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Mixers are useful not only for setting the levels of live instruments and vocals, but also for capturing multitrack recordings.
The advantage of using a mixer with multitrack USB recording is that you can easily capture the sound of a live band’s performance and process each channel using the array of controls and features installed on the device.
Mixers are most commonly associated with live sound rather than recording. However, due to the emergence of audio interfaces and digital recording technology, manufacturers now often combine these aspects in one unit.
We’ve searched for the best USB-recording compatible mixers and highlighted options to suit all budgets. Whether you need a small, 6-channel mixer or an extensive 22-channel device, you’ll find the right option in this guide.
In a Rush Roundup
How We Tested
The process of testing these USB mixers with recording capabilities consisted of several steps. Firstly, we tested the physical design, assessing the build quality of the chassis, the feel of the various knobs, buttons, and faders, and the weight of the device.
Next, we monitored the sound quality of the microphone and instrument inputs, checking for noise issues or weak spots in the audio. We then considered the additional features that the mixers boasted, such as effects and tools for recording.
Best Multitrack Mixer Reviews
Tascam is a world-renowned manufacturer of recording and live sound equipment. The Model 16 is a highly capable mixer, audio interface, and recording device that focuses on delivering the best sound quality possible.
With its vintage analog design, the Tascam Model 16 Interface is very easy to operate. The extensive selection of faders, rotary knobs, and buttons are all laid out intuitively so that the device doesn’t take a long time to get used to.
The 16-in/14-out makeup of this mixer includes ten XLR inputs, which are allied and fitted with high-quality mic preamps to ensure a warm, authentic tone when recording or using the device for live performances.
The faders which accompany the channels are larger than the average design, which makes it easier to maneuver them into the ideal position. You can then adjust the EQ controls and add reverb, delay, chorus, or flanger to each channel’s output.
- 14 input channels
- 60mm faders
- 10 XLR mic preamps
- Versatile routing for recording and live sound
- Works seamlessly with any DAW
- Mobile, durable design
- Not suitable for small spaces
With its stunning functionality and advanced digital features, the Qu-16 is another reminder of Allen & Heath’s quality. This mixer can perform complex tasks without overcomplicating the process.
One of the standout features of the Allen & Heath Qu-16 16-channel Digital Mixer is its unique, touch-sensitive display screen. This modern design allows you to adjust all of the various parameters that affect the sound and dynamics of the channels without having to physically move knobs and faders.
The integrated USB recording is also excellent and allows you to quickly capture any live performances, rehearsals, or new song ideas. Simply hook it up to an external USB drive, and hit the record button.
You can also connect the Qu-16 directly to your DAW and use it as a conventional audio interface. The 16 XLR mic preamps can record instruments or vocals with a good level of clarity, resulting in a professional sound.
Finally, the Qu-16 has five onboard effects which consist of reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, and flanger. It also has four stereo FX returns so that you can integrate external effects units into your mixes.
- Motorized faders
- 16 XLR mic preamps
- 28 band graphic EQ
- Intuitive design and control layout
- Warm and clear-sounding preamps
- Versatile effects
- Works best when linked up to the Qu-Pad iPad app
If you’re a singer-songwriter or solo performer, you probably won’t need a mixer with a large number of inputs. The ProFX6v3 by Mackie is a 6-channel mixer that is ideal for musicians who use minimal equipment.
Housing two Onyx mic and instrument preamps, the Mackie ProFX6v3 6-channel Mixer is compatible with any sound source. It doesn’t have any issues with self-noise or interference and adds a slightly warm coloration to the sound of instruments or vocals.
Despite being one of the smallest multitrack recording mixers featured in our guide, this Mackie device isn’t lacking in onboard effects. It features the patented GigFX engine, which offers 24 diverse effects.
These effects include the usual staples such as reverbs and delays, in addition to less common options like distortion, overdrive, and auto-wah. They can be applied to the whole output of the mixer or the individual channels.
