I wrote a post on portable mixers back in 2018, I guess it’s time for a new one. Note that this list will be PO-focused: minijacks over jacks (and no RCA, of course), Volca-sized or smaller. If you’re looking for a compact mixer for your full-size synth setup, or a DJ mixer, you may find these options lacking.

I’ve removed the models that aren’t available anymore and added the new ones. Note that this list isn’t complete, but I plan to update it periodically.

You can skip the descriptions and go straight to the table in the end to see feature and price comparison.

Passive mixers

No gain, no pain.

DS Micromix 4 ($50)

This tiny passive mixer has four inputs, each with a volume knob and with a mute switch. It also has a built-in sync splitter, which is really useful for a PO setup. Out of stock most of the time, but you can subscribe to dichstudios for announcements.

myVolts mickXer ($21.5)

A sturdy 5 input passive stereo mixer that can be expanded with TAPS modules.

Retrokits RK-003 (€17.3)

This is an 8 channel DIY passive mixer that requires some soldering, and it’s probably the most compact 8 channel mixer ever. Compromises had to be made: no knobs, no mute switches. Adjust volume on your POs instead.

Note that you may want to make an enclosure for it, 3D models are available here.

TX400 ($13.8)

This compact 4 channel passive stereo mixer from an unnamed Chinese company is probably the cheapest passive option out there, and it even has input and master level knobs.

Sold by lots of AliExpress shops, not just this one. Probably available on every marketplace with cheap Chinese electronics. Also known as MC5, and there’s an active version called MC5 Pro.

Active mixers

These need either a power supply or batteries, but they provide amplification.

Bastl Bestie (€180)

The king is dead, long live the king! Soon after discontinuing the Dude, Bastl released a new stereo mixer that can do everything the Dude could, and then much more. Five stereo inputs, a dedicated feedback channel, headphones output, 4xAA or USB-C power, a metal case that won’t break (unlike the Dude’s plastic walls) – it may not offer as much as the VMIX-10, but it’s a beautiful weird little mixer for your tiny synth setups.

Tangible Waves VMIX-10 (€159)

If you don’t need recording and other features of digital mixers, but otherwise want as many features as possible, the VMIX-10 is for you. Six mono inputs with panning and sends, two stereo inputs, two aux sends with stereo returns, stereo volume indicators, four 9VDC outputs for powering Volcas – this Volca-sized mixer is everything the Volca Mix should have been.

Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X ($160)

Big names come into play! It’s not a PO mixer per se, more of a band mixer, but it has 11 input channels, including 2 stereo line in minijacks and 2 mono instrument jacks. It also has a USB audio interface (with micro USB, Roland, seriously?) and can be powered by either USB or four AAA batteries.

You can also look for the more basic (and presumably discontinued) GO:MIXER and GO:MIXER PRO.

L.E.P – Lumamix (Desktop) (€138)

This tiny mixer seems to pack a lot of punch. Four inputs plus send/return, a resonant LP/BP/HP filter that can be controlled by a light dependent resistor.

Mad Max Mixer (€115)

A 5 input stereo mixer with saturation, similar to the Bastl Bestie. Comes in three versions: fully assembled, full kit for soldering (€85) and basic kit (€65, includes the front panel and the PCB with populated SMD components).

Maker hart JUST COMBO V ($100)

It’s not easy to figure out what exactly this tiny Chinese mixer is capable of, but rest assured it’s a lot. It has 4 stereo inputs, a mic input with phantom power, a separate USB mute toggle, bluetooth input/output, a 24/96 audio interface, and probably much more. It runs on USB power (the site claims it also has battery power, but I’m not so sure).

If you don’t need all these fancy features, there’s a cheaper model called JUST MIXER S ($46), which is, well, just a mixer: no USB audio, no bluetooth, nothing extra at all: 3 inputs, USB or battery power, and… that’s all.

Bastl DUDE (€85)

The king of PO mixers. Five mono inputs, massive gain that can give you distortion if you want, mute switches, battery power or external 9-12VDC power – all in a compact box. Recently discontinued, but you may still be able to find it.

