Audio mixer, also called a soundboard, is an electronic device that is used for altering, routing, or transforming an audio signal in any way. It can alter the beat, pitch or timbre of a sound signal as well, giving it new flavors or making subtle alterations to it. It can have various applications. For instance, it can be used to blend signals from two separate microphones, so that the resulting composite sound can be heard through one set of speakers. This comes in handy preparing a duet to be heard through one set of speakers.
The input section of an audio mixer usually has the following components:
1. Input Jacks/Microphone Pre-amplifiers: As the name suggests, these are used to plug in microphones (wired or wireless) and pre-amps. This is the section through which sound enters the mixer.
2. Basic Input Controls: Each input slot comes with some manual controls around it. These can be used to regulate the pitch, bass, treble, etc. of the input signals. A trained professional can use these settings to correct minor discrepancies in the sound before it even gets recorded. This section also picks up the most interference from outside sources, and hence must be regulated properly.
3. Channel Equalizers: These are invaluable in regulating the pitch of the music being played. Minor corrections in beats, amplifying the low pitch spots to make them clearly audible, everything is done here.
4. Routing Section: This portion deals with routing the audio signals to the output devices, such as recording device or speakers. This portion is also used to determine which part of the music should be heard from the speakers placed in different positions. For instance, in a simple two-speaker setup, this is used to decide which portion of the music would be heard through the left speaker, and which part should be heard through the right speaker.
5. Input and subgroup faders: Each channel on a mixer has a potentiometer that can be controlled by a sliding volume control to adjust the amplitude in the final mixture of channels. Each control adjusts only one channel of audio, thus making even minor adjustments possible.
The audio mixer is one of the important components in any audio recording setup. Seasoned professionals can cover up a lot of flaws of budding artists in order to make them sound like experienced artists. This setup should thus be assembled carefully to ensure long term, cost-effective service.
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