An audio mixer is an electronic device designed to manage incoming audio signals while exerting control over various parameters such as volume, tonality, placement, and other dynamics in music production. In the realm of professional sound mixing, this device is alternatively referred to as a soundboard, mixing console, or simply a mixer.
Feature of Audio Mixer
A major feature of a good audio mixer is the inclusion of panoramic potentiometers, commonly known as “pan pots.” These controls enable the placement of an audio track within the mix, distributing it between the left, center, or right channels to create a comprehensive stereo image. Conventionally, vocals are centered, while lead and rhythm guitars occupy opposite ends, and drums provide a background. This spatial arrangement constructs an acoustic environment, making it feel as though the musical elements surround the listener. Other instruments, such as keyboards and percussion, are also strategically positioned within this stereo image. Occasionally, for creative effect, elements like drum rolls or lead riffs may pan from one channel to another, adding a sense of movement.
Process of music production
In the process of music production, the drum track is often created first, serving as the foundational element for subsequent tracks. After completing a second track, it can be “bounced” or merged with the drum track to free up another channel for additional recordings. Despite limitations on the number of tracks that can be bounced, even a basic 4-track recorder with an integrated mixer can typically generate eight or more tracks. The final mix is then consolidated into a 2-track stereo recording referred to as the “master,” from which a compact disc can be produced for duplication.