Top 10 Small Mixers For Live Performance [Updated Sept 2023]

Choosing the best home studio mixer or mixing desk is a challenge, but it’s not because they come in different shapes and sizes.

We’ve seen a wide range of musicians and performers use mixers for quite a few applications, some buy it for their home studio setup, and other DJs or musicians who perform live regularly may need a mixer to bring around to their gig as well.

When it comes to choosing a small mixer for live performance, there are a few things you should look at,

It has to be portable, and durable, and it has all the features you need depending on how you setup your live set.

Such as whether it has enough channels for your equipment or doesn’t come with built-in effects or USB audio interface and so on.

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In this article, I’m going to talk about some of the best small mixers for live performance that we think may fit into this category. So, without further ado let’s jump right into it.

1. Allen & Heath ZED & ZEDi Series (Premium Mixer)

Allen & Heath ZEDi best small mixers

Allen & Heath mixers are definitely one of the best series you could possibly get in the industry, the Zed series mixers give you all the benefits of analog mixing plus a high audio quality interface in one compact unit.

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The only difference between the ZED and ZEDi series is that the ZEDi comes with an onboard USB interface, for you to connect with your Mac or PC.

The entire family shares some common features, they all have very robust construction, in fact, the individual is based on individual cards on each channel, this is something you would often see in high-end mixers.

Despite the great-looking design, They all come with a really great preamp as well as the guitar DI high impedance jack inputs on channels 1 & 2 which makes it a huge plus for guitar players.

The 2 models equipped with onboard effects processing, the Zed 6 effects, and the Zi 10 effects, include 94 presets, all the essential effects from reverb, delays, flangers, to choruses and more, you could add those onto any of the channels in your mix.

The versatility and all-rounded mixers make it one of my top choices when it comes to choosing a small mixer for live performing or a home studio setup

Feature Highlights

  • High-Quality Preamps: If you want your sound to be crystal clear, the ZED and ZEDi mixers deliver just that with their high-quality preamps. Your vocals and instruments will sound amazing through these mixers!
  • Multiple Inputs: Whether you’re a singer-songwriter with just a guitar and a mic, or part of a big band with multiple instruments and vocalists, ZEDi mixers come with XLR and TRS jacks, that you can use to connect a variety of instruments and microphones.
  • EQ and Dynamics Control: As a live performer, you know how important it is to have control over your sound. The ZED and ZEDi mixers offer EQ and dynamics control on each channel, so you can fine-tune your sound and make sure every instrument and vocal is heard clearly.
  • Flexible Routing Options: These mixers offer flexible routing options, which means you can send your sound to different places in your setup and get creative with your mix. You can also use the aux sends to create monitor mixes for your bandmates or yourself.
  • Built-in Effects: If you want to add some depth and character to your sound, the ZEDi mixers come with built-in effects like reverbs, delays, and choruses. You can dial in just the right amount of effect to create a professional sound for your live performances.
  • Compact and Portable: As a live performer, you need gear that’s easy to transport to gigs and rehearsals. These mixers are designed to be compact and portable, making them easy to take with you wherever you go.

2. Behringer Xenyx Q502USB (Budget Mixer)

Behringer Xenyx Q502USB mixer

The Xenyx is a very small and compact mixer.

It’s great for a touring musician or singer-songwriter who is looking for a small enough mixer that could be easily fitted into their backpack.

This premium 5-input 2-bus analog mixer does come with a built-in USB/Audio Interface as well for you to plug in your computer for recording and playback.

You could also use an analog RCA connector to connect your 2 track recorder to record your mix.

The British style 2 band EQ, on channel one, gives you the essential need in tweaking your sound, although there are no gain knobs on the 2 stereo channels.

The Xenyx comes with a compressor that goes into all the channels, which is something you will hardly find on such a small mixer like this.

I personally have one of these mixers myself and I find the compressor sounds very natural to me, and easy to use, definitely love it. 

