How to Use an Audio Mixer Board Tutorial Mixing

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in this video I'm going to teach you how

to use an audio mixing board basically

an audio mixing board is the central

nervous system of your studio it's where

all audio is routed to and from the

mixer and you may not need one in this

day and age an interface has built-in

preamps but I personally like using a

mixing board because it offers greater

control and plus it allows you to do

live sound gigs what you can't do with

an audio interface well you can but it's

a little bit less practical so here we

go I'm going to get off screen pretty

much for the rest of the video because

we need to talk about a lot of different

controls alright so this is our mixing

board that we're going to be using

during this tutorial on the table here

we have a few different accessories that

would be plugged into this mixer and to

get started we have to plug in our power

supply which is this little thing right

here and I'm just going to do it as if

you guys weren't here and I wasn't

really explaining anything so it just

goes in one way

you got to look for there's a notch and

in like that make sure your phantom

power and your power switch are off

before plugging in obviously and then

hit your power things light up and right

away I can say get the solo off of that

and the mutes off of these so here's our

lovely mixing board and I have one other

thing I have to do in order for this

whole thing to work this whole tutorial

of work and that is I need to plug in

the mix out into my audio interface so

to do that I'm going to use what are

known as TRS photo plugs and the way

distinguished TRS from their their other

brother brethren I can't say that word

right now is this part right here this

is just TS so that's tips sleeve and

this is tip ring sleeve or something

like that anyway the bottom line is the

one on the left the gray one is

unbalanced this one is balanced

so you have less noise your if you have

the option with your mixer board and

pretty much all of them support TRS

balance cables um at least the really

crappy ones may not use TRS cables


so actually I'm putting that to the side

and the reason I'm doing that is because

I want to record the mixing board along

with my lavalier microphone that I have

plugged in my camera right now

so nothing's plugged in right now so I'm

going to go in to the output our main

output left and I'm going to run this

cable this is going to go into my left

input which is input number one on the

interface all right and then TRS cable

number two and yes they are a little bit

more expensive than TS cables but that's

just how it is this is going to go

obviously into input number two of the

audience ID 14 now because the audience

ID for teen has the preamps within the

line input I have to actually set that

to a certain level and what that means

is I need to run this which has a tone

generator in it so on our cable tester

here we can see we have three different

output levels and I'm going to set this

to the mic input and I'll set it to one

kilohertz there's options for that as

well but it involves pressing one of

these buttons down here in this case you

hit the reset button so what I'm going

to do is see I turn that on to test tone

and I press that button and when it's

off its 440 when it's on it's one

kilohertz and I'm going to do with all

this off-camera actually you know what I

should I should do this this is kind of

important in case you guys have to do

this so this is what the XLR looks like

I'll pull it out again just so you can

see it so on the output well the input

side for the mixer this is what it looks

like three prongs and then

come on into the microphone or whatever

your output is this is the female end

XLR f this is XLR m and then it goes in

like that your mixer board might look

different by the way that's another

thing I forgot to mention your mixer

board will look different obviously it

will operate a little bit differently

but these all are basically universal

principles okay so on our cable tester

I'm going to put my test stone on and

again my mic levels there and I want one

kilohertz so all I'm going to do now is

bring up my my gain knob actually I

forgot to put this in solo so solo it

put that up and I can't see those

numbers because of that light is glaring

off of it normally that's not the case

so I'm going to bring it up a little bit

higher so it's right on zero like that

take it off a solo mode bring up the

fader like that and bring up my mix my

main mix knobs right here alright I'm

going to look into seeing if this is

actually working or not it should be and

it's not at least it's not showing up

there so at this point I'm going to

bring it up okay it is actually

outputting it's just not showing up on

the meter for some reason I have the

screen capture software going right now

and it's showing that I have output on

both of my meters so I'm just going to

roll with this and go to my armed and

going to both my channels here and we

definitely have an alignment issue but

like I said this is all about adjusting

the Audient levels so I'm gonna just my

my left channel first channel one

so my goal is to get this around

negative 20 and then my left channel I'm

going to bring it up as well

there we go they're both at negative

twenty point one so cable testers

getting pulled out and I'm gonna

actually now put it in man that's that's

hard to pull out sometimes all right I'm

going to put this to the side the cable

tester and now I'll show you plugging in

a microphone very uh very interesting

see what that looks like okay so like I

said female in like that there's only

way one way to do it and I'm going to

