Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 1, last updated 6/25/2013
after analog mixers to make it easier for sound engineers to make the transition between devices.
More detailed information on mixing consoles can be found in Chapter 8.
Figure 1.43 Analog mixing console
Music producers and sound designers for film and video do mixing as well. In the post-
production phase, mixing is applied off-line to all of the recorded instrument, voice, or sound
effects tracks captured during filming, foley, or tracking sessions. Some studios utilize large
hardware mixing consoles for this mixing process as well, or the mixer may be part of a software
program like Logic, ProTools, or Sonar. The graphical user interfaces of software mixers are
often also made to look similar to hardware components. The purpose of the mixing process in
post-production is, likewise, to make amplitude adjustments, add EQ, dynamics processing, and
special effects to each track individually or in groups. Then the mixed-down sound is routed into
a reduced number of channels for output, be it stereo, surround sound, or individual groups
(often called “stems”) in case they need to be edited or mixed further down the road.
If you‟re just starting out, you probably won‟t need a massive mixing console in your
setup, many of which can cost thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If
you‟re doing live gigs, particularly where computer latency can be an issue, a small to mid-size
mixing console may be necessary, such as a 16-channel board. In all other situations, current
DAW software does a great job providing all the mixing power you‟ll need for just about any
size project. For those who prefer hands on mixing over a mouse and keyboard, mixer-like
control surfaces are readily available that communicate directly with your software DAW. These
control surfaces work much like MIDI keyboards, not ever touching any actual audio signals, but
instead remotely controlling your software‟s parameters in a traditional mixer-like fashion, while
your computer does all the real work. These days, you can even do your mix on a touch capable
device like an iPad, communicating wirelessly with your DAW.
Figure 1.44 DAW hardware control surface