The Best Powered Mixers - Consoles & Box/Racks

The Highest Rated Powered Mixing Consoles

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Despite the popularity of the digital mixer + active speaker setup, the powered mixer + passive speaker setup is still preferred by many as the more mobile choice.

Having the amplifier and mixer as one unit while using passive speakers makes for lighter transport weight and lower cost overall; an important thing for touring musicians, buskers, and sound system rental providers.

Having a powered mixer/passive speaker setup is also noted to be easier to maintain in permanent and semi-permanent installations.

Whether you want to update an existing permanently installed passive speaker setup with a great mixer-amplifier combination, or simply prefer a more traditional setup with passive speakers, this guide will help you choose a powered mixer for your needs.

The Best Powered Mixers

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

The Best Powered Mixers Under $500

Rockville RPM45

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$135
Rockville RPM45 1800w Powered Mixer Rackmount

The RPM45, according to Rockville, is an "insanely loud" powered mixer with a lot of clean headroom for larger events in a high quality wooden enclosure.

It features 4 channels with independent bass and treble controls with independent reverb.

A power rating of 225w x 2 @ 8 Ohms pushes passive speakers with plenty of clean headroom

Features

  • Inputs: 4 x 1/4” TRS inputs, 1 RCA L/R AUX input, 1 1/4” Effect loop input/output
  • Channels: 4
  • Power Rating: 225w x 2 @ 8 Ohm (Parallel mono) (RMS)
  • Phantom power: 4 Channels
  • Equalizer: Treble, Bass (per channel)
  • Outputs: 8-ohm dual 1/4” speaker outputs, 1 RCA L/R Rec output
  • Onboard FX: echo, and delay
  • Weight: 18Lbs.

Pros

The volume was most praised for the unit. It gets loud enough for small venues with plenty of clean gain even at 90% output.

Cons

It's cooling fan is noted to be loud. The RPM45 being dual mono was also a con for some. Some inconsistencies with some knobs jacks and other components.

Overall

The Rockville RPM45 is a readily available, loud and clean powered mixer that is sure to liven up your small gatherings.

Rockville RPM85

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Rockville RPM85 8-Channel 2400w Powered Mixer

The Rockville RPM85 is presented by the company to be one of the best sounding powered mixers on the market.

The RPM85 features 8 channels with independent gain, EQ, and reverb.

A graphic EQ, USB and SD playback with independent aux volume rounds out the features.

All this is housed in a sturdy wooden enclosure.

Features

  • Inputs: 8 x XLR/1/4" per channel, 1 x 1/4" TRS Effects send/return, 2 x RCA Aux in
  • Channels: 8
  • Power Rating: 225W x 2 @ 8 Ohms, 300w x 2 @ 4 Ohms (RMS)
  • Phantom power: 8 Channels
  • Equalizer: 5-Band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" Speaker out, 1 x 1/4" Line out
  • Onboard FX: echo, and delay
  • Weight: 25.4 Lbs

Pros

The RPM85 presents great value for a lot of users. The unit was noted to have more than adequate power for small venues and bars. One user noted that the sound quality was clear and precise without obvious distortion or wayward harmonics.

Cons

Lack of a dedicated monitor out was a deal breaker for some.

Overall

For the price, it's hard to beat the Rockville RPM85 for power and clarity. While the unit's simplicity may be a downside for some, the build, sound quality and power more than make up for it.

Behringer Europower PMP1680S

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$419
Behringer Europower PMP1680S 10-Channel 1600W Powered Mixer

The Behringer Europower PMP1680S features a loud Class D amplifier with 2 x 300W RMS (1,600W bridged) at 8 ohms.

Even with the power rating, the Class D amplifier itself runs cool and foregoes the need for large heat sinks or loud fans.

The PMP1680S also features dual graphic EQ's for overall sound sculpting as well as dual multi-fx processors that feature reverb, delay, modulation and more.

Features

  • Inputs: 8 x XLR, 4 x TRS, 2 x RCA, 2 x 1/4"
  • Channels: 10
  • Power Rating: 2 x 300W RMS @ 8 ohms
  • Phantom power: 8 x Channels
  • Equalizer: dual 7-Band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 2 x speakON, 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/4" (Monitor), 2 x 1/4" (Send), 2 x Post (FX), 1 x Pre (Monitor)
  • Onboard FX: reverbs, echo, chorus, delays, multi-fx
  • Weight: 21.8 lbs. lbs.

