Analog Mixers are great for use in live environments and for recording. They are well-loved for their use of traditional analog circuitry that offers the desired warmth and character to your audio. They are also cheaper than their digital counterparts. However, the older analog mixers may lack digital characteristics like the ability to program or use automation which may be necessary for more complex live shows. Analog mixers also come with fewer FX capabilities and may require you to purchase separate FX processors.
Analog Mixers have a column of dedicated, physical knobs, buttons, and faders for each channel which runs on simple logical connections. Experts have long appreciated the ease of use of an analog mixer because there can only be one function per control. Owing to these physical components, Analog Mixers are generally larger and heavier than their digital counterparts. Digital Mixers, on the other hand, have assignable knobs and buttons, which tend to have a larger learning curve when used interchangeably and for large setups. While there are many schools of thought on the differences in the quality of output, both digital and analog mixers have similar output qualities. In general, Analog Mixers are preferred by artists who need to make last-minute adjustments and perform at a relatively smaller venue, for long periods of time. Digital Mixers are preferred by artists who travel frequently, have a fixed set-sequence with constantly changing visuals and soundscapes, and can learn and adapt to complex, large-scale environments quickly.
What are the different types of mixers available?
There are a few types of mixers available for different purposes:
Analog mixers are great for use in live environments and for recording too. They are cheaper than their digital counterparts and cannot therefore program or use automation that may be necessary for more complex live shows. Analog mixers come with fewer FX capabilities and may require you to purchase separate FX processors.
Powered Mixers are analog mixers that have built-in amplification for passive PA speakers. These mixers eliminate the need for carrying around separate amplifiers and generally have two amplified channels for 2 PA speakers or a single speaker and a monitor.
Digital Mixers have many more capabilities than analog mixers. It ranges from the ability to save and recall setups, automation, programming, more effects and even integration of DAWs for control or easy recording. More advanced mixers can also connect a wireless remote control through a smartphone or tablet to walk around a venue whilst mixing.
Do I need a power amp with any mixer?
An external amplifier is required to power passive speakers. Powered Mixers come with built-in amplifiers but analog and digital mixers generally need a power amplifier.
Are Digital Mixers better than Analog Mixers?
This is a hotly debated topic among artists and on web forums. While there are pros and cons to both devices, there is no fixed answer to this question. Each user has varying needs and use cases, which would require one of two options. It is best practice to ascertain your needs first, then make a decision based on individual preferences.
Are there latency problems when using an analog mixer?
No. Since most of the connections are hard-wired in an Analog Mixer, there are no latency problems in analog mixers. However, the same cannot be said about Digital Mixers.
What is the price range of an Analog Mixer?
An Analog Mixer starts from AED 130 and can go upto AED 40,000 in the professional models.