Do you remember when your colleague first got a smart phone? You probably thought, ìSure, it looks cool, but will it really catch on? We are in that same place right now with digital mixing consoles. The early adopters have been digital for a number of years now and it's time for the rest of us to catch up. If you're on the fence about whether this is right for you, here are five good reasons to consider a digital mixing board.
1.The ability to control everything via an iPad, iPhone or other remote device is perhaps the biggest benefit to an educator since the metronome.
No more running back and forth to a mixing board to turn channels on/off or adjust volume. Need to mute a soloist mic in your jazz band? Just tap the screen on your iPad and it's muted. Want to bring up the vocal soloist during the band concert while listening from the back of the auditorium? No problem! With a digital mixing board, you can mix the sound from a logical mixing point rather than from wherever the board is located. Welcome to the 21st century!
2. Remember that time you had the perfect levels, EQ and monitor mix, but then somebody changed all the knobs and it was never the same?
With a digital mixing board, saving your settings into presets called ëscenes' ensures that once you have the sound you want, you can recall the scene at any time (and even remotely). Entrusting your students to mix the sound can be an exercise in patience, but having them simply move through scenes for each song or portion of the song is as simple as pressing a button.
3. Today's digital mixing boards can make your group sound really good.
Why? They have a variety of built-in effects and settings so you'll no longer need to bring racks of outboard gear. If you want to add some room presence to a vocal microphone, it's built-in, and with the touch of a few buttons, you can have reverb that emulates larger rooms. Boosting the EQ for the low end of your digital piano is no problem, and you can even save that setting so every time you use that digital piano or use that particular soloist, it sounds the same through your system.
4. An incredible benefit of digital mixers for music educators is the easy connection to a computer or other recording device for recording your performance in real time.
In addition to providing instant post-performance feedback, you can now play that performance back through the digital mixer and isolate each track to optimize the settings on the board for that player or instrument. Imagine capturing your jazz band rehearsal and then being able to go back and adjust the sound of that rehearsal after class. It's like having an instant rewind button for your ensemble.
5.Like all things technological, the features continue to improve while the prices become more competitive.
For a relatively affordable price you can have all the features mentioned above and more. The computer and wireless integration is seamless, and setting it up for the first use is no more complicated than installing a new desktop printer in your office. There are several top brands making digital mixers, each with many different options and features available. The prospect of switching from your faders and knobs to a digital interface might sound intimidating, but so was that first smartphone. Understanding a few simple concepts can lead to a new world of possibilities in simplifying your sound, while expanding the potential of your ensemble.