Knowing Audio Mixer Terminology
Audio Mixer Terminology – Since many mixers support live functions and performances, the difference between the two is not always clear. Today there are many audio mixers that will meet your stage and safety needs. But do you really know about the terms used in a mixer? Because by knowing these terms, it is certain that understanding the specifications, features, and operation of the mixer will be more effective and efficient. To help you understand the specs and features that you are about to read, we offer the following glossary which will help you explore all that information.
The first Audio Mixer Terminology is Channel. It is basically a signal path. Mixer with a large number of channels means the ability to connect, connect and send signals will also be more. Channels are usually specifically designed to work with microphone signals or other devices such as amplifiers, preamps, and processors.
A Channel Line is a series of circuits and controls that work together on a channel mixer to affect the audio signal that passes through it. This usually includes:
- Enter XLR
- Input jack for receiving external instruments, microphones, etc.
- Other inputs accept inch RCA or TRS connectors.
- Preamp to amplify the signal by performing an equalization process or abbreviated as EQ (gate, compression, gain, etc.)
- Button group
- Faders to control input or output channels
The next Audio Mixer Terminology is I/O. The I/O symbol is the symbol for the input/output on the mixer. The number and types of inputs and outputs required are largely determined by how you plan to use the mixer. For example, in a live mixing situation, you need a mixer with enough inputs to handle the combination of microphones and other connected devices, plus outputs for connecting main speakers and monitors.
Bus (Audio Mixer Terminology)
A bus is basically a path to route one or more audio signals to a specific destination. Destinations can include groups, additional sends, stereo mixes, flip-backs, or monitors. Buses are generally used to route channel signals to the master group fader, multitrack recorder, or master stereo master fader (or all of them). In-studio deployments, the bus can be used to group signals together for recording when there are too many audio channels to send to your multitracker/interface/soundcard. Buses are also usually used to select what instruments to listen to on headphones.
The next Audio Mixer Terminology is Groups. Mixers with multiple channels often have a group function that allows them to control and process multiple channels collectively. Groups work like sub-mixers, sharing the same signal processing and routing, and because all channels are controlled with a single fader, the output to the bus master is easier to control. For example, all of the microphones used in a drum kit can be grouped into one group, making control over the entire instrument and drum volume easier. Some mixers that allow channel grouping also has a mute function. This is useful when you want to remove unwanted noise from leaking microphones.
Inserts (Audio Mixer Terminology)
Channel inserts can be used to connect external sound processors such as compressors and equalizers to specific channels, usually after the channel preamp stage. Larger mixers may have a patch bay that allows connecting a variety of external devices.
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The next Audio Mixer Terminology is Direct Output. A feature found on some mixers where a separate output is sent directly from the preamplifier input, independent of fader and equalization levels, which can be sent to the monitor mixer or mixer.
Cue System (Audio Mixer Terminology)
The Cue System can help to listen on the selected channel without affecting the mixer output. Usually, the signal is fed to an amplifier, headphones, or monitor speakers. The Cue System can also usually help listen to the signal either before or after the fader affects it.
The terminology discussed in this article is not exhaustive, but based on consideration, it is often encountered in live situations or in the studio. If my friend is really interested in learning more about it, it would be better to look at the guidebooks of well-known mixers.