Sound Advice: Digital Mixer Features

Prentice TyndallIn my first blog article, Audio Mixers…Analog or Digital?, I discussed the differences between analog and digital audio mixers and how those differences would affect your choice in purchasing a new or replacement audio mixer.  In this article, as promised, I’ll mention a few of the features common to most digital audio mixers and how those features possibly leave their analog friends behind.

Presets

While this is, by far, the most common feature found on all digital mixers, it is worth mentioning, since I still talk with sound techs not familiar with this simple, yet powerful, feature.  For those that have never used a digital mixer, how would you like to have the ability to save all the settings on a particular channel, such as EQ, panning, aux volumes, group assignments, etc., as a preset that can be recalled later on any channel you wish?  How about storing the entire mix setup?  That is the idea of presets.  Presets open up a whole new way of mixing in the church environment.  As an example, you could create a channel preset for each of your lead vocalists and ensemble members.  The presets would include the settings tailored for each vocalist, and can be recalled onto any channel, as needed.  So, when Jane Doe, who’s channel settings are customized to her voice, is scheduled to sing lead on the big choir special for that Sunday, you simply call up her preset onto the channel for her mic and you are ready to go.  The EQ and dynamics settings for her voice are instantly recalled to fit her voice.

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Sound Advice: Audio Mixers…Analog or Digital?

Mackie DL-1608 Digital Mixer
Mackie DL-1608 Digital Mixer

Probably, one of the most-asked questions I get today regarding audio equipment for churches and bands is the topic of analog and digital audio mixers.  So, I think it would be fitting to start my Sound Advice with tackling this subject and, hopefully, clarifying the issue to help you make a wise choice in your next purchase.

First, let’s start with getting some definitions out of the way.  An audio mixer can also be referred to as an audio console, a mixing console, a sound board, a board, and several other similar terms.  Generally speaking, they are all the same thing.  So, sometimes you may hear me use more than one of these terms, but generally referring to the same audio component: the audio mixer.  I’ve always referred to small audio mixers as mixers, medium sized mixers as boards, and the larger ones as consoles.  But, that’s just my thing.  They are generally all the same idea.

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