Feature Highlights

  • One-Knob Compression: Xenyx Q502USB mixer features a one-knob compressor on the microphone input that makes it easy to get that perfect level of compression, so you can always be heard on top.
  • Built-in USB Audio Interface: It comes with a built-in USB audio interface that lets you connect the mixer directly to your computer, making it easy to record your shows or stream them live on platforms like Twitch or YouTube.
  • Xenyx Mic Preamp: The Xenyx Q502USB mixer features a high-quality Xenyx mic preamp that ensures your vocals sound warm and clear, even in a live setting.
  • British EQ: Xenyx Q502USB mixer comes with British-style EQ that allows you to shape your sound with precision. Whether you’re boosting the bass or cutting the mids, this mixer gives you control over it.
  • Compact and Portable Design: Xenyx Q502USB mixer is compact and lightweight, so you can take it with you wherever you go.
  • Easy to Use: Xenyx Q502USB mixer is designed to be user-friendly and has intuitive controls that make it easy to get the sound you want.

3. Yamaha Mg10XU (Budget Mixer)

Yamaha is a really great brand that needs no further introduction.

Their product has great sound quality, ease of use, and rugged reliable durability, and for the MG series mixers, we got a 6, 12 16, and 20 channels to choose from.

Each one of those has two different flavors, one with effects and then some will also have a USB interface, Regarding the topic we have today for choosing a mixer for live performers, we may look for a more portable mixer to gig around.

I think the 6 channel mixers will be fitted into this category.

The MG line has exceptional clean preamps, especially for this price point, and there are many more features that you may be looking for in a mixer like the high pass filter, 26db pad, 3 band EQ, phantom power on the mic channels, XLR out, one-knob compression on the channel 1 & 2, effects, and there’s even a mic-standing mounting at the back which you would seldom see it on a small mixer.

So I think they have pretty much covered all your needs.

And again on the FX, you have 24 effects for you to choose from, so you could really rely on it without bringing an additional effect pedal with you to your gig.

One thing that I wish they could fix is that when you are recording anything to your computer, the signal will be significantly decreased.

I find many people come across the same issues and talk about them as well. I didn’t seem to find a solution for this yet. I think that’s their default setting for certain reasons.

It’s totally fine if you are just using it to record guitar or vocals at home, or performing live with a Daw-less setup.

But if you are playing a live set with your DAW the moment you want to record into the software itself, you would have to manually turn up the gain every time after pressing the recording button.

I find it a bit troublesome for the workflow. Other than that, it’s a pretty damn good small mixer for this price. 

Feature Highlights

  • Exceptional sound quality thanks to high-quality preamps
  • Onboard effects including reverb, delay, and chorus
  • USB connectivity to easily connect to your computer and use as a recording interface
  • User-friendly interface with clearly labeled knobs and faders for easy adjustments
  • Compact and portable design for easy transport to and from gigs

4. Yamaha AG 06 (Budget Mixer)

Yamaha AG 06 portable mixer

The AG series has some similar features to the MG family.

Although they are in the same category they are two different mixers with different applications, technology, benefits, and pros & cons.

There’s only one phantom power on channel 1, Unlike the MG the phantom power buttons are applied to the 4 mic channels but there is a guitar mode on the second channel that sets the impedance appropriately for that input and also you will find an amp synth button on that channel.

The Yamaha AG06 has a digital compression EQ and effect mode that is controlled by the software when you connect this to your computer.

In terms of the power of the device, it’s bus-powered by the USB cable.

The USB section is one of the main reasons that this stands a little bit apart from the other, you have a couple of different modes here for you to send the dry channels 1 & 2, input mix, or loopback (which is the same as the input mix but it allows you to also grab a USB feed from your computer. 

Feature Highlights

  • Multi-purpose mixer with USB audio interface: AG 06 serves as a mixer for live performances, as well as a USB audio interface for recording and editing in your favorite DAW software.
  • High-quality sound: With a 192 kHz/24-bit sound quality, D-PRE mic preamps, and the same technology used in Yamaha’s high-end professional mixers, the AG 06 delivers exceptional sound quality.
  • Loopback function: AG 06 features a loopback function that allows you to easily record your computer’s audio output along with your microphone or instrument input, making it perfect for podcasters, live streamers, and content creators.
  • Onboard DSP effects: This mixer includes onboard DSP effects such as reverb, chorus, and distortion, giving you the ability to add depth and analog character to your sound without needing external effects processors.
  • AG 06 is designed with a user-friendly interface that includes clear labeling and intuitive controls, making it easy to adjust settings on the fly.

