How to Use a Mixing Console During Rehearsals

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Even though the “Garage Band” setup, with everything plugged into clarinet amps at full volume (including mics and keyboards), has helped many musicians progress and go from amateurs to experienced amateurs, even professionals, it’s simple and easy to rehearse in a more practical way that’s considerably more consistent with professional standards. It would be a good idea to stop the “do it yourself” method as soon as possible, which, even though it lets you build relatively quickly without having to carry heavy PA equipment, is not going to suffice for many situations and won’t correspond to the real world of sound technicians and live gigs in bigger venues. Wedding rehearsal studio toronto rooms often have equipment that lets you practice in a more skilled manner and which won’t damage your ears. For just a reasonable budget, it’s also possible to set the same thing up “at home”…

How many inputs do I need?

The first question to ask yourself is whether anything will be sent through the sound system, which is usually the case for a real stage, or if only certain sources will be increased by the sound system. In most cases, due to lack of equipment, the second selection is chosen, at the expense of a real sound look at, to prepare for a show… So you try to get the most out of what exactly you’ve got, depending on the situation. Singers will of course be the initially on the list to go into the sound system, as well as any keyboards and wind instruments in the band. Let’s say that the guitars and drums won’t be using the sound system. A group with: 2 singer-guitarists, another singer, a bassist, a keyboardist using a couple instruments, a saxophonist and a drummer using electronic drums will need a mixer with at least eight channels, should the keyboards use “mono” connections… When choosing a mixer, you should choose one with at least one third “more” channels than what you usually use. In this case, a twelve channel mixer is a reasonable minimum and sixteen channels a comfortable investment money! One tends to feel like their over-sizing this type of equipment… although things could get very tight as soon as more musicians be a part of the band or if you want to connect the whole group (including guitar/bass amps) into the mixer as you would do in a substantial venue.

How many outputs?

The choice among 16-input mixers is very wide and it won’t be difficult to find the right one for you. However , you have to to decide how many outputs you’ll be needing. A pair of stereo outputs is of course the minimum. But the singer will probably come to know having a monitor, same for the drummer, whose electronic percussion don’t produce much of an acoustic sound without extravagance. The keyboardist would also probably like one far too since he probably doesn’t want to haul around a keyboard set amp just to hear himself better. If you want to eventually have the capacity to add some effects to vocals, it’s a good idea if the console possesses an auxiliary out, post-fader. To sum up: a main stereo output, at the least two independent monitors, ideally three, in aux available, pre-fader, and an aux out post-fader. So a few outputs that will be controlled with your mixer. To illustrate these kind of examples we’ll use a Yamaha MG166CX. This small manual mixer has 8 mono channels, six of which use a small compressor on the “mic” input, and four pairs associated with stereo inputs, two of which are equipped with an XLR feedback for “mics” and two with RCA inputs. In which switchable global phantom power for any condenser mics as well as DI boxes. Finally, the MG166CX also has integrated digital camera effects with reverb, chorus, flanger, and delay. Staying within range of an average budget, rackable and particularly light source to carry, it’s one of the ideal rehearsal mixers.

Where does someone plug in?

Let’s take a more detailed look at the connections of your devices. Microphones will of course be connected into the XLR inputs with the channels. For “line” sources, use asymmetric “Jack” inputs. Note that the insert inputs on channels 1 to 8, allow the use of an external dynamic effect (compressor, limiter, noise-gate… ). Channels 9/10 and the rest are stereo (. So you’ll be connecting the electronic drums output to at least one of these, and why not, the keyboard outputs. However , Yamaha the cause foreseen the possibility or necessity of connecting an additional XLR mic. But in this case, the “stereo” channels become “mono”! Often the Yamaha MG166 is not a “real” 16 channel mixing machine, but… A 12 mic channel + 4-line-level approach mixer. You’ll need to take this into account when making your choice!

There is no placed order to cabling channels on a mixer since they’re interchangeable. Playing with a live setting, it’s sometimes conventional to find through left to right, drum channels, bass, guitar, and all the others depending on their location on the stage, to make it easier for the technician know what is where. In rehearsal, that of course doesn’t make any sense. In our case, all of channels are not identical. It’s probably wiser to keep often the channels with compressors for singers and why not in addition the drums, via “line” or XLR. In the other case you’d need to use two DI boxes do you know function is to balance the signal, adapt impedance, as well as match levels, as we did, at the end of the example, to get keyboard outputs. In the case of a rehearsal room, where cables and wires and cable-length are often quite limited, the use of a direct pack is not necessary and may even be regarded as a luxury. However , regarding “humming” and “buzzing” problems, our little “magic box” is likely to solve the problem…