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Mackie CFX mixer tips.

Q: “Why can’t I get any sound out of my Mackie CFX mixer?”

A: There are certain routing conditions that must be met in order for audio to be present at the main outputs of CFX series mixers. Minimally you must assign each channel to a Subgroup (or a pair of subgroups), then assign those Subgroups (they’re the blue faders) to the Main Outputs. Unless you configure the mixer properly, you will hear nothing, or you’ll hear only the built-in effects. The simplest way to configure the mixer is to depress the 1-2 button on every channel, and then depress the Left button above Subgroup 1 and the Right button above Subgroup 2. By doing this, the signal from a channel is fed to subgroups 1 and 2 and distributed between them depending upon the position of the channel’s Pan control knob (pan left sends the signal to sub 1, right to sub 2, centered splits the signal evenly between the 2 subgroups). Then the signal from the subgroups is fed to the main outputs (subgroups 1 and 2 feed the Left and Right Main Outputs respectively). Make sure that the subgroup faders are up (centered in the shaded region); otherwise you won’t hear anything (or you’ll only hear the effects).

If you want to perform more elaborate Subgroup routing, just remember the following:

  • The signal from a channel must be assigned to a pair of subgroups by pressing the 1-2 or the 3-4 button(s).
  • The channel pan knob will direct the signal between Subgroups 1 and 2 or Subgroups 3 and 4 depending upon which assignment button(s) you have depressed on that channel.
  • The signal entering a Subgroup must be directed to the appropriate Main Output (Left, Right, or both) and the Subgroup faders must not be all the way down, otherwise the signal from the channels can’t get through them to the Left and Right Main Outputs.
  • The overall volume of the Left and Right Main Outputs is controlled by the Main Mix fader (the one all the way to the right).
  • The Subgroups can be used as four mono groups (Left and Right assign button pressed for each Subgroup), two stereo pairs (Left assign buttons depressed for Subgroups 1 and 3 and Right assign buttons pressed for Subgroups 2 and 4), or as two mono groups and one stereo pair.

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