Channel Strip and Signal Flow of an Analog Mixing Board

I’m Peyton Haynie from Bay City, Tx. This is for week four of Introduction to Music Production at Coursera.org. I will be talking about the components of and the signal flow through the channel strip of an analog mixing board.

The Components of the Channel Strip

There are many knobs and buttons on a mixing board. At first, this can be more than a little troubling. But once you look closer you can see each line of knobs and buttons represents one channel and each new channel is exactly the same as the last.

Trim knobs, found at the top of the channel strip, control the source level of the channel.

Faders, located at the bottom of the channel strip, control the volume. In addition to the fader at the bottom of each channel there is also a master fader, which controls the volume max for the whole board.

Auxiliary sends, found in the middle of the channel strip, feed the signal to other devices, such as a stage monitor.

The pan knob allows you to balance the signal by raising the volume on one side and lowering it on the other. Pan knobs are usually found either above the trim or above the fader.

EQ knobs are located in the middle of the channel strip. The low EQ knob adjusts the low frequencies of the signal, the mid EQ the adjusts the middle frequencies and the hi EQ the high frequencies.

The mute button is found directly above the fader. As the name suggests, it mutes that channel.

The solo button, usually found with the mute button, mutes all other channels.

The pad button, located at the top of the channel, is used when the trim is at its lowest and the signal range is still in the red. The pad button drops the signal range a few more decibels.

Signal Flow

The signal starts at the input. From there it goes into the trim, where the noise is covered and cannot be heard over the PA. The signal then goes through the EQ where it is “reshaped” to make it more suitable for mixing. It then moves into the auxiliary sends, where it can be sent to the monitors. After the auxiliary sends it’s sent to the pan knob to be balanced, and to the fader to adjust the volume. Once all the channels have been properly mixed they are combined into a main mix and sent to main outputs, such as speakers or headphones.

To summarize: The signal flow starts at the input, goes through the trim to the EQ, the auxiliary sends, the pan knob and the fader before being combined into a main mix and being sent to the speakers.

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