Instructables

How to use an audio mixer (soundboard)

In this instructable I am going to go through all the control features found on most mixers (mixing consoles, mixing desks, audio consoles, soundboards - they all refer to the same thing). I will start with the absolute basics:
What is a mixer?
A mixer, in its purest and simplest form, combines or meshes an array of inputs into a few controllable outputs (hence the name, MIXer). It is pretty much universal that mixers will have at least a volume control on the output. The vast majority will have volume or "level" controls on each input, or "channel." A great many still will have a variety of controls on each channel, from gains or trims to EQ and aux'es and buses and PFL's and more; don't worry though - I will go through each of these at least briefly.
When a new sound guy looks at a mixer for a large church, per se, he may feel overwhelmed by the oceans of knobs that may or may not be there. But here,I will explain what these knobs do, and you will actually find them to be overwhelmingly simple.

The first thing you need to know is that I will be dealing with moderate to large mixing desks and sound boards, with at least 10 channels (available inputs) or more. These are what you will see if you want to "run sound" for a church or venue or record music of bands, etc.
 
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Step 1: Channels

The most important aspect of understanding mixers is understanding the channels. On almost all consoles, the channels are laid out in strips; the signal comes in physically through the back of the device, then passes through that channel's various controls from top to bottom, with the gain or trim at the top and the fader at the bottom. I will go through what each of these steps does in their own, well, steps.

Simply look at one of the black circle inputs (XLR's for microphones and snakes), then follow the column of knobs straight down. This is a channel strip.
joeltan1114 years ago
I love this tutorial....
going to use it for teaching purposes. 
But, i wish to ask if there are any guides or tutorials which detail the operation of a digital board, as this guide is focused on a analogue board.

This response is 4 years to late, but as of right now it would be difficult to create a guide like this for digital mixers as they are all different. If you want to use a digital one then you will need to find information specifically for that board.

sdmccoy1 year ago
Thank you so much for this. It is so simplistic and I'm glad I found you. Know I understand what I am suppose to do/be doing.
musicmike11 year ago
You mentioned headphones here. I wonder if you could answer a question.

I have a Kam KMD20 and want to hear the applied effects through the headphones and but seem to find out how to do it.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

Mike
yoyology1 year ago
This is extremely helpful! I run video for our church's Praise and Worship service, and if the sound guy doesn't show up, I'm left sitting next to the mixer and shrugging when somebody asks me to do anything. I need to get a basic understanding of the board so I can run it in an emergency, and this is just the intro I was looking for. Thank you!
_Basse_5 years ago
Can anyone recommend a "begginer" Soundboard ?
It all depends on what you're using it for. So, how many mics, instruments etc and what it's actual purpose is. Tell me that and I'll give you a recommendation :D
David, my purpose is home recording of "live" instruments. I have been jamming with some friends and we are now interested in recording our music. We would be connecting an Akai XR-20 drum machine, an electric bass guitar, a MIDI keyboard and possibly a microphone. What is a good mixer or soundboard that you would recommend for that. I have a lead on a Studiomaster Club 2000 14x2 for $200. Is that a good buy?
Yeh, that's a good bargain if you can get hold of it. You will need  fair amount of cables too. If you're looking to record digitally (idealy) you will need a way to connect the desk output to the computer sound card for recording. This can be done by connecting the stereo output of the desk into the line input on the computer, and use a simple program like Audacity (free) to record your session. The drum machine outputs in stereo (two channels) so you'll need two jack cables to go into the mixer. The same applies for the keyboard I would think (if it has a stereo ouput). The bass guitar can be run directly into the mixer on a jack cable like the other sources. The microphone will use one XLR cable. Ideally, you want to keep the jack sources on as shorter leads as possible, as they can easily pick up interferenace from other electronic devices, but the mic can be on a long lead.

So yeah, that desk should be fine! The only thing is that you'll be recording on just two tracks, so everything you record will have to be balanced correctly on recording to give a good sound output. You can kind of cheat with multitrack recording, my recording each track one at a time, and then layering them all together on the PC. This can also be done on Audacity.

