Making music is for everyone, but making professional music requires high-quality audio, and that’s where a mixer is essential.
Choosing a mixer can be a little daunting at first, what with the many options on the market and needing a unit that is simple enough for a novice yet advanced enough to enable progression and professional-grade sound.
From the myriad of options, we’ve narrowed it down to the Behringer vs. Yamaha mixer, and in this article, we draw a comparison to help you decide between two of the best options on the market.
Summary: Behringer vs. Yamaha Mixers
If you want the long story short, you should opt for a Behringer if you’re a novice or if you’re not planning on using your console for highly complex tasks.
On the other hand, if you’re a professional who’s looking for durability as well as the best preamps and on-board effects, you should definitely go with the Yamaha.
The Full Brand Comparison
So, let’s start with Yamaha mixers with their different types, variants, and options. From the digital options, we’ll tackle the Rivage PM series from the digital range as it’s the one with the most options, and then we’ll tackle the MG-XU from the analog options as it’s the most popular, then, we’ll finalize with the powered ones.
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Digital: Rivage PM Series
All Rivage PM series offers four consoles, two DSP engines, two I/O rack units, and two network protocols. So, not only does it enable you to scale the unit to a wide (or more limited) application, but it also gives you more flexibility in terms of budget requirements.
The four consoles have similar interfaces, with up to three bays, each equipped with 12 faders. Moreover, they come with touchscreen displays and a Yamaha Selected Channel Section.
So, if you’re familiar with one console from the Rivage PM series, you’ll be able to use any of the others in a matter of minutes.
Not only that, but all the components of one Rivage PM system would be compatible with each other, so you can work with a combination of old components and new ones. This is even true for the DSP engines and I/O racks, which, not only can you operate individually, but you can also combine DSP engines if you want larger applications through mirrored configurations.
We’ll start with the PM10, which is the most advanced. It comes with 3 bays, two of which have 15-inch screens, and which enables multiple users to operate the mixer independently with different cues, systems, and sections.
It comes with 144 mixable channels, 72 mix buses, and 36 matrix. In other words, 144 by 108. This is why it’s a very scalable option.
With a DSP-RX-EX/ DSP-RX/ DSP-R10 DSP engine, and depending on the model, two 15-inch touch displays on the CS-R10 and one 15-inch touch display on the CS-R10S. There’s a channel encoder, channel name/color display, 6×5 custom fader banks on each bay, 12 user-defined keys on 4 banks, and 4 user-defined keys on 4 banks. Moreover, both models are equipped with two touch and turn knobs, with the CS-R10 weighing 187 pounds and the CS-R10S weighing 147.7 pounds.
The other options in the series have the same features, but the difference is in the numbers. For example, the Rivage PM5 CS-R5 weighs 92.6 pounds, has 3 user-defined knobs instead of 4, and 3 touch and turn knobs instead of 2.
The MG series actually comes in multiple variants that we’ll touch on later in the article. But in this section, we’ll focus on the MGXU.
This line includes MG20XU, MG16XU, MG12XU, MG12XUK, MG10XU, and the MG10XUF. All of them come with discrete class-A mic preamps (D-PRE), 1-knob compressors, high-quality effects, a USB interface, and a master block of a blue color. They’re different from the other lines as the standard models don’t come with high-quality effects, and neither the standard models nor the X models come with USB interfaces.
The most popular in this series is the Yamaha MG10UX, which comes with a 10-channel mixing console, 4 mono and 3 stereo inputs for a 4 mic / 10 line inputs setup, and a stereo bus.
Moreover, it’s equipped with an AUX, discrete class-A mic preamps with an inverted Darlington circuit, and a one-knob compressor for dynamic control facilitation. Its high-quality effects are possible with 24-program SPX and it has 24-bit/192kHz 2in/2out USB audio functions.
In terms of phantom power, it offers 48V, and it has XLR balanced outputs with a universal power supply. Add the fact that it measures 9.6″x 2.8″x 11.6, weighs 4.19 pounds, and comes with a metal chassis, and you get plenty of portability out of this console.
Naturally, the more recent consoles share the same features, but with more advanced options. For example, the MG16XU is a 16-channel mixing console with 8 mono and 4 stereo inputs for a 10 mic / 16 line inputs setup, 4 group buses and a stereo one.
Powered: EMX7 and EMX5
Both of these powered mixers are box-shaped and very portable yet offer highly efficient power amplifiers (710W for the EMX7 and 630W for the EMX5). The mixers are equipped with equalizers, built-in feedback suppressors, and extensive effects.
The EMX7’s equalizer, however, is a Flex 9 Graphic Equalizer, which makes its sounds more crisp and balanced.
The cheapest option touches on the $1,200 mark, which is around $100 more expensive than the priciest analog option. However, if you’re choosing convenience over budget-consciousness, the trade-off could easily make sense.
Now that we’re done with the most remarkable options for Yamaha, let’s delve into what Behringer has to offer. And because the division isn’t as straightforward as it is in the case of the Yamaha mixers, we’ll address particular options.
Digital: X Series – X32
From the Digital X Series, we’ll be tackling the Behringer X32. This mixer offers a fluid workflow with one of the most interactive user interfaces out there, which is a surefire way to get familiar with the console in no time at all.
The X32 has a lot to offer, and one of the most remarkable things it has to offer is how easy it is for beginners to get a grasp on. It also comes at a highly affordable price, which is why it’s one of the best digital options for a novice.
It’s equipped with Midas-designed mic preamps, Behringer’s state-of-the-art processing algorithms, and Klark Teknik’s reliable, ultra-low latency SuperMAC networking. It’s definitely not your average digital mixer.
The workflow is only enhanced with the new X32 v2.0 firmware, and you get a lot more control of the In-ear Monitor (IEM) system and speaker with the total connectivity that the ‘Acoustic Integration’ has to offer.