Pros

The number of channels and overall power for the price was an often-repeated positive sentiment from reviews. Quite a few love their units for small band performances and rehearsals.

Cons

Not loud enough for larger gigs. Noted to need better input attenuation.

Overall

The Behringer Europower PMP1680S is a versatile powered mixer with a versatile dual EQ and dual Multi-FX section. If you're looking for a standalone powered mixer for small to medium gigs and rehearsals and you need effects like reverb and delay, the PMP1680S is a great pick.

Rockville RPM1870

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$420
Rockville RPM1870 18-Channel 6000w Powered Mixer

The Rockville RPM 1870 is an 18-channel console format powered mixer with USB input and Bluetooth.

One of the primary goals established by Rockville was clear sound with XDR2 Mic preamps (similar to those used by Mackie).

Each channel has an AUX send and return for inserts as well as 16 built-in 24-bit effects.

Features:

  • Inputs: 16 x XLR / Line In inputs with individual Inserts and 2 x 1/4" Stereo input
  • Channels: 16
  • Power Rating: 2 x 750 Watts @ 4 Ohm, 500 Watts x 2 @ 8 Ohm (RMS)
  • Phantom power: 16 Channels
  • Equalizer: 2 x 7 band EQ
  • Outputs: 2 x Speakon Out (Powered), 2 x XLR Main (unpowered), 2 x 1/4" Main (Balanced), 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/4" Headphone out
  • Onboard FX: reverb, chorus, delay, chorus, phaser, flanger and various multi-effects
  • Weight: 33.07 Lbs

Pros

The output was noted by users to be "pristine" and clear with lots of headroom. The preamps and amplifier get a lot of praise for being able to drive speakers to a satisfying volume. Compared to bringing a mixer and separate amplifier, the RPM1870 also gets good comments about its weight.

Cons

The fan can get loud. A small number of users experienced USB not functioning properly.

Overall

If you want a portable console-style powered mixer with enough inputs for a full band or choir section, the RPM1870 is a good choice.

The Best Powered Mixing Consoles Over $500

Behringer Europower PMP6000

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$609
Behringer Europower PMP6000 20-Channel 1600W Powered Mixer

The Behringer Europower PMP6000 is a powered mixer with a high efficiency class-D output for massive amounts of headroom to push your passive speakers.

It also features 12 studio grade Xenyx preamps for a good amount of clean gain for a variety of inputs including dynamic microphones.

The graphic eq has a built-in feedback detection system where the band lights up to indicate where the feedback is occurring. A useful tool for peace of mind during live sessions.

Dual FX processors enable combinations of delay, reverb and modulations for more versatility.

Features

  • Inputs: 12 x XLR, 20 x TRS, 2 x RCA
  • Channels: 5
  • Power Rating: 2 x 800W RMS @ 4 ohms
  • Phantom power: 12 x Channels
  • Equalizer: 7-Band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 2 x speakON, 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/4" (Mono), 2 x TRS (Send), 4 x 1/4" (Return), 2 x Post (FX), 2 x Pre (Monitor)
  • Onboard FX: delays, reverbs, modulations, pitch-shifters, and multi-FX
  • Weight: 22.9 lbs.

Pros

The wide array of features was praised as most powered mixers rarely take on a "console" format. The 12 Xenyx preamps received praise for the clean gain with a low noise floor. Those looking for a powered mixer in a console format also gravitated towards the Europower PMP6000.

Cons

Might be underpowered for larger venues. Some reliability issues arose when used improperly. While the failure was not from the fault of the mixer, the user noted that it should not have broken so easily.

Overall

For those that want a powered mixer setup but still desire a console format, the Behringer Europower PMP6000 is hard to beat at this price.

Yamaha EMX5

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$630
Yamaha EMX5 12-channel 1260W Powered Mixer

The Yamaha EMX5 is a 12 channel box-type powered mixer with portability in mind.

