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Mixing Consoles

Signal processing

Sound Control
Mixer - Heart of the Audio System

Mixer - Heart of the Sound system

Sound Board, Audio Console, Mixing desk

Main tool of the operator (Board Operator)

Basic Purpose - Controls

What is it - Selects audio signals from various sources

Devices are connected to input channels

Output channels of CD players, MD players, DAT players,

How Loud will it be - Controls signal level (volume)

Where is it going - Sends audio to various locations

Devices are connected to outputs

Power amplifiers
Input channels of MD players, DAT players, Computers

Mixing Board

Sound Control
Mixer - Heart of the System

Mixer Nomenclature (Functional Description)

8x2 = 8 inputs and 2 outputs

16x4 = 16 inputs and 4 outputs
16x4x2 = 16 inputs, 4 group of sub outs, 2 main outs.
Can be used as:

16 ins mixed down to 4 sub mixes, mixed down to 2

output channels (recording studio or concert
presentation) utilization
24x6 (Theatre type utilization)
16x4x2x1 adds a mono output

Also can be referred simply by the number of input

channels ex. 8, 16, 24, 48 etc

Cue Control
Audio System Sources, Control, Destinations

Equipment System is the Primary Tool of

Modern Theatre Sound Design:

Block Diagram - Foreigner Setup

MD 1


MD 2











Group/ Outs



Input Buss

Input Buss

is the section where audio signals from

microphones and/or playback equipment
enters the mixer
This is the area where impedance matching
and Balanced / Un-balanced lines must be
carefully watched
The input buss typically starts at the rear of
the console with either XLR or RTS

Input Buss

Rear view of a Mackie t24

Input Buss

front side of the console will differ from

manufacturer to manufacturer but they will
have most of the same components
The input channel will usually be arranged to
follow the virtual signal path

Close up of Pre-amp section

Input channel #

Pad / low end roll off

Gain adjust

Input Buss

Pre-amp, trim, trim pot, gain

Used to bring a microphone level signal up to line
level for easy manipulation within the mixer
Also used to adjust the line level inputs from other
Pad or Attenuator

A switch which will lower an inputs level by a set

Usually used in an input device is too hot or much
too high a level

Equalization section
High freq. control

High-mid with selectable

frequency range

Low-mid with selectable

frequency range

Low frequency control

Equalization section

Onboard equalization control will vary greatly

Simple tone control

Treble and Base

A fancier version of treble and base control

5 band EQ

Boost or attenuate high frequencies (treble) or low frequencies (base)

Only adjusts a preset range of frequencies

Hi Mid Lo

Simply varies the balance between high and low frequencies

Able to boost of attenuate 5 different ranges of frequencies

Parametric EQ

Able to select which frequency range to control and then boost or cut

Auxiliary Sends
Note the pre-fade switch

8 individual aux send


Auxiliary Sends

Next in line comes a number of Aux sends

Typically 4 to 8 individual busses

Some or all will be pre or post fader selectable
Pre-fader the signal strength (volume) coming from the
aux send channel will be independent on the position of the
channel fader
Post-fader the signal strength coming from the aux send
will be dependent on the position of the channel fader
Often labeled as PFL (Pre-Fade Listen)
Often used to send signals to other devices
External effect processor

Reverb or echo

Monitor amp/speakers for performers

Signal Routing
Pan Pot

Output selection

Note: PFL not available on this model

Signal Routing

Each input channel will be assignable to one or more output

Very often one selector button will assign the input to two separate

1-2 or 3-4 for example

The Pan Pot (Panoramic Potentiometer) adjusts the level of signal going
to each of the pairs

This is usually to be avoided for theatrical use

Look for single output selection control if possible

PFL Pre-fade Listen. Sometimes called solo

Example: With the pan pot centered and 1-2 selected, the entire signal is sent
to outputs 1 and 2 equally. If you turn the pot to the left, more signal will be
sent to output 1 than output 2

Usually available to send the signal to a studio monitor or headphones to

allow operator to listen to channel without having to send it into the house

Channel Mute turns the channel off. Useful when using wireless mics

Other input controls

Phantom power

Phase reverse

A 48v DC power supply applied to the mic input lines

Used to power condenser mics (to be discussed later)
Inverts the signal coming to the inputs
Used if pins 2 and 3 on a mic cable are reversed for

Ground lift

Removes the ground connection at the console from the

input cable
Used to help eliminate ground-loop noise

To be discussed during troubleshooting

Output Section

Sub or group outputs

Left, Right and Main outputs

Auxiliary outputs

Output Section

is the area where audio signals will

leave the mixer, heading toward

Effects processors

EQs, delay units, reverb units, recording devices

Power amplifiers and eventually loudspeakers

Output plugs will typically be

Balanced XLR line level

Balanced RTS line level
Unbalanced phone plug line level
Unbalanced RCA plug line level

Aux-Output Section

Aux out mute switch

Aux out gain control
After fader listen

Output Section

Sub-group output faders

Sometimes called groups, subs or submasters
Act as a master fader control for any inputs assigned to it
Typically these are cabled to power amplifiers
Main outputs
Sometimes called Left-Right, Stereo or Mix
Essentially two additional outputs, where the manufacturer has
taken a guess as to what the end user will use them for
Sub groups can usually be combined and selectively assigned to
the main output
Master output
Sometimes called Mono
The main outputs can be combined together and controlled from
one master fader

Group-Output Section

Flying Faders

mixers are becoming more and

more common
Started simply to record levels in recording

Often had 60 or more inputs levels to write down

and could have many many setups.
Flying faders would remember where the faders
were set and you could restore to any setting with
the push of a button

Flying Faders

mixers are capable of remembering

output selections, EQ settings, pan settings
For live mixing it is REQUIRED to still have
actual faders which an operator can move

Performers will never do the exact thing every

The board operator must be able to easily make
adjustments to levels on the fly