Good luck!
This may be old, but you can NEVER plug a bass or any other guitar direct to the jacks on the mixer. It will sound horrible! This also applies for Pianos. You have to use a DI-Box (Direct input), converting jack to XLR
Our praise and worship band always plug directly into our mixer. We go from the mixer to powered speakers & have a great sound. The ONLY problem we have is the Behringer mixer started loosing 2 of the channels our mics use so we went w/ a Mackie PRO FX 16 mixer. MUCH BETTER!!! Our Church uses a Mackie PRO FX 22 mixer. We plug everything into a 16 channel snake which then runs to this mixer. Same as our band, great sound. We did however install DI boxes to take the noise out of the system. I hope we get years of service from the Mackies as this is our first time going to that brand. I trust Behringer powered speakers & amps but have too many friends that have had trouble out of their mixer boards. I really enjoy this forum 7 will definately have to lean on some of you from time to time as I've been a drummer since the 70s but am just now starting to learn the mixing end.
Hmm, that only applies on instruments and keys that are cheaper and so don't have a "true" line out as far as I know, otherwise there would be no purpose in mixing desk manufacturers having line ins on their desk, no?
Easy, it can be used if you want to plug in an iPod or CD player. You can go from <3.5mm minijack> to 2 (a red and white one) You have to use 2 channels, one for the white (left) and one for the right (=red). Make sure you set the balance for the channels respectively far left and far right.

I've never come across a piano with XLR. After reconsidering, yeah, a piano might be able to plug in directly. But we (my soundcrew) always use XLR because we don't have jack-jack cables that are over 50feet.

Only acoustic guitars with an element with XLR can be plugged directly in a mixer without a DI. (not very common, mostly only jack)
The Jack from a guitar gives a different impedance and voltage, and it will sound very crappy.
A DI is small pre amp converting it to XLR, using a 9Volt battery or the 48volt from the phantom.
Also, an electric guitar draws his current from the amplifier, and if you plug it in your mixer you might blow out some fuses.
If you're going to record separately and layer everything together, you might as well save on the $200 mixer, use a preamp, and do everything on your computer. I'm sure they have some good software for Windows if you're using a PC that isn't as costly as Pro Tools. If you have a Mac, GarageBand works fine, perhaps with a few more programs you can get for free. I use Logic Studio. It has tons of great tools for mixing, and a whole lot more.
Hi,
I would like a 3-input stereo line input mixer (simple and cheap as I can get away with) to combine an mp3 player, my laptop, and a white noise machine. Thanks, I appreciate any and all suggestions you may have.
Depending on the the connection (ie as long as you can get them to quarter inch jacks, you should be fine) then these should be suitable. The first is about as basic as it gets, the second adds a mic channel and some control if you need to get a bit more customized, the third has a few more channels in case you feel the need. These links are for the UK retailers but they'll all be available on global sites. Have a look, hope this helps:

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/behringer-mx400-micromix-compact-line-mixer--34407

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/behringer-xenyx-502-premium-mixer--31558

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/behringer-xenyx-802-premium-mixer--31557
Thanks very much!!
Take care,
Earl
It all depends on what kind of things you are looking for the board to be doing, if you give me some sort of idea what you want and I can give you some recommendations.

Andrew
07511 664218
www.zappedelectronics.co.uk
idkdoyou5 years ago
do you have to use a coputer to record your music and do ect.........
It's actually arguable that you don't even need an external audio mixer. There is software for every computer operating system that can produce the same effects. I have an iMac with Logic Studio. All I use is a small preamp for my microphone and my friend's guitar. Pretty much everything is done on the computer.
your explanation is very good !!
and you are correct that there is no need of external hardware !!
In olden times , the computer processing speed was very low . so they used external electronic mixers . If you have a powerful pc you dont even have to use hardware mixers !! right ?
not always but most people recomend it if you are not able to use a pro sound recording system
It may not look like it, but this sound board has 28 channels.
Braedenb132 years ago
Hey, I run a tech booth at church and we want to start recording sermons and putting them on the Church Website for home-bound seniors. We have our computer and we have a 16-channel soundboard. If i wanted to record it, could i but a XLR cable that converts to a 3.5mm Jack and plug it into the microhone jack in the computer, and record it that way in Audacity, and upload it to the Website? I just want to know before i buy the cable.

-Thanks
thegeeke2 years ago
I know that this instructable, but incase anyone is still looking at this, NEVER waste your money on a berrienger (sp?) board. Anyone who knows anything about sound would agree.
agree. No matter what I would be for. The Behringer Xenyx mixers are a bad quality copy of mackie onyx boards!
Any berringer board is a copy of another decent board. Berringer just takes good boards and fouls them up. They will use the exact same design, except with the cheapest parts and labor they can find. I'm told (I never actually confirmed this) that Makie actually won a lawsuit against berringer because whoever had designed the Makie board had too much time on their hands, and if you looked at the circuitry from a few feet away it spelled "Makie". Makie opened up berringers board in the court room, and sure enough, the circuitry spelled makie! (I guess you could say berringer copied the board "to the letter"!) ;)
psychodalek3 years ago
im with sliff. i just need to know the basics of what to buy to create sound blends and mixing like Bassnectar, Reso, or Deadmau5.
You need a few things. You need a dj mixer, midi keyboard or any other midi input device OR a synth pad like a Native instruments maschine and a laptop with software (pro-tools or something like that)
Perkey2 years ago
Thank you for this post. I recently became interesting in how a Mixer works and this Instructable is well put together and very informative!
pcool2 years ago
i want to learne this production of producing my bet myself and i need american bet
I need an idea of what kind of soundboard I should get for producing music. Such as creating house/club music. Any ideas?
darylelamma4 years ago

