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How to use a sound mixer

How to use a sound mixer

Learn to use a sound mixer is an experience that will allow you to learn to combine and control many audio inputs to create many different effects. The person has absolute control over the sound, however its use can be complex at first, so you will always need to start with a few basic guidelines that will allow you to improve.

What is the utility of a mixing console?

A mixing table It is an electronic device to which various external devices are connected such as microphones, CD players, instruments, synthesizers, etc. When the sounds coming from these external elements enter the mixing console, it is possible to combine them, to apply effects to them. and create new ones. sounds.

In order for a mixing console to work, various processes are applied, such as sending effects, insertion effects, equalizers …

Types of mixing consoles

Analog mixing desk

In the analog mixing desk the signals are controlled directly by commands, which act on the input and output signals. All buttons are directly accessible and are easier to use.

Digital mixing desk

digital mixing desk processes the audio signal in stages by software so that the signals do not pass directly through the commands. Faders (buttons) and controls perform different functions simultaneously so that the number of channels can be increased.

Powered mixing desk

It is also known as the «voice team». electric mixing desk They have analog mixers that include power amplifiers. They are used when a large number of channels or high power is not required.

Components of a sound mixer

Depending on the type of mixer, it will have some components or others. But in principle, everyone will agree on a number of basic elements which are the following:

  • Connections or connectors: It is usually located on the back of the mixer or above the channels. They are responsible for establishing communication between the inside and outside of the team.
  • Buttons: These are the physical elements that allow the interaction with the entire electronic component of the table. There are potentiometers that regulate the amount of electric current that passes through the channel.
  • Input channels: The signals that are connected to the input connectors flow through them. Along the way they will come across elements that will vary or modify this signal. These include the microphone input, line input or phono input. There are two types of channels, mono and stereo.
  • Output channels: These are the ones through which the signals coming out of the table will circulate. It is about the combination of different input signals and we can find the following outputs: Main / Master, Monitors, Preview, auxiliary, subgroup buses, direct outputs.
  • bus: There are internal pipes through which the input signals can be directed to the output signals

Step by step to learn how to mix sound

In general, the first steps in learning to mix sound are as follows:

  • First of all you have to connect the audio equipment to the mixer inputs. Each mixing console has a number of audio inputs or channels. Microphones and instruments connect to a single input, and stereo devices will connect to two inputs.
  • Then connect the device control for mixer outputs. Headphones are generally used at the auxiliary output connector. After you do this, you need to activate the channel inputs that will be used to mix the sound.
  • Then you have to turn on the ghost power. This type of power is an electric current that is supplied from the mixing console to those microphones or instruments that have been connected to it.
  • Adjust the volume for each input. This can be done with the help of a potentiometer or faders. You can turn individual channels on or off during the recording session, and you can even turn off channels with a solo switch. This way you can listen to only one channel.
  • Adjusts the bass, mid and high bands with EQ commands. This will determine the sound quality. You can control the equalization of each individual channel or the entire sound mix globally.

A mixer will allow you to make all kinds of combinations, you just have to follow these basic steps and train and test to gain experience.

Please note that these instructions, as well as the components, may vary by manufacturer. It is always important to consult the mixer specifications so that you can implement these tips when mixing sound.

Did you know …

Ron Diggins was a British radio engineer who, in 1947, built the famous Diggola, considered the first «mixing console» in the history of music.

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