The Best Powered Mixer: Buying Guide

Editor’s Choice

  • Full-featured 8-Channel with onboard 32-bit digital remix+ processor
  • Optimal performance
  • Reliable power

Best Overall

  • Footswitchable Master Mic Mute
  • Individual signal and Clip Detection LEDs
  • 4 Twist Lock Outputs

Budget-Friendly

  • Studio-grade DSP effects with performance-ready presets
  • -25dB pad and Rumble Filter on channels 1 through 6
  • Dual 9-band graphic EQ with LEDs

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out the best powered mixer, then I’d recommend Peavey XR-S Powered Mixer as the best one.

Setting up for a live show or rehearsals shouldn’t cause much trouble. Being efficient with the equipment you have will save you a lot of time. Check how easy it would be to have a great-sounding amplifier and speaker in one unit? Avoiding unnecessary and messy cables would make the setup simpler. With the best-powered mixer, you don’t have to spend much time setting it up and disassembling it. Here we feature the best-powered mixers for your ease and comfort:

Here are the Best Powered Mixers we will be reviewing:

What is the Best Powered Mixer?

A powered mixer is a device integrating an amplifier and a mixing console. Simply put, the best powered mixer brings portability and convenience available in one single unit. The powered mixer would be a compact help, especially for smaller-venue gigs or recording studios. The best powered mixer offers a simple setup while providing the musicians with quality effects. It can also use passive speakers without built-in power amplifiers. 

What is a Powered Mixer?

A powered mixer is a mixing console with a built-in amplifier. Because of this feature, it makes the powered mixer a good choice if you’re tired of carrying weighty amp racks. The powered mixer’s unique attribute is its simplicity. The portability and its less complicated setup are what most user loves about powered mixers. 

Powered vs. Passive Mixers

Since powered mixers come with a built-in amplifier, they can execute two tasks simultaneously. One single unit allows the musician to access all the amplifier controls. Considering that it doesn’t need a separate amplifier, it achieves a more straightforward setup, reducing potential clutters. 

On the contrary, passive mixers need a separate amplifier and additional cables to work. A powered speaker would be a great help, too. It may give you a complex setup, but its advantage is that it is more reliable. It can help simplify troubleshooting because the devices are separate. If this is one of your options, make sure to choose the best mixer for powered speakers.

Powered vs. Unpowered Mixers

There is a built-in amplifier in a powered mixer. It means powered mixers are generally more energy-efficient and versatile than unpowered mixers. They can pair with passive loudspeakers that have no built-in amplifiers. 

However, unlike powered mixers, unpowered mixers require external power to work. This device is designed with passive loudspeakers that require an amplifier.  

When it comes to sound quality, powered mixers produce more excellent sound. It has fewer electronics between the speaker and the audio source. So, the audio signals were being preserved more with a powered mixer. 

When to Use a Powered Mixer

Powered mixers are helpful when doing small gigs or home recording studios. Let it be in worship services or a DJ’s compact option along with a turntable. Sound engineers who want to work with an all-in-one component may also use a powered mixer, providing them with the most straightforward setup. Powered mixers could be perfect for acoustic or local bands that don’t aim to be incredibly loud and won’t require lots of input. 

Another thing, if you’re a musician who always wants to hop in and out of the show as fast as you can, the best powered mixer might be great for you since it’s known for ease and portability. These features are essential for sound system renting services, buskers, and touring musicians.

How to Use a Powered Mixer?

Many performers adore the setup of a powered mixer together with a passive speaker. Most of the best powered mixers have simple features that allow you to plug and play right away. 

Most powered mixers have a USB port that helps you work with laptops or other gadgets. Not only that, some models now have digital connectivity options for tablets and phones. Other models also have networking capabilities. With a multi-channel preamp, you can easily add more channels as you need.

It’s easy to connect microphones and other equipment. The powered mixer is also handy if you need to record an unplanned performance or prepare for a live show.

Advantages of Using the Best Powered Mixer

Setting up a performance doesn’t have to be complicated. Depending on how big your show will be, here are the things that performers would get by using the best powered mixer.

All-in-One Integration

A powered mixer is an all-in-one audio option for small gigs, church worship, and other applications. It is a  mixer that lets you combine and balance microphone sources. Powered mixers can add effects to the ambiance of your sound. It also has power amplification to drive house speakers and monitor speakers. Have these activities in one convenient unit with the best-powered mixer.

Simple Setup and Operation

A system with a separate mixer, power amplifier, and effect units means more cables. But, with the best-powered mixer, there’s no need for multiple mixing systems or cable connections. There’s also no need for time-consuming level matching between equipment. Traditionally, misplaced or faulty cables and lots of technical problems usually exist. The advantage of using the best-powered mixer is that it prevents all possible issues. 

