Audio Mixing Consoles: Defining Auxes, Groups, VCAs, Matrixes
Take a closer look at how each of these four systems work as a part of audio mixing consoles.
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For the novice sound engineer, it can be pretty intimidating to walk up to a large analog or digital console and try to figure out the routing of audio signals.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the only place the sound had to go was to the main loudspeakers in the room. Occasionally that’s the case, but most of the time, we’re also sending different mixes to monitors for musicians; to lobby and cry room speakers; and to various recordings.
Moreover, we have several options for how we can group and control our signals. Let’s define what Auxes, Groups, VCAs and Matrix mixes are, and then in my next article, I’ll talk about when you’d use each of them.
Often simply abbreviated as auxes, an auxiliary mix is pretty much what it sounds like; another, alternate mix using the same set of input signals that you are working with in the house mix. Each aux mix will have an individual level control on each channel, as well as a master aux mix level. In this way, aux mixes are very much like the faders; turning up the aux level for channel 1 adds more of whatever is in channel 1 to that aux mix.
As an example, let’s say you are using Aux 1 for your worship leader’s monitor, and that their vocal mic is in channel 1. If she wants more of her voice in her monitor, you turn up the Aux 1 send in channel 1, thus raising the level of her voice in her monitor.
What makes aux mixes so cool is that they don’t affect the house mix at all, and you can just as easily lower or eliminate that signal from Aux 2. Thus, each aux mix is another complete mixing layer for your input signals, albeit without individual EQ adjustments for each of those sends.
Most consoles/mixers that we use for live sound will have at least four, and often six auxes. Of course, larger consoles gain more auxes, and it’s not uncommon to see digital consoles with 16, 24 or more aux mixes (many times, in stereo).
Aux sends (the points you send from each channel) can either be pre-fader or post-fader. That simply means that the fader (which controls your house mix) will either have no effect on the aux send (pre-fader) or it will have an effect (post-fader).
Latest ResourceWorship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.