If you want to go to the next level with audio on your a stream a mixer is an essential part of the setup. Audio is one of the most important parts of a successful stream. It’s important to get it right however, it can be a very confusing process, as there are many factors in choosing the proper audio setup.

For example, you need an audio mixer (interface), microphone, and a monitor (Headphones) to start off. In this guide, we will focus on everything you need to know about audio mixers, as well as the 10 best audio mixers for streamers.

Table of Contents

    6 Best Audio Mixers For Streamers

    Behringer UM2

    The Behringer UM2 is a favorite of ours and of the home audiophile community in general, as it has everything you need to get started with your audio setup. It comes with an XLR/TRS combo port, a 6.35mm/1/4” port for output monitoring, two RCA ports, USB connectivity, instrument input port, and finally, phantom power for all your mic needs.

    It has a sample rate of 48 kHz, which realistically is the minimum you should aim for when getting any audio mixer nowadays.  Also, zero-latency direct monitoring allows you to hear your voice through your headphones when speaking through the mic. This proves quite helpful, especially in closed-back headphones.

    Pros:

    • Cheap
    • Phantom Power
    • Direct Monitoring
    • USB Connectivity
    • Instrument Connector

    Cons:

    • Proper Drivers (works out of the box, just not very optimized)
    • Build quality reflective of the price
    • Adjustment Knob placement

    Behringer UMC22

                The following product in this guide that we will look at is the Behringer UMC22, which my personal choice for my audio setup. This product is very similar to the previous one, but with slight differences that reflect the price jump. It comes with the connectors, buttons, and switches as the previous one. Where they differ is the build quality of the mixers, which justifies the price jump. Another difference is the microphone pre-amp technology used to power the microphone. The UMC22 uses MIDAS technology, while the UM2 uses Xenyx technology. The differences are slight, but where they are in common is the driver and how it is not very clearly explained how to get the proper drivers up and running.

    Pros:

    • Cheap
    • Phantom Power
    • Direct Monitoring
    • USB Connectivity
    • Instrument Connector

    Cons:

    • Proper Drivers (works out of the box, just not very optimized)

    Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen

    Possibly one of the best audio mixers, the Scarlett solo has been known for its performance, especially in its higher-end models. However, the lower-end models are excellent as well. For example, this interface comes with all the features mentioned in the previous and extra sample rate options. This interface comes with support for 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz.  As well as having the direct monitor option.

    Not to mention, this is one of the only audio mixers to come with USB-C connectivity, which makes it compatible with all your USB-C to USB-A cables. This is an excellent all-rounder for the money and especially for the performance it offers. It comes with two 6.35mm/1/4” connectors, one for the output and one for the instrument input, as well as an XLR only port, alongside 2 RCA connectors, USB-C, and a 48 V power switch.

    Pros:

    • Support for high sample rates
    • Superb Build quality
    • +48 V switch
    • Direct Monitor
    • Great Driver support
    • Very nice adjustment knobs
    • Great Community

    Cons:

    • Price
    • Availability

    Native Instruments Komplete

    This next mixer is quite a special one, as it has the most pleasing aesthetic. The on-screen levels, the giant volume adjustment knob, and the overall matte-black finish on the mixer make it a very appealing option for a budget mixer. It comes with an XLR only mic port, volume, and instrument input as well. It also supports 48 V phantom power for mics that need it. As well as two RCA outputs that allow you to hook them up to stereo monitors. The nice thing, or not so lovely (depending on how you view it), is the fact that it has an entirely driverless system. It is a simple plug-and-play option, combined with its small form factor, it makes it great for a portable laptop setup, in case you have that. It also supports a 192 kHz / 24-bit sampling rate.

    Pros:

    • Great Build Quality
    • 192 kHz Sample Rate
    • 48 V
    • Direct Monitor
    • Great adjustment knobs
    • Driverless

    Cons:

    • Price
    • Driverless (could be a con or pro depending on how you view it)

    PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

    This mixer is the most versatile one and offers the most features. It provides you with two XLR/TRS mic channels, which can be used either for a mix or instrument. It comes with MIDI connectors and connectors for stereo monitors and headphones, with individual gain controls for each. You also get an adjustment knob for playback and input balancing to control which one has a higher audio level. However, it can be overwhelming for newcomers to the audiophile hobby. It has a sample rate of 96 kHz / 24-bit. Finally, it comes with a 48 V switch

    Pros:

    • Reasonable price for its advantages
    • Good sample-rate
    • Offers a ton of potential

    Cons:

    • It can be hard to learn
    • A bit pricey when compared to the UMC22 and UM2

    Steinberg UR12

    The Steinberg UR12 is like the UMC 22 but better. It comes with the same inputs and outputs in the front, but they differ at the back. The source of power and data are separated. It comes with a switch to turn the whole mixer on and off. As for features, it comes with a standard setup, 48 V power, XLR port, and all the other options that come with UMC22. Where it’s better than the UMC22 and UM2 is the sample rate, it comes with a 192 kHz / 24-bit sample rate.

