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Selecting the Perfect Mixer

Selecting the Perfect Mixer

Able to work under almost any circumstances, but also allows you to input, output and other features, your needs, live sound mixer is the heart of your sound system. This Buying Guide includes information to help you select the mix you need to live. Since there is so much to consider when buying live sound mixer, do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-222-4700 for more information.

Using live digital mixer
This may be hard to imagine some simulation veterans, but a good digital mixer can actually make it easier to mix and developing a good voice continued. Digital mixers are generally smaller and lighter, has a very complex processing and routing capabilities, is programmable. Imagine being able to set up your mixer and signal processing, everything is perfect setting for each song, or even make the program changes, the progress of the song (verse, chorus, verse, bridge, solo, etc.), then let it happens - automatically - each performance. This is the state of today's digital mixing. How much it changes, because it requires a mix of investment of time in front of the workflow, but the end result is much better! Digital mixer also offers you to record live performances, there is no analog devices with only one option wealth.

Digital Universe evolved into a sound mixer living
From the perspective of the sound field has two general complaints about the digital mixer. First of all, their menu-based system often means that some adjustments can not be achieved as soon as they can in a traditional mixer, where each function has a dedicated knob or button made. Secondly, until the past few years, the A / D converter, sound engineers, the rest of the things required in most mixed in ears. Fortunately, the problem has been seriously addressed by the manufacturers to solve. Let us look at the issue in more depth a little.

Mackie's TT24 Digital Live Console

Programmability is our friend
There is an important emotional intelligence, then adjusted to a Web page through a menu or two, and sometimes frustrating is your gun. Live sound engineers generally resist digging through the menu, found in the fierce battle parameters. This is reasonable, because we all know, the voice ... ah ... life to live, which means anything can happen. But the latest digital mixer of the new varieties have emerged, so that these complications are the thing of the past. A good example is the Mackie's TT24 digital live console, its purpose is to maintain, programming and sound quality, while providing the most wanted digital routing the quality of analog circuit boards.

Set it and forget it - or adjust it in flight
If you are rehearsing a show and have a good chance that you will not have any menu night after night to dig. Once you get the house PA system set up so it has a relatively consistent sound, and then every night you should not do too many unpredictable changes on each channel equalizer. When you have you usually shows all need to do is adjust the settings to make any manual you need to keep moving and Production (to send a positive role at the right time, mute certain channels) up. With the digital mixer of these processes can be automated, so you do not have to worry about their performance. Then you can focus on fine-tuning the sound. Little things like channel equalization over a layer of the menu, this usually means you press a button, turn the knob to adjust, you need depth. With the Yamaha 02R96 and version 2 software, you can set up a patch and a snapshot taken in almost any combination, the effect of the scene and store the memory in any 99. Additional scene memories can be managed via memory cards or computer software running on the studio manager.

Yamaha's 02R96

Improve the quality
Digital mixer significantly improved sound quality of the early models. Most of the new digital mixer with 24-bit/96kHz now the A / D converter, the quality of many of the same studio mixer. In a Tascam mixer, such as diabetes - 3200 converter to connect to high-quality analog microphone pre-amplifier, to ensure a clean audio stream.

House of worship for your travel, club or
Digital mixer for the worship of the house works well. You can store and recall your settings, so it is easy to maintain a consistent level and EQ. In most cases, your main source for the same work week, so you only need to maintain trust musicians or speakers within the prepared channel.

Variables you add in the club, there will be a new band every night or every week. However, you can start using templates and custom settings for each group in the sound check. Then, when the act of return you have to remember their basic setup, make it easier to set up and sound check ready.

A digital mixer in a highly unpredictable environment of short-term decline, you may encounter a lot of appearances on the stage or occasionally a little time to mix. Programmability of a digital mixer to obtain more suitable than the pressure in advance from the "no" the perfect combination of things very quickly.

Studio scene comparison Mixer
With the advent of digital mixer, many of the issues from the past have become the focus back in the "live studio comparison" argument. Studio and live mixing consoles are just well-signal combiner. They perform the same basic functions, but different applications. These different applications require a mixer, to be able to do different things. For an obvious example, field input mixer, such as those found in the SR24x4 VLZ Pro Mackie, usually mixed together and sent to a limited number of places: usually the main speakers, monitors, a "studio" separate balcony speakers, and other mixers, such as the eight-bus recording console Mackay 32-8 the other hand, individual channels can be mixed into multi-track recorder plus a variety of control room monitors, headphones mixture of actors, and "security" tape recorder, so it's set up to increase the routing flexibility.

