large sized live shows. Its advanced capabilities make it a favorite of seasoned professionals.

Key Features:



Ideal For: Touring acts, large venues, professional AV rental companies

Price Range: $3000 – $4000

4. Behringer X32

Providing immense functionality for the price, the Behringer X32 is ideal for regional acts wanting robust digital mixing.

Key Features:



Ideal For: Regional bands, medium-large venues, budget-conscious users

Price Range: $2000 – $3000

5. Avid Venue S6L

The Avid Venue S6L is a top-tier modular system for large concert tours and professional shows. It’s the pinnacle of digital mixing power and flexibility.

Key Features:



Ideal For: Major touring acts playing arenas and stadiums

Price Range: $15,000 – $50,000+

How to Choose the Right Mixer Based on Your Needs

With so many mixing console options available, it can be challenging to determine which one fits your application best. Here are some key questions to ask yourself when deciding:

Prioritizing Features Based on Your Goals

For local and regional bands playing smaller venues, an analog mixer with great preamps and some built-in effects is a smart budget choice. The Soundcraft Signature 12MTK is ideal for this.

As you progress to bigger stages, digital boards with advanced routing, processing, and networking become important. The Allen & Heath Qu-16 or Behringer X32 offer great mid-range functionality.

Professional touring bands playing arenas and stadiums require immense FX power and flexible modular systems. The Avid Venue S6L is the leading console for massive tours.

Permanent installs like churches and theaters need both excellent sound and simplicity. The Midas M32 is a top choice for set-it-and-forget-it mixing.

No matter your ambitions or budget, choosing a live mixer is an investment. Carefully weigh the channels, connectivity, effects, routing, and workflow needed for your productions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an analog and digital mixer?

How important are effects and built-in processing?

What mixer size do I need for different venue capacities?

What brands are considered industry leaders?

Some of the top professional audio mixing console brands include:

How much does an average live sound mixer cost?

What training or knowledge is needed to operate one?

How can I expand a mixer if I need more inputs later on?

What should I look for if I want to mix monitors separately?

How do I integrate a mixer with other audio equipment?

What should I consider when choosing a mixer for touring vs. permanent install?


We’ve covered a lot of ground here! To recap, the top live sound mixing consoles available today include:

The most important factors when choosing a mixer are channels, connectivity, effects, routing, expandability, and workflow. Carefully consider your particular needs in venues and productions to select the best console.

Investing in a quality live sound mixing desk is worthwhile. Your audiences and performers will appreciate the great mixes you’ll achieve! With this guide’s advice, you can be confident choosing the perfect console for your live productions.

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