Whether you are a musician who often finds yourself in the position of having to provide your own PA equipment or the engineer responsible for the sound at a live music venue, your equipment makes or breaks your reputation. The single biggest factor affecting the quality of audio as perceived by the masses is your analog mixer. Make that plural if you maintain a separate monitor system.
Before you plunk down your cash, get a count of how many channels you will typically need. Visualize each mic and instrument you'll want to plug in for your typical gig, and any contingencies such as guest musicians. Next ask yourself whether you have mics that require phantom power (+48V), if you need preamps on every channel, and whether you want to be able to add a little reverb or delay.
Another big factor in choosing an analog mixer for your live rig is the monitoring setup. If you're going to be building a different monitor mix for different parts of the stage - say one for the left, one for the right and one for drums, you'll want to make sure your analog mixer has enough sends to accommodate all of your monitor mixes and your outboard effects, or a dedicated monitor section. If it's just you and the tabla player, you can probably get away with using the headphone output or not futzing with monitors at all.
Spend a little time thinking about what are you going for in terms of audio quality. Some of the higher end analog mixers get into audiophile territory. In fact some folks insist on an all analog signal path specifically because of a perceived warmth, and lack of harshness imparted on the sound. If enhanced audio quality is at the top of your wish list, you may want to forego on-board effects in favor of high quality, buffered effects sends so you can incorporate several choice pieces of high-end outboard gear.
There are also few other great pieces of kit that fall into the 'nice to have' category. For example, if you're hauling your rig back and forth from the practice room to the gig, you may want the ability to rack mount your analog mixer in a road case. Another cool little feature is USB or bluetooth capability for easy recording to a laptop. This can be especially useful if your mixer pulls double duty as part of your rehearsal room PA rig.
The final piece of wisdom we'll share on your journey toward analog mixer bliss is: call us! Our live sound team are thoroughly trained on all of our products and have years of real world experience. They are experts at listening to your needs and helping you pick a unit that fits like a glove. Learn More
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