Course 13: The Mixer

For the uninitiated, a professional-grade mixer is a confusing conglomeration of knobs, sliders, lights, and buttons. Although it is true that high-level, live-sound mixing consoles do come with a lot of high-tech features, mixers at their core are very manageable with a little getting used to. You’ll learn the layouts and functions of mixing consoles can vary from model to model, but they all have the same function: to control the routing of audio during a performance.

The first lesson in this course will cover the inputs of a mixer, where the signal is brought into the console and readied to be used by the system. You’ll learn when to use the EQ and when to zero it out, and then how to work with the signal with dynamic processing to clean the signal. You’ll then see how aux/inserts interrupt the signal flow or bring in other signals before sending the signals away from the mixer.

Course 13 will also cover the master section (where all of the signals come together) and how to control subgroups/VCAs. You’ll learn how to control signals as a whole or how to pull out individual signals. Finally, you’ll learn the importance of where the mixing console is positioned for a live show.

Speaker placements and arrays are also crucial and work in concert with the mixer. The live audio engineer needs to know how the band sounds to the audience, especially in stereo situations. But you’ll also work in mono so positioning isn’t as important, especially in smaller venues.