HOW TO OPERATE A SOUND SYSTEM

Common live sound sources are microphones (for vocals, speech, acoustic instruments, and instrument amplifiers), electronic instruments, DJ decks, and audio players.

In addition to combining multiple sources while adjusting their relative levels, a mixer provides the necessary preamplification for microphone and line level sources, and can be used to apply equalization, dynamics processing, and/or effects.

The line-level output from the mixer is fed to one or more amplifiers that provide the power needed to drive the system's speakers. Some mixers and speakers have built-in power amplification, reducing the number of separate components required and enhancing portability.

Speakers convert the electronic signal from the system's power amplifier(s) into audible sound. A dazzling variety of speakers and speaker systems are available, so unless you're planning on acquiring a preconfigured package you will need to carefully choose models that suit the specific application.

Sound System Setup

In this series, Yamaha Worship guides you on some of the basics to setting up your own Sound System for your church or worship group!

Episode 1. Sound System Safety

Safety is the most important thing we cover, and is a recurring theme throughout all of our training modules.

Episode 2. Sound System Basic Needs

Things to consider when starting to select a PA system for your worship venue

Episode 3. Sound System Microphone Types

Great tips on which microphones to use for your worship sound system

Episode 4. Sound System Set Up Basics

Here are some great tips on setup and teardown for portable worship sound systems

Episode 5. Sound System Cabling Tips

How cable quality can affect your sound system

Episode 6. Sound System Mic Technique and Placement

Learn where to place microphones and how to use them properly

Episode 7. In Ear Monitors & Wedge Speakers

How to setup and use "In-Ear-Monitors" (IEMs) and on stage wedge monitors

Episode 9. Creating A Great Mix

Great tips and techniques for getting a great mix for your worship band

Episode 10. Sound System Troubleshooting

Get great tips on troubling shooting your sound system

How to Mix Live Music

Chapter 1 - Introduction

You will learn how to use each feature of these mixing consoles, and how to apply them practically to your regular music mixing jobs. We have lots of tips, tricks, advice and experience to share with you. When you know what you’re doing, mixing live music becomes a whole lot more enjoyable and creative.

Chapter 2 - Which Console?

In this video, we will talk about how to choose the right mixing console for your work, and what tools and accessories you should always take to work!

Chapter 3 - Get Connected

In this 3rd part of the training series “How To Mix Live Music”, we are going to get the mixing console connected to all the other sound equipment: microphones, amplifiers and loud speakers. You should aim to do all your connecting before switching on the power! But before we begin connecting, let’s do some planning!

Chapter 4 - Microphone

Before we start using the mixing desk, we are going to talk about microphones: how to choose the most suitable types, and where to put them for the most common types of instrument!

Chapter 5 - Inputs

Last time we chose our microphones, and placed them near the instruments on stage. Now we’re going to bring the sounds from the stage into our mixer, and make the optimal settings for each input.

Chapter 6 - Gain Structure

This time we have a very important topic, which I have witnessed even some seasoned professionals get wrong from time to time. It is “Gain Structure”. It is crucial to understand if you want to get a clean and consistent mix every time!

Chapter 7 - HPF

In Chapter 7, we will see how a small button can be a big help: it's the “High Pass Filter”. So our first question: what is a “High Pass Filter”? High Pass Filter is one of the most useful tools on a live mixing console, as it leaves all the high frequencies alone, while filtering out the un-necessary low frequencies.

Chapter 8 - Introducing EQ

This video will give you an introduction to the types of EQ available on most popular analog and digital live mixers, and it will help you understand how to operate all the controls safely.

Chapter 9 - EQ for Outputs

This time we will be EQing our outputs, that is the speakers for the audience and for the performers on stage. If you get this right first, it is going to be easier to EQ all the input channels. Taking time to work on the outputs first will save time when working on the inputs later.

Chapter 10 - EQ for Drums

In this chapter, we will focus on drums as in kick, snare, hat, toms and overheads, probably the loudest instruments in the band, and the ones with the most focused range of frequencies. Each mic used will require different treatments.

Chapter 11 - EQ for Electric Bass, Guitars & Keyboards

We've already got the drums sounding good, now we are going to move on to the electric bass, guitars and keyboards, the key instruments for most rock and pop bands.

Chapter 12 - EQ for Acoustic Instruments

Now we are going to start applying EQ to acoustic instruments such as guitar, violin and brass. Some of these instruments are quite sensitive and care needs to be taken to avoid feedback. Even electro acoustic guitars that is hollow-bodied guitars with built-in electronics to capture the sound. They can feed back if placed close to a stage monitor speaker.

Chapter 13 - EQ for Vocal Mics

This time we are going to be EQing vocal mics. The human voice is so versatile and varied amongst male and female that you might think each style will need different treatment, but actually there are just a few basic principles to be applied, and remember, for a live performance, most singers should be using a dynamic cardioid microphone.