I need some help and I'm hoping someone here can rescue me. I used to play on the circuit for a lot of years and owned all of the bands live sound equipment. When we finally pulled the plug, I stuck it all in a trailer and stored it. I recently was asked to join in with some guys who were just getting started and I offered to break out my PA system. The trouble is that we had a sound engineer back then and I had one hell of a time trying to set the damn thing up last weekend. I managed to get it to function, but it's definitely not set up correctly. I was hoping someone could analyze what I have and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

I have a 32-channel soundcraft, but opted to use my Mackie 1604vlz that was used to mix the drums. I thought it looked a little more user-friendly. I basically hooked things up as follows:

Went from main out on the back of the mixer to the inputs of an Ashley 2-channel crossover and from there to the back of one of my Crown 802 amps. I had tried to put a BBE twin 31 band eq in between the mixer and the crossover, but it didn't work out ,  so I removed it from the loop. I went out from the amps to a pair of dual 15" with horns and left the 18"s unplugged thinking that I just didn't need them for such small venue.

I went from aux 1 and 2 out to the input channels of a Lexicon MX400 to get some simple reverb and on aux 3 and 4, I went out to a Presonus studio preamp to get use of the compressor, de-esser and other effects for the vocal mics. I went from output on these racks back to aux return on the board. I mic'd an acoustic for the other guy with a SM57 and then a 58 for his vocal and used a 57 for myself.

I also ran a signal from the aux out to a dual 15-band eq and then to a crown 602 to power two stage monitors.

When I tried to push some sound to the mains, I started getting feedback that just seemed to take on a life of its own. It seemed to be coming from the proximity of the 57 and 58 combination and I couldn't get the db levels up very far at all on the board without uncontrollable feedback. I also noticed that I couldn't push the aux out signal gain without creating the same problem and it was as though the volume was being controlled by the auxes rather than the main outs.

I'm definitely not familiar enough with this mackie board to tell if I have it set up correctly or what the problem may be. If there's someone on the forum who can take a shot at getting me headed in the right direction, I'd be grateful. We're supposed to perform again this weekend and I'm all for canceling it unless I get my **** together in a real hurry. You'd think a guy who owned all this equipment and much more than what's mentioned here would know how to run it, but I'm a player and wouldn't even begin to hold myself out as knowing anything about sound reinforcement.  

Any help, questions or dialogue would really be appreciated. 