put it right back on my mic clip all

right back on the mixer board we have

our XLR input as I was showing you with

the microphone input and we have our

line input now obviously you would use a

photo cable like this at ER this is TS

TRS is also available and you know that

because it says Val or unbell standing

forward balanced or unbalanced obviously

whenever you can use a balanced line

input TRS all the way next up we have

what's called a low-cut filter also

called normally a high-pass filter this

one is at 75 Hertz and I believe it's 18

decibel per octave low cuts which I

would not use it on this board unless I

was mixing live and the reason is on

these cheaper mixing boards the filter

is not as good as if you were using

software or a better one on a better

mixing board so normally I have this off

when I'm recording or if like I said if

I'm doing something live then I'll only

have it off when the bass guitar the

kick drum maybe a synth or a keyboard

something like that where my crumble

isn't an issue or just you know popped

peas you know you want to have that

low-end on your bass channels next up I

already talked about this this is our

it's called trim or gain it's called

gain on here it's called gain gain on

Mackay boards what this does is it

raises the volume actually the input

signal is the correct term it raises the

amount of input signal from our inputs


oh you know Mike obviously we're going

to have it pretty high if you look

closely these are also marked

unfortunately the light is putting it in

shadow but it says +4 and negative 10

and that's our line level distinctions

I'll link to a video in the video

description of the difference between

professional line level and consumer

line level but that's what those are

referring to so I'm going to set a level

now on this mixer board and on the Mac

II as well we have two different modes

over here it says solo and pfl and that

stands for pre fader listen when we're

setting levels we want to have this

button switched out right now it's

switched in I just pressed it so switch

it out that puts us in pre fader listen

mode and that is the preferred mode for

setting levels so what I'm going to do

and this is why it's important to do it

this way you can have the fader all the

way down if you can't see that I'm sorry

the faders are all the way down to

negative infinity and I'm going to set

my level by pressing this solo button

right here and then see that yellow

light comes on and what does that say it

says pfl okay even though this is in

solo mode

this isn't pre fader lesson mode so that

we're only getting any of the channels

that are in this a channel is basically

this entire strip right here it just

refers to one track of audio basically

so when I raise my level up so I'm going

to take my microphone off of the clip

right now and just start talking into it

right now I have absolutely no signal

because all the way down but let's say

I'm singing or I'm just giving a voice

over so to see now I'm bringing it up a

little bit and you can see here I'll use

my other hand you can bring it up and

it's getting me signal and I want to

have my signal peaking no higher than

like negative 6 so it's hard to see

these numbers check one two check hello

this is Adam this is Adam this is Adam

so right around there somewhere should

be good for

you check check check yeah this only

goes a negative seven so you don't want

to go much higher than that peeking but

and your average levels want to be under

zero so once I set my level I can click

this off and I'm in regular mood so at

this point if I want to bring my channel

up I will bring the fader up like so

obviously we got a signal going in there

and we want to keep it there for now and

by the way if you don't have if you

didn't have these fader I'm not going to

touch these but if you didn't have these

update they have to come up at this

point so now we have an audio signal and

that's great so again we I could press

this and get rid of all the low-end

check check check one two three one two

three you might have heard a difference

maybe not and then we have our eq's so I

can boost the high-end check check check

and it sounds nasty check check check

check check check I can reduce it so it

sounds really lo-fi I'm trying to make

it so I can show this to you guys check

check check

I'm putting the back to the normal level

by the way when you set levels you want

to have your eq s all the way straight

up and I didn't do that I had my mids

actually reduce so that was that was bad

at me to not look at that a lot of these

knobs got hit when I was moving it

around earlier so you should always want

to have you EQ like that and then let's

say I want to boost my low-end

unfortunately on this mixing board our

options of EQ are very limited plus the

equalizer itself isn't really the

greatest it's behringer here what can I

say you know if you want better you

should spend more money so we hope we do

unfortunately have the ability to choose

our center frequency in the mid-range

band and we the way we do that is with

this knob right here so we pick our

mid-range option where ever you want to

have it now usually what I'll do is I'll

actually boost this all the way up

whoa and then I'll find my frequency

that I want

like that and I think it just crackled

so as you can hear it's affecting the

tone of my voice as I sweep around

check check check check check check

check check check check and then once I

find my frequency I can cut it check


all right there now I can't actually

hear how good or bad that is because my

computer speaker is actually the one

that's in the back of the computer not

my normal speakers the back of them even

if they were being output through my

