How Does an Audio Mixing Console Work? (And Their Use in Online Mastering)

Mixing audio is great fun, we are going to take a look at a typical mixing console and the parts of interest to an audio engineer. Mixing consoles are not usually used in online mastering audio although some specialist designs do exist. A mixing console allows multiple, discrete audio signals to be mixed/summed together via what are know as channels. Mixers come in various sizes and numbers of channels from 4 channels to 32 channels is common and it is possible to get much larger than this, into the hundreds in fact. We will base our explanation Alphafysiotherapie behandeling diabetisch  on an analogue console as this is a good model. so at the top of a channel there are usually 2 inputs, mic and line, mics plug into mic input (XLR) and line into TRS (Jack) sockets. Then we have a gain knob, this increases the signal gain into the channel. After the gain section it is common to find an equalizer, this can adjust the tone of the signal coming into the mixer, it may be anywhere from 2 to 4 bands typically. (For online mastering an eq could have 5+ bands)

These equalizers generally are not as well specified as those found in an online mastering studio but they serve the purpose well for mixing. The next stage would be auxiliary sends, these allow the signal in the channel to be sent to another place, such as an effects processor like a reverb/delay, mixing consoles may commonly have up to 8 auxiliary sends per channel. There is normally a pan control which allows the signal to be positioned in the stereo field, to the left or to the right. Then you will find a mute button to stop the signal reaching the speakers. Another useful button is the solo button. The solo button allows the signal on the channel to be heard on the monitors in isolation without other channel signals. Then we have routing buttons, routing allows the signal to be sent to a “bus” a bus is a set of faders (new signal path) which allow a group of signals to be routed to it. It is common to have multiple busses on a mixing console. Such as 4 stereo busses, these busses could discretely take for example drum mix (bus1), synths (bus2), vocals (bus3) and guitar and bass (bus4) “sub mixes”. Then there is usually a fader on each channel to allow the adjustment and balance of the signal on the channel in the “mix”. (Faders are rarely used for online mastering)

In addition there can be found insert points which allow a signal processing device to be inserted within the signal path of a signal in the channel. Inserts are also very useful in the field of online mastering as well as recording and mixing. A classic example would be to insert a dynamic range control device such as a compressor. All channels and busses ultimately can be routed to the master bus also known stereo master bus and stereo output bus. From here there can be a number of duplicate stereo bus signals for various recording devices that may be attached. Of course any mixer would not be complete without a monitor control so commonly the stereo bus would be routed to the monitoring control so the music can be heard on speakers. In online mastering studios sometimes a mixing console is used to insert mastering processes like compression and equalization into the signal path. Online mastering is a fairly new phenomena and it has lowered the cost of the final procedure within the audio production chain.

SafeandSound Mastering is a low cost high quality online mastering studio.


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