Hello and welcome to the third part of this week's article!
Last week we have seen how to make the gain staging for microphone inputs, today we will talk about the last 2 channels of our mixer, that we have reserved for "keyboards - d.i.".
If we have a keyboard, it's much likely that it will have a left and right output, so we must connect them to a d.i. box to balance the signal, and from there go into the channel box, this way we will be able to control both left and right channels on the mixer, but if the keyboard player has more outputs, he will need an additional mixer to connect all of them, make a "keyboard submix", and from the stereo output go to the d.i. box, and from them to the channel box and to our mixer.
Since we have only 2 channels for quite a wide array of things left, we need to be creative: if the band has some pre-recorded base we should treat it the same way we could treat keyboards, or if they use both things, we will have to dedicate a single mono channel to keyboards and the other one to the base. The gain staging procedure it's the same explained in the part 2 of this guide, with the addition that usually d.i. boxes have a db attenuation switch, if the signal it's too loud, and a ground/lift switch, to move if there is some hum.
Notice that often the last channels of a mixer also feature a stereo input, which means 2 jack inputs controlled by the same fader; this way is also possible to connect both left and right keyboard channels to our stereo channel.
Obviously if we don't have d.i. instruments, we can still treat the last 2 channels of our mixer as all the others, to control microphoned instruments.
If the mixer has this feature (like this one on the photo, which has 2 group tracks), each one of the 12 channels will have 3 selections, near each fader: Mix, Group1 and Group2.
If we choose Mix, this channel will be routed straight to the stereo mix, so its final volume will be only decided by the Master Fader.
If we choose a Group instead (for example we can send all vocals on Group1 and all guitars on Group2), we will be able to control all the vocal tracks submix with the "Group1" fader and all guitars submix with the "Group2" fader, and obviously both these groups are controlled by the Master Fader, anyway.
Fx Track: this track it's represented in the mixer on our example by the only white fader.
On this track we can choose an effect or a combination of effects (for example Reverb + Delay), and decide the amount of effect to apply, then on the single channels we can choose the amount of signal from the single tracks that should be fed to the Fx track, and with the Fx track fader we can decide how much effected signal should be send to the Master Fader, or to a Group Track, and to the various Aux Sends.
For example I can choose to set the fx control on the vocal track on 5/10. This means that half of the dry signal of the vocal track will be sent into the fx track, and will be effected; then with the fader control of the fx track, I can decide the level of this effected part of the signal to send to the stereo mix, or to a group, or to an auxiliary send.
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