Portability

Portability is made easy by the best-powered mixer amplifier. Unlike before, you have to transport lots of devices to the venue. Even having the best mixer for powered speakers still means additional equipment to carry. Consider a powered mixer as an all-in-one solution; you can easily pick it up, set it down, and store it. 

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Powered Mixer

When selecting the best powered mixer, you need to consider a few things. The first step is to think about what you need to enhance.

Power requirement

Check if the power requirements of speakers can achieve their optimum operating volume. Keep track of the size of your venue. Smaller venues can work with one or two speakers. It is better to distribute power and volume all over multiple speakers rather than pushing fewer speakers to a high volume. If you’re not planning for a powered mixer, at least make sure to choose the best mixer for powered speakers. 

Preamps

Some models of the best powered mixers have a built-in preamp. It helps to raise low-level signals from the microphone. A good preamp can also reduce unwanted noises to have a cleaner sound. The other important reason to use a preamp is “audio coloration.” Tube and valve preamps will give your music a unique character. Depending on your situation, that character could be what you’re looking for. If you aim to have a great recording, just like from high-end studios, consider getting a powered mixer with good preamp capabilities.

Inputs and channels

If you’re using mics that require Phantom Power, you need as many phantom power-equipped channels. Also, more channels allow you to house more sound sources simultaneously. But still, the more inputs and channels used, the bulkier, heavier, and more expensive a mixer become. When deciding on the best powered mixer, you’ll need to determine whether the amenity justifies the additional cost. 

EQ and effects

A powered mixer is a better option if you want more control over your sound. Correct EQ and effects setting allows quick solutions and changes to the resulting sound, particularly important in a live show scenario. It is essential to know that having too many of these options may be counterproductive in the sense that you may waste too much time setting them up.

Gear compatibility

One thing that the musician should not forget is to check the gear capabilities of the best powered mixer. The number and types of inputs, built-in effects, and the number of phantom-powered mics are a few of the things that are worth checking. Depending on the speakers you plan to buy, you will also need to verify that their impedances are compatible with the mixer. Due to impedance mismatch, a low-level signal is often the result of inefficiency.

Form Factor

It would be best to choose the form factor determined by how versatile you want your arrangement to be. Desk/console form factors would be preferable for more permanent setups, mainly if they include faders. Rackmount or box units provide the convenience of transporting them with other outboard gear. This isn’t to say that Desk/Console form factor mixers can’t be portable; it just depends on how much of your layout is merged as a system. Rackmount systems with outboard gear allow for quick setup. But, it usually doesn’t have faders and controls like on Deck/Console types.

Here are the five best-powered mixers you might want to choose from:

Peavey XR-S Powered Mixer

This powered mixer is setting a new standard for compact mixers. The Peavey XR-S Powered Mixer gives you eight channels to mix and features Feedback Location System (FLS). It makes locating and removing feedback nearly effortless. It’s small enough to fit in the overhead bin, so you can take it with you wherever your gig is.

It is powered by 1,000 Watts root mean square (RMS) of power (1,500 Watts peak). The XR-S comes loaded with cutting-edge features of Peavey. MidMorph enables the morphing between inputs L/R mix and Mid channel to create a hybrid of mid-optimized sound without external processing. Meanwhile, KOSMOS bass enhancement boosts low-end response. It helps improve high-end clarity and bring out the “growl” of the speakers.

Most users love its Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It allows audio playback from any Bluetooth-equipped device or USB “jump drive.” The XR-S could be the best-powered mixer for audio professionals looking for a highly reliable mixer in a small package. It features the rock-solid construction for which Peavey is known, as well as dual 9-band graphic EQs and a monitor send.

Pros:

  • Footswitchable Master Mic Mute
  • Individual signal and Clip Detection LEDs
  • 4 Twist Lock Outputs
  • 3 Band EQ per Channel
  • USB MP3 Player

Cons:

  • The user guide needs to have more description

Harbinger LP9800 Powered Mixer

Harbinger is a known company for delivering impressive yet inexpensive sound-reinforcement solutions. The LP9800 14-channel powered mixer’s 800 watts of clean, fluent power give you the push to drive stereo setups or split out for mains and monitors. This is the best-powered mixer if you conduct small gigs or rehearsals. Most users claimed this is perfect for their backyard parties, weddings, and church services.

Its 9 XLR mic inputs and 14 total line inputs give you ample connectivity choices to mix and control the sound. The dual 9-band graphic EQs with LED lights aim for you to see your settings, even in dark places. Furthermore, it’s tough built means that it can withstand live shows or practice sessions that you can roll at it year after year.

