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Analog Mixers VS Digital Mixers : What's The Difference?

Mixers are used in a variety of applications, including television, podcast creation, sound development, and more. Every live sound mixer has a certain function to fulfil, which is to accept signal from numerous sources, combine them, and transmit the results to one or more destinations, whether it's analogue or digital, small or large.

What's the difference between analogue and digital mixers? We'll go through the distinctions between analogue and digital mixing consoles, as well as the benefits of each, and why you might prefer one over the other.

What Is A Mixer?

You want your sound to be the greatest it can be, no matter what genre of music you play. Your sound and tone are influenced by a number of things, including your equipment and sound arrangement.

Because of its functionality, the mixer is nearly often the focal point of a sound setup. Mics, instruments, and other equipment can all be connected to your mixer. All of those inputs will be sent somewhere else, such as through a speaker, through your mixer. You want your sound to be the greatest it can be, no matter what genre of music you play. Your sound and tone are influenced by a number of things, including your equipment and sound arrangement.

 

Designed for content creators and livestreaming, TC-Helicon's GoXLR Mini is the small-format mixer you need. This mini mixer makes juggling multiple sources, including a microphone, and headset, a gaming console feed, and audio from your computer a breeze. Each of the four channels has its own fader and programmable mute button. The GoXLR Mini also manage to kept from the full-sized GoXLR is the GoXLR Mini's !@#$?* expletive censorship button, which lets you keep it PG (and be generally goofy). Finish it off with a dedicated mic mute button and flexible onboard DSP that's easy to program, and you'll get a ton of mileage out of your GoXLR Mini.


Analog Mixers

Analog mixers are more traditional than their digital equivalents because they have been around for much longer. For starters, they are less expensive than digital mixing consoles, especially at the beginning level, and even a inexperience live mixer can reliably handle a wide range of sound reinforcement applications. Even full-scale analogue mixers have relatively simple signal routing, with inputs hard-wired to appropriate channel strips. All channel processing happens right between the input gain and the output fader, so changing channel EQs or sends is as simple as reaching out and grabbing the control of the channel you want to alter. Experienced live sound engineers like the visual feedback provided by all of these distinct settings, which helps them to swiftly assess and correct signal flow issues. You should be able to move from one analogue mixing console to another with minimal or no learning curve.

When it comes to touring rigs and technically difficult concerts, analogue live sound mixers perform admirably for small and even large-scale sound reinforcement applications, but their limits become obvious. While an analogue mixer's signal flow is straightforward, it is also rather inflexible, necessitating the use of switching systems or patch bays. Similarly, if your mixer has limited or no onboard signal processing, you may need to supplement it with a rack of outboard compressors, effects, and graphic EQs. This outboard gear, combined with the hefty nature of analogue boards, can make touring with an analogue rig inconvenient. Finally, analogue mixers are more subject to environmental issues that might add noise into your sound, such as dusty faders, unclean pots, and faulty power.


Digital Mixers

Digital live sound mixing consoles are exceptionally adaptable and compact when compared to analogue mixers. Digital mixers can provide sophisticated channel equalisers and in-line dynamics, as well as effects and output processing such as graphic EQs, by replacing expensive and cumbersome analogue equipment with digital signal processing chips. Digital audio mixing often has complex routing choices and grouping assignments, in addition to being generally less noisy than analogue mixing technologies. Because inputs aren't physically connected to individual channels, you can control a large number of input channels with just a few faders by layering them. Many digital boards support network audio protocols like AVB and Dante, allowing you to expand your rig with digital stage boxes and personal monitor systems, and Wi-Fi control may let you or musicians onstage to alter mixes and settings from mobile devices.

Furthermore, while the ability to copy, store, and remember settings is fantastic, they limit your ability to alter or examine channel settings to one channel at a time, which is particularly useful if you deal with the same band specifics. Although current digital mixers provide new solutions to speed up your workflow, if you're not used to it, having to pick each channel you want to edit can feel laborious and limited. Similarly, accessing stacked faders and other in-depth controls may necessitate some board experience, and each digital board is put out differently.


Workflow of Analog And Digital Mixers

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Pros And Cons Of Analog And Digital Mixers

Pros of Analog Mixers :

  • They're a lot less complicated to use than digital mixers. In comparison to digital mixers, analogue mixers have fewer buttons and customizable functionality. This may appear to be a disadvantage (and it is for some), but many others will appreciate how simple it is to set up everything.
  • They're simply made to be efficient and quick to utilise. With an analog mixer, you don't have to worry about setting up buttons, connecting many devices, or worrying about the digital audio transmission process. It captures analogue sound waves without converting them to digital, as opposed to the other alternative.
  • They are reasonably priced. Analog mixers are much less expensive than digital mixers because they don't have as many customizable options and aren't as exact. If you're on a tight budget, start with one of these and learn the ropes before upgrading to a digital mixer later.
  • They have a cleaner sound than the majority of the competition. The choice between analog and digital mixers is a matter of ease and customization, but don't overlook the clean sound of analog mixers. You'll hear the original audio without any new-age adjustments because it hasn't been altered.