It sports a 3 band equalizer section per channel (including the stereo channels), a compressor knob on channels 1 to 4, multi effects, feedback suppression and more.

To drive speakers, the EMX5 employs a dual 630W (4 ohms) Class D amplifier.

Features

  • Inputs: 4 x XLR, 4 x XLR-1/4" combo, 4 x 1/4", 2 x stereo RCA, 1 x 1/8" (stereo Line)
  • Channels: 12
  • Power Rating: 2 x 630W @ 4 ohms, 2 x 460W @ 8 ohms
  • Phantom power: 8 Channels
  • Equalizer: 3-Band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 2 x speakON-1/4" combo, 2 x 1/4" (main stereo line out), 2 x 1/4" (aux 1, aux2), 1 x stereo RCA (record out)
  • Onboard FX: Reverb, Delay, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Pitch, Tremolo
  • Faders: 15 x 60mm
  • Weight: 20.9 lbs.

Pros

The EMX5's ruggedness gets consistent mentions from users, with one owning his unit for 5 years without a single malfunction despite being brought from hot beaches to cold winter events. Many found the EMX5 easy to transport and set up as well.

Cons

Some users found that despite the power rating, it wasn't as loud as what they expected it to be. Further comments and discussion point to impedance mismatching. For the best headroom, make sure your impedances are matched according to the manufacturer's indicated specifications.

Overall

The EMX5 is a wonder of a unit; portable enough to take around while being full featured enough to provide more than adequate levels of tweakability.

Yamaha EMX5014C

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$770
Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Channel Powered Mixer

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered Mixer - for the second year in a row!

This 14-Channel mixer is meant to be an all-in-one answer to the typical needs of small venue sound reinforcement.

It has enough input options and controls for most musical applications, while saving on space and weight.

Features

  • Inputs: 8 x XLR, 6 x 1/4" Mono, 6 x 1/4" (CH 1-6), 4 x 1/4" (CH 7-10, Stereo), 4 x 1/4"(CH 11-14, Stereo, RCA)
  • Channels: 14
  • Power Rating: 350W @ 8 ohms, 500W @ 4 ohms
  • Phantom power: 8 Channels
  • Equalizer: 9-band Graphic (Main), 3-band Sweepable Mid (Channels), 3-band (Stereo)
  • Onboard FX: Reverb, Drum Ambience, Echo, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Autowah, Distortion
  • Faders: 14 x 60mm
  • Weight: 23 lbs.

Pros

Reliability and sound quality were commended multiple times, prompting many users to not only rate the Yamaha EMX5014C highly, but to also recommend it to others. Ease of use and setup were also brought up often, with special emphasis on how easy to ease to get great sounds with the unit.

Cons

There were a few users who wanted a bit more EQ versatility from the unit, specifically on tweaking the monitor output. Other than that, most have good words to say, even those that deducted some points because of EQ features that they felt were lacking.

Overall

If you're looking for a budget-friendly and reliable 14-channel powered mixer, then check out the Yamaha EMX5014C.

Things to Consider When Buying A Powered Mixer

How Much Power Do I Need?

The key thing to take note of is how big your venue is. Small venues can get away with one or two speakers so checking these speakers for their power requirement to achieve their optimum operating volume is key. Bear in mind that it is much better to distribute power and volume across multiple speakers than it is to push fewer speakers to a loud volume. Not only does it stress your speakers, but it also stresses the people directly in front of them! With sound systems, volume goes hand in hand with dispersion and your power requirement is then a matter of how many speakers are you going to use to achieve an optimum level of volume rather than how loud you want one or two speakers to be.

For a more technical explanation, check out this Live Sound 101 primer by B & H.

Inputs, Phantom Power and Channels

The more input options available, the easier it is to accommodate the different instruments and tools of performers. If you're using mics that require Phantom Power, you'll want as many phantom power equipped channels to match the number of mics. The same rule applies to channels, more channels will let you accommodate more sound sources simultaneously. On the flip side, the inputs and channels require more space and components, which translate to added bulk, weight and cost. So it is recommended to assess your needs prior to buying a mixer. 16 Channels is good enough for the usual band setup.

