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What is a mixer for?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ukuleleboy, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. ukuleleboy

    ukuleleboy Guest

    What is a mixer for?

    I have a Fostex Digital Multitrack (FD-4) and I was just wondering what the advantage of a mixer is? I see huge ones in 'real' recording studios? What are they connected to? I am guessing not a multitrack...

    Could I gain an advantage from using a seperate mixer instead of the level sliders on my multitrack? How would I connect this? Just 1/4" jacks from a mixer to my recorder?

    I think I could gain advantage from a mixer, so I dont have to mix the tracks down all the time to record extra instuments? Could I just record two instruments at the same time? Is this recommended or not?

    x matt x
     
  2. restashured

    restashured Guest

    Usually in a pro studio, the acoustic sounds (vocals, guitars, drums, pianos...) are miked and that signal is sent to some sort of multitrack recorder (with more tracks than the one you have). Once recorded, the signal is played back from the multitrack recorder into a mixer. Once the sound is in the mixer, you mix the tracks by setting volume levels and pan adjustments or adding outboard effects like reverb and delay (these can also be added to the initial recording in some cases). These tracks are then mixed down to two tracks (left and right) usually this is recorded on some sort of stereo mixdown unit. The mixed song, is now ready to go on some sort of media (CD for example).

    As for your case...if you are just recording yourself, I don't think it will help much to have a mixer because you can still only play a certain amount of instruments at a time. The only time it may help is if you have many drum mics that you want to record only as two tracks. As for recording guitar and vocals at the same time, it depends on the style of music, but chances are you will get some extra strumming or picking noise in the vocal mic. For that reason, I would recommend doing a vocal scratch track along with the guitar part, then overdub the vocal after. You will get a cleaner vocal sound that way.

    I hope this helps you.
    -restashured
     
  3. ukuleleboy

    ukuleleboy Guest

    Thanks very much... thats a big help... :lol:

    So the mixer is used as an output from the multitrack... not the on the inputs... I thought it was the other way round... :oops:

    I use an electric drum kit so I can just use line out...

    What is the normal number of tracks that a studio would boast? A pro studio I mean? I am just curious... I am guessing the multitrack they would use would be a rack mounted one, and they wouldnt need to use all the features I have on mine, because they would do all the eq and stuff on the mixer?

    x matt x
     
  4. restashured

    restashured Guest

    Ok, I may have confused you a little.

    The mixer is definitely used in the purpose I have already stated. However, it can also be used before the multitrack recorder. I just simplified it because this is not always the case. Preamps are often used. It depends on the engineer and the studio.

    With a pro mixer, chances are they have an in-line console with a direct output for each channel. That way, they can set basic levels through the MixA portion of the channels in the console before the multitrack recorder (could be standalone like Alesis HD-24 or could be software on a computer based system like ProTools or the like). Then they could return the signal from the multitrack recorder back into the MixB portion of the channel strips and mix down to stereo as I have already described.

    Many computer based systems have an unlimited track count. The HD-24 has 24 tracks. Of course there's also tape, but you probably won't encounter that (2 tracks, 4 tracks, 8 tracks, I think possibly up to 16, but don't quote me on that). A studio should boast only the tracks that they can record simultaneously, though I'm sure there are people out there that don't do this.

    Hope that clears everything up for you.
    -restashured
     

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