normal speakers that really wouldn't be

useful for me right now because I'm not

sitting in front of those speakers so

I'm just going to set all these back to

flat 12 o'clock position next up we have

our auxiliary sends now these two

switches have an option

that'll lets us send either pre fader so

before this has moved around so I could

have this all the way down and as long

as this is pressed in like so

I'll have signal coming out now I do it

to keep it at zero at the 12 o'clock

position for this to go on to auxilary

one but as long as I have this button

pressed in this fader could be down and

it doesn't matter and that's actually

what you want if let's say you're doing

live sound and you have your auxilary

sending to a stage monitor or ideally to

somebody who has any ER monitors that's

what you would send you would send pre

fader listen or pre fader so that

whenever you make adjustments it's not

making adjustments to their stage

monitors if they need more level you

adjust it right here not down here

you're up here you adjust it with the

with the auxilary so if they're like I

want to hear more a more snare drum you

adjust it with this down here not with

the rest of these

unfortunately this board's small

compared to ones that have like four or

six or eight auxiliary sends so next up

after oh so this one actually

not be set to a pre fader position it is

always post fader so this is only good

for like in effects mix or something

like that if you do use the auxiliaries

for effects you want to have this out so

you want to have it post fader otherwise

you're running the weird issues with

your wet signal sounding weird wet

meaning the effect like reverb or delay

being louder than your dry signal and

that just doesn't sound right so you

want to if you're using the auxiliaries

for effects you want to have it post

fader and then next up we have our pan

pot our pan knob but yeah that's what I

meant to say earlier these are also

known as pots but I call them knobs

because that's what I call them but a

pot is short for pot to pot tenth ometer

anyway it's not important what's

important is this is our stereo pan

position and when I'm recording I don't

normally touch this at all except to

hear what overheads sound like when

they're hard pan on drums and also our

pan knees if I'm liking like a stereo

acoustic guitar or something else in

stereo I might do it just for fun but

from for live mixing you definitely

typically will use these um maybe maybe

not I do I personally use the pan pots

when live mixing but I rarely live mix

anyway onto our next button it's our PF

/ solo button and you saw me use that to

set levels and this is also used for for

when you have this button over here in

solo mode and you press this what this

enables you to do is to hear just that

Channel now I'll zoom in so you can see

these knobs a little bit better now so

it lights up unless your lights broken

but if it's pressed in it's in solo mode

and what I can do is then hear through

my headphones or my control room

speakers or live mix room speakers

whatever you want to call it

it's a third output on this thing that

will let you hear just that channel or

any other channel that you press solo

one so if I had those three lit up you

could hear just those three channels but

typically you want to do this to

diagnose any problems you have let's say

you start hearing noise you start

hearing crackling some kind of problem

with your audio and you want to hear

that you know figure out what's going on

you press your solo button and that will

allow you to hear it just for that and

you got to remember to press the button

and I'll zoom it I'll zoom out now so

you can see the whole board you got to

remember to press this button right here

to get you into the two different moods

and if I have that only see now it's in

the pre it's in a level setting mode if

I press it in it's in my solo mood and

you can't hear it right now because I

had the fader down but once I push it up

check check check

one two three okay that you know what I

just figured out why it wasn't showing

stereo because it wasn't in that mood or

maybe it was okay well either way it's

it I don't know why it's only showing on

one channel I don't I really don't know

why check it's not oh well so I'll put

this down against I don't hear myself on

a computer on the back of this mixer you

have an insert for the first eight

channels so that lets you use outboard

gears what it's called

outboard hardware outboard meaning out

of the mixing board and so you can have

a better equalizer than the one that's

built into this you can have a

compressor on the channel you can have

anything else you can think of that is

not built into this mixer can be

inserted into the single path and it's

actually pre EQ and pre fader as well I

don't know if it's post low-cut or not

but um you can find out by running a

signal through it and hearing if the low

end goes down or not but yeah that's

very important

not just an insert point but we can also

take those insert points and record each

channel in isolation that's actually

typically how I have the Mackay board

set up at Studio B and you know it's

just a good little setup to have it's a

good option to have because you don't

always have that luxury of insert points

on my other mixing board I didn't have

any inserts at all so this one does have

that and that's how I would record you

know I don't record just the stereo


I don't record the stereo output of this

at all I record the inserts from the

channel and it also sounds better

because we're bypassing the EQ and the

fader circuits the closer we are to the

output of the preamp the better and also

you know I forgot to mention you do need

