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Audio mixers can go from the sheer simplicity of a mono summing mixer, with a bunch of inputs and a single output with a knob to control output volume to the complexity of a multi-bus digital mixer with more built-in DSP power than a small recording studio such as the Behringer X32. So, it’s kind of a big topic, and we’ll try and break down a few basic categories to get you started. Line mixers are designed to handle, as you might suspect, line level signals. Most frequently, they’re used as sub-mixers for things like multiple keyboard setups on stage or simple summing mixers.
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The things to look for in a line mixer are flexibility in connections and quality internal electronics—high-quality, low-noise op amps and capacitors. They tend to be fairly stripped down—no EQ, no inserts, no DSP—but are compact and very simple to use. Larger mixers, in addition to more channels, will start to have features like multiple sends, subgroups, and built-in DSP for effects. The EQ will also get more sophisticated and you’ll begin to have assignable routing on channels and returns.
Digital mixers start to hit the crossover point between live and studio mixing, with some intended to do both such as the Slate Raven MTI. These mixers have analog to digital conversion at the inputs and do everything in the digital world once the signal is in the board. Many new mixers have connections to tablet computers, so you can use a tablet for remote mixing and touchpad control. New features keep popping up, so check with your Pro Audio department at Guitar Center to see just what the latest and greatest features are. You can try a new search or change the Ship-To country to search a different product catalog. We’re always adding musical instruments that can ship internationally.