Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass
What are the small faders for on a mixing console?

What are the small faders for on a mixing console?


Since we are considering an inline console, each channel module has two signal

  • The input signal, which is the signal from the mic that is being recorded
    to multitrack

  • The monitor signal, which is the output of a single track of the multitrack
    recorder, the track number of which corresponds to the channel number (usually).

On some consoles, the small fader is normally set to control the level of the
monitor signal. So the large faders are used to set recording levels to multitrack,
and a temporary monitor mix is set up on the small faders.

On other consoles, this – as a normal condition – is reversed. All inline consoles
allow the input and monitor signal paths to be 'flipped', i.e. reversed.

At this point, it is worth saying that the other facilities of the channel
can be allocated to either the input or monitor signal paths, or shared.

So for example, you could place the EQ in the input signal path if you wanted
to EQ the signal before it went down to tape.

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On the other hand if you wanted to record the signal flat, you could put the
EQ in the monitor path and use it to temporarily sweeten the monitor mix.

This applies to the dynamics section and auxiliary sends too.

David Mellor

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David Mellor