A battery powered audio mixer is a handy tool to have in your audio toolchest. Most all-in-one PA system speakers or battery powered speakers don’t provide for more than two or three channels. Even if they do, they don’t do it very well. I stumbled across two awesome mini mixers that have excellent audio quality, and can be easily made portable with just a few minor upgrades. The two mixers that I use for my portable PA systems are the Zoom Live Trak L-8 and the Midas MR12. Let’s take an in-depth look at these audio mixers and learn why I believe they are the best portable battery powered audio mixers wired or wireless!
Zoom LiveTrak L-8
The Zoom LiveTrak L-8 is a lightweight, small format audio mixer with 8 input channels, XLR main outputs and 4 stereo headphone mix outputs. The Live Trak L-8 has excellent audio effects on-board and can output up to 5 different mixes simultaneously! This tiny mixing board can be used for singer songwriter duos, small bands, DJ use, karaoke or even podcasting. The mixer also acts as a multi-channel USB audio interface or can record directly to an SD-Card in a live situation without the need for a computer. The flexibility of this little mixer is truly astounding!
This portable mixer also has one more thing up it’s sleeve that sets it apart from other small format mixers on the market today: it’s battery powered. Not only can this mixer be powered by alkaline batteries, it can also be powered by a laptop or a tablet pc! To add to this tiny mixer’s portable flexibility, it can also be powered by a lithium ion battery pack! I have developed a mic stand mount for a small battery pack and teamed it with a mic stand mounted shelf just big enough for the mixer. It’s fully independent and at your fingertips when adjustments are necessary. I have also used it with a tablet pc, powering the tablet with the battery pack and the mixer via the tablet-pc! I also have the luxury of either playing audio files via USB or recording my performance directly to Studio One 5 on the tablet pc.
So many portable options make this manually controlled digital mixer a must have for the traveling musician! Load everything in a small case and carry it along with a pair of powered speakers with another battery pack for speaker power if needed. You can also team it up with a pair of battery powered speakers such as the Bose S1 Pro to expand the number of channels and effects!
Zoom LiveTrak L-8 Setup Links:
Zoom LiveTrak L-8 Portable Battery Powered Audio Mixer Setup:
Midas MR12 (or Behringer XR12)
The second portable mixer which easily adapts to battery power is the Midas MR12. The MR12 is a more refined version of the Behringer XR12. Both mixers would work just fine with my portability add-ons, but the MR12 is several notches above the XR12 in audio quality and long term usability (IMHO). The MR12 has true Midas preamps and all connections and interior circuit boards are of higher quality. I’ve used both and wouldn’t trade my MR12 for two XR12’s! Check out my wireless mini mixer comparison for more details.
I have matched this wireless mixer with a battery pack that can provide up to 5 hours of continuous operation. I’ve also incorporated an external mini-router, which provides a more reliable wireless connection. Many believe the internal router of the MR12 is superior to the internal router of the XR12, but I had issues with both! The external router connects much faster and provides more range as well. I’ve attached both the router and the battery pack to the top of the MR12 with Velcro and replaced the long IEC power cable with a mini cable so that it can always be connected to the battery pack. I also provided a USB switch so that the mini-router can be powered off and left attached to the system (this mini-router does not have a power switch).
The resulting wireless mixer, router, battery pack combo stores conveniently in a carry case for the Midas MR18 (or Behringer XR18)!! This setup provides easy setup with battery power in a protective case for the utmost in portability. Simply control the mixer with an iPad, iPhone or Android device during your performance. I carry a Fiio Bluetooth receiver and use it for wireless digital audio and plug-in a Wireless XLR adapter for my microphone. The entire setup provides excellent portability and wireless freedom, while not sacrificing audio performance. This powerful battery powered mixing solution can even be used to tune your EQ in any space via pink noise. The result is a high fidelity battery powered audio mixer that will truly provide pro sound without wires anywhere!
Midas MR12 / Behringer XR12 Setup Links:
Short Power Cable
IEC Angle Adapter
USB to Micro USB Cable
Midas MR12 Portable Battery Powered Audio Mixer Setup:
Either of these portable battery powered audio mixers are truly mini audio powerhouse mixing solutions. The choice in most cases comes down to whether your prefer a wireless mixing solution or a manual mixer. There’s something comfortable about a hard-wired solution with actual faders and knobs that gives me a safe, fuzzy feeling inside. But there are times when I enjoy being able to move around the room and mix from out in the crowd! I typically use the Zoom Live Trak L-8 when I’m actually performing and need to concentrate on my instrument and vocals. I use the MR12 for DJ use, Karaoke, or when I provide sound for others. In these scenarios I don’t have the added layer of my own performance to complicate matters! That’s when I need the warm fuzzy feeling of faders, knobs and wires!!