Mixer - how to control speakers and recording independently of each other
On an audio mixing console, is it typical for the faders which control the speaker volume to ALSO control the output to your recording software (USB plugged into a computer)?
Sometimes I find that the speakers are set to a perfect level, so I don't want to mess with them. But at the same time, the input of the recording is too high, so I'd like to turn down the output. But I'm finding that the MAIN MIX faders (which control the speakers via the MAIN OUT) also controls the USB out (which I am using to record).
Is this typical? It seems that they should have independent control functions.
Suppose the director of a show said "add some reverb and and EQ to the speakers, but don't include that into the recording." Would that be possible with typical mixer setups?
You want to use the CONTROL ROOM out from the mixer for your monitors, not the mains out. You can also use a stereo AUX out if the board has one (most do). But to answer your question, it depends on the board. It is common that all channels / faders sum (come together) at the main output. That naturally allows you to have control over all channel via a single stereo pair.
Most boards have different routing options depending on your needs. This includes routing each channel to a separate AUX OUTPUT or even to other channels. What board do you have / using for this?
I am currently testing out this mixer: Behringer XENYX X1622USB
My setup is really simple and I'm trying to figure out basic controls (hence I'm using the newbie thread).
I have a microphone coming into channel 1. I am using MAIN MIX out (XLR) to an amplifier. The amplifier is then outputting to two speakers (left and right). When I need to adjust the overall volume of speakers, I adjust the MAIN MIX faders (left and right). Alternatively, I can adjust the channel 1 fader. Since there's only 1 microphone here, they produce the same result (that is, the volume of the speakers is changed).
That is how the instructions tell me to set it all up.
But the problem comes in when I want to record. I am using the USB to connect to my PC. In my PC, I have some very basic software that can record in either mono or stereo (I will be using Pro Tools when I am ready for more complications).
There is no dedicated USB output fader. Instead, the MAIN MIX faders control the USB output. So when my recording level is too loud (clipping), but the volume coming out of the loudspeakers is perfectly fine, I can either (a) leave it all alone, and accept a bad recording, or (b) turn down the MAIN MIX faders, thus reducing the clipping within the recording; however, this will lower the volume of the loudspeakers, and people in the audience will complain that the volume is too low.
How can I fix this?
To the best of my knowledge, I shouldn't use the CONTROL ROOM jack (a single 1/4" jack) to output to the loudspeakers. This jack seems to be designed for headphones and/or small speakers that are to be heard by an engineer who is not in the same room as the audience. In my case, I am in the same room as the audience.
You need to connect your monitors to the CONTROL ROOM outputs on the back of the mixer. There is a pair L/R. This will solve your issue. You will use the PHONES/CNTRL ROOM knob to adjust the monitor levels, not the main mix fader.
Don't worry about 'where' the control room is. If you are in the room with the mixer, then THAT is the control room.
There is also a MIN mIX switch that send the main mix output to the PHONES/CNTRL ROOM output. Use that to monitor the main out when you need to.
Use the CONTROL ROOM outputs to connect your monitors.
These outputs have an independent level control and will enable you to hear what is being soloed. Depending on the connectors on your amp you may need a 1/4" TRS to male XLR cable. If the amp has 1/4" inputs then a TRS to TRS cable would be sufficient.
You guys are missing what he is doing, this is not a studio but a live rig and he's trying to record a stereo live mix. The control room output on that board is for headphones and a cue mix.
Well it's to bad the USB output is coming out hot, but that should not happen unless your mains are also to hot. The main meters on the board should match the input to your recording software. If your main meters are past the yellow then you need a bigger power amp for the PA.
Turn down the recording volume in the Windows audio option dialog. I understand the USB output on those boards are not the greatest anyway and there are no drivers to use it with a proper DAW. So someday you'll still need to buy a proper audio interface.
If the mix you want is the same as the PA then you do want the main output.
OK, so I just looked at the mixer in question, and you would probably do better hooking up the SUB outs for the PA and just use the MAIN faders for the recording.
Make sure to assign each channel to BOTH SUB and MAIN outs and do NOT assign the SUB outs to the mains.
Awesome advice guys. Thanks!! I will try it out on the weekend.
And yes, this is for a live gig (actually it's for a weekly church service). Sorry I didn't convey that properly the first time.
But isn't XLR output better quality than 1/4" TRS output? I ask because when using MAIN OUT for the loudspeakers, I have the XLR option. If I output the to loudspeakers using the SUB, I only have the 1/4" TRS option. I guess it's not the biggest deal, but it'd be nice to get the best quality.
Also, supposing the USB wasn't there, how would you go about recording? What output would you use from the mixer to go into a PC laptop? My PC has a 1/8" TRS Line-In (not to be confused with a Mic-In) jack available (but only one). Would I be able to use the SUB OUT (1/4" TRS, L and R) to go into my 1/8" TRS Line-In? If so, how would you get two cords from the mixer (left and right) to go into the one jack on my PC?
Don't worry about the XLRs vs TRS outs for this application; either should be fine for the mains.
You would ideally use a multichannel interface to do the AD conversion into your comp, rather than letting the internal soundcard do it via the 1/8" input. However, you could use the mixer's tape RCA outs (if there are any) to send L&R to your comp via an RCA to 1/8" cable, like those used to connect an ipod to a stereo.
This is far from ideal, however. You really want a multichannel interface to take mixer direct outs to the converters channel by channel. Still, the usb stereo converter on the Berry is likely better than the card in your laptop. And you don't have direct outs on that mixer. So some form of stereo output is likely to be your only option here, unless you can bring more hardware into the picture.