A Guide To Mixing Boards For Dummies
At first, learning how to use a mixer may seem intimidating and
difficult to understand. However, the learning curve is not as horrible as it appears. For the most part, the
mixer is simply a board that includes a selection of faders, buttons and knobs. After learning how to use one
part of the mixer, the other parts become much simpler to understand. The most important key in learning and
reading how to use mixing boards for dummies is to take the time to understand what each part of the board is
as well as what it is used for.
A mixing board, or a mixing console, is simply a tool that is used for
recording in a professional or home studio. The primary function of the mixer is to provide an input, an output and
a method of auxiliary routing for audio recordings. These functions can also become useful when working
with other forms of music and sound. Generally, professional studio mixers have more sophisticated
capabilities; however, due to advancements in technology, home studios or digital mixer for garagebands are more
affordable and easier than ever.
The Audio Mixer For Beginners
The audio mixer is made up of several individual sections. The input section is the first section that many
users should become familiar with as some of the best audio mixer makers have
different solutions for these. This section is used to accept sound from different audio sources. The input section
is typically recognizable by similar control setups that are parallel to one another. These sections are known as
channel strips. The input section on the board can be used by several sources such as CD/MP3 players,
computer interfaces, synthesizers and even microphones. Although, the layout of the input section on many mixers
may be different, the basic function remains the same.
The output section is the next section that users should become familiar with. The output is the part of mixing
console that is used to control the output signals. The output is generally connected to other devices which help
to route the signals. It is important to remember that the strength of the output signal can be altered by simply
tuning the sends knobs. For the signal to be sent properly, the effects sends master button must be turned on to
the on position. There are usually faders for all the outputs within this section.
The auxiliary routing section is a simple section to understand. This
section is used by the mixer to transfer signals between the channel strips of the mixing board, to and from
other types of external device. For example, if the input level peaks or reaches a high point and the red
overload light comes on, this tells the user that the input is too high and it is distorting.
There is also a solo button that helps to separate sounds. This allows the user to complete equalization, to
recognize missing signals and to silences signals. The solo button even silences the whole channel if
Makre sure also to visit our article on how to select the best digital audio
mixer for you.
There are other board controls that are equally important as the aforementioned especially when setting up your mixing board. In addition to the controls previously stated, the mixer
also includes other useful controls. Mixing boards include the gain, or the trim, control. This control is
positioned near the top of the mixer and it controls volume. Many mixing boards may also incorporate a high-pass
button. This button helps to reduce low or undesired frequencies that are a result of microphone feedback and
Instructions On How To Use A Mixer
- As stated above, begin by separating the mixing console into parts. Become comfortable
with each individual channel as well as the plug-ins for the board. Locate the faders or knobs at the bottom of
the mixer and start listening to how adjusting these buttons affects the sound.
- A channel is easily recognizable because it is a column that moves from top to bottom. On
the side of the channel, there is a bus and a master channel strip. The master channel fader controls the
levels for the entire board. The only way to become comfortable with the strip is to make adjustments to the
knobs and listen to how the mixer changes the sound.
- Take the time to learn the entire channel strip. With any individual channel strip, there
will be a selection of buttons and knobs. Become familiar with the controls that are used to control the
panning from the left to the right.
- Familiarize yourself with the button used for muting the sounds, the buttons used for
preparing solo sounds and even the buttons used for equalizing sounds. Although, there may be several knobs on
each channel strip, after adjusting them a few times back and forth, the purpose of each knob or button should
become clear. It is important to remember that the buttons or knobs on an individual strip only controls that
- Recognize the different inputs. Each channel will allow a user to input audio through a
XLR cord, 1/4 inch, or RCA cable. After plugging into the inputs, begin to watch the levels move on the channel
strip. Every channel has an individual VU meter which allows the user to control the level of that channel. It
must be turned down if it begins to peak or the red overload light comes on. If there is not an individual VU
meter, then the user must pay attention to the master VU meter. Keeping the levels on the mixer at a consistent
level is important for effectively using the mixer. As a rule of thumb, it is good to remember that when audio
is running through more than one channel, that the master level will usually remain higher than the
Tips and Warnings For Using Mixer Consoles Explained
Learning one channel backwards and forwards is ideal for using the mixer effectively. When one channel is
understood perfectly, every channel will become understood because all the channels function in the same
Try to recognize how the signals flow through each of the sections. Recognizing this will make the mixer simpler
to handle as well as troubleshoot. Additionally, make sure to check our article on how to
clean your audio mixer to ensure that you have no problem whatsoever.
Realize that learning to use the mixer will take some time. It will not happen overnight; however, with practice
and some patience, a mixer can become as easy to use as a bicycle.