How To Use An Audio Mixer

Have you ever confused yourself on seeing the audio mixing board and wondered where the earth is on earth to start with? If you are new to music production, then definitely know the buttons, and the number of sliders would have driven you with that question as it happened to me at the very first sight when I got one. 

The consoles are pretty easy to follow once you start to look at them in detail. Getting to know about the hardware layout and functions will also help you when you go for a software-based mixer, as it uses the same patterns and principles of design and flow that keeps things standard across the domains. 

We recommend you go through the article, so even if you don’t want to have a hardware console, this knowledge will still help you when you use a mixer inside your DAW. So let’s see how to use an audio mixer.

How To Use An Audio Mixer

What Is An Audio Mixer?

Audio Mixers – in any form like the board, mixing desk, console, soundboards – all of these names mean the same thing. A mixing office brings together the different devices and zones that you have written and saved. You can change the settings for each partition as desired:

  • Volume
  • Frequency content
  • Stereo status
  • Effects and Dynamics

You can combine different pieces of your music into one using the mixer, then download it as a stereo file on a CD or download it as an MP3 somewhere.

Types of mixing Board arrangements

The composition tables can be divided into two main categories: 

  • Input Section – The input section is where you send the signal to be recorded in the mix.
  • Monitoring unit – The monitoring section is where you will listen exactly what you have already entered.

With that in mind, you’ll find two different arrangements in the hardware mixer. They are:

  • In-Line.
  • Split.

With a Split mixer, these two sections are located in separate parts of the table. The In-line console contains both the input section and the monitoring section on the same channel strip.

Channel Input Strip

Let’s examine the specific properties of the input strip to see what all of the controls are. Once you know it, you will learn control at 80% of the audio desk control, as these channel strips are only repeated on the desk.

Input section

This is where you improve the amount of input gain before going further into the input level.

You won’t get all of the following restrictions on each mix, but it’s worth knowing about them for future reference:

  • Gain Level – Determines the amount of signal entering the channel’s built-in preamp.
  • Pad – This can reduce the amount of input for a while, usually to avoid distortion of the input signal by -20 dB.
  • Phase inversion – converts the stage of the input signal 180 degrees (the reverse).
  • Phantom power – The capacitor provides +48 V power to the microphone and the DI box.
  • Mic / Line – Selects the input type: XLR connection at the microphone level or quarter-inch jack connection at the line level.
  • Flip – found in the online mix. Changes the channel from the input function to the monitoring function.

The Assistant Sends

You will make full use of this area a lot. This is where a copy of the entry signal can be sent to the different impact units outside the mixer.

For example, a guitar input can be sent to an inverted unit via an aux. The stereo output from the Reverb unit returns to the mixer on the other two input channels so that you can combine the two signals.

The Aux send console can also create a subset of the inputs, usually transmitted to a monitor or headphone mix in the studio. You typically send four to eight axes to the input channel of the table – it depends on the size of the table.

One important thing to remember about the auxiliary send is the choice of the pre-fader/ post-fader section.

  • Front Fader

If selected, the channel output dimmer (slider under the channel strip) does not affect the amount of signal sent by the aux. It is usually chosen as the control mix when a mix of previously recorded tracks is sent to a musician via headphones while recording a new song.

  • Post-Fader

If selected, the channel output blur affects the amount of DOES signal sent. This is usually chosen when sending messages to the impact unit, as it is easy to control the amount of signal sent to the group with channel blur.

Pan

It places the sound from left to right in the stereo area. The knob is called a pot, which is short for a large potentiometer.

EQ

This changes the frequency content of your records.

Mute/Solo

Mute – Unable to listen to the channel.

Solo – You can only listen to this channel, and all others are silent. You can isolate several channels at the same time.

Routing Channels

The Channel Assignment section is mainly used if you are recording to an external source such as a tape recorder or multitrack recorder. You can select where you want to send the input signal.

Insert point

This is usually the link behind a channel piece. This connects with the signal path of the input channel with the external device. These are commonly used for a signal processing device such as a gate, compressor, a limiter, or an external EQ unit.

Final Thoughts

We have shown you the basic principles of mixing consoles, and they are more or less the same as comparing physical consoles to DAW software mixers.

Features such as using an equalizer for sound, controlling the ready-to-record input, sending a signal to an effect unit, or the software effect plug-in – there are many things you can control from the mixed group, such as creating and creating your tracks. It is undoubtedly an essential part of the studio to learn better.

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