“You Can Never Have Too Many Channels!”

“You Can Never Have Too Many Channels!”

“You can never have too many channels!” Small venues, like clubs and houses of worship, use small mixing consoles. Most of these small venues use consoles with 16, 24, or 32 channels. They prefer these smaller consoles for their benefits. They are small and portable. They are more affordable ranging from $300 to $1,000. They have an easy learning curve for those venues that don’t have audio engineers. When the time comes to upgrade, small venues shy away from larger consoles. Small mixing boards have their benefits, but they also have their flaws. Their benefits are determined by their purpose of use.


In a live venue setting, 32 channel mixers make their stand. You have enough channels to mic a standard drum kit. You can connect a stereo keyboard rig. You can plug in two guitars, an acoustic, and a bass. You still have room for all the vocals and any other instrument such as violins or trumpets. When you finish connecting the entire stage, you might even be left with a couple of open channels. Most 32 channel consoles also have on-board effects. They are not as great as rack mount effect processors, but they get the job done. Thanks to modern advances in music technology, on-board effects and processors are starting to get built with higher quality. The channel strip EQ has improved for most consoles. You can get a good mix with small consoles. When it comes to recording applications, 32 channels becomes smaller.


When you record audio through a console, you need an audio interface. An audio interface turns analogue signals into digital signals. Those signals get sent to a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) running on a computer to get manipulated then sent back out to a listening source. When you add the interface into your signal chain, you take up half of your mixing board. One example can be a vocal mic. Let’s say you connect a vocal mic into channel one of your mixing board. From there, that channel get sent into your audio interface. It gets converted from analog to digital. Your digital signal then goes to your DAW where you mix, edit, and manipulate your source. Now it needs to get sent out to a listening source in order for you to hear what you are doing to your signal. You need to be able to return your signal. So the output of your interface gets connected to channel 2. From channel 2, it gets sent out through your master bus and into your speakers. So for one mic, you had to use two different channels. One channel was used as your audio source. The other channel was used as your listening source (also known as monitor path). If you have 16 different instruments and mics connected, you will need 16 more channels to hear them back. Now, your 32 channel mixer just became a 16 channel mixer. There is a console manufacturer named SSL (Solid State Logic) that came up with a board called the SSL Duality. This board is amazing for the reason that every channel can be used as the audio source and monitor path simultaneously. If you had the 24 channel Duality, you can use all 24 channels and hear them back on the same channel without having to take up other channels. The way it works has to do with the way the Duality was wired. There is a patch in the signal path on the channel strip where the Signal is divided. The signal can be described as a Y signal. You can have 2 different sources connected and hear them simultaneously. You hear your input source and your monitor source on the same channel. The only problem about the Duality is that the price tag is not too friendly. The SSL Duality goes for an incredible $100,000. This is why you only see these consoles in high end recording studios. For every input channel you need a monitor channel. For this reason small consoles do not work in studios. We need the extra channels to hear our input source. For small studios, 48 and 56 channel mixers work perfectly. More, financially stable studios have 72 or 90 channel mixers. These larger consoles can go for $1,000 to $5,0000. These consoles are pretty affordable for their size and purpose. A great Small studio Console that is worth checking out is the Soundcraft GB8 48 channel mixer. It’s large enough to record and affordable.

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Florentino Castellanos
Florentino Castellanos 67 posts

Florentino Castellanos, or Tino for short, is the Founder of The Heart Of Worship Project. Florentino is a self taught musician since the age of 7. Florentino has been serving as a worship leader for over 5 years. Florentino graduated from Musicians Institute, Hollywood with a certificate in Audio Engineering. Florentino's dream is to build up Churches, Leaders and Creatives. Florentino is known for having an incredible amount of Faith in God.

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