For those who specialize in audio production, mixing consoles will not be unfamiliar, and the types of mixing consoles are divided into analog and digital mixing consoles, and our collectively referred to as mixing consoles generally refer to analog Signal mixer. What is the difference between analog and digital mixers? And what are the characteristics and performance of digital mixers? The following is an analysis for everyone.
The difference between digital mixer and analog mixer:
Digital mixing consoles were born on the basis of the experience of analog mixing consoles. People are familiar with the operation of analog consoles. Therefore, the control panel design of many digital mixing consoles is similar to that of analog consoles, but the nature of the signals they handle is different. .
The main function of an analog mixer is to process audio signals, and the object is a continuous analog audio electrical signal. In addition to the processing of general amplification, distribution, mixing, and transmission, it also has the following main functions:
(1) Level and impedance matching;
(2) Signal amplification and frequency equalization;
(3) Dynamic processing;
(4) Signal distribution and mixing;
(5) To create special effects, and sometimes through peripheral auxiliary equipment for special treatment as needed.
The main function of the digital mixer is also the processing of audio signals, but the specific processing objects are digital signals that have been sampled, quantized, and encoded. These signals include audio and control signals. A wide range of signal processing algorithms are carried out. The control circuit and signal processing circuit of the digital mixer are all digitized. The digital audio signal is transmitted in the form of files (or data streams) through the interface. The knobs, switches, faders, etc. The control quantity is no longer the actual audio signal of the traditional analog mixer, but the control signal of the digital algorithm. The digital mixer has more flexible and refined signal processing, and the processing flow and effect display are more vivid. For example, it is only compared on the parameter of dynamic range. Usually, after a series of processing, the dynamic range of an analog audio system is about 60dB, while the internal calculation is on a 32bit digital mixer, the dynamic range can reach 168~192dB. It can be said that the function of a digital mixer is similar to all the functions of an audio workstation, including hardware structure and software processing.
Audio Mixing Console (AudioMixingConsole) is a frequently used equipment in sound reinforcement systems and audiovisual recording. It has multiple inputs, and the sound signal of each channel can be processed separately, such as: can be amplified to compensate for the sound quality of treble, midrange, and bass, add flavor to the input sound, and spatially locate the sound source of the road, etc.; It can also mix various sounds, with adjustable mixing ratio; has a variety of outputs (including left and right stereo output, editing output, mixed mono output, monitor output, recording output, and various auxiliary outputs, etc.). The mixer plays a central role in many systems. It can not only create stereo, beautify the sound, but also suppress noise and control the volume. It is an indispensable machine for sound art processing.
The analog mixer is a conventional mixer, so it is called a mixer without emphasizing the word analog. Digital mixing console is the development of digital technology applied to mixing consoles. Mixing console is its essence and commonality, and digital is its characteristic. Therefore, the design concept of digital mixing console is completely equivalent to conventional mixing consoles, but due to digital technology Applied to the mixer, the digital mixer has a higher performance standard and more flexible in the realization of conventional functions, and the digital mixer has added some new functions and processing methods that cannot be realized by the analog mixer.
Advantages of digital mixer:
The key to the characteristics of digital mixing consoles lies in the digital nature. In summary, digital mixing consoles have the following unique functions and features:
1. Increase of audio processing unit
Some digital mixing consoles have units such as delay (device) and compressor (device) set in their branch and/or total channels. Such a setting cannot be achieved by a general analog mixer, which is equivalent to adding a lot of peripherals. The equipment is connected from the disconnect jack of the mixer, which makes the configuration of the audio system simple and more functions.
2. Database function of audio processing link
There are many existing standard processing mode programs set according to different sound sources, occasions, signal characteristics, etc., in the audio processing links such as equalization, compression, and in-camera effects. Although this is similar to the way of a fool camera, it is not suitable to copy it completely, because different program sources and scenes always have their particularities and cannot be the same, but the processing mode after all provides a rough processing method, which can be adjusted on this basis. In addition, the database is also equivalent to the role of textbooks and data, providing parameters for various processing modes.
3. Memory storage of each tuning link
In part, there is a certain amount of user program space in the links of equalization, compression, and internal effects, which can be used to store various user-adjusted processing parameters; in general, some digital mixers have a scene memory storage program space , Can be used to store the current status of various parameters including equalization, compression limit, in-camera effects, branch level, total level, etc. Therefore, there can be a relatively stable tuning standard for some fixed programs that are frequently performed. There are also digital mixers that can set the switching movement time of the partial push and/or the total push in different positions of the two scenes when the two storage scenes are switched, so as to produce the effect of automatic fade in and fade out.
4. Flexible combination and exchange of various links within the mixer
This kind of function is quite different in different mixers, but they are all realized by the flexible processing methods of digital signals. Such as the change of the level indication point, the two-input signal exchange channel, the direct grouping and mute grouping of sub-push, the duplication of the tuning control status of one branch to other branches, etc.
5. Multifunctional and intuitive display
Digital mixing consoles usually have a larger display screen to display different control interfaces, provide various status parameters, and visualize pattern displays.
6. Digital direct connection of digital audio equipment
The digital mixer can be connected to the audio equipment in the conventional analog signal input and output mode, and can also be connected to the digital audio equipment in the way of direct input and output of digital signals with optical cables and data lines. Because it is a digital signal, although only one optical cable, multiple input or output can be achieved, which expands the input and output channels.
7. MIDI function can be realized
The digital mixer can realize the function of MIDI, the so-called MIDI is the digital interface of electronic musical instrument (MIDI). The original intent of MIDI is only the interconnection between electronic musical instruments and between electronic musical instruments and computers. Now it also includes the interconnection between digital audio equipment, electronic musical instruments, and computers. Through the connection, the MIDI digital interface is used to transmit the keyboard key information reflecting the parameters of the music note, tone, rhythm, chord and other control information between the devices to achieve tasks such as composition and multi-track sound synthesis. Some professionals who are used to analog mixers often find it uncomfortable, because a major disadvantage of digital mixers is that some function adjustments are not directly reflected on the panel like analog mixers, and some keys are in different states. There are different functions, which need to be realized through the conversion interface. Some functions need to have a calling process. Different models of digital mixers have different function calling operations. Therefore, if you are not familiar with this model of digital mixer during live tuning, problems will occur.
In fact, the digital mixer is not difficult to master. As mentioned above, the essence of the digital mixer is still the mixer. As long as you truly master the mixer, you can analyze the basic configuration of the mixer from the signal flow block diagram of the mixer. Connection, function and operation, then the digital characteristics of the mixer still have its own rules.