Pros of Digital Mixers :

  • A digital mixer can link to a variety of devices. They contain a lot of connectors, so you may connect your favourite devices in a variety of ways. You'll appreciate the wide range of connectivity if you have numerous hosts on your podcast or are recording multiple instruments at the same time.
  • They make it possible to transfer digital audio in a clean, clear manner. They process digital data, which eliminates the white noise, buzzing, and ticking noises that come with recording. Many people believe that digital mixers are considerably superior to analogue mixers because of this procedure.
  • Analog mixers have much less capabilities than digital mixers. You will have a lot more possibilities because they operate through digital channels. Because digital mixers are more configurable, creative people choose them for their large range of options. They frequently have plenty of other effects as well.
  • Before each use, digital mixers can be programmed. You can customise the purpose of every switch and button to whatever you choose. Digital mixers are ideal for music creation or podcasts with distinctive sound snippets and interviews because of this condition. Set everything up the way you want it to be, giving your audience a better experience.
  • Digital mixers allow you to combine multiple clips into one. Instead of controlling each device separately, you can group them together and perform bulk operations. It saves a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted if you used an analog setup with a number of external sources. It's also simpler to switch between groups.

Pros of Analog Mixers :

  • They can only connect to a limited number of external devices. You'll need a high-end analog mixer or switch to digital choices if you wish to connect many speakers, microphones, and other devices. Unfortunately, both techniques are more expensive, making large setups more costly.
  • Analog mixers of high grade are colossal in size. Because they have more ports, operating a high-end analog mixer necessitates a significant amount of processing power. They're bigger, longer, and thicker than comparable digital mixers. This may not be an issue if you have a large table or desk.
  • In comparison to other solutions, they do not block enough external noise. 

Pros of Digital Mixers :

  • The cost of a digital mixer is significantly higher than that of an analog mixer. Digital mixers have a greater price because of all the tweaks, customizations, and abilities. Because they have additional ports and upgrades, the price of brand-new, high-quality mixers skyrockets.
  • For those who have never used a mixer before, they might be somewhat complex. Digital mixers are a bit of a curveball if you've never used mixers or other audio equipment before. They contain a plethora of switches, buttons, inputs, and outputs that can be confusing to newcomers. There are, however, lower-cost digital mixers with fewer components.
  • For a personalised effect, you must change each channel separately. While personalization has definite advantages, it also adds to the time commitment. You'll need to go through each button until you've created groups, assigned sounds, and so on. Fortunately, after the initial setup, it's not too bad.

How to Choose the Right Mixer?

The easiest method to determine which type of live sound mixer is ideal for you is to think about the application :

 

  • An analogue board may be preferable if you're running sound in a venue where different bands perform every night and last-minute modifications are usual.
  • You might be better off with a digital board if you're running sound on tour with a group or a collection of groups using the same band and gear.

To help you find the right mixers for live gigs, check out these analog and digital mixers from our collection!

Analog Mixers

Allen & Heath MixWizard WZ4 16:2 Mixer with Effects

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Allen & Heath MixWizard WZ4 12:2 Mixer with Effects

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Yamaha MG20XU 20-Channel Mixer and Effects

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Yamaha MG10X 10-Channel Mixer With Effects

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Yamaha MG06X 6-channel Analog Mixer with Effects

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PreSonus StudioLive AR16c Mixer and Audio Interface with Effects

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Mackie Onyx8 8-channel Analog Mixer with Multi-Track USB

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IVA Live-8 Mixer

 

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Mackie 2404VLZ4 24-Channel Analog Mixer

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Soundcraft Signature 22 Mixer with Effects

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Soundcraft Nano M24 24-Channel USB Mixer

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Allen & Heath ZED-436 Mixer with USB

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Digital Mixers

Allen & Heath Qu-32 Chrome Edition Digital Mixer

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Midas M32 LIVE 40-channel Digital Mixer

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Yamaha TF3 24-Channel Digital Mixer

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Behringer WING 48-channel Digital Mixer

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Midas M32R LIVE 40-channel Digital Mixer

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Mackie DL32R 32-Channel Wireless Digital Mixer with iPad Control

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Behringer X32 40-channel Digital Mixer

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Allen & Heath Qu-16 Chrome Edition Digital Mixer

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Behringer X32 PRODUCER 40-channel Digital Mixer

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Allen & Heath SQ-7 33 Fader 32 Preamp Digital Mixer

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Behringer FLOW 8 8-input Digital Mixer with Bluetooth

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PreSonus StudioLive 32S Series III 32-channel Digital Mixer

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