SR24x4 VLZ Pro Mackie

The first major difference becomes apparent when you consider the studio between the different recording and live performance work flow requirements. Many digital studio mixer, although they can handle multiple tracks, the lack of physical microphone / line inputs necessary to connect at the same time an entire band. This is changing fast, but because, like Mackie's TT24 mixer has 24 mic inputs and Yamaha 02R96 V2 plug-in weight of 16 microphones. The second major difference is that the signal needs to be appropriate, and out of a multi-track recorder. Studio mixer channel signal must be able to route to individual or groups of individuals recorded tracks. This line is also blurred the mixer to add digital life made a ADAT, AES / EBU audio, FireWire or S / PDIF format digital I / O. Studio mixer sometimes has more monitoring capability (different sets of studio monitors, headphones and multi-talent mixed), and a more comprehensive master section, including enhanced intercom features such as tape recorders and from, CD drive , DAT and things into a wider range of choice and so on.

Historically studio mixer is higher quality, it sounds "better", which may still be true in some cases, have such a high quality of today, these lines have become blurred. Nevertheless, it is often true in the field to set the audio signal is considered near, they may not record a meeting at any place. Now the digital age means that the field and studio mixer automation capabilities in much the same.

VCA Group

There are some things you may find that life is not the best studios in the mixer mixer. For example, some groups of modern life mixer mixing matrix, which makes it easy for engineers group signals (or mixed) to the alternate site location. Site can be used, such as mute the mixer and / or voltage-controlled amplifier group convenient features, as is Allen & Heath's ML3000 series of large-format game situation. VCA groups, makes it easy for an engineer to mute and / or control through a switch or attenuator inputs of specific groups. This is not the same group the same (still living mixer common), which is actually routed through the combination of the audio signal path. With the VCA and mute groups have their own signal routing, but by a common fader or mute buttons. This function is usually not in the studio mixer with automation. Live Sound often built so they are generally taken into account during the construction of portability may be significantly stronger.

The advantages of the mixer
You may ask, "Why would I buy an active mixer?" While there are some answers to this question number, the following three rooms for you believe this is a great solution, many musicians!

An active mixer is on the money right musicians who pile, such as clubs, cafes, and even school / church multi-purpose room small venues project. High-quality powered mixer, and provides all-in-one integration: mixer, influence and power to drive, House Speaker.

A well-designed powered mixer, smaller, lighter, more durable than a component system, and allow quick, easy installation and operation.

With built-in dynamics and effects processors have fewer settings, adjust and carry. This means that it can be installed in your Honda back, you will not have to buy a second mini-van or box truck, so you can run in the neighborhood.
An example of one of our best-selling powered mixer, a Peavey XR 600 grams, which has seven inputs and 9-band equalizer, digital effects, and 200 watts per channel.

Mixer explained coach

Bus section.

In audio terms, a "bus" is a focal point for many signal circuits. In mixer, mix bus, you will find, where 'multi-channel signal is taken (or mixed) together, the auxiliary bus, in which information gathered from the channel, is routed to the external destination - an external processor, monitor send, the more general such as a bus mixer, more flexible routing mixer will be. For example, the sound assigned to a AUX bus microphone channel can be sent to an outboard reverb processor, then return to the mixer, and all the drum microphones can be assigned to a hybrid buses, to improve and reduce the volume of the entire drum kit needs.

A widely used mixer Mackie's SR32 - 4 VLZ Pro, it has four buses.

Including the auxiliary channel section

What is the best mix of the monitor?
If you are new to PA you may be surprised to learn about the world out of control mix - to send signals back to the performers so that they can hear their own process. This is a good performance to achieve a critical factor. Usually get a good monitor mixes, front of the house far more difficult to establish a sound! In the large display of national tourism is handled by a separate mixing console has its own engineers, but for most of the performers, the main feed mixer to monitor. Here are a few concepts that can help you through the process of the display.

Mixed display from the Friends of Heritage
In most cases, the display is completely different from the combination of different combinations in front of the house. This is because the actors have to deal with variable sound stage - loud amps, drums, etc. - which make it necessary to highlight some of the signals and mixing. Vocal Group generally requires a lot of heavy sound of the singer who may not have much display and drums.

Using the auxiliary output
Fortunately, most of the mixer can be used to monitor the use of their addition of auxiliary power (AUX) sent. The excavation of your mixer's input channels and routes the signal output to another. Even cheaper, such as mixer Yamaha MG16 / 4 provides two auxiliary output, per channel, which means you can set two different monitor mixes. This can make it easier to show - you can hear the drummer he needs to hear, and the lead singer of the combination can be he or she wants it!