Chapter 14 - Pan

We've got setup, we've tuned the PA to suit the room, and EQed all the inputs. Now we are going to jump down a mixer to the pan and the faders. The pan position will normally stay static during a performance, but the fader is the most frequently adjusted control on a mixer, hence it being the most tactile.

Chapter 15 - Faders & Groups

We've set input gains, high pass filters, EQs and pan. Now it's time to focus on the faders. How to balance the sound of a band and keep listening and tweaking as the performance progresses.

Chapter 16 - Auxes

This time, we are looking at how to use the aux buses to create monitor mixes for the band on stage. Auxes are a versatile set of output buses found on most mixing consoles. They can either be mono or stereo, pre-fader or post-fader, and they all have a variable level control for each input channel.

Chapter 17 - Sub, Mono & Matrix Outputs

Have you ever wondered what the matrix on a mixing console is used for? In this chapter, we are going to find out, and we will talk about using the mono or sub buses, too.

Chapter 18 - Compressors

In this chapter, we are looking at compressors, how and when to use them. The effect of a compressor might be subtle, but it's a very important and useful processor in pop and rock music. Once you've mastered how to use it correctly, your mix can be greatly improved.

Chapter 19 - Noise Gates

Noise gate is the topic for this chapter, what are they? And when are they useful? Like compressors, these were never found on a mixing console until digital mixers started to become popular in the mid 1990s.

Chapter 20 - Output Compression

We've almost completed out mix applying EQ, compression and noise gates to their inputs, and using pan, faders and groups to adjust the blend of all the instruments and voices. Now, we are going to apply some compression to the outputs.

Chapter 21 - Reverb

In this chapter, we are going to add some reverb into the mix. This is particularly useful on vocals and solo acoustic instruments to give them a bit of a lift above the core band mix, but its use depends a lot on the acoustics of the performance venue itself.

Chapter 22 - Delay

In this chapter, we are going to experiment with tap delay. This effect can be used in a couple of different ways. The first way is to use it continuously with quite a short delay time to increase the presence or size of a sound. The other way is to emphasize individual notes, phrases or words either for lead vocals or solo instruments.

Chapter 23 - Soundcheck

Now we've covered the theory of gain structure, EQ, dynamics, groups and effects, let's put it into practice. We have a live band coming in and we are going to do a soundcheck. Let's be reminded of everything we've talked about so far this series.

Chapter 24 - Recording

This is the last chapter, and we are going to do some live recording. This can be useful for both the sound engineer and the musicians to listen back and evaluate the performance. It can be a useful rehearsal tool, or upload it to social media, or just keep it as a nice souvenir.

We will introduce how a mixer works, this is the most important role in the "Signal Flow" of the PA system. We will use the MG16XU 16 channel mixer as an example.

* No sound comes out if any of [2] [8] [9] is down.

1. INPUT SOUND

From microphones to musical instruments, playback devices and more.

2. ADJUST SOUND VOLUME (GAIN)

Before you can begin to mix sound, you have to adjust the input gain for each channel first.

3. COMPRESS SOUND (COMPRESSOR)

By narrowing the dynamic range (the difference in volume between loud and soft) you can fine tune both your vocals and instruments to get the best sound for your venue.

4. ADJUST SOUND QUALITY (EQ)

You can adjust the sound quality by using the 3-band equalizer for High, Mid and Low frequencies. By boosting High frequencies, you can add clarity and presence. Boosting Mid frequencies can help make vocals easier understand, and by adding Low frequency you build “Bottom End” giving the mix more power.

5. ADJUST SOUND POSITIONING (PAN)

The PAN knob adjusts the channel to the left, right or center of the mix, this is especially useful when using stereo signals from a playback device, synthesizer or electric piano.

6. MUTE A CHANNEL (ON/OFF SWITCH)

When the channel is not being used, you can mute the channel output.

7. SEND TO STEREO OUT (ST SWITCH)

By engaging this button, you can send the channel output directly to the main stereo out on the mixer.

8. CONTROL CHANNEL OUTPUT GAIN (FADER)

The fader is used to increase or decrease the output volume for that channel. In order to keep your gain to 0db, make sure to adjust the channel input gain (2) first.

9. ADJUST MAIN OUTPUT VOLUME (STEREO OUT)

This adjusts the final mix signal up or down to the system amplifier in a passive speaker system, or directly to the speakers in an active speaker system.

10. MAIN MIX LEVEL METER

You can monitor the overall system gain with the level meter. When the Peak light comes on, you are overdriving the system and could cause damage to amplifiers and speakers.

11. OUTPUT STERO OUT SOUND

These are the Left and Right main output signal that are sent to the power amp or powered speakers.

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