In sound engineering and production, and even in live sound recreation, a music mixer is a computerized device used to combine sounds of many different musical signals into a single output. The mixer is often called the "feeder speaker," because it is fed by the input signal, which is then amplified and sent to speakers. Music mixing is achieved with the use of a series of controls that are mounted on the board of the mixer. These controls can include volume, panning, effects, balance, bass response, treble response, and more. Many mixers are equipped with onboard effects like compression and EQ.
In recent years, DJ controllers have become popular home and professional audio and video equipment. One reason for this is that they are much easier to program and operate than mixers. A DJ controller, however, is not a music mixing tool; it is primarily used for arranging and performing live music. Some examples of DJ controller models are the Serato FX-controlled DJM-6 and the Traktor CDA-based DJ8. Both these devices are designed to perform the same functions (amps, knobs, and volume control) but only one has onboard effects.
A mixer, on the other hand, is often equipped with effects, which makes it useful for creating "live" performances. The two most common types of dj controller setups are "stomp-box" models and full-featured keyboards. A stomp box, sometimes called a portable cassette deck, is essentially a stand-alone unit that is used to generate a signal that can be fed into another device, such as a soundboard or headphones. A stomp box can be used to play a variety of different musical instruments, although it is typically best used for sampling. For instance, the foot pedal of a piano can be used to sample tracks for composing music using a drum kit.
A sound mixer software program is intended to provide an environment in which music mixing and mastering can occur simultaneously. Mixers that run on personal computers can be called "stereo" units or "stereo integrated units." Computer programs are available for both desktop and laptop sound mixing and mastering. Some programs are available for both types of units, though some programs are made specifically for desktop units only. Note: Many professional sound mixer software packages include a sequencing feature.
Most modern home music mixers have several knobs, controls, and features that are used to mix audio tracks. knobs control the overall volume of the signal, while volume and gate controls allow the user to adjust levels of the sound effects. Audio level controls can be used to adjust the balance of the audio, which helps to make the music mix more consistent. Some mixer models are capable of playing more than one track at a time, allowing the engineer to sequence the sound production. However, not all sound mixers have this option; check the capabilities of your mixer model before you buy.
If your DJ equipment consists of state-of-the-art musical instruments, but it still seems to be lacking something, consider adding a DJ controller. A DJ controller (or CD player controller) is a useful addition to any DJ's equipment. A DJ controller can help you mix and select your musical instrument sounds as you are spinning tunes in the back room. A DJ controller also allows you to display a variety of song choices on your screen. These versatile devices are usually very easy to use and offer a wide range of functions.
For people who mix music on a regular basis, the best way to go is probably a DJ mixer with input and output jacks. An audio input jack will allow you to send audio to another device, such as a tape deck or a computer. The most common types of input jacks include RCA connections, however there are also those that have ground lifting, so they can be used with unbalanced signals. Output jacks are designed to send audio to a mixer or a headset. The majority of professional DJ equipment has both input and output jacks.
While a standard mixer can mix audio and output both channels at the same time, a sound mixer software will give you greater control over the mixing. A sound mixer software can be downloaded for free or cost a modest amount. There are many different types of this type of software available, including those that record and play back an audio file as you spin through your tracks. Other mixer programs will require you to input information into a form on the computer before it will do anything else. If you want to mix music on the computer without using a software mixer, you can connect a microphone or guitar through a USB connection to your computer.