5. RCF F 6X (Budget Mixer)

RCF F 6X live mixer

RCF is an Italian brand, they are also one of the leading hi-tech brands in professional audio.

The RCF F6x has 2 microphone inputs, 2 stereo inputs, an onboard Pro DSP FX processor with 16 studio-quality effects, a balanced signal path from input to output, a mono channel with 3-band EQ, stereo channels with 2-band EQ, 1 Aux/FX, high-quality preamp with phantom power.

The F6x may seem slighter than other 6-channel mixing consoles, but the rugged construction of this mixer features a durable metal chassis with a protective plastic bumper on each side, making it easy to grab and go, a very reliable mixer. 

Feature Highlights

  • 6 channel inputs with balanced XLR and TRS inputs on each channel
  • Gain control, three-band EQ, and FX send on each channel
  • Two stereo inputs with level control
  • Built-in digital effects processor with 16 presets
  • Perfect for your live sound applications such as concerts and events
  • Durable construction with a metal chassis
  • Compact and easy to transport
  • High-quality sound and low noise floor

6. Art Pro Audio Tube Mix (Premium Mixer)

Art Pro Audio Tube Mix

This is a very well-built 5-channel small mixer with USB out that has a very classic look to it with the old-school view meters and the wood panel sides.

It has a button for amp simulation to make it sound more natural. You’ll notice that there are two auxiliaries which are not very common for a small format mixer of this size.

Auxiliary is marked left and auxiliary two is marked right, you could assign these to the main mix out, giving you better separation than if you were to use the actual left and right out.

Besides, it also has a tube assign button so you assign the tubes to either channels 1 & 2 or channel 5 to warm the instruments that you’re about to record.

So, as you can see this mixer is filled with features especially if you’re to look at recording interfaces, you have all this power before recording your tracks to your Daw.

Feature Highlights

  • 8 input channels
  • 2 tube mic preamps for warm, vintage-style sound
  • Three-band EQ and individual channel mute switches
  • Multiple outputs, including main mix, control room, and headphone outputs
  • Built-in digital effects processor
  • Aux send and return to connect to external effects or processing
  • 60mm faders and rotary controls for precise adjustments
  • LED level meters for monitoring signal levels
  • Durable metal construction with a rugged carrying handle

7. XTUGA AM6 Audio Mixer (Budget Mixer) 

XTUGA AM6 Audio Mixer

This professional 6-channel mixing console is very compact and lightweight. Even though it is just made of hard plastic, not metal, it feels quite solid.

It features four XLR inputs at the top as well as two more TRS inputs, making it a six-channel mixer., Each channel features a gain knob, a high and low EQ, and a send-to effect channel.

You could use anything from the condenser or line microphones to line-level instruments like a keyboard or guitar.

Something that has to be mentioned is that the AM6 can be powered by USB and another very cool feature about this mixer is the Bluetooth capabilities, which allow you to control your phone or device with your mixer. 

Feature Highlights

  • 6 input channels. 2 mono channels with XLR and 1/4″ TRS inputs, and two stereo channels with 1/4″ TRS inputs
  • Three-band EQ on each channel for precise sound shaping
  • Individual gain control, pan control, and level control on each channel
  • Aux send and return for external effects processing
  • Built-in digital effects processor with 12 presets
  • Main mix and headphone outputs with separate level controls
  • Easy to use and ideal for a wide range of audio applications, including live sound, recording, and podcasting.

8. Mackie ProFX4V3 (Budget Mixer) 

Mackie ProFX4V2 analog portable mixer

The Pro-FX series here for Mackie is primarily designed for live sound applications and not so much for recording.

They have versions ranging from four channels to 30 channels, the four-channel version we’re looking at is the most basic one and doesn’t have a USB interface. If having USB is important for you, you could get the 8 channels and above.

There are vita mic preamp and low cut buttons on channels one and two, but the Hi-Z switch is only available on channel one, it’s used if you want to plug in a bass or guitar.

One interesting thing about this mixer is that it does not have a pan control, the same as the Mackie 402VLZ4 above.