Powered vs Passive Mixers

Powered mixers come with built-in amplifiers, so they perform two tasks simultaneously and allow for an even more streamlined and centralized operation. With these, you don't need a separate amplifier, simplifying setup and reducing potential clutter. Since these mixers house the amplifier, all the amp controls are also accessible within the unit. Passive mixers on the other hand require a separate amplifier to work, and along with it extra cables, or you need to use powered speakers. While it does complicate setup, it makes troubleshooting easier since the two units are separated, also reliability is better since there are fewer components within the mixer.

EQ, Effects and Other Tone Shaping Elements

EQ settings and effects allow you to make quick fixes and adjustments to the resulting sound, which is important especially in a live performance situation. Note that having too many of these options may be detrimental, in that you may waste too much time setting up.

Gear Compatibility

The main compatibility considerations include how many phantom powered mics you'll be using, the number and types of inputs, built-in effects, and the ability to directly connect to a computer for live recording if that's what you need. Another factor is checking to see if your speakers or the speaker you're going to buy have impedances that match the mixer's power. The most common problem caused by impedance mismatching is inefficiency which results in low headroom.

Desk/Console vs Rackmount Form Factor

Choosing the right form factor boils down to how portable you want your setup to be. For more permanent setups, Desk/Console form factors would be the way to go especially when they have faders. Rackmount or Box units offer the convenience of being able to transport them along with other outboard gear you may have. This doesn't mean Desk/Console form factor mixers aren't portable, but it will depend on how much of your setup is integrated as a system. Rackmount systems with outboard gear in the set up allows fast set up and teardown but often don't have the controls and faders like Desk/Console types.

Best Powered Mixer Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on December 10, 2021.

For this December 2021 edition, we looked at powered audio mixers that consistently rank well, and we ended up with a short-list of 23 models which you can see in the Music Gear Database. We then collated all related ratings, reviews and forum discussions, and fed over 3,100 of them into the Gearank Algorithm. This process gave us the rating scores out of 100 that helped us narrow down the list to the highest rated among them. The result is the list that you see above, separated and sorted according to price ranges. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

Aside from endlessly window shopping and watching hours of gear reviews for leisure, he enjoys playing competitive FPS games, MMORPGs and caring for his 5 cats. He is primarily influenced by guitarists like Kurt Ballou and Paul Gilbert. His favorite pieces of gear are his Ibanez RG550RFR, Orange Brent Hinds Terror amplifier and EQD Acapulco Gold fuzz.

Contributors

Alexander Briones: Product research and Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of Yamaha and Mackie mixing consoles.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

hello what power amp do I

Hello what power amp do I need to power my z10 thanks mick.

Hi Mick - I'm not sure what

Hi Mick - I'm not sure what you mean by "z10", can you provide a link to an example?

I read it some where that we

I read it some where that we should not use the power mixer to set up with power speaker due to conflict some thing between them and make the power speaker easy blow up after while use them. Is that true? if not then what is best mix between power speaker and mixer?

Powered means that they have

Powered means that they have an amplifier built-in, so if you send an amplified signal from a powered mixer to a powered speaker which is expecting only a line level signal, then yes you will damage the powered speaker.

Technically, you could use a line level output from a powered mixer to safely drive a powered speaker, but then you wouldn't be using the amplifier in the mixer so you'd be paying for an amp you're not using and you'd have extra weight to lug around.

For these reasons it's best to use powered mixers with passive speakers (unpowered) and use unpowered mixers with powered speakers.

If i pick unpower mixer and

If i pick unpower mixer and power speaker and sub speaker, which kind of sub speaker should go with that set? Do i need amplyfier with power sub speaker? Thank you for all your help in past post .

I have interests in the

I have interests in the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. What where the reasons to remove this one? It's a digital mixer, seems really good for small home studio. Is it outdated? Please let me know, thank you.

The PreSonus StudioLive 16.0

The PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 only just missed the cutoff for being included when we updated the guide due to other options having higher ratings.

It's ratings are still quite good and many people are happy with having chosen it.

Yamaha will be your best

Yamaha will be your best choice for any high end application in professional audio equipment .

Back when we completed the

Back when we completed the research for this guide, Soundcraft mixers didn't make it onto our short-list, however a quick look at the current data suggests they will at least be on that list when we next update this guide.