Fender 4216 Mixer Help

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by james5413, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. james5413

    james5413 Active Member

    I need help recording music at my church. I am fairly new to this and am trying to get a clear feed to record a Music CD with the equipment that we have now. Currently we are using a Fender 4216 Proffesional Mixer. Right now all audio is sent to our computer via the headphone jack on the front. When recording the music is not very clear and has a constant humming noise. There are several empty connections on the back that accept either a 1/4" Jack or 3-prong mic cord. What is the best way to record music through this mixer to a computer while trying to keep the cost down? Any and all help with this would be very much appreciated! I attached a link below to a site that has pictures of this mixer.

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The problem may well be in the "sent to our computer" part of your post. Do you have an external audio interface for the computer, or are you using the input of the internal sound card? If it's the sound card, there's the source of most of your problems at this level.

    If you are happy to go on recording the stereo output of the mixer (as opposed to recording all channels separately and mixing them to stereo later), you should consider getting an external 2-channel audio interface. The type that plugs into a USB port on the computer is adequate for this application. There are many available at this level with little difference in sound quality between them (all are better than an internal soundcard), and something under $200 such as the Presonus AudioBox USB or the Focusrite Saffire 6 USB would work adequately.

    For several reasons it's not the best plan to use the headphone output of the mixer for the recording feed, but from what technical details I can find of the Fender mixer, it's not well set up for recording. If you get a new audio interface but want to go on using the headphone out, you will need the correct type of cable to connect the two. The sort you would need is for other reasons called an "insert cable" and comprises a 3-pole (TRS) jack plug on one end splitting out on the other end to a pair of 2-pole jack plugs (TS) which would plug into the L and R inputs of the interface.

    It may be possible to use the "insert send" jacks on the main mixer output instead of the headphone output. To use these, you would need a pair of standard 2-pole (TS) jack leads. This would give you better quality audio, but I don't have the information as to whether doing this would cut off the sound to the main outputs for your PA. If this is the case, it gets a little more complicated to send the audio back to the "return" jacks as well as taking it off to your interface, but it is possible.

    Can you give us a few more details on how you are currently capturing the audio into the computer, and whether you have any sort of budget for improving the recorded sound quality?
  3. james5413

    james5413 Active Member


    Thank you so much for the help I already got alot out of what you just said. We actually do have an audio interface already. However, I think it has been plugged into the CPU on the back via a headphone jack. Then recorded through a program called "Nero". Here is a link that I found on Google to a Interfacce that looks just like mine if not the exact same. Im not sure if mine has quite this many inputs but it does have most everything this one has. (Eurotrack UB802)


    Last night we did try to use insertion send and it did not appear to cut off the main speakers. Does that mean that Insertion Send would be the best outlet on my mixer to use?
    I wasnt sure which of the following I should use:
    1)Right Insertion Send
    2)Left Insertion Send
    3)Monitor 1 Out
    4)Monitor 2 Out
    5)Effect 1 Out
    6)Effect 2 Out

    I can try to come up with a USB cord for my Audio Interface, and Im sure I can buy the cord to go from my mixer to my interface I just need to know what output to use so I know what type of cord to buy? Also, I wanted to make sure that my mixer isnt to powerful for that little Audio Interface.
    All of your help is already very much appreciated!
    Daniel James
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The UB802 is a mixer and not a computer interface and should be avoided if possible, sorry to say.

    From what you wrote, the main Left and Right Insertion Sends on your Fender mixer are the ones to go for, but you will need to connect these using a pair of standard TS jack leads to a proper computer interface unit of the type I mentioned previously.

    This connection would mean that you would record only what was being sent to the PA amps via the mixer main outputs. It would be OK for the spoken elements of the service, but it may be that all the music (e.g. bass guitar) is not sent through the PA, and so the recording would not have all the components. If this is the case, then you will have to be a little more ambitious in how you mic and record the whole event. For example, you either have to record from mixer outputs other than the main L+R outputs so you get a mix of all the channels you need, or you have to consider recording all the channels separately and mixing down to a stereo CD after the event. In the first case, you are into "on-the-fly" mixing with no chance of altering it later. For the second case, you would need a multi-channel interface and not one of the two-channel units I mentioned earlier, and would have to be prepared to devote time to a mixdown session each week.

    There are other contributers to these forums who are regular church sound operators and may well want to advise you further.
  5. james5413

    james5413 Active Member


    O ok I see the difference now. I can probobly buy one of those interfaces that you suggested. If I was to do that I have a question.

    With the way our mixer is set up now we can use the "Trim" dials to individually raise and lower the recording volume for each mic. Will any of those outputs on the back still allow us to use "trim" to adjust the volume separately?

