When picking your next Digital Mixer there are some basic questions you can ask yourself to narrow down the numerous possibilities. With so many brands it can feel like an overwhelming task. So, we've come up with four simple questions to help guide you.
What is your application? In other words, what are you going to be using this product for? Your application may best be suited by technology specific to a particular mixer or line of products. For instance, if you're using a console with multiple musicians on a regular basis, you may want a “recallable head-amp,” or a console that will let you store all of your settings, instead of limiting what may be recalled. You may also need iPad or tablet-controlled remote mixing.
What type of sound quality do you need in your application? Are you using this at a small, budget-minded church or school gym and just need something to do the job? If so, you could get away with something on the lower end. If you're recording or using this for your profession, such as a DJing or at a recording studio, you will most likely want to step up to a higher-end brand. The old adage is generally a good rule of thumb here – “you get what you pay for” – when it comes to sound quality. Digital mixers use converters to translate analog inputs into digital audio, to be manipulated by the mixer’s processor, and then turned back into analog audio. That’s a lot of moving parts and digital/analog technology does not always come cheap.
How many channels do you need? Channels are simple; how many things do you need to control via your digital console? The best rule of thumb on this is round up! For example if you need 8 channels, it is best to bump to 12. So if your church just needs 2 microphones and 4 instrument channels for a total of 6, it is still a good idea to round up to accommodate for growth. It's always easier to use less of your console than it is to stretch the use of a console that's just too small.
What type of “features” do you need? How specific are your digital FX needs? Some mixers have better or worse FX, etc. than others. This is where you also need to consider your greater audio system needs in the future. Will you be adding a separate monitor or broadcast mixing console in the future? If so, you may want to consider how you will plan to integrate with those items. Do you hope to multi-track services or performances? Are you planning to add a digital snake or use an existing snake?
After asking yourself these questions you're ready to give us a call and talk to one of our professional sound engineers. We'll be able to help you pin point the perfect Digital Mixer for your needs according to your answers.