Russell

Firstly, what make and model are your speakers? I don't see why you were using a crossover but not your subs - 15" tops should be relatively full range anyway, so even then I wouldn't reccomend using it for anything other then to keep hight frequencies away from the subs. For a small venue, I wouldn't reccomend putting anything (other than amps, of course) between your mixer and speakers. Are your subs passive or active? Does your crossover have a full range/straight through output? Sorry if this doesn't seem very structured, I'll look into this for you tomorrow, I'm struggling to stay awake right now. Hope your event went well. ~Cc
Thanks a great deal for taking time to respond. The speakers are executioners and they are mounted in Legion cabinets. I thought that the crossover might be necessary to separate the frequencies between the horns and the dual 15's. I'm not certain what you mean by full range/straight through output. It'a an ashley dual channel but don't have the model number in front of me at the moment. All of the cabinets are passive. The biggest problem I had was feedback remained right on the edge of expressing itself. The monitors seemed to have a lot to do with that and regardless of how I set them, if I tried to drive the sound up to a level necessary to hear well enough, feeback would arise. My mains were well out in front of us, so I really didn't understand where the source of the problem was originating. I definitely don't know my equipment well enough and am embarassed to admit it. In my day, this equipment was run by a sound engineer that actually knew what he was doing. I was hoping to get some guidance about what to use in my line of equipment to obtain the best setup that would be uncomplicated enough for me to handle it on my own. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Again, thanks for your help. Daryl
anki11284 years ago
 the theory is well explained.also well related to concept of q point ,bass and boost.
stval02204 years ago
Thanks for the Introduction of mixer. It is good informations. It has been improved my knowledge about mixer. Thanks again.
xXKab0oseXx4 years ago
hey 'ancient' ive recently ive been goin to practice with some friends of mine and i don't know anything about the 'technicalities of music so their sound tech left the band and now they want me to replace him, but i don't know anything about a mixer board. im engineering with an europower pmp5000. do u know anywhere i can go to read more up on this particular sound mixer?
please note before reading this i am not trying to be mean, i am offering my opinion from past experience how about u dont accept a job u cant do. if u cant mix a simple desk you shouldn't be engineering. if u cant mix a piece of junk Behringer then you have no hope of mixing anything. its something you either have or you dont.
oh well ive got to start somewhere and this seemed like the perfect site to ask a blunt question. and ive got to start somewhere but thanks for the comment ill take it as constructive critisizm
Markusaurelius (author)  hoihoi1514 years ago
True: "if u cant mix a simple desk you shouldn't be engineering." False: "if u cant mix a piece of junk Behringer then you have no hope of mixing anything. its something you either have or you dont." If everyone believed this, there would be no engineers at all - you don't come out of the womb with a trained ear and technical knowledge. You didn't, I didn't, and xXKab0oseXx didn't. Everybody's gotta learn somewhere. So it is true if you can't take a little Behringer yet, you probably shouldn't be advertising yourself out to companies and venues as an audio engineer - but you get better with practice, and you practice by mixing something. The owner's manual is a great place to start, usually. It'll tell you any specifics in the way that board works that aren't covered in my rather generic instructable. Then I would recommend practice by mixing this band's practices. See if you can get them to practice somewhere with a sound system, and since there's nobody else around to hear how bad you WILL be at first, you can play around and learn with ruining somebody's show :) The most important thing in becoming an engineer, however, is consistency, and just like any other skill: practice, practice, practice. You HAVE to do it on a regular basis. At least once a week, preferably more. After a couple weeks you should get real familiar with the technicalities of mixing. A good ear for EQ and processing takes a couple years of practice though, so don't think you're an engineering after a couple gigs - but don't get discouraged when you know there's something wrong but you can't fix it yet. A trained ear is not developed overnight. Read up, too. As ironic as this is for me to say, in general, stay away from advice on the internet, or at least practice some discerning. Remember the cardinal EQ rule: IT'S ALWAYS BETTER to CUT bad frequencies than to try to BOOST what you THINK is nice. Don't believe anything that goes against that rule, until you're a seasoned engineer who is confident and practiced enough to make his own judgments. Try the magazine, LIVE SOUND. Good stuff.
i should have put a resolve not just a complaint. the pmp5000 is a simple desk. if u cant get it working at the end of the day dont do it. what you should do is find an audio engineer, go up to them and say, "hey mate im looking to learn engineering, would u mind if i tagged along to ur next gig to watch u bump in and mix."
Ranx5 years ago
XENYX 802 Hey guys i jus bought the above mixer and having a hard time hooking it up to my PC.I dj online and i cant seem to figure out how.Please Help
hoihoi151 Ranx4 years ago
AHHHH Behringer. my eyes are burning from the nastyness. ok what you need is a cable that goes, Quarter inch mono jack, quarter inch mono jack to stereo 3.5mm jack. the 2 quarter inch jacks go in ur main LR outs and your stereo 3.5 goes into you pc's input