Maker hart JUST MIXER 2 ($63)

Don’t judge this one by its looks. Maybe it’s not that hideous in real life. It has three stereo inputs, global eq, a peak indicator and a USB audio interface. Plus it’s the only affordable mixer that has actual faders!

You can also get the original JUST MIXER for $46, it skimps on the audio interface, but adds battery power option and panning.

Nady MM-242 ($44)

It has inspired countless Chinese clones. Can be used as a 8 channel mono or as a 4 channel stereo mixer. Metal enclosure, powered 9VDC external power or a 9V battery, has two outputs with independent volume knobs and peak indicators. Not what I’d recommend for POs, though, as all the inputs are 6.35 mm jacks.

Cobra ACA-012 (£33.95)

Probably not what you’d be looking for in a PO-focused setup, but if you want to use a condenser microphone that needs phantom power and can live with RCA connectors, this is your choice. It comes under many names, such as Rolls MX51s Mini-Mix 2 (but I wouldn’t recommend buying it from Rolls, I can’t even access their website without VPN and that’s not a good sign).

MC5 PRO ($34.56)

An upgrade to the TX400 with an actual enclosure and optional USB-C power. Can be used either as an active or a passive mixer.

Rakit Rakimix (£26.00)

A DIY mono mixer with 4 controllable channels and one aux channel that can be used for daisy chaining. Powered by a 9V battery or any 9V DC source.

Behringer MicroMIX MX400 ($29)

A tiny sturdy mono mixer from the Evil Corporation itself. Not perfect for POs, as it has full-size 6.35 mm jacks. Power supply included. Mono output.

MicroMIX ($17.5)

Hmm, I think I’ve seen that logo somewhere.

A 6 channel stereo mixer from China with mono/stereo switches and a level indicator. Powered by USB Type-C – Roland, take note! You even get a metal enclosure, which is impressive, given the price. May be noisy due to USB power, though.

Sold by lots of AliExpress shops, not just this one. Probably available on every marketplace with cheap Chinese electronics.

It’s also known as DX600, and has smaller and bigger versions known as DX400 and DX800 (4 and 8 inputs respectively).

nonaMIX ($13.5)

It doesn’t actually have a name, and it’s obviously the younger brother of the MicroMIX, but with 4 inputs and no level indicator. But hey, it even has a power supply. I wanted to call it NanoMIX, but then I had a better idea.

Sold by lots of AliExpress shops, not just this one. Probably available on every marketplace with cheap Chinese electronics.

AU-401 ($10.5-13.5)

A 4 channel stereo mixer from China, powered by 5-12VDC (5.5*2.1 barrel plug). The cheapest active mixer out there, but then you have to buy a suitable cable and a power supply.

Sold by lots of AliExpress shops, not just this one. Probably available on every marketplace with cheap Chinese electronics.

Fancy mixers

These may be considered overkill if all you want to hook a bunch of POs to a speaker, but nothing can beat them in terms of feature per gram.

Teenage Engineering TX-6 ($1199)

Well, this one is impressive. TE managed to cram so much into a PO-sized box. 6 stereo (12 mono) channels, a built-in 8 hour battery, a 12 channel 24/48 USB audio interface, a standalone stereo recorder, high quality effects, BLE MIDI… The only downside is that it costs more than all the POs ever released combined.

OTO Bébé Chérie (€625)

You thought the TX-6 was the best looking compact mixer ever? Think again, and this time think pink. It’s a six channel stereo mixer with massive gain and nice distortion, single knob eq for the first 4 channels and 2 band eq for the last 2, single knob compression and a high frequency enhancer. Given that it’s OTO, rest assured it sounds as good as possible.

1010 music Bluebox ($549)

The Bluebox packs almost as much power as the TX-6 for less than half the price. 6 stereo (12 mono) channels, effects, a touch screen, scene recall, TRS MIDI and much more. Unlike the TX-6, it can record all 6/12 tracks at the same time, and not just the stereo mix. Of course, there are compromises as well: bigger size, no battery (USB power only), no audio interface; but it still is a powerful little machine.

