There are a few basic principles that apply to every mixer on the market. You can feel convenient for any analog mixer that you’ll encounter by learning those principles.
First, we will take a look at the different sections of a mixer. I have divided the whole process into three sections. By separating the mixer into sections, you’ll realize that it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks.
How to set up a mixer for live sound?
1. Mixing console layout
Either on the top of the console’s rear panel, you’ll find the inputs and outputs. It is where you connect input devices such as microphones and output devices such as speakers. On the left portion of the console, you’ll find a bank of channel strips. Each vertical column of knobs, buttons, and faders represents an individual input channel. That set of controls repeats itself again and again for each input.
On the right part of the console, you’ll find the master sections. It gives us primary control over each of our outputs: Master Fader, group faders, AUX master knobs, and matrix master knobs.
2. Inputs & Outputs
The first step in a basic setup is to connect the main outputs to the main speakers or PA system. To do this, you will have to connect the left and right output of the mixer to your main amplifier’s inputs. The master fader controls the level of these outputs, usually found in the bottom right-hand corner of the mixer. The level of each AUX output is controlled by the AUX master knob located in this section.
Let’s plug in some audio sources so that we have audio signals to send to those destinations. You’ll have to plug in a dynamic microphone for vocals into channel one with an XLR cable and a condenser microphone for guitar into channel two with an XLR cable. You can also connect a line-level device such as a drum sequencer into one of these channels using a quarter-inch TRS or TS cable.
Your mixer may have insert jacks on some channels. An insert gives you a way to insert an outboard piece of gear into the signal chain. To use this, you’ll need an insert cable. It’s a TRS quarter inch on one end that goes to the mixer. The mixer sends the signal out one of the TS connectors on the Insert cable that goes to the gear’s outboard piece. The outboard gear processes the signal and sends it out through the other TS connector, which returns the signal to the channel strip.
The signals that come out of the direct outs won’t be affected by the adjustments you make on the mixer. That makes it great for attending to an outboard multitrack recording device so that you can mix those tracks later, and the recording tracks aren’t affected by what you’re doing for the live show.
3. Channel strips
At the top of each channel strip, you may see a phantom power switch. At the bottom of each channel strip, you’ll find a fader and some basic routing buttons. If you want all input signals to be routed to the main speakers, you’ll have to engage the LR button on all input channels. Remember, the master fader controls the output level of the main outputs. Each input channel strip has a fader too. These faders determine the level of the signal sent to the master fader. It’s best to start with faders at unity.
When a fader is set to unity, it won’t boost or cut the signal. It just lets the signal pass through. The fader also operates on a logarithmic scale, which means that the same movement of the fader would be a minor adjustment around the zero dB mark and a much bigger adjustment, the further you get from the zero dB mark, working around zero dB, gives you the finest control over the signal level.
If you’d like to listen to a specific input through headphones, you can connect your headphones to the console and use the solo or PFL button on that specific input channel. PFL stands for pre-fader listen, so pressing that button will allow you to listen to that input regardless of the fader’s position. And finally, the mute button will stop all audio on a specific input.
Once you’ve routed your input channel to the main speakers or the headphones, the first thing you should adjust is the preamp gain. This knob determines the input level of the audio source. As you adjust the knob, you should hear the signal through the speakers and see your meters jump. If the speakers are way too loud, I’d recommend fixing that by turning down the amplifier rather than fixing it by adjusting the master fader.
The pad switch will allow you to attenuate the input by 10 or 20 DB, depending on which console you’re using. Every mixer has a high pass filter, marked with the letters HPF. A high pass filter will reduce all frequencies below a certain point. The equalizer section of this channel strip gives you four bands of EQ. High, high mid, low mid, and low.
First, you need to engage the equalizer section by pressing the EQ in button. The high frequency and low-frequency EQs on some mixers have a fixed frequency band. Turning the knob clockwise would boost that frequency band, and turning the knob counterclockwise will reduce that frequency band. The high mid-band and low, mid bands on this EQ give you the option to select the frequency band. You can choose the frequency bands you want to adjust with the green frequency knob and determine how much to boost or cut those frequency bands with the blue gain knob.
Using the AUX sends on each input, you can determine how much each source is routed to those onstage monitors. The pre and post buttons determine if the signal will be affected by the channel faders. Pre means pre-fader, and it won’t be affected by the fader. Post means post-fader, and it will be affected by the fader position. If you have two main speakers, a left speaker and the right speaker, the pan knob lets you create a stereo image between those two speakers.
? How to set up a mixer for live sound?
First, we will take a look at the different sections of a mixer. I have ...
? Mixing console layout
Either on the top of the console's rear panel, you'll find the inputs and...
? Channel strips
At the top of each channel strip, you may see a ...
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