Analogue Vs. Digital: Battle of the Mixers

Analogue & Digital in a Nutshell

Mixers, before we get stuck in let's lay things down in layman terms: Analogue mixers are all electrical. As it's not split into component frequencies and moulded back together, the device will produce what we would call a 'natural' sound. Digital mixers take a given electrical signal and turn it into a numeric representation, a binary code that makes up the language of digital. In this form the sound is split into component frequencies before being sent back out as a reformed electrical signal.

Unnatural Sound: Why Digital?

Maintaining a natural sound may be all well and good for that audiophile experience but for those looking to 'jazz up' their mixes digital has all the answers. Aside from the calculated dynamics and EQs you'll often find a dense pallet of FX to manipulate and colour your mixes. Applicable to single channels or utilised across the board. Pioneer's DJM-750MK2 is one such example; with a number of beat FX like Echo, Roll, Reverb and Spiral, and send/return functionality, you can really get creative. USB connectivity allows for integration with laptop, PC and other external software too.

Keeping it Old Skool: Why Analogue?

For an unadulterated warm and 'natural' sound - due to the lack of conversion process - analogue maintains its champion status. Favoured by record collectors and audiophiles for their crisp output and smooth filters. Interfaces tend towards intuitive designs for a 'set up and go' experience. Allen & Heath have long been flagship producers of such analogue tech and the Xone:92 is no exception. Precise sound shaping enhanced by one of the best 4-band EQ sections around. Its AUX sends can grant output to external FX units but - aside from high-quality filter and resonance features - does not come as part of the package.

Best of Both Worlds

With all this digital and analogue tech flying around it's no surprise that a few hybrid mixers have sprung up in the process. Perhaps the most well-known of them all is Rane's MP2015, one piece of kit that both sounds and looks incredibly impressive - a book you can judge by its cover. Capable of maintaining an analogue signal while also built for digital applications too; with dual USB connections, and DVS ready, DJ switch over and software integration has never been easier. Considered to have the best sound, the best features, the best feel, and the best reliability and durability on the market.

Choose Wisely, Choose Personally

When it comes down to it, who you are and what you're after should ultimately guide your decision. There will never be an overall winner... merely a winner of circumstance. If intricate FX and mp3 libraries are your tipple, digital mixers with all the necessary on board capabilities is certainly the way to go (saving a few bob on external modules in the process). For the sound shapers and hardcore vinyl users, stick to the analogue format. And for those that want a timeless, high quality piece of performance-mixing hardware, immune to ageing, then the MP2015 is your lifelong commitment.