Channel Strip on Analog Mixer

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Hello again! I am Benson Lim from Melbourne and for the third week of “Introduction To Music Production”, I’ll explain the channel strip on an analog mixer. I’ll be using the Yamaha MW12 mixer. Like most modern mixers, we can output the sound from the mixer to our computer to be further mixed via the DAW.

So basically on a channel strip, the sound moves from the top to the bottom, and then to the left where it’ll be mixed with the other channel strips and will be combined with the master bus. So for the first part, we’ll have the input section. Here, you can plug in XLR cable (mic), a TS cable (instruments like guitar) or the insert cable. Note that the “Line” input did not specify balanced or unbalanced, so it’ll only accept the TS cable.

The insert I/O is very useful. It allows us to add external devices (a compressor or an EQ) into the signal flow. We’ll need to use an insert cable as shown in the diagram below.

inert cable (taken from this pdf)


After the input section, we have the input trim control. Trim is also known as gain. We can control our input level with this control. This section serves as a microphone pre amp.

Then we have the EQ section. The EQ basically allows you to change the highs, mids or lows of your track. If your mixer does not have the EQ section, you’ll need to use the inserts to change the EQ.

Next, we have the AUX send. The AUX basically allows you to route your sound to more than one place. For example, the guitarist only needs to hear the bass guitar, drums and abit of vocals. You can control that via AUX without disrupting your master bus mix. Do note that the order of the EQ and the AUX send section can vary between manufacturers.

After the AUX send, we have the Pan section. Pan allows you to change the level between 2 channels. On a strip, the input is mono, but the output will always be stereo. So if you pan to the left, you’ll only hear the track from your left speaker. If you pan to the right, then you’ll only hear the track from your right speaker. All panning does is reducing the level and not moving the info from the left to the right or vice versa.

Then we have the mute button. On the Yamaha MW12, once you press the “ON” button, it’ll light up and you can listen to the track from that channel.

Finally, we have the volume fader which allows you to adjust the level of that channel. On this mixer, there are some additional functionality added to the volume fader section. The “PFL” button or the “Pre-fade listen” feeds the channel’s pre-fader signal to the headphones and Control Room outputs, while a button labelled ‘1-2’ routes the channel output to the mixer’s group bus, regardless of whether the mute button is on or not.

channel strip

All the channel strips will then be combined from the left to the right at the master bus.

master bus

Thanks again for spending time to read this simple explanation and I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.