Mixing console  

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"Dub: The mixing desk as an instrument and the DJ/remixer as an artist." -- "A Bluffers Guide to Dub" (2000) by John McCready,

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In sound recording and reproduction, and sound reinforcement systems, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining sounds, routing, and changing the volume level, timbre (tone colour) or dynamics of many different audio signals. Inputs to the console include microphones being used by singers, mics picking up acoustic instruments such as drums or saxophones, signals from electric or electronic instruments such as the electric bass or synthesizer, or recorded music playing on a CD player. Depending on the type, a mixer is able to control analog or digital signals. The modified signals are summed to produce the combined output signals, which can then be broadcast, amplified through a sound reinforcement system or recorded.

Mixing consoles are used in many applications, including recording studios, public address systems, sound reinforcement systems, nightclubs, dance clubs, broadcasting, television, and film post-production. A typical, simple application combines signals from two microphones (each used by vocalists singing a duet, perhaps) into an amplifier that drives one set of speakers simultaneously. In live performances, the signal from the mixer usually goes directly to an amplifier which is plugged into speaker cabinets, unless the mixer has a built-in power amplifier or is connected to powered speakers. A DJ mixer may have only two channels, for mixing two record players. A coffeehouse's tiny stage might only have a six channel mixer, enough for two singer-guitarists and a percussionist. A nightclub stage's mixer for rock music shows may have 24 channels for mixing the signals from a rhythm section, lead guitar and several vocalists. A mixing console for a large concert may have 48 channels. A mixing console in a professional recording studio may have as many as 96 channels.

In practice, mixers do more than simply mix signals. They can provide phantom power for capacitor microphones; pan control (which changes a sound's apparent position in the stereo soundfield); filtering and equalization, which enables sound engineers to boost or cut selected frequencies to improve the sound; routing facilities (to send the signal from the mixer to another device, such as a sound recording system or a control room; and monitoring facilities, whereby one of a number of sources can be routed to loudspeakers or headphones for listening, often without affecting the mixer's main output. Some mixers have onboard electronic effects, such as reverb. Some mixers intended for small venue live performance applications may include an integrated power amplifier.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mixing console" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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