to have some outboard gear supports TRS

cables so you can only you only want to

plug in one cable but otherwise you need

to have a TRS cable that splits into two

TS cables so a stereo into a mono cable

basically and what that does is it lets

a send and return and if you look

closely on the back of this thing it

actually says on it tip equals sin and

ring equals return so that's how the

cable has to be wired for it to work


up here we have it's a our sin dog or

our stereo send our sorry returns and we

also have stereo line input now they

don't have to be stereo you can just

plug it into the left one and then it

becomes dual mono so to monitor signals

at the same time of the same signal or

we have our auxiliary sends as well so

like I was saying all these knobs that

control the auxiliaries the the green

knobs in this case they send out the

signal that's what you would plug your

at your output and then again more

stereo inputs and unfortunately here's

where the changes

there's no mid sweepable midrange you

only have on this it's three kilohertz

and five hundred

kurz for the mid-range you don't have

and these are not variable q according

to the manual the Q is one octave again

it's a cheaper board so you don't have

those options but your mixer board may

have those options variable Q is

basically it controls how wide or how

narrow your boost or your cuts are very

useful feature and that's why I prefer

nowadays digital mixing boards because

those are built-in and you can have

those it's a very nice feature to have

and analog variable q equalizers are

simply expensive okay next up we have

our tape in an output so we have an RCA

capable connector I used to use this a

lot until I found out that Fona was the

way to go and RCA is you know it is what

it is but we have that if we need it so

again RCA input and output stereo useful

with you have somebody who wants to

record like let's say you're doing a

live show and a lot of times people will

give you RCA stuff and you can just plug

them right in here but what I want to

show you right now was these two right

here this is important when I first

started using a mixer board at Studio B

I had my cables routed the wrong way and

I actually ended up almost damaging the

interface I forget why I think it was

because we had to use these weird

adapters for it for some reason and so

anyway what I ended up changing was it

was being sent from the main mix output

and I changed it so that it was going to

from the control room output right here

and what that enabled us to do is I

could adjust everything with the knob

down here which I is off screen right

now but this knob well on this board the

control room and the headphones levels

are controlled by one knob but on the

better maki board they're controlled

separately but this is where you want to

plug your control room speakers so that

you can adjust the volume from right

here and then the second thing I want to

show you is to the right of that so

right here again we have a TRS plug just

like that and to keep it a little bit

more organized I'll put my headphones

over here and nothing nothing

complicated about that it's just a

quarter inch photo output so I want to

come down here to our final sections

which is where our meter is actually so

let's see we have at the top we have our

auxilary returns so these control the

level coming in now it has an

interesting option down here this is

called FX - auxilary one so let's say

our cue mix I'll call it a cue mix but

it's the in-ear monitors or the stage

monitors let's say that that person

wanted to hear the reverb well I don't

want the reverb to be that loud on their

mitt on the actual mix of the audience's

hearing so I could send that to them so

that they hear it and you know singers a

lot of times they like to hear reverb

just for confidence reasons they sound

better you know and it gives them

confidence to sing better to sing louder

to sing with more energy and we can give

them that with this button now you got

to be careful though because you can

create a feedback loop with that but

normally I would have this set so that

because you're so limited on channels

auxilary one would actually just get I

would put the reverb on a different

channel because I have way more channels

over here and like I said I don't like

using the stereo inputs I'm going to

actually pan down now or tilt down to

hear now missing the knob cover on this

volume control but this would normally

look like all these other ones

and this controls the output of the

headphones controls the output of the

control room speakers the volume level

okay then we also have our auxiliary

sends again these control just it's just

another level control and we have I

think it's infinity to put 2 plus 15

decibels of gain typically you want to

have that at 0 if you can avoid having a

boost step because whenever you boost

these cheaper channels you just add more

noise and that also goes for the faders

as well the faders although you can go

up to another 10 decibels on the faders

you really want to increase or decrease

your volume with the trim or gain knob

in this case now down here we have some

options for what we hear in the control

room so if I just wanted to hear my

alternative mix which by the way you get

that by pressing the mute button and at

that point whatever is mute it becomes a

part of this alt 3/4 channel so I can

audition that or listen to that into the

in the headphones and let's see so I

hear my main mix the alternative mix or

the RCA inputs and we can also put our

tape inputs to the mix and I'm looking

for a button that lets us control what

the mix actually gets and I don't see it

so some mixer boards will actually let

you control what gets sent into the