But if you engage the stereo pan to switch located at the middle of channels one and two, it will pan channel one left and channel two to the right, so that it allows you to record 2 channels with the mic line input on your PC or laptop.

Then you have a stereo graphic EQ on the mixer board for eq-ing the main output, and you can switch that between either the main mix or monitor mix or bypass it.

The ready FX effects allow you to switch between 16 different presets, and I like the 16-segment dB meters it has, which is something you do not often find in a small mixer like this. 

Feature Highlights

  • 4-channels
  • Vita preamps
  • ReadyFX effects engine with 16 built-in effects
  • 2-band EQ and 100Hz low-cut filter on each channel for precise sound shaping
  • Hi-Z input
  • 2-in/2-out USB audio interface for recording and playback
  • Main mix, monitor, and headphone outputs with separate level controls
  • Single-knob compression on channels 1 and 2 for dynamic control
  • Durable metal construction with a sleek black finish
  • Ideal for live sound, songwriting, and podcasting applications.

9. Pyle PMXU68BT (Entry Level) 

Pyle PMXU68BT 6 channel mixer

If having a small-size mixer with more mic input is what you are looking for, then you should really take a look at this Pyle Pro mixer here.

The Pyle PMXU68BT features 4 mic inputs, all come with separate phantom power and Hi-Z buttons on each channel.

Adding on to that you will also get a stereo input on channels 5 and 6.

Something I find special about this mixer is the built-in Bluetooth mp3 player options on this device, you can play music from your phone, computer, or pen drive into this unit.

And it comes with some basic built-in effects like repeat, delay, and ratio to the main volume, it’s the same for his little brother PMXU48BT as well which is the 2-mic pre-version of this series.

It’s a very nice and easy mixer to be used for professional DJ studio applications, Audio Recording, and on-stage performances at a super affordable price, It’s definitely a very versatile mixer you should take into consideration. 

Feature Highlights

  • 6 input channels
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity for streaming audio from your phone or other compatible devices
  • XLR and 1/4″ inputs on each channel
  • Three-band EQ and individual channel mute switches
  • Aux send and return
  • USB flash drive and SD card readers for playing MP3 files
  • Built-in digital effects processor with 16 presets
  • Main mix, control room, and headphone outputs with separate level controls
  • LED level meters for monitoring signal levels
  • Durable metal construction with a sleek black finish
  • Ideal mixer for live sound reinforcement, recording, and podcasting applications.

10. Alesis Multimix 4 FX (Budget Mixer) 

Alexis Multimix 4 FX mixer

A very standard 4-channel mixer with 2 stereo inputs and outputs.

XLR/line inputs on channels 1 and 2, nothing very fancy on this mixer, but it does the job well for you, with that price range and that comes with a handful of built-in FX effects for you to choose from.

Come on there is really nothing much to complain about.

Alesis is known for its decent product with a very affordable price just like Behringer, although their product may often give you a plasticky, cheap feeling sometimes.

But I think that’s part of their strategy to aim for the lower-range market, by cutting down the cost of the hardware material and giving you a decent device at a very cheap price.

What’s more important is that they actually work, They definitely are not the best in the industry, but they do their job, I actually do own an Alexis keyboard myself for many years, and I had no problem with it.

To start off, this is one of the perfect devices.

Feature Highlights

  • 4 input channels
  • XLR and 1/4″ inputs on each channel
  • Three-band EQ and mute switches on all channels
  • 15 built-in digital effects, including reverbs, delays, and choruses
  • High-resolution 24-bit audio interface for recording and playback
  • Main mix, headphone, and aux outputs with separate level controls
  • Input source selection for easy switching between connected devices
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and iOS devices


All in all, the mixers that I have mentioned in this article will be great but only if you really know what you need in buying a mixer, and what kind of gear or instrument you’re gonna be using in your live set.

How much is your budget?

That’s all that really matters.

If this is your first time buying a mixer, a round-up like this could really help you save a lot of your time in browsing through the internet doing the research yourself, and avoiding spending money on the wrong gear.

I hope you will find this guide useful to you and get the best mixer for your live performance, all the best! 

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Javen Yap is a music producer, composer and content creator from Malaysia. Making music is his passion, and he writes blog posts to share the knowledge and tips he picks up along the way. He has a website

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