    Pros:

    • Easy to setup
    • Sturdy
    • Simple and straightforward operation
    • High sample rate
    • USB
    • Power Switch

    Cons:

    • Separate cables for power and data (could get lost)
    • Bulky
    • Corners were cut in the looks department

    Alternate Setups (Full Audio Sets)

    An alternate setup for leveling up your audio game is to use the pair of headphones/headsets you already have and simply get a better mic. This way, you will be saving money and avoiding all the complications with choosing an audio mixer.

    However, still, going with an audio mixer is the best option. With that being said, there are still some options that will make your life easier. These are in the form of sets, sets that come with headphones and microphones, as well as the mixer. The following list contains some of the sets:

    PreSonus AudioBox 96 Set (Includes Headphones and Mic)

                This set comes with the mixer we already talked about, alongside a mic and a pair of headphones. Looking at the reviews, it appears that most people complain about driver problems. So be ready to face that. However, the next set is a fan favorite by many people.

    Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio 3rd Gen-set (includes mic, headphones, mic filter, and mic stand)

    This next set is very much praised by everyone in the audiophile community, it comes with everything you need to get your audio setup up and running. It comes with the mixer, mic, headphones, mic pop filter, and a desk-mounted mic clamp, which will hold your mic in place and absorb all kinds of vibration that might come from any sort of movement on the desk.

    Sample rate, what is it? What to choose?

    Since sound, in general, is a so-called “mechanical” wave. It needs to be converted to a form of binary code that the computer can understand and process. When looking at audio mixers, you will see many words like “Sample Rate” and values like 44.1, 48, 96, and even 128 kHz on higher-end models. Now that you know what sample rate stands for, how does that translate into real-life performance?

    Since sound is a wave, numbers represent the number of “samples” the mechanical wave has. The mixer takes and processes the sound. So, suppose an audio mixer has a sample rate of 48 kHz. In that case, this means that a wave is divided into 48 thousand samples. This is then processed in a second, and so on for each successive wave processed by the mixer. So, the question emerges, which one should I get?

    In short, if you are looking to use your interface for a music streaming service, 44.1 kHz works just fine. For video, 48 kHz is the standard. Any higher values will be resampled to 48 or 44.1 kHz and will solely benefit you for your own listening experience. The higher your sample rate, the better* audio quality you get. Of course, the higher you go, the more processing power you need to process this more significant and larger sample of audio. It is good to consider your own PC setup to choose the best setup for your scenario.

    Impedance, what is it? How do I know if my equipment will be compatible with it?

    When discussing anything with power as a factor of its performance, impedance is an essential factor to consider. Most of the newer audio interfaces should have the impedance ratings necessary for the equipment used on them. For example, a Behringer UM2 has an impedance rating of 3 Kilohms (3000 Ohms). Most high-end headphones are around 1 Kilohm, so even a mixer like the UM2 should have enough power to run it perfectly.

    Phantom Power, what is it? Do I need it?

    To understand what Phantom power is and what it does, we first need to establish what it is used for. Essentially, there are two types of microphones, Cardioid Condenser Microphones and Dynamic Microphones.

    Cardioid condenser microphones have the characteristic of being able to pick up sound in a dome-shaped pattern, where the sound is picked up from all sides with equal sensitivity. Dynamic Microphones, however, pick up sound at a higher sensitivity from a specific direction, hence why dynamic microphones have the shape that they do. With that out of the way, we can now talk about what Phantom Power is.

    Phantom Power is a type of high power used for cardioid condenser microphones. They generally require more power to operate than dynamic microphones. You can usually identify them on audio interfaces by seeing the “+48 V” label on them, next to a switch or button of some kind that allows you to turn it on and off. So, do I need it? Yes and no, as it entirely depends on the microphone, you end up getting.

    Conclusions

    In conclusion, an audio setup is essential to further improve the quality of your stream. While it can be hard to get into it at first, we hope that this guide will help you understand all the different factors that go into making an audio setup better.

    Author

    James is a marketer by day and gamer by night. He loves sharing his Marketing background in the world of streaming. When he's not working on campaigns he's likely to be spotted in Verdansk.

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