mixing into the mix but this one doesn't

for whatever reason and also the the

subgroup here the alt the alt 3 4 is

very limited in what you can do on the

Mac keyboard it there's actually four

different inputs or four different

faders that you control which work

really well for drums I'll show you a

close-up of the main mix faders down

here and well I don't know why they're

set like that but it doesn't even matter

normally I would have them set equally I

just couldn't see it because I'm not in

front of the board like I normally am

I'm like leaning over it

but I used it I have it right at zero

and you know that's called unity gain

again you don't want to boost it even

though even though I can bring them up I

don't want to boost them like that you

know because fader gain sounds nasty on

cheap boards and most boards do have

cheap components until you get to the

really expensive level and then maybe

you can get away with it but I still

would advise against it if you can so

one other thing I guess I should mention

as I try to figure out where to zoom out

from I'll just go right about here and

zoom out so I got our big board alright

now what are we missing from this down

here normally you put board tape and

board tape is specially designed so that

you can tear it off night after night

and you would put your input names so B

for bass or K for kick drum SN for snare

and so on and so on

GTR for guitar VX for vocals and I could

go on and on you come up with your own

short hands for different inputs but

that's where your tape would go right

there and then you just you know divide

it you put lines down here so it's a

little bit easier to see and also I

think they sell I think you get a

glow-in-the-dark marker so you can see

that even when there's no light or pen

something like that but yeah that's the

basics for the mixing board and I guess

I should see if there's anything else

left to say oh yeah there is a button

that's missing from the back of this

thing that it controls whether the main

output is mic level or line level 99

times out of 100 you want to have that

one line level so you want to have that

on this one you have the button out so

it's disengaged you have that option

just in case whatever you're sending

this mixing board to

doesn't support line input if it doesn't

support line input it's probably piece a

piece of junk

but you may run into that problem and

you at least have that option

protip do not run a line input signal

into a mic input otherwise you're gonna

have possible gear damage I may or may

not have done that myself not on this

board on another piece of gear and I

learned my lesson from that here's

another tip do not put phantom power on

which I'll do right now so you can at

least see the the light so it comes on

right there do not turn that on and then

plug in your microphones that is a

newbie mistake and you can't you can

damage your microphones the same goes

for disconnecting your microphones also

phantom power don't use it for rhythm

ribbon mics and this is how to properly

do it to turn off your mixer you ready

actually this is how you do it first you

turn off your speakers if your speakers

aren't off do not turn your mixer off

again I made that mistake my first time

doing live sound I turned off the mixer

and all I heard was a big old pop and

then a bunch of 60 Hertz hum

it was lovely everybody looked towards

my position and I was embarrassed so you

don't ever want to turn your board off

if your speakers are still on now if you

have phantom power turn phantom power

off I just hit the switch you see that

the lights still glowing and that'll

glow for around 20 to 30 seconds you see

its slowly fading down and you want to

wait about 30 seconds before you

disconnect any of your microphones that

have phantom power so before you do that

you want to and this is something to get

into the habit for turn all your trim

your gain down like that you want to put

all your EQ s at the 12 o'clock 12

o'clock position

so we're resetting the board we're

normalizing the board some people call

it normalizing and the last thing

obviously we put our faders all the way

down put the faders all the way down put

the volume on the control room and the

headphones down then at that point you

can either disconnect the microphones

now which I normally do after you

disconnect the microphones you can

either connect them from here or

disconnect them from the microphone

itself like so

but that's only after you put the gain

down and the faders down I don't know

how much of a difference that

particularly makes but I just feel

better having my preamp down before I

disconnect anything and then after you

disconnect it again either either at

this point or at the point of the

microphone you can finally turn off your

power to the mixer again after the

speakers are off and you can wrap it up

for the night some people like to leave

their boards on all the time I think

that's idiotic

I think you know running electric even

through solid state gear just is a bad


and also you leave yourself open for a

fire it's not a hundred percent

guarantee but you know I don't like

leaving things that have electric

running on you know it you know you can

leave it plugged in with the power off

but just you know this thing heats up

this area right here gets quite hot

after a while again I don't know if that

would ever catch on fire or not so I

just like to turn stuff off it also

stays electric I hope you guys learn

something if you have any questions for

me I will be open to answering them

either in the comment section or in a

real home recording mailbag video I'm

sure I miss something and uh yep

see you next videos has been Adam for

real home recording calm