  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi Daniel,

    I agree 100% with Boswell in regards to investing in a small, relatively inexpensive, USB interface.

    I would normally defer to Boswell's technical expertise on everything, and stay out of this discussion because you're being helped by one of the best. But for the first time ever, I might have to differ with him on something - which outputs to use. Church sound and video is my livelihood. So for once I may have a slight advantage - having installed scores of nicely appointed systems, and more to the point - having rerouted, repaired, or replaced a thousand cobbled together low-budget church systems.

    So I might suggest you try to get more control by using the Auxiliary Outputs instead, and this is why.

    First of all, no matter which outputs you use from that board there will need to be some level jockeying, judging from the pictures your output levels are all +4 line level. Which is pretty hot for most consumer grade recorders, but not necessarily a terrible thing - depending on your application. Using an Aux Out - such as your Effects Out, should give you a separate master volume to feed the recording.

    Secondly, recording a church service is tricky to begin with because of the great discrepancy between the volume of the music vs. the volume of the most pastors' normal speaking voice. Not just the volume in the room, but more how it corresponds to the levels being pushed through your mixer. For example, in my case on Sunday mornings, I've got a horn section that requires no amplification to compete with the rest of the band, so their level at the Main Outs would be very low in comparison to the acoustic guitar. I still mic the horn section, but by using Aux Outs, (or in my case Matrix Outs), I can have the horns present and mixed appropriately on the recordings (DVD, CD, and computer) without blasting them through the speakers that much louder at the congregation.

    Whether you're recording to a cassette deck, CD recorder, or computer inputs, to record a typical church service well requires a higher degree of control than recording just music, or just spoken word.

    A couple questions:

    Are you currently using the Effect 1 Out or Effect 2 Out for anything? (external reverb or delay units, monitors, nursery feeds, assistive listening, etc)

    Are you recording the entire service music and all, just the "Music CD", or just the message? [FYI, there are copyright issues with recording and distributing the music unless it's all public domain hymns]

    What is the musical style you're trying to record, traditional, contemporary, blended?
    And the instrumentation - piano/organ/choir, contemporary praise band bass/drums/electric guitars?

    [One more thing I'd suggest you try and report back]
    Plug headphones into the headphone jack and see if the hum exists in the mixer without the mixer being connected to the computer. You're trying to determine and isolate if you've got a grounding issue between the mixer and computer, or just amplifying a hum coming from the stage/platform/pulpit area. If so, try to determine the specific input channel(s).

    Best of luck, I'll check back to see what you find.
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Good, I hoped someone with regular church sound experience would come in. What Dvdhawk suggests is the logical thing to do if it's more than just a recording of what goes through the PA, as I tried to imply in the bit in my post about recording from outputs other than the main L+R sends.

    It would mean keeping track of both the main faders for the PA outputs and also the aux send (or effect) levels for the recording output in order to achieve a useable recording mix. Generating a stereo mix that was other than hard left and right would not be easy with that mixer, particlarly with the phones output not assignable to any sort of stereo bus. My overall feeling is that if you want to produce well-balanced, well-positioned stereo CDs, you would be better off recording the individual raw tracks via a multi-track recording interface and assigning the time after each service to do a mixdown to a good stereo mix.
  8. james5413

    james5413 Active Member


    Thanks again guys for all of the help.

    Ok, so plugging the headphones directly into the phone jack i didnt notice a hum at all.

    Also, No there in nothing plugged into effect 1 or 2. The only outputs being used on the back are Program 1 & 2 which operate the speakers in the congregation.

    For services we record music and preaching, but outside of that we want to be able to record a music CD with about 10 songs that we have written.

    To use Effects 1 out like you suggested I have a couple qestions:
    1) What type of TRS connection should I use Stereo or Mono? Will it need to be Stereo or Mono to connect to the Audio Interface that I am going to buy?

    2) Once connected which dials will I use to individually control recording volume? (Pan, Trim, etc..)

    3) Also, once connected what knob will I use to to control overall recording volume? (Effect 1 Out, Effect 1 Return, The "Program" knob over Effect 1 Return)

    I am going to try to insert pictures of the board so you have easy access to see it.

    All of the help is much appreciated!

    DSC00501-Fender-right.jpg DSC00504-Fender-Outs.jpg DSC00503-Fender-Back.jpg
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Well, this Fender board is far from being an ideal recording console. Assuming you want some sort of stereo positioning in your recordings, you would need to take a pair of leads from either the mixer's two effect outputs or the two monitor outputs into the jack inputs of your audio interface, and pan the signal sources across the stereo field by varying the relative amount of Effect 1/Monitor 1 (left channel) and Effect 2/Monitor 2 (right channel) levels in each input channel.