Honorable mentions

p0k3t0 sync splitter ($10-14)

If you’re using your POs with a mixer, you definitely need a sync splitter to keep your POs, well, in sync. And p0k3t0 got you covered, with 5/7/9 way splitters for your PO setup.

myVolts TAPS (from $15.5)

Series of PO-compatible accessories, such as splitters and pan knobs.

Yamaha SessionCake SC-01/SC-02

I’ll add these to the table later. Done for today.

Summary

NameChannelsInputsPowerOther featuresPrice
AU-4014 stereo4*6.3 TRS5V DCknobs$10.5
nonaMIX4 stereo4*6.3 TRSUSB-Cknobs
PS included
$13.5
TX4004 stereo4*3.5 TRSpassiveknobs$13.8
MicroMIX4/6/8 stereo6*6.3 TRSUSB-Cknobs, peak indicator$17.5
Retrokits
RK-003
8 mono8*3.5 TSDIY€17.3
myVolts
mickXer
5 stereo5*3.5 TRSTAPS compatible$21.5
Behringer
MicroMIX MX400
4 mono4*6.3 TS12V DCknobs
PS included
$29
Rakit
Rakimix
5 mono5*3.5 TS9V DC
(or battery)
knobs, mutes
DIY
£26
MC5 PRO4 stereo4*3.5 TRSUSB-Cknobs, active/passive$34.6
Cobra ACA-0121 mono,
3 stereo
1*XLR mic
1*3.5 TRS
3*RCA
12V DCknobs, phantom power£33.95
Nady
MM-242
4 stereo
(8 mono)
8*6.35 TS9V DC
(or battery)
knobs, peak indicator
2 outs
$44
Maker hart
JUST MIXER
3 stereo3*3.5 TRSMicroUSB
(or 2xAAA)
faders
peak indicator
$46
Maker hart
JUST MIXER S
3 stereo3*3.5 TRSMicroUSB
(or 1xAAA)
knobs$46
Dich Studios
DS Micromix 4
4 mono4*3.5 TSknobs, mutes
sync output
$50
Maker hart
JUST MIXER 2
3 stereo3*3.5 TRSMicroUSBfaders, eq, peak indicator
stereo USB audio
$63
Bastl
DUDE
5 mono5*3.5 TS9-12V DC
(or 4xAAA)
knobs, mutes, 20 dB gain€85
Maker hart
JUST COMBO V
4 stereo4*3.5 TRSMicroUSBknobs, bluetooth
mic phantom power
stereo USB audio 24/96
$100
Mad Max Mixer5 stereo5*3.5 TRS7.5-12V DCknobs, saturation
LEP Lumamix4 mono
+ return
5*3.5 TS
5*6.3 TS
12V DCknobs, send/return,
resonant filter, LDR
€138
Roland
GO:MIXER PRO-X
11 total2*6.3 TS
2*3.5 TS
1*mic
1*guitar
1*3.5 TRRS
MicroUSB
(or 4xAAA)
knobs, peak indicator
stereo USB audio
$160
Tangible Waves
VMIX-10
6 mono
2 stereo
2 returns
6*3.5 TS
4*3.5 TRS
9V DCknobs, mutes
2 aux sends
panning
stereo volume indicator
fits Volca stands
PS included
€159
Bastl Bestie5 stereo
1 feedback
5*3.5 TRS
2*3.5 TS
USB-C
(or 4xAA)
knobs, mutes, 20 dB gain
feedback on channel 3
€180
1010 music
Bluebox
6 stereo
(12 mono)
6*3.5 TRSUSB-Cdigital, touchscreen
effects, eq
multitrack recording 24/48
TRS MIDI
$549
OTO
Bébé Chérie
6 stereo6*3.5 TRS12V DCknobs, mutes
1 knob eq, 1 knob comp
highs enhancer
stereo volume indicator
audiophile quality
€625
TE
TX-6
6 stereo
(12 mono)
6*3.5 TRSUSB-C
rechargeable
knobs, faders, mutes
digital
effects, eq
stereo recording 24/48
multitrack USB audio
$1199

Categories: music

1 Comment

Mykle · 2024-05-13 at 20:55

Thx, this is a super-handy writeup!

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