evilme5 years ago
Hey ,im doing a certificate II in creative industries(i live in aus) we cover this stuff pretty comprehensively ,i was recently filming a short film in the schools theatre(the location called for the theatre) being the only one knowing enough about the lights we crucialy needed and the camera down the bottom(i was in the bio box-place up the back of a theatre where sound/lights are controlled) i found using the mixer, a mic and sound system the easiest way to direct the film and mix the lights:-)Lighting desks are simmilar but never treat them the same, as you can blow things up(very,very expensive things) lighting desks are scetchy in the ways of warming up the lights .The stuff we use in our recording studiois pretty simmilar aswell except for 002-3 rack and amps etc.
cry_wolf6 years ago
I did this at my school for a few years. We had a sound booth with a relatively large soundboard, but my favorite was the lightboard. We had dual intelligent lights that used touchpads with programed keys. It was so much fun. Our sound system was also connected to instruments, so effects could be added. It was fun stuff..wish i could do it now. Your instructable brought back so many memories with my sound buddy Ryan. Those are some moments i'll always remember in my life. Everything you said rang a bell and brought back memories. Thing is, i didn't have people there to explain to me alot of the complicated stuff so it just came through trial and error. :D I've been into Djing lately and want to get into it. But finding cheap mixers and turntables is nearly impossible. :(
Markusaurelius (author)  cry_wolf6 years ago
Sounds like a pretty sweet light setup. Finding any DECENT but cheap mixers is nearly impossible. There are some pretty crappy ones you get for pretty cheap, but they are a waste of time and money if you ask me.
Oh yeah, the light set up was great. What would you say is a decent price range for a beginners mixer?
Markusaurelius (author)  cry_wolf6 years ago
For what application? For personal apps like home recording, I would say about $75-$100 if you find the right deals. But of course I'm no expert on mixer prices.
hey what's happening, I am slowly learning my way around a board, now am ready to purchase something small, to practice mixing and fading, what would you recommend?
Home recording was what i was thinking. I wantd to be able to hook it up to my PC to mix mp3s directly. Thats why i wanted to get This turntable which allows you to mix mp3s files from your pc instead of using records.
The Soundcraft GB2 is an excellent small-format mixer, but it might well be out of your price range.
Markusaurelius (author)  cry_wolf6 years ago
Well, when it comes to DJ type stuff with mixing of songs and sounds I can't help you much. I do live bands and that kind of thing.
Oh, thats pretty awesome. Would love to have a job like that. Is it your profession or just a side job? And do you use your own equipment or do they provide you with it? I've always wanted to do it professionally, seems like a very interesting field.
Markusaurelius (author)  cry_wolf6 years ago
Oh, I'm by no means a pro. I don't have a job (still in high school), I just run sound occasionally for church stuff. I was trained fully though, so I do know what I'm talking about when it comes to live sound.
Oh, lol i'm in High School too. Thought you were 20 or 30 by the way you talk.
Slipkyes5 years ago
hey man one question, some small mixers I see have "Fx" instead of aux, is it the same thing? I mean, can I buy one with a Fx out and volume control (post-fader) and use that fx out as a headphones out for the drummer? (I would use the small mixer for live sequencing, the headphones are for the drummer to have the click track in his headphone monitors)
Yes, you can use this for that purpose. The "FX" indicates an "effects loop", and there should be a return patch as well. You don't have to return the signal if all you're doing is monitoring with headphones, though. Say you've got a click track patched into channel 1 on your mixer, just turn up the "FX" on channel one and you should hear the click in the headphones (assuming you've got them patched into your effects loop send - NOT the return).
syme5 years ago
Hi brilliant set of instruction was slightly confused by you saying about set the gain by putting the channel fader to 0 dB and the main and use a uV monitor I thought you could use the pfl button to assign the channels signal to the led volume indicator on the main mix then tune that accordingly till it reaches zero level on that LED indicator or use the zero level light alongside the gain knob of am I incorrect at thinking that also while I'm at it got a mackie CFX 16 mixer however the inbuilt processor's clip is contently overloaded even if no signal is being sent to the processor and if the main effects send and "to main Mix " etc. are all set low it still overloads, am I right in thinking that the clip is something that stores the signal to be processed like some kind of cache or am I totally out by thinking that??
Markusaurelius (author)  syme5 years ago
You could use any meter you want to use the gains to get unity (all the channels being the same volume if their faders are the same volume), or just your ears. Clipping occurs when more voltage (due to high audio levels) is sent to a component than it is designed to handle. It is a very broad term. On a console, this means that wherever in the signal's path the clipping occurs, there's too much audio for that component. For example, your power amplifiers driving the speakers are set to low volumes, so all the channels are turned up to compensate. Each channel may be clip-free, but once they are summed (technical term for mixed) in the Mono or Mix output, the levels are too much for the components thereafter. You would see clipping lights above the main mix faders, or a VU meter reaching the very top red bar. Sometimes if your gain is set too high, that channel alone clips - often the indicator light for this is the same as the PFL light. If your console is clipping with suspiciously low audio levels, this probably means an electrical problem within the console. It might be remotely possible that some powerful unwanted signals outside of hearing range are making there way into the signal path before the console (like in a broken cable or something), so I would check for that first, since it would be a much less expensive fix.
