Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tutorial Video about Audio Mixer Basics

I just put together another section of my "Learn To DJ" course, with a new video on YouTube. This one focuses on the BASICS of using mixers, whether they are DJ mixers or general purpose audio mixers.

Basically, I spent the first half of the video explaining simple concepts, using a Pioneer DJM-600 DJ-style mixer to illustrate concepts. I covered things like:
- What the channels are.
- How the EQ controls work.
- How the "room" or "mains" or "master" volume works (for the dance floor).
- How the "booth" or "monitor" volume works (for monitors in the DJ booth).
- How the "cue" or "headphones" volume works (so you can cue up songs in the headphones).
- How gain/trim levels work, to standardize output from each channel.
- How to keep a clean sound by avoiding pushing your individual channel gains & volumes to the point of distorting your signal.
- How to cue up tracks in the headphones.
- How the cross-fader works, and whether or not you need to use it.

I skipped fancier topics like using the on-board effects or send/returns.

After I finished with the DJM-600, I talked about two other DJ mixers, the Allen & Heath Xone 62 and the Allen & Heath Xone 4D. I showed how different mixers appear on the surface to be radically different, but really, most of them have all of the same basic functions. I mentioned the MIDI sections on the Xone 4D, but didn't go into any detail about them.

Finally, I brought out a couple of general audio mixers (the Mackie CR-1602 and the Yamaha EMX-5000) and talked about the differences between mixers designed specifically for DJ's versus those designed for live performances or studio use, with significantly more channels.

If you need extremely detailed videos describing the functions of any of the mixers mentioned here, you should dig deeper into YouTube. This video was intended to teach people what a mixer is used for and how to recognize the basic functions, rather than to go into complete detail about all the advanced features.

Hopefully some of you will enjoy watching the video (I apologize, but the sound in this video stutters occasionally in the first thirty seconds):