Another advantage of choosing this Mackie mixer is its compact size and portability. You can easily put the device in a backpack to transport it to a gig venue or recording location.
- 2 XLR mic & ¼ inch combo preamps
- 2-band EQ
- Reverb, delay, chorus, flange, and auto-wah effects
- Compact and mobile design
- Clean-sounding mic and instrument preamps
- Simple control layout
- Lacks the inputs required for mixing a full band
The Soundcraft Signature 22 is an extensive mixer with built-in audio interface capabilities. This device is equally suitable for controlling the sound of a live performance or capturing studio-quality audio.
While this mixer may look confusing at first due to the vast selection of faders, rotary controls, switches, and buttons that are installed on it, Soundcraft has designed it in a logical manner, so that you can quickly get accustomed to the layout.
The metal chassis which houses the hidden inner components of this mixer is highly durable. The device is designed to be used extensively in live music venues, and therefore robustness is an important quality that it possesses in abundance.
The equalizers installed on each channel are a highly important part of any mixer, as they allow you to shape the sound of each instrument or vocalist and ensure that everything has enough space in the mix.
Soundcraft has installed high-end British EQs with four adjustable bands, making it easy to tailor the output of each channel and create the best mixes possible.
You also get access to a wide range of onboard effects with the Signature 22 MTK, and it is very easy to use external outboard equipment with the mixer to expand the processing tools you have to work with.
- 16 x Ghost mic preamps
- 2 100mm Throw faders
- DBX limiters and studio-grade effects
- Pristine recording quality
- Flexible routing options for increasing in/outs
- Exceptional reverb and delay effects
- Slightly complex operation
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is a three-in-one audio device. It can be used as a conventional mixer for a live performance, to capture a recording of a band, or as a USA audio interface.
This mixer provides you with the means to record up to 12 individual channels, which is enough for a fully mic’d drum set, two guitar amplifiers, a bass D.I, multiple vocals, and a keyboard or synths.
You can then transfer the audio from each channel to your chosen DAW for post-production and mixing. This capability makes the LiveTrak L-12 a great choice for musicians who enjoy recording their rehearsals and performances.
The visual and physical design of this multitrack mixer is also of the highest standard. With a backlit LCD screen, you can clearly see the status of each channel even if you’re using the device in a poorly lit environment.
Another impressive feature that Zoom has installed on this mixer is its ability to produce five separate headphone mixes, which can be customized individually for each performer. This is invaluable for bands who need different mixes in their headphones.
- 8 mic preamps and ¼-inch inputs
- Onboard slate mic for talkback
- 16 built-in effects
- Great for live performances or recording
- Onboard metronome is useful for staying in time
- Easy to connect to your chosen DAW
- The polished, digital sound may divide opinions
USB mixer audio interface combination devices are often quite expensive, as manufacturers have to invest a lot of time and effort into designing them.
With the reliable MG10XU 10-channel Mixer, Yamaha has proven that it’s possible to create a high-performance USB recording mixer that won’t break the bank.
The four onboard microphone preamps are a standout feature of this mixer. They keep noise to a minimum when a dynamic or condenser is plugged in, and don’t color the sound too much but retain a natural tone.
Each channel is equipped with a 3-band EQ that is adjusted using a simple rotary control. Furthermore, there’s a compression knob on the first two channels, which is very useful for boosting the dynamics of quiet instruments or singers.
On the right-hand side of the mixer, you’ll find an extensive SPX digital effects unit. This includes a total of 24 high-quality effects, ranging from delays and reverbs to more experimental modulation.
The four inputs also benefit from having a high pass filter switch to reduce boomy low frequencies and a +26dB pad to quickly increase the level of a mic or instrument.
- 4 D-PRE mic preamps
- 3-band EQ
- Extensive SPX effect processor
- Natural-sounding recordings
- High-quality compressors on each channel
- Eliminates unwanted noise
- Lacks the inputs required for recording large bands