ampman5 years ago
Great post, for the first time ever we were able to utilize our board and actually have it make us sound much better. My question is regarding sound output from the actual guitar amps vs. output from the PA. I am running Mackie 18 inch subs and the SRM 450's (mains) on top of those with a 16 channel Mackie board. Is there a typical ratio regarding how much sound should be coming from the amps themselves in relation to the output through the PA system? Ex. Should I run 60% sound through the amp and 40% sound though the PA? I guess the real question is the true purpose of mic'ing instruments and what role the PA plays in live play. Any advise? Small venues, 300-400 people.....
Markusaurelius (author)  ampman5 years ago
Well, in an ideal situation, you mic the guitar amp and you have 100% of the audience's hearing from the sound system, completely under your control. Remember the purpose of a sound system is to to make the same sound as the live instrument louder - so mic choice, placement, and equalization are huge factors in getting as close as possible to the live amp sound. Obviously, each venue will differ in audience, musicians, and available equipment. What you seem to have is a smaller PA, using smaller speakers that probably don't sound all that great as the only source of audio, so you'll need to find a balance. Basically, the engineer needs to use his ears and make decisions. One big thing you need to watch for is that you're covering a pretty large amount of people for speakers that small. Also, with that amount of people, live guitar amp sound is not going to be anywhere close to even across the audience. So, if I were you, I'd listen around and experiment and look for the balance between quality, control for the engineer, and volume equality across the room.
Calico095 years ago
this is exactly what I've been looking for. guys usually know all the stuff about electronics, so i've always felt at their mercy when it comes to setting up my own music with my own group. not anymore. i can take this tutorial and apply it to my own equipment. thank you.
nitrox0275 years ago
I have that same board as the one with 16 imports
JBizzle5 years ago
I've never really had official training before, and it's good to learn some of the necessary vocabulary. thanks mate
Slipkyes6 years ago
very nice tutorial, it really helped me to clarify some doubts I had on the subject! what I didn`t get is how can you configure buses or VCA`s? I mean how can I assign the tracks i want to a specific Bus or VCA? I kinda got confused on that part and didnt get it. But`s my fault I`m stupid, its actually a very good instructable, you make everything very clear!
You are right. Bus assignments are important - even for mixers as small as 12 channels can have separate busses. some people call them "subgroups" There will be buttons either near the gain attenuator at the top of the channel strip, or along side the fader at the bottom of the channel strip. usually busses are assigned in pairs (L-R, 1-2, 3-4, etc) the L-R buss will send the signal directly to the Left an Right main bus. The numbered busses will go to their corresponding faders in the bus (or subgroup) section, usually found between the channel strips and the mains faders. If a subgroup is selected, the pan knob will control if the signal is sent to the odd number bus (or left), the even number bus (or right), or both. hope that helps :)
sound235 years ago
Hey does anyone know how to connect two mixers and use them at the same time. one to control the main speakers and the other to control the monitors ?
In the professional world, Two different mixers are used. One for Front-of-House (FOH, or main speakers) and one for Monitors. This is achieved by having a splitter box that splits each of the microphone or other sources into two lines. One goes to the monitor mixer, and the other to FOH. Then they can mix FOH and monitors independently. If you can't afford a splitter box, using the direct outs of one mixer to feed another would work. (If you only have inserts, you may have to read the manual of how to use inserts as direct outs)
Sure, as long as one of the mixers has channel insert jacks. You can use a recording snake or a bunch of patch cables to go from the inserts on one mixer (probably house mixer) to the channel inputs on the second mixer. This could also be used to use one desk for house/monitor mix and a second for recording. Channel inserts are basically an audio tap, usually just after the gain stage. On Mackies, it's a 1/4" TRS jack - if you put the plug in to the first click it will act as a tap and not interrupt the signal. If you put it all the way in it will behave like an effects loop, sending on the tip and looking for a signal back in on the ring, I think. It's been a while. Look it up in the manual, it could be different on your mixer.
Thanks a lot !! i will try that, it makes sense, once again thank you very much.
Cool i just made a little instructable on how to set up one of these for your band etc! Check it out here dudes!Check it out here dudes!
0.775volts5 years ago
