The Best Powered Mixers - Consoles & Box/Racks

The Highest Rated Powered Mixing Consoles

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Contrary to the popularity of digital mixers and active speakers working in tandem, many still prefer using passive speakers with separate amplification. Rather than having a three piece chain with a Mixer, Amplifier and Speaker set, having a powered amplifier is lighter both in weight and in budget. Many still swear by well-designed powered mixers especially for live sound. Others that work with permanently installed sound systems also prefer powered mixers as passive speakers are easier to maintain.

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 nearly 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 RPM85

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
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 PMP550M

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$199
Behringer Europower PMP550M 5-Channel 500W Powered Mixer

The Behringer Europower PMP550M features 5 channels with XLR and 1/4" inputs, a 1/8" Aux input, and FBQ Feedback Detection System.

These are then amplified by a 2 x 250W Class D amplifier.

It also seamlessly integrates with Behringer's ULM Wireless system via a USB Dongle (sold separately).

Editor's Note: we do not recommend Behringer's ULM Wireless systems due to their low ratings (see examples here), instead we recommend these highly rated systems.

Features:

  • Inputs: 5 x XLR/1/4" Inputs, 1/8" Aux
  • Channels: 5
  • Power Rating: 2 x 250W Class D
  • Phantom power: 5 Channels
  • Equalizer: 7-Band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 6 x TRS, 2 x RCA Tape, 1/4" Headphones
  • Onboard FX: reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter and various multi-effects
  • Weight: 22.9 lbs.

Pros

For small to medium size venues, the PMP550M gets high marks from users for its clarity and feedback suppression. Some users who bought the unit for their Church sound system note that even with reverb-rich spaces, the PMP550M was able to suppress most of the smallest hints of feedback.

Cons

Some users felt like the lack of a line out or recording out was a dealbreaker.

Overall

If feedback suppression is one of your top prioroties, the PMP550M by Behringer is a good pick at this price range.

Rockville RPM1870

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 5+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$400
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.

Yamaha EMX2

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$450
Yamaha EMX2 10-Channel 500W Powered Mixer

At first glance, the Yamaha EMX2 looks like your typical powered mixer.

Don't let some of the photos fool you: The EMX2 is smaller than it looks in photos.

At a mere 9.3 lbs., it was designed to be a compact, powered mixer solution for small pop-up events and venues. For example, it can be mounted on a stand and operated from on stage (see this example).

Features:

  • Inputs: 2 x XLR, 2 x XLR-1/4" combo, 6 x 1/4", 1 x stereo RCA, 1 x 1/8" (stereo Line)
  • Channels: 10
  • Power Rating: 2 x 250W @ 4 ohms, 2 x 170W @ 8 ohms
  • Phantom power: 4 x XLR
  • Equalizer: 3-band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (main), 2 x 1/4" monitor, 1 x 1/4" subwoofer, 1 x 1/4" footswitch
  • Onboard FX: Hall, Plate, Room, Echo reverbs
  • Faders: 15 x 60mm
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs.

Pros

Many users bought the unit for its portability and were pleasantly surprised at the power handling of the unit. The one knob tone controls were also praised for their simplicity and people were happy foregoing a traditional EQ section for the portability the unit offers. It was also used by one reviewer as a backup mixer for his sound system rental business.

Cons

One user noted that the monitor out does not have power so for those who will use the mixer with monitors, they will have to use powered options.

Overall

The EMX2 by Yamaha is a compact powered mixer for small events and spaces. Get it if you need a small unit to push big enough wattage for small to medium sized events or as a backup for your larger amplifier rig.

The Best Powered Mixing Consoles Over $500

Yamaha EMX5

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$600
Yamaha EMX5 12-channel 1260W Powered Mixer

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

Compared the EMX2, the EMX5 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 user 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.

Behringer Europower PMP4000

90
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$479
Behringer Europower PMP4000 Powered Audio Mixer

Behringer endeared themselves to many by making quality workhorse music equipment more accessible and affordable.