    The unbalanced effect output jacks (TS leads needed) are the second set of sockets down from the top in the section next to the power inlet, and the balanced monitor outputs are on XLR male connectors in the next section of the panel (XLRF - TRS jack leads needed).

    Each jack or XLR lead would be mono, but the pair of them, taken together, would make a pseudo-stereo signal that would be understood as stereo by the audio interface and whatever recording program you use. As an aside, I would prefer to use the free program Audacity rather than Nero for this recording job.

    I don't have any information on this, but I'm guessing that the mixer's effect outputs are post-fader (i.e. dependent on the levels set on the main faders) and that the monitor outputs are pre-fader (independent of the main fader settings). For recording purposes, you would normally use the pre-fader outputs (Monitor in this case), but since you will be mixing to stereo on the fly and not recording multi-track, this may not be optimal. You need to work out which set is best for your usage, and use the appropriate control knobs and output jacks.

    There is a more complicated compromise that would involve using an extra pair of jack leads to take the effect outputs back to a spare pair of mixer channel inputs and then recording from the monitor outputs. That would allow some channels to feed directly pre-fader into the recording via their monitor controls while others feed post-fader via the effect outputs and the spare input channels.
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for inserting the pictures in the thread.

    1st problem: The results of your headphone test may indicate a ground issue between the computer and the mixer.

    You should be able to adequately record your services in mono using either Effects Out 1 or 2 [FX]. It is not uncommon to do it that way.

    I am also assuming the FX sends are post-fader, post-eq like most mixer in that class. If you use FX#2, try starting with the Effects sends on all 16 channels at the 12 o'clock position, and control the overall level to the recording device with the FX2 Out knob in the master section ( on the right hand of the board, just right of the EQs ). Any changes you make with the sliders and EQs will be reflected in the recording. If you find you need more or less of something on the recording (but don't want those same changes to come out of your speakers), adjust the individual FX2 knob up or down on the corresponding channel (or channels). If you're using any radical EQ settings to make the source(s) suit the room, but they don't sound good on the recording, you're going to have to find a compromise setting. It looks like you might be able to listen to the FX2 mix through the headphones by turning the knob in the upper right to "Effect 2" to get an idea what the recorder hears. Can you confirm that's what that knob does? Back when everybody recorded to cassette, you normally had a headphone jack on the tape deck you could use to monitor the recording mix.

    As far as getting a great sounding stereo recording of a musical group using the "Fender 4216 Proffesional Mixer" - don't let the word 'professional' fool you. This board has got some years on it, and "professional", might have been an optimistic marketing claim back when it was made. Don't get me wrong - even though it may be an uphill battle, it's still not a bad place to start. With some experimentation, some skill and/or some luck you might be able to coax a decent recording out of it. If you keep your expectations in check, and look at it as a learning experience, you can have a lot of fun doing it. Recording should be (and can be) enjoyable. You don't have to use expensive equipment or sound like a big-budget recording to get your song ideas down on tape (or disc).

    If you are doing this solely for the sake of recording, and not simultaneously doing a live performance / church - you might be better served by disconnecting the Program 1 & 2 outs for the speaker system and use those outputs for making a stereo recording. If you have mics in the room to capture the instruments and vocals - you aren't going to want the speakers squawking in the background anyway.

    To give yourself the best chance of sounding your best, taking all 16 channels and feeding them out to the recording gadget of your choice, in the manner Boswell describes, is by far your best bet. That way you can record each instrument to its own track and you can worry about one thing at a time - mixing after you've got a good performance recorded.

    If you get your songs all worked out and want a really great sounding recording you can, A) buy some gear and spend months/years learning how to use it, B) rent some gear and try to figure out the basics in a weekend, C) hire a professional (or serious hobbyist) to lend a hand, D) check out some studios in your area.

    The main thing is, keep studying your mixer and the things it can do. Have fun with it!
  11. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    what to do

    tascam USB interface
    ideally the M164UF ($399 gets you 16 inputs!), or a less expensive 2 Ch more portable ( i have both) A couple of decent and well placed condensor mics - this will do it

    But for more in the mix...you can also record the board inputs connecting them from mixer to Tascam mixer and adjusting levels to suit.

    I suggest Reaper softward but you can use Audacity, Adobe etc...
    Select the inputs from the Tascam 1-16 and record as you wish.

    I've test all of the above it works great very few glitches. Other manufacturers have the same sort of thing. By my calcs Tascam gets you more inputs per $.

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