Nice instructable, this is a great intro to larger format consoles. If sound is your thing, as it is mine, you'll find yourself moving up to many large format consoles, and onto digital boards. Audio,especially touring and roadhouse audio is moving digital. it's so flexible it's great. with just one or two button presses you can zero an entire console, it's a great time saver. if you've ever played around with a yamaha pm5d, you'll find they are a workhorse and are used in many places. you can get studio manager and a pm5d emulator from yamaha for free. these are programs that run on your computer, you can use them to familiarize yourself with the pm5d. you can even program on your computer and transfer the programs to the pm5d with a cf card. As for mics, my favorite "Affordable" mic is the akg 414. a matched stereo pair is great for just about anything. For dynamics, you should give a listen to the sennheiser 421. the 441 is it's bigger brother, and IMHO, one of the world's best supercardiod dynamics. good luck, and keep up the good work!
DIY Dave7 years ago
Deos anyone know how to make a VU meter that plugs into a 1/8 or 1/4 headphone jack or a RCA speaker jack?
buy a VU meter and get its data sheet. there should be some sort of generic circuit in the data sheet. create the circuit, just the inputs and outputs are the jack of your choice. put it in an enclosure and call it a day. (this is the over simplified version but it is not that hard.)
You can also get a Vu Meter kit. Velleman sells some,as do other manufacturers.
Markusaurelius (author)  DIY Dave7 years ago
Sorry, can't help you there: I'm not quite to the building audio equipment phase yet :).
Congrats on a thorough and well written Instructable. You covered all the basics nicely! I run an MH3 as a freshman at my school regularly. You need to be careful in your definition of Gain, as it is NOT to be confused with a gate. It's not so much to filter out the soft sounds (like a gate) as it is to control preamplification, or in some cases attenuation of the input signal.
Markusaurelius (author)  inquisitivegoat6 years ago
Yes, good thing to point out. I guess what I really should have said is that a low gain will result in a loss of softer frequencies, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. When it is bad (I.E. mic'ing electric guitar amps, where you need the softer frequencies to sound right), it is called (or at least I call it) undergained. Gates don't really take out softer frequencies, they mute the whole channel when the signal is softer than a certain desired level. I'm sure that's what you meant, just wanted to elaborate. :)
That's a good point, perhaps my argument is flawed. Micing amps is an interesting science. The different response of different microphones can lead to good or bad effects. Perhaps an Instructable on that is in order. Have you ever done any work on a Vi6 or Vi4 console?
Markusaurelius (author)  inquisitivegoat6 years ago
As I told someone else, I'm actually just a high school student, although I've been trained; so I don't have much experience on different consoles, just the ones around my church and school (which are in the same building). So even though I know stuff, I haven't done much stuff, if that makes sense :) My church's consoles are Soundcraft Spirit LX7's - pretty old, but work (32 inputs). They have an MH2 I think in the new Worship Center, but only certain people are allowed to touch that, which is a whole other debate....
My dad is actually the pastor at my church, so I get to run the sound board. Not a large church, not a small one either, but a nice board. I would use pfl and monitor the input (see if the singers were on key ;)), but I didn't know that I could monitor the mix with afl. Thanks! It's a help!
I too am a high schooler, a freshman actually. The thing I miss on the MH2 is the fully parametric EQ on the Hi-Mid and Low-Mid (which the MH3 does have). The MH2 has a sweep bandpass EQ with a fixed Q of 1.5. The ability to adjust the Q in the Mids is very helpful when equalizing almost anything and I rarely leave it set at home. The MH3 has to be by far the best analogue console I have ever used. I don't care for the MH4's nested pots, and the MH2's limited EQ is a drawback. For everything I have ever used an analogue console for I have found the MH3's mix of signal processing and outputs adequate. (although I have found uses for all four matrices and wished for more) At my church we have a MACKIE TT24 which, due to it's extensive DSP power, has fully parametric EQ with an adjustable Q on all four bands. (not to mention the onboard compressors / gates / expanders / patchbay / etc, digital has endless power)
Markusaurelius (author)  inquisitivegoat6 years ago
Yeah, I really wish I had Q on the consoles I use; especially since I'm working with really cheap mic's. Did you know you can buy PG58's in Hastings? Any sound equipment you can by in a book store can't be to nice....
That's a good thought. My favorite dynamic vocal has got to be the Shure Beta 58, or in the Audio-Technica realm I like the AE6100. I tend to lean towards AT for vocals, my favorite condenser being the AE5400. We have two of those in a 5000-series wireless transmitter at my school. For wired vocals at school I tend to use the Shure Beta 87A. I would love the chance to use a few KSM9's but I don't think we will be getting any new mics in the next year or two because the ones we have now are in excellent condition. As far as instrumental/amp pickup I typically use SM57's for amps and toms. For cymbals, drum overhead, brass/woodwind overhead, grand piano, acoustic guitar, etc. I usually use the SM81. I've used a pair of KSM44's extensively for recording and even for amplification of about 15 vocals in a gospel band. Sometime I think it would be cool to use them to amplify a grand piano or a (very high-quality) guitar amp. Unfortunately the only pair I have access to at the moment belong to a teacher who retired at the end of this year.
