Refers to one channel of a mixing board. Due to the layout of most mixers – channels in columns across the face with the functions of each channel arrayed from top to bottom – a channel is sometimes referred to as a strip. Over the years some mixers have been so highly regarded for their sound quality that a market was developed by marrying a channel strip to a power supply and I/O connections for stand alone use. One could plug a mic directly into the channel strip and record directly to a recorder without having to take the big mixer to the location. Even when such a mixer is available the channel strip approach is often used because it is thought that the simpler signal path of the external strip produces a more pure audio signal to record. This is similar to the popular approach of using high quality stand-alone mic preamps as the only device between mics and recorders, with the major difference being that a channel strip has many more capabilities than a simple mic amp. It may have EQ, compression, gates, and more, depending upon the unit. The idea is that it’s everything you’re likely to need in the signal path to make a great recording. Channel strips are so popular these days that they are generally considered to be a separate product category from preamps and other processing.