Once again, Mr. Craig Leerman has provided us with yet another excellent article on how be creative with less when working with sound. This article highlights how to maximize mixing console layouts for those time when you don't have enough inputs on a show. Sometimes it happens when you are given tech rider for show and then things are changed on show day and you may not have enough gear to support those changes. That is when you need to improvise and make thing work. Read this great article and find out some solutions to help you out when you are stuck on a show.
In the article, Craig Leerman talks about always carrying a compact "utility" mixer to every gig which can be put into service as a sub-mixer to the main console, a distribution amplifier for outputs, a press mult, and even an adapter to interface a device to the main mixer.
Personally, I have a BEHRINGER XENYX 1204 USB mixer that sports 4 - XLR mic inputs, one-knob compressors on mic inputs, 2 - stereo inputs, 2 - pairs of main outputs, control room outputs, ALT3/4 outputs and RCA inputs for interfacing an mp3 player, laptop or tablet with a simple y-cable.
Almost every mixing console manufacturer has a line of compact, utility mixers available. Here are a selection of a some below:
This mixer packs a load of features in a small footprint!
4 -XLR Inputs, 3 - Stereo Inputs, 7-band Graphic built-in, EFX processor built-in, 3-band EQ on every channel, USB Input with level control, RCA inputs and outputs with level control, Monitor Send, EFX Send, Stereo Return Inputs, and Phantom power.
YORKVILLE SOUND PGM8:
Similar features to the Mackie Pro8FX with the addition of 2 extra XLR inputs with stereo inputs when you need just a couple more mic inputs. Also included is a Hi-Z switch on one of the mono input channels that will allow to you patch in a high impedance instrument without the need for an additional DI box.
Similar features to the Mackie, Yorkville, and Behringer mixers above.
Includes 2 in/2 out USB functions for connecting you laptop for audio or recording with included Cubase AI DAW software download version. For those times when you need to make a simple recording of a presentation or other audio feed on on show.
SOUNDCRAFT SIGNATURE 10:
Soundcraft took the best features from some of the past, analog mixing consoles and designed it into the Signature Series. Even in the the smallest model Signature 10 you get the famous Ghost mic preamps, Sapphire British EQ with sweepable mids, Lexicon branded effects engine, dbx Limiters (High Ratio Compressors on inputs channels, Hi Pass (Low Cut) filters and 48V Phantom Power on all mic channels, 2 in/2 out USB playback and recording, Switchable Hi-Z inputs for guitars, basses and other instruments, and GB Series Audio Routing functions.
As you can see there is so many features that can be packed into a compact mixer and you should always carry one with you to every show or gig your work. Think of it as your sound safety net that will help out in a pinch when you don't have enough inputs. Happy Mixing!!!