Markusaurelius (author)  inquisitivegoat6 years ago
Everyone loves the SM57 and SM81 - great mic's; as well as the SM58 - which I prefer a lot over the Beta 58. We use Beta58's at our church too, and their so muddy - I always have to almost kill somewhere around 400hz, depending on the person. If you go to Shure's website you can see the difference in low-end response between the SM and Beta. I can't say I've ever got to use any of the KSM's - way over our church's budget (for the two rooms in which I get to work at least). When they built the new worship center, all the budget and good stuff got put down there...
I think heavy bass is pretty common among the Beta series. It is evident between the SM and Beta 58, like you said, and you hear the same thing between the SM and Beta 57. At school we don't have any subs, so really low end stuff becomes really obsolete really fast. Our in-house center cluster sounds like a speaker in a tin can, but for most of the year we had additional cabinets hanging in left and right positions that really enhanced the sound in the room. We had Skillet come in, and they brought their own line arrays and some really low drivers. At church we have a relatively small sanctuary with seating for only about 600. We have a single 18-inch sub hanging center up front which makes bass very evident and has the power to rattle things sitting on the desk in the sound booth. We use all Audio-Technica mic's at church, so I have never gotten to experiment with different Shure sounds where I can hear very low bass response.
Markusaurelius (author)  inquisitivegoat6 years ago
It's not so much sub-range sound as it is just plain muddiness that I get with the Beta 58, which is quite nasty, but easily fixed with a parametric low-mid band. I still would rather have a Beta 58 over a PG58 any day :)
Thank you so much for this how to. I have been looking for something like this for quite a while. The tv studio just got a new board and i had no idea how to use it until now.
cav1236 years ago
I am learning how to use the mixing desk in my church which is huge. Before reading this instructable all I knew about was the gain control, faders lol every one thinks this is good for church me 2 :)
jinventive6 years ago
This guide has helped me a lot because I am learning how to use the mixing desk in my church which is quite big. Before reading this instructable all I knew about was the gain control, faders and equalizer which were all I really need to know but it's always helpful to know more.
soundgod2196 years ago
Fantastic! Can I use this to teach other people the "how-to's"?
Markusaurelius (author)  soundgod2196 years ago
Sure. I'm not a big copyright fan, so use it all you want.
Thank you soooo Much! I've been looking for a good tutorial on soundboards. I'm learning the one at my church and have been needing something in writing. Now that I've actually read through it, its really, a lot clearer. Thanks again! Really great. -Roxie
hgd6 years ago
thanks for the diy tips. it is a great help for our church here in the philippines.
Markusaurelius (author)  hgd6 years ago
Glad to be of help :)
mikesty7 years ago
Awesome instructable. You have my vote. I briefly used a mixer in our school's TV studio. My job was the video cuts and whatnot, but I helped a friend learn the mixer board. I never totally understood it, but I think I got it now. It never clicked (sadly) that the fader was logarithmic ... i knew the decibel system is, but it just never registered. Also, are there any small mixers that just have fader control? I'm looking for a simple device that will allow me to plug in and simply control the volume of a few inputs blended into one output. Maybe i'll have to build one..
Guitar center has some for dirt cheap that also have faders etc, for around 70 bucks last time i checked.
get a shure broadcast mixer. they are $$$, nady makes a cheap knock-off, but you get what pay for in signal quality. Musician's Friend has the nady for $70. the shure will run about 8-10 times more than the nady.
Check guitar center you can normally get a small behringer for between 50 and 120 depending on what you want to do. My self I picked up a small xenyx 802 for around 65 its small relatively simple and has plenty of i/o options for small events. It has 2 xlr/mono inputs with preamps, phantom power, 2 stereo in lines, but you can get that up to 4 if you use the cd/tape in and aux return creatively, it only has one aux bus which can be irksome. I have used the thing to run the sound for several small robotics competitions and I cant really complain about any thing.
Markusaurelius (author)  mikesty7 years ago
There are a ridiculous amount of different mixers. Try RadioShack for a small cheap one. About the log scale: the human ear hears sound logarithmically - in both volume and frequency. The faders are log because if they were linear then one distance of change would sound different from another distance - i.e. 0 to 10dB and -40 to -50.
Markusaurelius (author)  Markusaurelius7 years ago
You might also try www.musiciansfriend.com or www.amazon.com, or even eBay.
Henridiaz6 years ago
RE: Semi & Full Parametric.
  • Semi-parametric has sweep (frequency) & gain (cut/boost) for each band.
*Full parametric has sweep (frequency), gain (cut/boost) & Q (bandwidth) for each band. Bandwidth usually ranges from 1/3 octave to 3 octaves.

These bands are usually in 1 to 3 ranges (low/mid/hi) in addition to shelving controls for extreme low & high ranges.
otakutheiii7 years ago
This is good, you covered just about everything, but you could also talk about cable setups and maybe rack effects.
Markusaurelius (author)  otakutheiii7 years ago
I could, but that would probably be another instructable. Heck, I might even start a series of audio intructables! That's not a bad idea...
Well if you need any help, I can write.
now tell us how to make one! jk.