Music Production 101 - Mixing Consoles

mixing console
the "brain" of an audio system; mixes multiple audio signals together; routes multiple mixes to multiple outputs; combines and sends audio signals to different locations
preamp gain/trim
increase a microphone signal up to line level so that it is high enough to be routed/manipulated; first thing that an input signal hits when entering a console
mono input
allows for the input of a single mic. (entering through XLR) or line (entering through TRS) level signal
stereo input
allows for the input of stereo sources (ipod, keyboard, etc.) and eventually splits the signal left and right
main outputs
stereo or mono output. sends the main mix to the main speaker system
auxiliary outputs
sends individual submixes out of the console; used to drive monitors or foldback systems
input channel
where an input source(s) enters the mixing console
direct output
takes the input of a channel and splits it back out of the console; used in multi-track recording
Routes a signal from a channel for processing and returns that signal back through the same jack. (another way to route signal out of the console)
protects the preamp from overly strong signals by lowering the level of strong input level signals
subgroup assigns
controls multiple channels together under 1 group fader
adjusts how much of the signal will be sent to the left or right output
prevents all audio from passing through the strip; a virtual on/off switch
a pre-fader listen; sends output out of the channel to either the headphone jack to be monitored or the meter
linear volume control for the channel
a fader set to 0; the signal coming from the preamp is not being affected at all by the fader
controls the overall levels for channels assigned to that group
selectively alters the signal strength of a specific band of frequencies; method of shaping the frequency spectrum of an audio signal
graphic equalizer
an equalizer of usually 31 bands set at fixed frequencies with fixed bandwidths and adjustable gain
parametric equalizer
allows sweepable adjustment of frequency, gain, and bandwidth, with the bandwidth sometimes "Q"
high pass filter
selectively allows frequencies above a given point to pass; low cut
low pass filter
selectively allows frequencies below a given point to pass; aka high cut
tonal shaping
enhancing the timbre or tone of a voice/instrument by accentuating the good qualities and deemphasizing undesirable qualities
dynamic range
the range between the softest and loudest parts of a signal
dynamic processors
change the dynamics of an audio signal; 3 main types
dynamic processors that lowers the louder part of the dynamic range - the softer parts more closely match the louder parts; includes the threshold, ratio, attack, release, and output
sets at what level a compressor kicks in so that signals below it pass unhindered
how much compression gets applied to the signal; ex. 3:1 - for every 3 dB over, 1dB passes through
how quickly the compressor acts on a signal
when compression lowers the overall gain of a signal, used to bring it back up
compressors with a ratio higher than 10:1 used in system protection (a high threshold with a high ratio just in case)
a threshold so that audio signals only pass if above a set level; allows for the control of unwanted noise from open microphones (mics. are only "on" if signal is purposefully being sent through them)