How to Setup a Mixer & a Powered Speaker

By Ryan Cockerham
Mixers are essential tools in musical productions and recording studios.

Audio engineers and performers use mixing boards and speaker units to produce and control outgoing sound during shows and productions. Through the use of a mixing console, audio from multiple sources can be manipulated before being played through the connected speaker units. Live sound technicians often use powered speakers in conjunction with mixing consoles to provide the necessary sound reinforcement. You quickly can setup and configure your mixer and powered speaker.

Connect all of the instruments and microphones you will be using during your show to the mixing board with the instrument and XLR cables. Connect any amplified instruments to the mixing board with the instrument cable and the line-in ports on the mixer. Each microphone being used connects to the mixer with an XLR cable. Plug each input source into a unique audio channel input on the mixing board. Each XLR and line-in port on the mixer clearly are marked with its channel assignment.

Connect the powered speaker to the mixing board with an instrument cable. Plug the cable into the "Audio Input" jack on the speaker and the "Master Output" (wording may vary) jack on the mixing board. Refer to the documentation provided with your equipment if you are unable to locate either of these jacks.

Control the input levels of the various instruments and microphones you are using with the individual audio channels' volume sliders. Use these controls to balance and mix the volume levels of your input sources.

Adjust the total output volume of the mixing board with the master volume slider. Adjust the strength of the signal being sent to the speaker with the master volume slider.

Increase or decrease the maximum output levels of your speaker with the volume control on the speaker unit.

Tip

Damaged or overused audio cables may significantly reduce the sound quality of your audio production. Replace your XLR and instrument cables on a regular basis to produce optimal results.

Warning

The mixing board must be capable of providing phantom power for condenser microphones. These microphones will not function properly without this additional voltage.

About the Author

Ryan Cockerham has written for various websites since 2006, focusing on a variety of subjects ranging from music history and technology to photography and fashion. He received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Arkansas and is pursuing a Master of Music in music technology from New York University.