Pros:

  • Studio-grade DSP effects with performance-ready presets
  • -25dB pad and Rumble Filter on channels 1 through 6
  • Dual 9-band graphic EQ with LEDs
  • Quick Parameter adjustment to dial in reverbs, delays, and chorus
  • Rugged construction with protective corners and covering

Cons:

  • Not quite good for reverb effects
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

Mackie PPM1008 8-Channel, 1600-Watt Powered Desktop Mixer

One of the Mackie PPM Series. It includes two built-in amplifiers capable of delivering powerful 1600W (peak) to passive loudspeakers. This powered mixer is popular because of its 1600W Mackie Designed Class D amplifier – popularly known as the efficiency king. It runs cooler without the risks of having amp latches. As a result, it throws a distortion-free mix even at peak output levels. 

Also, setting up a mix is made faster and easier as it has a great pack of professional mixing tools. It can turn signals with high impedance into a balanced signal with low impedance through Direct Inject (DI) boxes. 

This provides a 32-bit effects processor that delivers ready-to-use effects presets, such as room reverb, chorus settings, and delays. It has a complete 3-band EQ section with a mid-range sweep like other EQs – available on all mono inputs. Additional frequency contouring on the output is provided by its dual 9-band graphic EQ sections.

Pros:

  • Full-featured 8-Channel with onboard 32-bit digital remix+ processor
  • Optimal performance
  • Reliable power
  • It has a “Built-Like-A-Tank” armored inside a solid steel chassis 
  • Dedicated In-line Compression provides increased presence and punches for vocals

Cons:

  • Lacking pan and power
  • No dual output jack’s on both main and monitors

Behringer EUROPOWER PMP2000D Powered Mixer

Powered mixer

Put the entire act on the road with the amazing BEHRINGER PMP2000D. It is packed with 2,000 Watts of highly efficient Class-D power. All the while, it is maintaining an incredible power-to-weight ratio. Its selectable stereo might be an excellent choice in scenarios where stereo recordings and vocals were being done simultaneously, like in churches.

It has 14 input channels, featuring 9 “invisible” mic preamps (IMP)  with switchable +48 volt phantom power for condenser microphones. Its excellent mic preamps make it perfect for live shows and studio recording. Another thing users like about this product are the KLARK TEKNIK effects. Who wouldn’t love its very own 24-bit, studio-grade effects? They create a professional finishing touch. This is still different from its 25 world-class presets available, such as chorus, delay, reverb, and many others. 

The PMP2000D is a powerhouse yet lightweight. One of the best-powered mixers under $500, perfect for a growing band or a solo artist. It features dual 9-band graphic EQs that accurately correct the main and monitor output.

Pros:

  • Ultra-compact 2 x 1000-Watt stereo powered mixer
  • Revolutionary Class-D amplifier technology
  • Outstanding “invisible” mic preamps
  • Switchable +48 V phantom power for condenser microphones
  • Easy-to-use, ultra-portable, and lightweight

Cons:

  • Shuts down intermittently after several uses
  • Poor customer service
  • No line-level outputs

Rockville RPM109 12 Channel 4800w Powered Mixer

powered mixer

The Rockville RPM109 is one of the best-powered mixers under $500 in the market. This powered mixer is a 12-channel model with 4800W, making it adaptable for live shows, band practices, and church worship services. There are two power amps in the system: 450 x 2 RMS at 8 ohms and 600 x 2 RMS at 4 ohms. 

Most users love this product because it has integrated Bluetooth, SD players, and USB slots. It means you now have plenty of choices for the playback options. Also, this could be the best-powered mixer if you’re concerned about its ventilation. This powered mixer features a dual-fan cooling technique to avoid burning your device. 

There are eight mic preamps with interchangeable +48 V phantom power for condenser microphones. There is an adjustable 3-band EQ (high, mid, low) and a dual 7-band master EQ. It offers 16 studio-grade stereo effects, including plate, reverb, delay, and other effects. What’s more, it has an LCD, so the musician will see what effects are being used.

Pros:

  • Studio-grade stereo FX processor with 16 presets
  • 8 high-quality mic preamps with switchable +48 V phantom power
  • 3-Band EQ (high, mid, low) per channel
  • Pad Switch and Clip LEDs on each mono channel
  • Dual fan vent cooling system

Cons:

  • The fans have a loud noise
  • Shuts down intermittently after several uses

Conclusion

Every audio enthusiast’s dream is to have the best effects as ease as possible. Affordability is a plus; however, it is crucial to assess what kind of features you would require. There are plenty of best-powered mixers on the market. Before buying, also consider if extending your budget would give you better features, and of course, a better result.

The best-powered mixer I’d recommend is the Peavey XR-S Powered Mixer. It may be cheap and lightweight, but there’s more to it. One valuable feature is the Feedback Locating System (FLS). This option allows you to adjust the graphic equalizer to pull down and suppress feedback. Its Bluetooth connectivity made it easier to connect for audio playback. It also provides ample power and precise audio reproduction. Its rugged and rock-solid housing guarantees long-lasting usage that satisfies most users.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.