As we continue down the signal path, we get to a new section. This is separated from the EQ section and generally uses a different color coding for the associated knobs. The next group is the Aux Sends. Each send represents an output jack that will go to external audio sources. One example would be the stage monitor mix(s). If you have two monitors on each end of the stage serving performers, you can use Aux Send 1 going to the left monitor and use Aux Send 2 going to the right monitor. If performer 1 wants to hear themselves and a little bit of performer 2 in the same monitor, simply send a lot of performer 1’s channel to Aux Send 1 and a little of the performer 2 to the Aux Send 1. If performer 2 does not want to hear performer 1 in their respective monitor, simply turn up performer 2’s channel Aux Send 2 up a bunch and do not turn up Aux Send 2 on the channel for performer 1. That was probably harder to say correctly than actually doing it.
You can use Auxiliary Sends to route a signal from any channel to external effects boxes like Digital Delays, Reverbs, and even recording devices in a pinch. You can use it to trigger light boards that have an Audio Input mode.
These Auxiliary Sends can sometimes be switched from Pre to Post. Some are fixed either way. This can also get confusing but if the channel Aux Send is in Pre mode it means Pre-Fader. The volume faders on each channel will affect the level of the signal that is sent to the House or the Main Out of the mixer and when selected, to the headphone out. It is a good idea to solo instruments in the headphones to pick or change microphone locations and isolate room noise and other performers. If the Aux is set to Pre-Fader, it means that the Aux Send levels will be determined before the channel fader has any effect. Turn the channel volume fader all the way down and you will still have plenty of signal going to the Aux Send. If the Aux Send is in Post Fader mode, the amount of signal sent to the Aux Send for that channel will be directly affected by the level of the channel volume fader. Fader off = no Aux Send level. The number of sends will vary widely. In this case, more is better!
At this point the example starts a new section. This will affect the Main Out section. This is where we can set the stereo Pan position, Mute or un-Mute the channel, and Solo the instrument for gain staging and troubleshooting during a performance. When running in stereo, general rule is very low frequencies get panned to center. After that, adjust to performance and venue. Sometimes the stage sound is very loud, and listeners close to the stage will only be able to hear that performer. Sometimes the shape of the stage or design of venue will require creative solutions using stereo panning.
This strip includes a pair of colored LED’s for signal strength and Peak warning level indicators. Occasional red for short periods of time are OK, but better to avoid as long as you have a strong signal otherwise. After we have set the various knobs correctly and have good signal strength, we can use the channel volume fader to set the level of that channel in the House mix. Channel Mutes can have different affects. Some boards Muting a channel will stop that audio source from all outs, and some might allow Aux Send 1 & 2 for monitors. See manuals for lots of details I cannot cover in these articles.
Other examples below with different lay-outs;
But here is the good news; we have just learned 75% of the face of the mixing board. Each channel duplicates what we just went over. All those knobs are now grouped logically, easily identified explained and we understand what each one is for. Here on in it is repetition for gain staging and sound check. Use Pad and 1st Gain Stage to adjust signal strength, add or subtract frequencies using the channel EQ, set amount of Aux Send to monitors and effects and set the stereo field positions as we watch level indicators and set channel volume fader. Repeat. Finished!
Next we can go over the benefits of Group Sends and the other 20%