5 comments / Posted by Bruce Ohms

 

How to Choose a Mixer: RX1200L 12 Channel Mixer

A good mixer is an essential component of a live show. Even though the band and audience members alike may go the whole night without even seeing the mixer, this little piece of equipment has a big role in providing the best possible sound to the stage and the house.

What a Mixer Does

The mixer’s job is basically to take all the audio elements of a band and allow a sound engineer to adjust them for the proper levels and equalization, resulting in an optimal, enjoyable mix. Each instrument will correspond to one channel of the mixer, which makes it so that instrument can be adjusted independently of all the others. When a soundman checks your band’s instruments at soundcheck, for instance, he is making adjustments to the mixer’s controls to ensure that each one sounds good both in the onstage monitors and in the house PA system. Without a mixer, the tone and volume levels of the band’s instruments will be uncontrollable and will likely result in a cluttered mess.

What to Look for in a Mixer

Mixers may look like complicated devices, especially to those new to pro audio. When choosing one, there are a few key features to look for.

Input Channels: This is perhaps the most important thing to consider. This is how many instruments or microphones the mixer can accommodate. While a four-piece garage band can get by with a six channel mixer, professional music venues will need a mixer like the Carvin Audio C3248 Concert Series Mixer, which provides 32 channels.

C3248 32 Channel 4-bus Mixer

The C3248 Mixer

Equalization Options: Just like guitar and bass amps, mixers come equipped with equalization controls. Some units have only two-band EQ on each channel, while others have three or more bands and a parametric mid sweep control for extra flexibility. If you really want to fine tune your sound or plan on working with a wide variety of instruments, it would be beneficial to choose a mixer with more advanced EQ options like the Carvin Audio C2448, which has a four band EQ with two parametric mid sweeps,

Effects/ DSP (Digital Signal Processing): Some mixers come equipped with built-in effects, such as reverb, delay, chorus, and flanger. Having these effects available can really help breathe some life into vocals and other instruments when applied to that particular channel.

Rackmountable: If you plan on gigging heavily or taking your mixer out on tour, it helps to purchase one that can be rackmounted. Carvin Audio’s RX1200L for instance fits in a five space rack case for easy transportation and extra protection on the road.

USB Power Port: A very handy feature available on some mixers is a 5V USB power port. This allows you to plug in an MP3 player (to send to the mixer’s auxiliary input, if available), USB lighting for those dark rooms, and even small electronic devices like your cell phone.

There are other things to look for, such as overall mixer size/ portability and number of monitor/speaker outputs, but as a starting point for most musicians, it is worthwhile to consider these features. In the next segment we will cover the different types of mixers and their basic differences.

Comments

  • Posted On December 24, 2016 by Richard Erdman

    I play in a classic rock band and purchased a Carvin C2448 mixer to replace an older Mackie mixer. The Mackie is now serving as the mixer in our practice space while the Carvin is used for gigging.

    The most glaring difference is that the C2448 is a VERY transparent mixer, almost invisible in terms of its effect on tonality. In many mixers the preamp section makes slight changes to the tone of whatever input it receives but this Carvin mixer doesn’t do that. Well at least any effect is imperceptable.

    The 6 monitor outs are extremely useful since we use in ear monitors. We can all have a totally customized monitor mix as opposed to a board with only 2 monitor channels.

    I would highly recommend a Concert Series mixer for anyone who wants the fast adjustability of an unpowered analog mixer.

  • Posted On December 23, 2016 by Larry Kelley

    I have a 3240 mixer. I’ve had it for many years and still love it! And still trying to figure out different things I can do with it.

  • Posted On December 23, 2016 by J Rodriguez

    Barely scratched the surface! Nevertheless, never trusted any mixer more than Carvins….

  • Posted On December 23, 2016 by Richard Willner

    I’ve owned a Carvin 12 ch. powered mixer for well over ten years an countless gigs. The first time I used it, some one knocked it off a stand and the face plate ( where all the controls are ) broke completely off and was hanging by the connecting wires. I duct taped it back into p;ace and hoped that it would still work. Thankfully it’s built like a tank. It worked as if nothing had ever happened to it and has faithfully worked to the present time. PS: I’m a full time musician and play an average of well over 200 gigs a year. THANK YOU CARVIN for a great product.

  • Posted On December 23, 2016 by Tom Dines

    OK How to choose a mixer? Please show me your digital mixers.

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