In professional audio, a mixing console, or audio mixer, also called a sound board, mixing desk, audio production console, or mixer is an electronic device for combining (also called "mixing"), routing, and changing the level, timbre and/or dynamics of audio signals. A mixer can mix analog or digital signals, depending on the type of mixer. The modified signals (voltages or digital samples) are summed to produce the combined output signals.
Mixing consoles are used in many applications, including recording studios, public address systems, sound reinforcement systems, broadcasting, television, and film post-production. An example of a simple application would be to enable the signals that originated from two separate microphones (each being used by vocalists singing a duet, perhaps) to be heard through one set of speakers simultaneously. When used for live performances, the signal produced by the mixer will usually be sent directly to an amplifier, unless that particular mixer is "powered" or it is being connected to powered speakers. Among the highest quality bootleg recordings of live performances are the so-called soundboard recordings that are sourced from this mixer output to the speakers.
3 common types of mixer:
* Analog Mixer
* Digital Mixer
* Powered Mixer (with built-in Amplifier)
An electronic amplifier, amplifier, or (informally) amp is an electronic device that increases the power of a signal. It does this by taking energy from a power supply and controlling the output to match the input signal shape but with a larger amplitude. In this sense, an amplifier modulates the output of the power supply.
Numerous types of electronic amplifiers are specialized to various applications. An amplifier can refer to anything from an electrical circuit that uses a single active component, to a complete system such as a packaged PA System - Powered Amplifier.
A loudspeaker (or "speaker") is an electroacoustic transducer that produces sound in response to an electrical audio signal input. Non-electrical loudspeakers were developed as accessories to telephone systems, but electronic amplification by vacuum tube made loudspeakers more generally useful. The most common form of loudspeaker uses a paper cone supporting a voice coil electromagnet acting on a permanent magnet, but many other types exist. Where high fidelity reproduction of sound is required, multiple loudspeakers may be used, each reproducing a part of the audible frequency range. Miniature loudspeakers are found in devices such as radio and TV receivers, and many forms of music players. Larger loudspeaker systems are used for music, sound reinforcement in theatres and concerts, and in public address systems.
Equalizers are used in recording studios, broadcast studios, and live sound reinforcement to correct the response of microphones, instrument pick-ups, loudspeakers, and hall acoustics. Equalization may also be used to eliminate unwanted sounds, make certain instruments or voices more prominent, enhance particular aspects of an instrument's tone, or combat feedback (howling) in a public address system. Equalizers are also used in music production to adjust the timbre of individual instruments by adjusting their frequency content and to fit individual instruments within the overall frequency spectrum of the mix. The most common equalizers in music production are parametric, semi-parametric, graphic, peak, and program equalizers. Graphic equalizers are often included in consumer audio equipment and software which plays music on home computers. Parametric equalizers require more expertise than graphic equalizers, and they can provide more specific compensation or alteration around a chosen frequency. This may be used in order to remove (or to create) a resonance, for instance.
Audio crossovers are a class of electronic filter used in audio applications. Most individual loudspeaker drivers are incapable of covering the entire audio spectrum from low frequencies to high frequencies with acceptable relative volume and lack of distortion so most hi-fi speaker systems use a combination of multiple loudspeakers drivers, each catering to a different frequency band. Crossovers split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to loudspeakers optimized for those bands. Active crossovers are distinguished from passive crossovers in that they divide the audio signal prior to amplification. Active crossovers come in both digital and analog varieties. Digital active crossovers often include additional signal processing, such as limiting, delay, and equalization. Signal crossovers allow the audio signal to be split into bands that are adjusted (equalized, compressed, echoed, etc.) separately before they are mixed together again. Some examples are: multiband dynamics (compression, limiting, de-essing), multiband distortion, bass enhancement, high frequency exciters, and noise reduction (for example: Dolby A noise reduction).
Dynamic range compression, also called audio level compression, in which the dynamic range, the difference between loud and quiet, of an audio waveform is reduced.