Moreover, it offers 50 on-board FX plug-ins and classic processor examples based on physical model synthesis, or ‘True Physical Modeling.’
And if you want to connect to multi-channel audio networking using MADI, Dante, ADAT, or USB protocols, you can totally enjoy that with the swappable expansion cards and the on-board ULTRANET and AES50 connectivity.
The console is equipped with 32 programmable Midas preamps, 25 motorized faders, Channel LCD’s, 32-channel audio interface, and remote control using iPad or iPhone, all on a 40-input, 25-bus digital mixing console.
Analog: XENYX SERIES – Q1202USB
When it comes to analog mixers, the Behringer XENYX Q1202USB offers amazing value for the price.
It’s compact at 12.17” x 4.17” x 16.02” and quite lightweight at 6.61 pounds, yet it offers great sound quality with its 4 on-board studio-grade XENYX mic preamps and the British equalizers that make it sound very musical.
The unit is equipped with a one-knob compressor that’s easy to use and gives you dynamic control over the sounds for sonic balance, and though it’s a tough job to control this aspect, the one-knob design turns it into a walk in the park. And +48V phantom power that combines well with the high-quality condenser microphones. If you’re new to mixing and want to ace your live performances, the Q1202USB is a very reliable option.
From the name, you know you’ll be getting a built-in USB/audio interface, which makes it more convenient. Add to that, it’s equipped with software that facilitates recording and editing your music, so it’s as good for recording at home as it is for live shows.
As for the mic preamps, they offer an incredible 130 dB of dynamic range combined with a range of bandwidth starting from below 10 Hz and all the way to 200 kHz and a bit above. In other words, you can rest assured that your mics will deliver crystal-clear sound.
As for transferring the sounds to your PC, the built-in bi-directional stereo USB interface does that for you with the use of a simple USB cable, which records your music directly to your hard drive. Of course, this requires reliable software, which the Q1202USB doesn’t’ fall short of as it offers you recording, editing, and podcast software, free of charge.
Powered: Europower Series PMP550M
The Europower PMP550M is an excellent choice if you’re looking for portability and compactness on a unit that will give you quality sound and performance to one of the highest levels.
Yes, the sound begins to fade the higher on the sound spectrum you go, but that’s the trade-off with powered mixers.
Still, the PMP550M packs 2 x 250W dual-mono power, which is quite impressive seeing that it measures 17.72” x 4.61” x 7.28” and weighs 9.92 pounds. The Class-D technology mixed with the switch mode power supply is why you get less heat and more power from such a small unit.
The PMP550M is a 5-channel console with 5 high-quality mic preamps. Two of those preamps accept ULM digital wireless microphones, which you can get from Behringer as well. It’s also equipped with ⅛” AUX input, which allows you to play music directly from your devices.
Not to mention, the well-known Klark Teknik 24-bit Multi-FX processor that comes with 25 presets, including pitch shifter, multiple multi-effects, class reverbs, delays, and a 7-band stereo graphic EQ with Behringer’s very own FBQ feedback detection system that results in little to no feedback.
What’s the Difference in Ranges between Behringer vs. Yamaha?
The first thing we might want to discuss when we’re talking about mother brands of mixers like Yamaha and Behringer is what range they have to offer.
Yamaha is quite organized, with the website dividing the 33 mixers into categories, including analog, digital and powered. The digital range has 5 series, the analog has 2, and the powered has 2.
And for a better picture, here’s a more detailed version of Yamaha’s mixer options:
Rivage PM: 4
MG: 13 (XU, X, and standard models)
Behringer has around 73 mixers, also divided between analog, digital, and powered. In fact, they even divide their options more extensively into Analog Mixers, Analog Rack Mixers, Digital Mixers, Digital Rack Mixers, Digital Stagebox Mixers, and I/O Interfaces.
At first glance, it’s not hard to figure out that Behringer has more extensive choices, and that’s why you can be very specific with your needs (and budget) when you’re shopping Behringer.
On the other hand, Yamaha’s -relatively- fewer options are quite robust and inclusive, so they suit people that are all-in about their music production and want as many features for the money, especially since the price ranges of Yamaha are higher in comparison to Behringer.
What’s the Difference between Analog, Digital, and Powered Mixers?
In very short terms, the difference between analog and digital mixers is that the former is more beginner-friendly and simple, but bulkier and doesn’t offer the same robustness when it comes to cutting out white noise as a digital mixer.
This is why digital mixers are of higher quality and come with more customizability, but that’s why they’re more pricey and require an advanced level of operation for the more demanding channel adjustments.
Powered mixers, on a totally different hill, are basically analog mixers that have built-in power amplifiers. This means that you can connect them directly to the speakers, and that all it takes is turning the power on if the same equipment is connected. That’s why they’re the most convenient and easiest to play.
Can Mixers and Splitters Serve the Same Purpose?
Not in all cases. Some mixers can work as splitters in that they are able to split sounds as well as mix them, but that doesn’t apply to every single mixer.
What’s the Difference between a Mixer and an I/O Interface?
A I/O interface is a type of mixer, and it can serve more or less the same purpose. However, interfaces are typically smaller, and work on converting input signals to digital ones for a computer to recognize them, while a mixer works on mixing sounds together and gives you more control over the signals you send to the computer.
Before you decide on a mixer, you should ask yourself what you intend to do with it, and what features you need exactly. It would help to decide between analog, digital, and powered mixers for a starting point, and then delve into which option to purchase from the category.
Generally speaking, the high-quality, pricey option from what Behringer has to offer would be the same price and quality as a Yamaha mixer that’s at the same level. Which is why your budget and purpose are two of the main driving factors when it comes to picking your next mixer.