"Powered" and "Unpowered" and mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by trumpetprod, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    When I was looking at monitors and mixers today I saw "powered" and "unpowered". what's the difference between the two? I'm pretty sure it's obvious but just to make sure can someone please explain.

    And then I heard the term mastering on youtube, saw it on the forums, what does that mean? I looked it up online but it's all explained using a bunch of "odd" words, so if some could also clear that up.

  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    "Powered" monitors sometimes called "Active" monitors have built in amplifiers so all you need to do is plug in an output signal from your mixer without the need for any additional amplifier(s).
    "Unpowered" also called "Passive" monitors are just the speakers similar to regular stereo speaker boxes. These would require a separate amplifier.
    Active powered monitors are nice because the amplifier has been designed along with a crossover to provide the best possible amplification for the speakers.
    "Mastering" is the specialized process of taking each final "mixed" two track stereo song and adjusting and finalizing the levels for each song, setting all of the needed cue points between each song in an album format which will then be used as the "Master" for production duplication to a final commercial medium.. (i.e CD, LP, DVD....)
    There are plenty of Mastering Engineers on RO, so they will certainly jump in here and provide you with all the details!
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Dj covered the monitors quite well, so I'll provide a brief blurb about the "mixers". "Powered" mixers usually designates that a mixer has one or more power amplifiers built in to drive one or more sets of speakers. These are more suited to live usage than studio usage, although you could use them to power passive monitors (though usually not recommended), or to run powered monitors by sending the signal to the powered monitors from some point before the power amp. A powered mixer is not the best thing to use in a studio recording situation, although if that's all you have at the time...well...that's all you have. You'll generally get much better performance and signal routing capabilities out of a good non-powered mixer designed for recording purposes.

    If you are looking to buy for mainly recording purposes, get a decent non-powered mixer, and either an amp and passive monitors, or powered monitors. You can always use that mixer to connect to PA equipment to use live, if you want.

  4. trumpetprod

    trumpetprod Active Member

    Okay, thanks a lot guys!

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