Before or after?
When you are using a monitor aux sends, you usually have to catch the signal pre-fader. "This means that the signal through the pre-amplifier (and the" cut "or gain adjustment), but did not affect the volume routed to AUX SEND knob or fader. By making the level of your monitor control channels - to send electricity through the use of auxiliary level control - affect the main mix. not many live console, including the Mackay using CFX - 16, allows you to select pre-fader or post-fader output for aux sends (post-fader sends are often used to influence - see below).

How can I add to my mix effect?
Even the most expensive mixers usually provide access to external effects. These effects may include compression, reverb and delay, doors, or any number of combinations, all of these - and more. The problem is, once you have your mix just right, you might to a point you want to add "something" other voices, drums, etc. Here are some ways channel, you can do to your mixing console .

Aux send control

Using the aux sends
The most common route, just as a monitor mix, through the auxiliary (AUX) sent. For differences in the effect that you want to send the signal to post-fader effects rather than the pre-fader. This way, when you need to adjust the overall level of a channel, send it to the level of impact will change.

TAPCO mixed with 6, for example, you can see, each channel provides two separate AUX send. The first (labeled "Monitor") is a pre-fader send. The second (labeled "effects") sends a signal after the fader. 6 and the blends many similar games, this is a single-channel transmission. However, the effect of stereo input in return. This allows you to use (for example) an effect unit, creating a stereo reverb from a single channel input.

Jack back into the mixer.

Use the Insert Jack
The second effect is used to connect your mixer using the INSERT jack, if it is included. Insert is typically assigned to each channel. Their behavior is different from the simple to send. Actually break into the channel of the input signal - from a microphone, for example - and the road back to an external processor. Processed signal, and then routed to the insert jack on its way through the mixer. How does that work? Into the use and constitute the majority of the output, and the ring carrying a return signal TRS plugs and jacks, and two ground sleeves. Insert the cable includes a 1 / 4 "TRS connectors to connect one end of the leader of the other two individual TS. Insert the most commonly used for dynamic (compression) or EQ on, you need to use a specific channel.

For example, some mixers, Mackie SR24 - 4 and SR32 - 4 VLZ Pro model provides into the main player for the good, which can be easily connected to the main reverb or limiter on the sound system. Alan Heath MixWizard3 16:2 in further, and 6 aux sends, channel and master channel and direct the output into a recorder sends a signal - or a separate monitor mixer!

6 multimix the Alesis's onboard effects FX functions.

If you do not want to rack of outboard effects processor performance come from the show, you might want to consider the existing console, features built-in effects. Able to facilitate the setting and usually provide higher quality to suit individual processor prices. In Alice's multimix 6FX 99 small internal mixer presets with format (delivered with an internal effects of external aid.) Another example is the Yamaha MG16/6FX, which also includes the effect of sending a dedicated knob for each channel (which is basically hard-wired Aux send). Its digital effects include hall, room, board, sound reverberation presets with adjustable parameters. Please note, MG16/6FX also allows you to connect an external multi-functional use of units or real or auxiliary send channel insert.

So how do you begin to shrink, the market hundreds of mixers, find a best meets your needs? First, create your own list of parameters:

>> Microphone / line / instrument plug-ins:
How much you need? Do not forget to include keyboard, guitar and bass amplifiers and DJ station direct investment. And remember for future expansion.

»Emotional Intelligence
How do you want done? Mixer to provide some basic low / high frequency adjustments, and other multi-band per channel to provide high and low shelving EQ parameters.

»Direct drop / insert:
You need to enter the channel routing to external effects or other processing equipment?

»Onboard or outboard effects?
If you plug in your outboard mixer of the current drilling of new gear you already own, you may not need the built-in mixer effect. However, the attraction of a built-in effects, you do not need to transport a lot of other equipment from the show.

»How many bus?
It depends on your signal routing needs. If you send from your primary monitor mix console, you may need 8 bus mixer, the band members to deal with different monitoring requirements.

>> Mono or stereo power?
Your output configuration depends on your amp and speaker combination.

»Monitor out:
Again, you need to decide how your monitoring environment will run. Select range from "no" all the way to a separate monitor mixer, mixer which receives the main stage is not the same input.

»Power or no power?
In most cases, the active mixer is designed for small groups and smaller venues, and convenient place primary concern is speed. Larger, more complex systems are usually used or a separate power amplifier or powered speakers.