Case in point is the Europower PMP4000, a popular powered mixer with 16 channels and 2 x 300W rated power amplifier section which features their Class D (low temperature operation) amp design.

Much like most of their products, this one comes packed with a hefty amount of bells and whistles, including a 7-band Graphic EQ and multiple effects.

Features:

  • Inputs: 4 x 1/4" (Stereo Pairs), 1 x RCA (Stereo Pair), 6 x Phono
  • Channels: 16
  • Power Rating: 2 x 300W @ 8 ohms
  • Phantom power: 8 Channels
  • Equalizer: 7-Band Graphic EQ
  • Outputs: 6 x TRS, 2 x RCA Tape, 1/4" Headphones
  • Onboard FX: Over 100 reverbs, echo, chorus, and delay presets.
  • Faders: 15 x 60mm
  • Weight: 22.9 lbs.

Pros

Many who upgraded from older mixers were impressed with the Europower PMP4000, stating that it really improved and simplified much of the soundman's work. Clarity and overall sound quality received a lot of commendations, even those that rated it poorly for other reasons cannot help but praise the sound. From karaoke to band gigs, many have put this mixer to good use without many problems.

Cons

The most notable complaint is that the marketing material, and some online stores, specify the peak power rating of 800W per channel. This led to some users finding the actual program power to be underwhelming, specifically, those that wanted to use the PMP4000 on medium and bigger sized venues.

Overall

The Behringer Eurpower PMP4000 is highly recommended if you need an all-in-one mixer + amplifier solution for a small venues.

Yamaha EMX5014C

91
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$730
Yamaha EMX5014C 14-Channel Powered Mixer

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered Mixer.

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.

Mackie PPM1012

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1200
Mackie PPM1012 Powered Audio Mixer

The Mackie PPM1012 is a full-featured powered mixer supplying 800W of power to mains and 800W to the monitors.

In line compression on channels 1-6 add dynamics control on individual channels.

Features:

  • Inputs: 6 x 1/4" (CH 1-6), 2 x 1/4" (Line/Hi-Z, CH 7-8), 4 x 1/4" (CH 9-12 Stereo), 2 x RCA (Tape), 2 x 1/4" (Mon Send), 2 x 1/4" (FX Send), 2 x Mon, 2 x FX, : Yes (CH 1-8) Headphones: 1 x 1/4"
  • Channels: 16
  • Power Rating: 2 x 800W (peak) @ 4 ohms
  • Phantom power: 8 Channels
  • Equalizer: 3-band Sweepable (Channels), 4-band (Stereo), 7-band Graphic (Main), 7-band Graphic (Monitor)
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR, 1 x XLR (Mono), 2 x 1/4", 1 x 1/4" (Mono), 2 x speakON (Back), 2 x 1/4" (Back), 2 x RCA (Tape), 4 x 1/4" (FX Return 1/2)
  • Onboard FX: Plate Reverbs, Room reverbs, Hall reverbs, Cathedral reverb, Gated Reverb, Chorus, Tape slap, Delays
  • Weight: 29 lbs.

Pros

This Mackie lives up to its "Built like a tank" trademark according to many users. Some liked how the PPM1012 also has power for monitors since some powered mixers only supply power to the mains, leaving monitors to have to be active speakers. Some also originally used the mixer on its own with a separate power amp but when that failed they found that the PPM1012's power section was actually better than their old separate power amp. Quite a few praised the quality of the effects as well.

Cons

A few were disappointed with the headroom. Further comments pointed out that there might be impedance mismatches.

Overall

If you need an all-in-one solution to handling passive speakers, the Mackie PPM1012 is a great pick.

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 June of 2016 and the latest edition was published on December 10, 2020.

For this December 2020 update, we looked at powered audio mixers that consistently rank well, and we ended up with a short-list of 27 models which you can see in the Music Gear Database. We then collated all related ratings, reviews and forum discussions, and fed over 3,200 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 nearly 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: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Product research, 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.