Lets continue on from Part 1 of this article here called Powered Mixers versus a rack of gear.
Here are some examples of powered mixers available on the market. Represented here are mixers from Yamaha, Yorkville Sound, Mackie and Peavey. Powered mixers are more than capable of providing the necessary tools from numerous types of sound jobs. Scroll down past the pictures to find a list of the many uses for a powered mixer.
The Many Uses of a Powered Mixer:
1. Basic Live Sound Mix:
A powered mixer is a great choice for a standard live sound mix.
First, plug in all microphones and instruments to the channel inputs first. Next connect the mains speakers together in parallel to one amplifier output on powered mixer. Then, connect the monitor speakers together in parallel to the other amplifier output on powered mixer. Assign the mixer outputs as Mains (out 1) and monitors (out 2). With this setup you will have independant control over the main speakers and the monitor mixes.
2. Band Rehearsal System:
Use a powered mixer for your band rehearsal space. Connect passive stage monitors to the amp outputs so that the band will be able to hear themselves during practices. Connect your vocal microphones to the powered mixer and use the Monitor Out or Aux Output to send the mix to the individual monitor speakers. If you require more than two monitor speakers for you setup, you can take the line level feed from the Monitor/Aux Output and send the feed to powered stage monitors or another separate power amp.
3. Power Amplifier Substitute:
Since a powered mixer has a power amplifier built-in, you could use it as a simple replacement for an outboard power amplifier. Most powered mixers have a set of inputs called "Power Amp In" which accepts a line level feed to connect to the internal amplifier. Just take a line level feed from the mixing console and patch it into the "Power Amp In" jacks, and then connect your speakers to the amplifier outputs on the back panel of the powered mixer. Finally, adjust the main output level to send the feed to the connected speakers.
4. Small Venue Sound System:
A powered mixer is a great choice for a small venue sound system like a coffee house or small bar where space and AC power is at a premium. All the sound tools are built into the mixer. (ie: mixer, power amp, EQ, EFX). Connect all the microphones and sources to the appropriate mixer inputs first.
Connect two speakers to one channel output of the powered mixer. Connect two stage monitor speakers to the other channel output of the powered mixer. If required connect one subwoofer to the subwoofer output of the mixer. With this setup you will have independent control of the main mix, the stage monitor mix and the subwooofer output without taking up a ton of room in the venue.
5. Drums Submixer:
You can use a powered mixer to submix the drum mics and also provide a separate monitor mix to the drummer at the same time. Connect all the drum mics to the mic inputs on the powered mixer. Connect the main left and right powered outputs to a pair stage monitor speakers for the drummer stage mix. Connect the main left and right line level outputs to the stage snake cable sending the drums submix to the front of house mix console. The powered mixer outputs can be adjusted to the right level by the drummer and the feed sent to the main mix can be adjusted by the front of house engineer.
6. Keyboards Submixer:
For multiple keyboards and digital piano, a powered mixer can make this setup
organized onstage. Patch all the various keyboard signals to the line inputs on each input first. Connect two stage monitors to the left and right powered outputs for monitoring. Connect the line level main left and right outputs of the powered mixer to the stage snake cable sending the feed to the front of house engineer. With this setup, the keyboardist can dial in the right mix for all the keyboards and still have a stage monitor mix while sending a stereo feed to the front of house engineer for the main mix.
7. Basic DJ System:
A powered mixer can be used as part of a DJ sound system. Connect the DJ mixer's main outputs to a stereo input on the powered mixer. Connect the main speakers to the left and right powered outputs of the powered mixer. Connect the powered subwoofers to either the main line level outputs or the subwoofer output (if equipped). If you have passive subwoofers, you will need to add a separate power amplifier in between the mixer outputs and the subs. Use the same hookup method for connecting a pair of small speakers for the DJ reference monitors.
8. Hotel Conference Audio:
A powered mixer is a great solution for basic conference setups in banquet halls in hotels. For a presentation with a featured speaker and computer powerpoint presentations, a powered mixer can handle the task. Connect a wireless mic system receiver to a channel input. Connect a podium mic to an input channel and engage the phantom power switch to activate (most powered mixers have a global phantom power switch). Connect the left/right audio feed from a laptop computer or tablet to one of the stereo inputs using a 1/8" stereo plug to 2x 1/4" y-adaptor cable. Connect a CD player or iPod to one of the stereo inputs for playback of music if required.
9. School Auditorium/Gymnasium Sound:
A powered mixer is a simple solution to provide sound in a gymnasium/auditorium for school assemblies and performances. Connect all microphones to the powered mixer using the mic input channels. Connect any line level sources such as CD players, iPods, mp3 players, DVD player audio to the stereo input channels on powered mixer. Connect the main speakers to the left and right powered outputs of the powered mixer. Connect a powered stage monitor (or passive monitor + power amp) to the auxillary or monitor send line level output. With this setup the main mix can be controlled independantly of the stage monitor mix via the controls on the powered mixer.
10. Acoustic Duo or Trio Performance (Outdoors):
A powered mixer will provide an easy setup sound system for any kind of duo or trio acoustic style performance outside. Plug in the vocal mics to the mic inputs on the mixer, connect acoustic instruments to a DI box first and then plug into the channel inputs of the mixer. Connect the main left/right passive speakers to one of the speaker outputs on the mixer. Connect a stage monitor speaker(s) to the other speaker output on the mixer. Set the mixer to send Amp 1 to Main speakers and Amp 2 to Monitor speakers. This setup will give you control of the Main and Monitor speakers independently. Use the monitor or aux sends to control the individual feeds to the monitor mix for the musicians foldback.
11. Movie Night In the Park:
Another use for a powered mixer can be for providing the sound for a movie showing in the park or other space. Once you setup the screen, video projector and DVD or Blu-Ray player, you can connect the audio feed from the video player to a stereo input on the powered mixer. Connect main speakers to the mixer amp outputs and adjust level accordingly. This same setup would also work for use in other venues for movie nights such a community hall, school auditorium, or recreation centre.